In a society where some women choose to return to work full-time two weeks after having a baby, women can feel obligated to bounce right back into their pre-motherhood lifestyle as soon as they physically begin to heal, as if there is no demanding and oh-so-needy newborn.

I remember feeling that way right after my first. I had him a short time before Rosh Hashanah, and I felt guilty that not only wasn’t I at services, but I barely managed to open a Machzor to pray. But the reality was that I had a baby who nursed for a third of the day and cried for another third, and he needed his mommy almost 24-7.

When tending to a baby’s needs, there is no need to be apologetic.

Chanah, mother of Samuel the prophet, set the precedent. For years, she traveled with her husband Elkanah to the Mishkan in Shiloh for the holidays, where she was by inspired by the holiness and even merited prophecy. But all that changed when little Samuel was born—she surprised her husband by declining to join him on the annual pilgrimage, insisting on staying home until she weaned her child. She felt that being a “stay-at-home mom” would benefit him far more than traveling a long and arduous journey, and that the spiritual environment of Shiloh did not supercede her baby’s well-being.

It is no coincidence that this little tidbit of Chanah’s life was recorded in the Tanach. For her actions didn’t take away from her greatness, but enhanced it immeasurably.

And so, while we women may not have the luxury of actually staying home all day with our child, we can certainly be unapologetic about putting our children’s needs first.

Thoughtstream: Today, I will put my children’s needs before my own spiritual aspirations.

(Adapted from Ma’amad Ha’isha Biriah, Yehudis, p. 79.)