As a mom of two who works at home, mom guilt strikes more often than I want to. My first is now six and her sister is 11 months. I exhaust most of my time and energy with my second and I’m often left wondering if I’m giving enough for both.
I don’t often play or read with my first. Being active and outspoken, she always asks me to play with her or throws me endless chains of questions. One particularly busy day, she was bugging me with requests I couldn’t handle. Exasperated, I wanted to snap. Thankfully, I didn’t. I hugged her instead. That was my epiphany. I know, it’s just a hug. It’s a normal thing to do. But it’s only now that I made it intentional. I now insert hugging breaks throughout the day. It won’t make up our reading or playing sessions, but it has worked wonders for both of us.
“We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth”- Virginia Satir
Here are 5 benefits of hugging your child:
- It lessens your mom guilt.
There are several reasons that will make a mom feel guilty about motherhood. There will be days when you can’t possibly have enough quality time with your child. Hugging can be the antidote for your guilt. This moment you share, even if it’s just brief will strengthen your bond. When you hug, it’s just you and your child. There are no smartphones and no distractions in between. If she or he doesn’t like a hug, don’t force it. At least they know you are always open for a hug when they need it.
- Hugs lower stress.
I can personally attest to this. Whenever I’m overwhelmed with work and other chores, I can feel instant relief when I hug my children. According to the Carnegie Mellon research, a hug can calm you down during a stressful situation. It also lessens fatigue and lessens the physical manifestations of stress. Cortisol, a stress hormone, goes down in a 20-second hug. So if you or your child are feeling stressed, take a hug break.
- Hugs boost self-esteem.
If you want you and your child to be confident, your hugs will be a great help. During a hug, the “love hormone” oxytocin is released. Studies show that the release of oxytocin boosts a person’s self-esteem. A hug is a reassurance of your love and trust to your child. It’ll also make you feel more confident about your work and mom roles, win-win!
- It may help you avoid sickness.
You can get your daily dose of immune-booster by cuddling your child. Hugging strengthens the immune system and helps fight infections. It also decreases your blood pressure, which is a vital indicator of your overall health. The hormones released in a cuddle relax the muscles and lowers your heart rate. If you’re struggling with your diet, maybe you need to hug more. It helps you become more mindful of what you eat. When your emotional needs are met in a cuddle, you lessen your tendency to be an emotional eater.
- Hugs boost happiness.
Having a bad day? Go and hug your child! It may be the only therapy you need to turn your day around. The high levels of oxytocin also improve mood and boost positive feelings like happiness. The happy hormone dissipates anxiety and changes it to joy. Hugging improves your ability to manage feelings and create happiness.
There are amazing wonders from physical touch. Your child needs your hug to thrive well into adulthood, and you need it too. Several studies have already proven the countless benefits of a simple hug. Maybe there are even more which are yet undiscovered. Motherhood is overwhelming. But you never should be too busy for a hug. There’s no such thing as a hug overdose. In fact, the more hugs you give, the more benefits you get. Go and hug your child right now!