By Charlene O'Hanlon
Whether you're a new mother or a seasoned veteran, hugs from your kids are simply the best. There is nothing like a hug from my children to make me smile, especially if I'm coming off a bad day.
It wasn't long ago my toddler was a squirmy, pudgy baby, rolling around and discovering his toes on a daily basis. And there were those days when teething made him a cranky, crying puddle of drool-and I, too, became cranky and weepy because there was nothing I could do to help his pain. Then, one day as I was holding him and trying to help him through the pain, the little guy threw his fat little arms around my neck and squeezed. I don't know if it was conscious action on his part, but the second he did that I relaxed and thought, "This is why we do it."
Baby hugs are awesome for many reasons. Here are my top 10 reasons:
They provide validation: When your little one gives you a hug-whether it's of the two-arm variety or the hair-grabbing, I'm-going-to-eat-your-nose variety-all the hard work and effort you've put into this job of being a parent is validated. One hug makes okay all the late-night walks to get the little one to sleep, baby food smeared on your shirt and desperate searches for lost pacifiers.
Your baby recognizes you are your child's world: Hugs tell you that your child knows who you are: the person your child relies on to be happy and healthy. Babies can't say, "Thank you," but let's face it, a hug is better.
Drool, wonderful drool: Only parents know the joy that comes with having a shoulder soaking wet from the drool of a baby's hug.
Hugs are free: A child's hug provides moments of sheer parental bliss. They cost nothing, yet do so much for us.
Baby hugs often are unexpected: There is never advance notice with a baby hug-you could be adjusting your little one's shirt and, bam! There's a hug. Guaranteed to make you smile for hours.
Hugs build/reinforce the bond: It's no accident that marriage counselors suggest that couples having issues make time to hug each other daily, to help bring the couple closer and reinforce the marital bond. It's no difference between parents and their children-a daily hug tells both of you how much you care for the other.
It's the best way to say "I love you" without words: But when your child first tells you those three little words ... well, that's a different story altogether.
My blood pressure drops: Even when I've had the worst day ever, hugging my child instantly calms me, and when the little guy initiates the hug, I could stay in my rocking chair holding him for hours.
Hugs recharge my batteries: Just like lowering my blood pressure, hugs from my little guy help me keep going, even on the days when I want to drop from exhaustion.
Hugs make it all worthwhile: Let's face it: Parenting is stressful. Every day is a new challenge. To the uninitiated, a hug from your child may not seem like much of a reward for all the stress, but parents know those hugs are more precious than gold, making every diaper change, every fussy feeding session and every late-night sleeper change worth every second.
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