Hugs and Kisses Can Heal Your Boo Boos, Too
As a parent, especially mommies, you have witnessed first hand the instantaneous, dare I say miraculous, healing properties of hugs and kisses on children’s minor injuries. This includes everything from hurt feelings to bumped arms to superficial wounds. When you see your little one running up to you in “immense” pain, emotional or physical, with their huge crocodile tears, you just want to fix whatever is wrong. They are hurt and they need that special medicine to make it all better!
It’s moments like those that make me feel like I really am supermom! I even laugh to myself sometimes at how quickly the tears dry, the screaming stops, and all is right with the world again the moment I kiss the booboo or give a hug. I always thought that was a one-way thing, that only mommies have the power to make it all better. Only mommies can kiss away the pain. Only mommies can give a squeeze and turn the world back to right. I never realized that children have the same special power.
There was this one time that I was having the kind of day where it seemed like nothing was going right. The kind of day where you want to crawl back in bed and stay there until tomorrow. Just when I thought nothing could get worse, my husband calls me from work and we end up having an argument over something really minor. (I think he was having one of those kinds of days, too!) So I hung up the phone and just started crying. I was just so frustrated and angry, and at a loss for what to do about it. In comes my oldest son, who was about four years old at the time. He walks over to me, puts his little arms around me, and says, “It’s going to be okay, Mommy.” He hugged me for a minute or so and then kissed me on my cheek, said, “I love you,” and flashed me the biggest, sweetest, most sincere smile. In that moment all the anger and frustration just melted away right along with my heart. Here was this little person that had no real comprehension of what I was feeling, other than I was sad. He had stopped what he was doing in the other room to unselfishly give of himself so genuinely and sweetly to me. I just hugged him, and he hugged me back. It was as if he knew exactly what I needed to make my world start to make sense again.
To this day, whenever I am starting to get frustrated or things don’t seem to be going so great, I stop what I’m doing and go find my kids! We exchange hugs, kisses, and “I love you”s. Don’t get me wrong, they are still kids after all. So there are definitely those times when they do not want to be interrupted from what they are doing. During those times the exchange is more one-sided and I am more likely to hear “Mooom” in an annoyed tone of voice instead of “I love you, too” in a nice tone of voice. That’s okay, because even when they are annoyed it still works. Mostly because I use that as an invitation to tickle them and/or give them lots of kisses and squeezes until they laughingly scream for mercy.
There are also times that I may really not be in the mood to play games or act silly or whatever. You know — those moments when it seems like you have a lot to do but very little time to do it in, or when you are running late and get stuck in traffic. It’s then that the kids decide that they want to tell you something super important, want you to play a game, or read them a story. So I make myself participate. After all, even two-year-olds have something interesting to say if you let them, and if you listen. After a few minutes I’m usually feeling pretty good and more relaxed, rather than anxious and stressed. In moments like these you are strengthening your parent-child bond, building your relationship, and making memories. However, on a more selfish level, but equally important, is the fact that your negativity meter is going down. It’s hard to be angry when your being silly with the kids!
It’s not just your own children that can have a positive impact on your mental state. Have you ever heard people that have spent time with children, regardless of whether they are in a classroom, playground, or hospital with a terminal disease, talk about how they are affected just being around those children? I’m not talking about the frustrating, day-to-day care stuff. If you listen to these people when they give interviews or speeches they talk about how amazing and inspiring the children are, how being around these youths has renewed something in them and made them see things in a different way. They urge other people to get involved and spend some time with children. It’s almost like they have healed pain, put pieces back together, or touched something on the inside of those workers in a very special way.
Babies do the same thing! Have you ever found yourself just staring at a sleeping baby, kind of lost in thought, or no thought at all? There is something mesmerizing, calming, and soothing about babies, especially when they are newborn, or even just sleeping. When people are around babies, they change their tone of voice, they are nicer, they are quieter, and they seem more patient. It’s like all the negative stuff from the outside world just melts away and is replaced by a peaceful calm from the baby.
As every parent and daycare worker can testify, taking care of children on a daily basis can be very trying on even the most extensive of patience. Yet it can be one of the most rewarding experiences as well. The unconditional love and genuine acts of kindness from a child can postively impact, or heal, even the most frustrating of times. So, the next time you are having one of those days remember that hugs and kisses aren’t just for kids’ booboos. They can help you, too!