With so many children I need to be creative in how I use my resources. I’ve decided to start recycling parenting techniques to apply to teens, and I’m thinking one particular technique would be fabulously applied to everyone. The magic mommy kiss.
I LOVE the magic mommy kiss. We’re at the park and although my little toddler has climbed where she had no business climbing, and run all over weaving between older kids with reckless abandon, she trips on a speck of dust on the way to the drinking fountain. She looks at her knee for the spurting blood she is SURE is there and although there is nothing but a red patch of skin, she starts crying loudly and dramatically. She makes her way over to me and tries to remember where it hurts.
She looks up at me with those slightly pouty lips with tears streaking over her dirty cheeks. I say “AHHH are you okay? Do you want a lovey?” I give her a hug and kiss her knee and her cheeks and wipe away her tears and look into those amazing eyes. She stops crying and skips off ready to play. It’s amazing. It’s wondrous. It’s magical. I love kissing my babies better!
Let’s pull back the curtain on the true power behind a mommy kiss. The actual kiss does not take away pain, it does not stop bleeding, and it does not reduce swelling. The power of the kiss lies in empathy. When I kiss my babies better I’m listening to them, acknowledging their pain and telling them I love them all in one little kiss. I’m not suggesting new walking moves or questioning the quantity of pain that could possibly come from one little bump.
I have gone the route of ‘shake it off’ and sometimes that works, but generally the fastest way from ‘sad and crying’ to ‘happily on their way’, is empathy. When I spend my time trying to convince them they are not in pain, my toddlers end up crying more. They try to prove the extreme nature of their pain and tend to mope and cling. When I acknowledge they got hurt and are sad and spend a minute loving them, they are off on their way.
What if we applied this in other situations? I’m not suggesting we go around kissing people…but what if we applied empathy more generously?
What if when your teen tells you that their favorite band has broken up, and cries- and this is just… tears.. end of the world and tears…-what if you listened and empathized? What if instead of trying to teach your child perspective and discounting their feelings…what if you just listened and remembered your teen years and were sad with your kid for just a few minutes?
What if when your tween complained about not having their favorite shirt clean, you just listened? You know this is not the end of the world, but it matters to her and you LOVE her, and that is enough.
What if when your child doesn’t win the game you just put your arm around their shoulders and acknowledged that that is really HARD?
What if you sat there with your son as he mourned the destruction of his latest Lego creation?
What if…what if when someone told you something personal that led to them developing a completely different political opinion…what if you listened? What if you didn’t correct them or defend your own stance? What if you just listened and loved them?
Think of the last time you lost your keys, did you want someone to dismiss your little first world problem or remind you of “real” problems?
What about the last time you felt real pain? Were you ready to be taught? Would you like someone to take your tragedy and use it as their soapbox? Did you need a simple proverb?
We have so much information and knowledge and so many opinions we are so quick to share. We are so quick to speak or text or post. What if we paused and just acknowledged that another person is in pain. That’s uncomfortable, admittedly. What if we could in that moment remember the ‘mommy kiss’ and just listen to that person and love them? What if we didn’t jump in to fix them, or correct them, or teach them, or inform them of what we have done and what we have learned? What if we paused and in that moment of quiet, we recognized their pain and stepped into that messy place and loved them?
Britt grew up in a family of six brothers and one sister and gained a bonus sister later. She camped in the High Sierras, canoed down the Colorado, and played volleyball at Brigham Young University. She then served a mission to South Africa. With all of her time in the gym and the mountains and South Africa, she was totally prepared to become the mother of 2 sons and soon to be 9 daughters. By totally prepared she means willing to love them and muddle through everything else in a partially sleepless state. She is mostly successful at figuring out how to keep the baby clothed, or at least diapered, though her current toddler is challenging this skill. She feels children naturally love to learn and didn’t want to disrupt childhood curiosity with worksheets and school bells. She loves to play in the dirt, read books, go on adventures, watch her children discover new things, and mentor her children. Her oldest child is currently at a community college and her oldest son is going to high school at a public school. She loves to follow her children in their unique paths and interests. She loves to write because, unlike the laundry and the dishes, writing stays done. Whenever someone asks her how she does it all she wonders what in the world they think she’s doing.