Dear Mom and Dad,
If you think that no one other than the two of you will ever love your child and care for him as much as you do, except for God, you’re probably right. Your child will always have a very special bond with you two, and your love is deeper, wider, and stronger for him than other people’s, and that isn’t likely to change, nor should it.
From what I’ve read, heard, and observed, it’s perfectly normal to wonder if a child would be just as trusting, content, and relaxed to have pretty much anyone feed, burp, change, wash, clothe, hold, play with, read to, supervise, entertain…him. The truth is their sense of trust, security, and love comes initially from the two of you. Even when you are five kinds of tired and doing things only other parents or caregivers as sleep-deprived as you are would come up with, your child knows you love him, will take care of his basic needs, and not give up on him no matter how difficult he can be at times
The Lord chose you out of all of eternity to take care of this little one in body, mind, and soul. The connection between parents and their children is much stronger than many realize. I’ve had a number of parents, both mothers and fathers, make comments to me that indicate they feel their child is some sort of “traitor” when he warms up to me and seems comfortable with me taking care of him. Actually “traitor” was the exact word one mother used when she came home on her lunch break the first day her son was in my care to check in and make sure everything was going well. He was perfectly content, and she felt a little slighted as well as relieved and grateful.
Another important aspect of life that children learn from very early on is that Mom and Dad show them who they can trust. Part of your responsibility is to ensure that your child is always in reliable, competent care when one or both of you aren’t present. You are your child’s most important, influential, and trusted teachers. That’s not to say your child won’t challenge you frequently, but he knows that the bottom-line is that you’re the one who will appear in the middle of the night when he’s thirsty, hungry, teething, cold, having a nightmare...
I don’t know what it feels like from your perspective to have a child you have sacrificed everything for run up and give someone not even related to you hugs and kisses, but I imagine it would make me feel envious and wonder where I rate if I were in your position. If ever you feel a twinge of sadness, jealousy, or regret when your child runs up to someone else, remember that your child is able to love because God and the two of you loved him first and taught him how to trust by being trustworthy.
The best performance review I’ve ever received from a parent is that they can tell I love their child “almost as much as they do.” When one father said that, I knew he could understand how I feel and where I'm coming from. Though I have loved each child for whom I have nannied as much as I possibly feel I am capable of love, I know that their parents love them even more, and I rejoice that’s the case.
You’re right in thinking you’ll never find a babysitter or caregiver who loves your child as much as you do. However, it is quite possible and very probable, that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you will find someone who really loves and adores your child and will give him the best care they know how while you two are at work. It may mean searching a bit harder, interviewing more candidates, and/or training someone who has the potential to be a good fit, but it can be done. It is possible to find quality child care you can trust and depend on to love and keep up with your little one.
People have billions of ideas about what’s best for kids, but what they need most is to feel loved, safe, and have their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs met. God always intends for there to be people in addition to the mother and father to love a child, care for and about him, and lend support and encouragement. They aren’t kidding about it taking a village to raise a child. Don’t be afraid of letting other people love your child dearly. When it comes to the top spots in the child’s heart, you’ve got them. Just like it says in Mary Poppins once she’s interviewed, “The position has been filled.”
No matter what child care situation you discern is right for your family, your child will always have the strongest bond with the two of you, his mom and dad.