Giving them the Childhood I Never Had

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“Mommy, can I have a hug?” This was the third time I’ve been asked this within a 30-minute timeframe, but I still smiled, held out my arms, and brought her in for a hug. My baby girl is a hugger. Touch is probably her highest love language, so I show her love how she needs it. This has always been a struggle for me in raising her. They’re all huggers in my house-my husband, our kids, even the dog likes to cuddle up. I didn’t grow up in a house where hugging or really any type of affection was given. I didn’t grow up
with many of the things my kids take for granted. I’m working on giving my kids the childhood I wish I had.

I grew up in a single parent household. Now as an adult, I realize my mom tried and did the best she could with what she had. But, as a child, I always felt I was missing out on something. I’ve always had to be responsible. I was not given space to be a kid even though I was a kid. I couldn’t go outside to play because I had to make dinner. Or clean. Or babysit. Looking back at many of my responsibilities, I wouldn’t dream of having my kids do them, but for me it was the norm. As a parent, I now go out of my way to ensure my kids feel like kids. I’m mindful of the responsibilities and chores I give them, and I question myself if my expectations of them are realistic or if I’m unfairly projecting my own experiences and childhood onto them.

Likely, the reason I’m not overly affectionate is that I didn’t grow up in a household where hugs and affection were common. I do not remember being hugged much and could likely count on one hand the number of times I remember being hugged by my mother. Growing up I’d watch other kids hug their parents, I’d often wonder how does that work?

When speaking of giving my kids a different experience than I had as a child, I don’t necessarily mean from a monetary perspective. Though there is some truth there as I grew up in a single-parent and single-income household, where as my kids are growing up in a two-parent household with dual incomes. I can buy them the things I wanted as a kid, but never received. I always wanted a pink Barbie convertible, and my daughter is most definitely getting a Barbie convertible, the house, the pool, and all the other
accessories! But, I’m also giving them something money can’t buy. They have stability, reliability, affection, attention, and all the hugs they want.

I am intentional about creating an environment where my kids can be kids. Where their age-appropriate behavior is given age-appropriate responses. Where they don’t feel the need to make themselves small and invisible. I’m intentional about giving them the  childhood I wanted for myself.


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