Hug It Out

C'mon, bring it in!

C’mon bring it in!

Hugging does not come naturally to me. Our family were never big huggers. Now don’t get me wrong – we were close growing up and even closer now as adults. However, when it comes to hugs, we just don’t do them. I thought this was totally normal behaviour for a child growing up in the 80’s, but then I met my husband’s family. They hug each other all the time.. ALL THE TIME.. and they also tell each other they love them!! I know. Just plain weird.

My husband laughs at my awkwardness when it comes to hugs. I either try to avoid them altogether or I go over-the-top hugging and kissing with reckless abandon, which can prove a touch embarassing, particularly when the ‘hugee’ is his happily married workmate! He also hugs me all the time and ten years in I am slowly learning to receive hugs and even hug him back on occasion!

Doesn't faze him at all!

Doesn’t faze him at all!

Anyway, the point that I am slowly meandering towards is that hugs are great. They can make you feel safe. They let you know that you are protected and loved. They fill the gap when sometimes there are no words. You always, always, come out the other side of a hug feeling a little better.

With that in mind, I was determined to take a leaf out of the Lyons parenting handbook and endeavour to make hugging my children as natural as breathing. I discovered that even someone like me can hug any and all of my children all the live long day without the slightest moment of hesitation or self-consciousness. It seems to have worked. They all hug on instinct now when they are happy about something. In the words of Hannibal from the A Team, I love it when a plan comes together. However, I am also learning to interpret the individual language of their hugs.


Hugging is as natural as breathing to these guys!


Hugs say it all!

My eldest – diplomat that she is – uses hugs to diffuse tense situations between her younger siblings to great effect. She hugs me when she is either feeling tired, left out or put upon (being the eldest she is often put upon). She doesn’t hug awkwardly, but when she hugs you it is generally for something she would rather not talk about.

The boy – Conan – does not hold much truck with this touchy-feely ‘huggy’stuff at all! However, when he hugs it is totally without guile. He has no ulterior motive. Where his big sister uses hugs when she can’t articulate a particular problem or worry, Conan only hugs for love. He doesn’t stop moving that often, so when he pauses to hug you it is a magical moment. His hugs make me want to stop the clocks.

The toddler – Siofra – is the chancer. Her hugs are usually used to distract me from killing/getting cross with them. She will hug me and ask me ‘why am I still cross?’ Works a treat most times. Her hugs are still those delicious wrap-arms-around-neck ones and utterly irresistable!

I never really knew before how effective hugs were in communication. I am slowly learning to appreciate the power of them. I am still not a ‘hugger’ by any means and don’t think I ever will be. However, as a parenting tool, I think they are essential.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading


I originally wrote this piece for MummyPages, why not check them out?


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Irish Parenting Bloggers | Hug It Out
  2. GreenElephantCrochet
    Feb 26, 2015 @ 22:15:01

    My husbands family are exactly the same, all very huggy and say I love you all the time. My family are the complete opposite. I have to say hugs are one of my favourite things now, and hopefully my little girl will feel the same when she’s a bit older 😊


  3. Wonderful Wagon
    Feb 27, 2015 @ 20:07:37

    Love your kids’ names! Gorgeous! I come from a similar family. My boys are very affectionate. Even the 9 year old will come up behind me and wrap his arms around my waist. I’m still learning to hug my husband too. Lovely post.


    • BabySteps
      Mar 01, 2015 @ 12:43:51

      Thanks a million for your lovely comments. Conan was always my son’s name, I just love it. Hoping that my children will always be ‘huggy’, sounds like you have it right. ☺


  4. Trackback: Best Post | BabySteps

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