I had better pull out my calendar. Today, one of those adorable bits of childhood happened that I don’t want to forget. I want to be able to look back and tell my daughter years from now, “You were five years old the first time you decided Mom and Dad kissing was gross.”
I’m not sure why today was different. My little girl has seen her parents kiss, cuddle, and dance around the house countless times in her life. It shouldn’t have been an odd occurrence to walk into the living room and see my husband bending down and giving me a kiss. It was definitely more than a peck but not all that intense. But this time, my daughter let out a loud, “Ewwwwwwww! Stop it!”
Well, you know what? I won’t stop. I don’t ever want to stop being the kind of mom who shows physical affection to her husband in front of her kids.
My parents were always an affectionate couple. They held hands while out shopping. They had frequent date nights. I would walk into the kitchen and find them standing there with their arms around each other, just holding on for a bit. And yea, they kissed. As a kid, I probably let out a few bouts of, “Ewww,” myself. But looking back, I feel so fortunate that I grew up in a family that recognized and accepted physical forms of expression.
In my family, we never felt embarrassed about hugs and kisses. As we got older, my mother extended that belief and never put any shame in sexuality or hormonal urges. She taught us that physical affection was healthy and natural, but that we should always make our own choices, respect our bodies, and those of others. It’s what made her ‘sex talk‘ such a successful parenting moment.
And because I grew up with such great examples, I fully plan on following their lead. That includes letting my daughter see that her parents are human beings who are physically attracted to one another. I’m not saying that we’re going to start groping each other in front of our kid, but we are going to continue displaying appropriate affection when we’re in our home.
I think the most amusing aspect of my lovey-dovey home life is that I’m not one for real public displays of affection. Even as a teenager, I wasn’t the girl who felt comfortable making out in a movie theater. In general, my husband and I aren’t a handsy couple. At home, we don’t force the hugs and kisses, but we just don’t shy away from them either.
I’m not sure why a kiss here or there feels like such a big deal. Would my daughter really run into problems later in life if she didn’t see her parents kissing it up on a weekly basis? Probably not. But I want to teach my little girl from a young age that affection and physicality aren’t things to be embarrassed of. Her emotions and the way she chooses to express them should never be used to shame her. I think teaching her to have confidence in her body and its expressiveness is the first step in teaching her to respect it.
My daughter might find her parents kissing a little yucky or embarrassing now, but I think that allowing her to see that affection is the first step in teaching her to have a healthy relationship with physical expression later in life. And hopefully, an appreciation and respect for one’s own body will be an attribute that continues to pass down through my family’s generations. It’s the perfect way to honor my mom’s brilliant teaching.