That is especially true after a long, tiring week. Since it is Friday, the hugs should be longer, bigger, tighter, and accompanied by lots of wet, sloppy kisses! When was the last time you paused to give or receive a hug like this without rushing out the door to get to school, work, soccer practice, swimming lessons, lunch or dinner?
I heard an interesting homily in church this week that touched my heart and made me rethink several things… The priest started by saying, “God’s love in unconditional. He doesn’t say he loves you any lesser because you forgot to throw the laundry in the dryer or because we didn’t say a prayer before sacking out after a long day.” Interesting reflection on the science of parenting- how many times have we told our children that if you do not finish your homework, I’m taking away your iPad! (Oh, the horror!)
When Life Gets in the Way…
We are all too familiar with the daily hustle and bustle of parenting, the constant bargaining to try to get our kids to do something, be somewhere, achieve something else, win some gift, learn new things, be someone… Be someone? Us? (I’ll get back to that in a different post.)
The draining schedules of going places and being somewhere has us constantly rushing around, squeezing in quick little hugs and kisses before drop offs, during pickups, after meals, before bed and upon waking. It seems like every sign of affection we give to our children is conditional upon completing one task or another. Of course we all have our children’s interests at heart and we want them to do the best they can, but are we missing out on what our children actually yearn for?
As mothers, we often try to overcompensate for many reasons. For some, it’s the lack of a fatherly figure in the home. For others, it’s the lack of money to provide them with a luxurious lifestyle (which kids do not actually need or demand). Mothers in general tend to feel that they aren’t providing or doing enough to support their children especially in the midst of a divorce or loss. We teach our children to be patient while we try to cook up a feast in the kitchen for their birthdays. We ask our children to spend hours in front of the television while we work so that we can make more money and buy them more toys. We then demand that they go to bed extra early so that we can get a breather, hoping we could get at least one movie in so we can weep our hearts out over some ridiculous love story before turning in for the night.
When do our children actually get hugs? That’s right! After we made dinner, after work is completed, after they have agreed to go to bed. An hour on dinner, two on work, and they are asleep for the night (hopefully they do not get up in the middle of the movie!). In between all of that, we are constantly checking our phones and Facebook to see if someone posted the latest update on America’s Got Talent while the updates our children are making throughout the day go unnoticed.
I tried today asking my children about they really wanted if we only had two minutes right now. Of course, the quickest response I got was “ICE CREAM!!!” So I had to tweak my question a little and asked, “What could I do to make you happy right now if this room was empty with no toys and ice cream, just us?”
The two devils stared at each other for the longest time, their eyes seem to reflect the mischief that was going through their tiny undeveloped brain cells and I was half-expecting something a little less than crazy from either one of them. Then my oldest one yelled out “GROUP HUG TIME!” In a split second, both of them were pounced on me, heads together, arms wrapped around my heard so tight I thought I could pass out from a lack of air. The priest was right! Children are more than capable of unconditional love. Even when you are mad at them for doing something wrong, they still ask for a hug (taking the risk that you might say no because you are so angry, fumes are coming out of your ears).
I didn’t need to do anything right or be good and listen to get that hug. My children thought I deserved it anyway, even though I took their candy away from them earlier today. They did not demand that I stay quiet or be seated before I got a hug. They never asked for another piece of candy so that I could deserve that hug. They did not even care if I hugged them back or not- unconditional love.
A Mother’s Hug
Sometimes, all our children need is a hug, one that isn’t rushed or conditional on anything. Sometimes, all our children want is a hug, one that isn’t limited to the few seconds before they run through the school gates. Sometimes, all our children hope for is a hug, one that isn’t controlled but instead, tight, warm, and possibly never letting go.
The security and affection in a hug is contagious. It is also addictive. If I wasn’t constantly rushing around every day, I would cuddle up with them all day and just give hugs and kisses. Unfortunately, many of us do not have this luxury in life, we do have to rush, but maybe it wouldn’t hurt our precious little ones if we stayed up just five minutes more since it is Friday to have a nice hug (ok maybe half an hour?). We wouldn’t be missing out too much if we just turned our phones off for ten minutes and enjoyed a hug and a kiss while reading a book, would we? In fact, it might not even matter to the parent behind in the school drive thru lane if we actually gave a proper hug before rushing to load our children into the car in fear of pissing someone in the back off!
Instead of putting a condition on every hug given, or demanding that children listen to instructions, I tried and gave a hug when one of my own was kicking a fuss over doing homework. Guess what? He said thank you and got his homework out all by himself! Wow! (Let’s see how long this would last. LOL)
If you are wondering what you could cuddle to this Friday evening, here is a good one to have a 2-hour long hug. Both my children love it, yes even the boy was tickled by how the mother turned into a bear! (We’ve watched it about 17 times and counting.) The ending scene made me want to cry but what a great example of unconditional love.
“Fate be changed, look inside.
Mend the bond, torn by pride.”
About Rock Star Mums. Rock Star Mums is a blog that strives to bring hope, purpose, and strength to single mothers in their battles to raise smart, happy, healthy children. Becca, founder and writer of Rock Star Mums, is a mother, motivator, and educator of two young children in California. Read A Letter from Becca.