All Touched Out

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All Touched OutI am not a hugger. This doesn’t mean I don’t hug because I will, but by nature, I am not the most affectionate person. The lowest ranking of my love language is physical touch. Only when I became a mother did I tap into my affectionate side. I can’t imagine not hugging and kissing on my babies.

However, I will admit that too much hugging can become somewhat stifling for me.

By that I mean that I can sometimes feel “touched-out.” My five-year-old son is extremely affectionate. His need for physical touch, coupled with the rowdiness of being a boy, can sometimes be overwhelming. He not only loves to cuddle and “love” on me, he also likes to use me as his personal WWE wrestling partner. Both of my kids follow me around the house and there are few times when I am not being called upon. Even what I think should be a private experience, isn’t. For example, the bathroom becomes a sanctuary of conversations and even hugs. Sometimes it feels as though my body is not my own and I don’t have any physical space to myself.

Enter the mom guilt.

So I hug, cuddle, body slam or do whatever my children need in those moments at the expense of my own anxiety. Because that’s what moms are supposed to do, right? I know most of these thoughts are based on my own overthinking, but all my parental decisions now are based on how I think they will affect my kids long-term. What I have realized is that the more physically overwhelmed I feel, the less engaged I am.

Here are some ways I have learned to help my deal my sensory overload:

1. Carving out time for myself in the mornings. The mornings in my home tend to be the most quiet and calm. Waking up early to have time to myself helps me be prepared for the day’s events.

2. Understanding my triggers. The most overwhelming time for me tends to be once I arrive home after work. In those moments, I have to decompress for at least ten minutes before I can start with our evening routine.

3. Understanding I am not alone. Though the mom-guilt can be real, it’s always good to feel validated in one’s feelings. Many times I find understanding from a meme or a quote on social media.

I’ve learned that I must set boundaries even with my children. By doing this, I believe I am helping my kids understand their own boundaries when it comes to physical touch and personal space.

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