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I Am Making A Pledge To Hug My Children Part 2

So here is the follow-up on my pledge to hug my children.  If you missed the first article click here to catch up. I Am Making A Pledge To Hug My Children.

Did you know? The average length of a hug between two people is 3 seconds. But researchers have discovered something fantastic. When a hug lasts 20 seconds, there is a therapeutic effect on the body and mind. The reason is that a sincere hug produces a hormone called “oxytocin”, also known as the love hormone.
This substance has many benefits in our physical and mental health, helps us, among other things, to relax, to feel safe and calm our fears and anxiety. This wonderful calming is offered free of charge every time we have a person in our arms, cradle a child, cherish a dog or cat, dance with our partner,  or just hold the shoulders of a friend the more grounded and loved we feel.

In my case, I have been sticking with my pledge.  At first it was easy because I was determined to change and I smothered my kids with hugs and kisses.  I noticed that as the weeks went by, my mindfulness faded and I started to revert back down to old habits.  But that’s when the awesome thing happened.  My kids wouldn’t stop hugging me!

When it comes to the girls, I have lots of physical contact with them since they are still babies and need to be fed, changed and dressed.  There is barely a moment when I am not carrying one of them around somewhere.  They used to be very squirmy.  Now, I purposefully pick them up and give them a hug and a kiss and tell them I love them.  And you know what?  They started “hugging” back.  They rest in my arms, and snuggle on my chest, and seem very content.  It is tough since the second I hug one the other freaks out crying, and I can only fit one child in my lap safely at once so there isn’t much I can do about it.  I even do things like just rub their back or pat them on the head when we are playing or I am proud of them, and I have felt our bonds grow deeper.  I am realizing that not only are they happier, so am I.

The biggest change has been in my son.  I started hugging him more, and he loves it.  And I don’t just hug him when things are good.  I hug him when he is misbehaving as well, because obviously something is wrong and he is looking for a cuddle. Not only do our hugs bring us closer together, they can often change the complete tone of the moment from anger or frustration to calmness and joy.

Now, he comes up to me and asks for a hug (which I gladly provide).  The other day we were in the grocery story and I was pushing him in the shopping cart.  Out of know where he said “mommy” and I leaned in.  “I want to give you a kiss” he said, as he kissed my check.  Since I was getting lost in my thoughts about what to buy, what was on sale, our time limit until my husband has to go to work, this immediately grounded me.

As my heart melted I told him I loved him, to which he replied in his cute three-year old voice “I love you too Mommy”.

This is what being a parent is all about.  I really hope that I can keep this up.  A few weeks longer and hopefully it will be a habit.  If you haven’t tried it, I would highly recommend that you do.  Anything that can turn a shopping trip from the chaos of whining, crying, or bribery into a moment of peace and serenity is worth a shot right?

Hugs to everyone. 

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About Shannon

I am a university educated full-time working mother of four children. Proudly Canadian, I freeze my butt off along with my loving partner, two dogs and a cat. I hope you enjoy reading my posts as much as I love writing them, but if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Discussion

7 thoughts on “I Am Making A Pledge To Hug My Children Part 2

  1. Nothing beats a good hug!!

    Posted by Theresa | January 21, 2014, 8:58 pm
  2. I’m a HUGE fan of oxytocin and love your philosophy. My poor 14-year-old son puts up with my (multiple) daily hugs with a wry grin and a shrug. I didn’t even hide the tears in my eyes when he gave me his own unsolicited hug last night before bed. I’m hundreds of miles away from him tonight and I can still feel the warm effects of his genuine hug. Thank you for the happy post!

    Posted by MamaMickTerry | January 21, 2014, 10:21 pm
  3. Brilliant post. Hugs are so important. We are a very huggy family. We watch cartoons all snuggled up on the sofa together. I’m so glad I bought a four-seater!

    Posted by Olivia FitzGerald | January 23, 2014, 9:36 am

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