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THE NURSERY

 

CHAPTER LXXII

 

Nursery Management, the Duties of Mother, Governess, and Nursery Servants; the Rearing and Management of Children, Diseases of Infancy and Childhood and their Remedies

THE MOTHER

A mother's responsibilities are the greatest that a woman can have, for with her rests not only the care for the daily needs of food, clothing and the like of her children, but, what is even more important, their moral training. No matter what good nurses and attendants she may be able to engage for her little ones, what pleasures, changes of air, model nurseries, toys and books she may afford for their benefit, she should still devote some part of her time to them at any rate; should be with them often, should know their individual childish tastes and faults, and strive by her influence, precepts and example to make them what she hopes they may be in the future.

A mother's influence with children is greater than any other; it is easier for her than any one else to train them all right if she be a good and loving mother, and the little ones will rather obey her commands than those of nurse or governess, no matter how kind these may be to those under their charge. Some women of fashion, moving constantly in society, deny that they have time to give to their little ones. Their visits to schoolroom or nursery are few and far between. They have everything beautifully appointed in the children's quarters, and first-rate nurses and governesses, and they cannot take time from gaiety and pleasure to devote to what they think can be obtained from hired service. This is a mistake, for no nurse, however excellent, can supply a mother's place.

The children's hour should be an institution in every household. To the young folks it is (or should be) the happiest time in the day, while to the attendants it is a rest and a great relief. Let the children bring their little troubles and sorrows to mother, to be set right and comforted; let praise be given for little tasks well done, disputes be settled, help and suggestions given for either work or play, and let a game or tale (the latter told, not read) conclude the happy hour. Should this, as it often happens, be just the time generally given to afternoon tea, let the little ones bring this to their mother and wait upon her as children love to do. She will not find an hour wasted in this way, even if it be one hard to spare.

1896