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8 Second Hug

He lets go first. My son is go go GO all day long and doesn’t pause often, so when he does, I want to be there.

I remember when he was a couple months old I saw an article about the 8 second hug. It said something about slowing down to create the heart-to-heart connection and it stuck with me. As a new mama that was all I wanted for my baby and I.

I decided rather than focusing on the amount of time, I would let my son let go of the hug first. I wanted to enjoy the hug, not counting 1...2...3....

It's hard to know what our little kids need so I wanted to give him that attention for however long he needed to feel loved and supported.

Some days they last 2 seconds and some days they last 20. But whatever amount of time, those moments have become sacred. For me and I think for him too.

My daughter was born when he was about 15 months old and the busyness of 2 under 2 hit full force. I stopped being as intentional with our hugs because I was often holding or feeding the new baby, trying to somehow keep up with laundry or dishes or, ya know, food to eat.

It was a big adjustment for all of us, but I was forgetting that for him it was an even bigger adjustment.

I had 9 months to prepare. I knew what was happening, but even though I think his spirit knew, he didn’t understand how much his world was going to shift. He was used to all the attention. He didn’t have to share. And suddenly everything he knew was so different.

Cue big emotions. In all of us.

I found myself brushing him off to play with his toys when he was hugging my leg wanting up. Or giving him quick side hugs as I was trying to multitask. I was getting more overwhelmed because I wasn’t keeping up to my expectations and I was getting frustrated because at times it felt like I was running between fires with a sippy cup and a boob, but the flames kept coming back.

It took me a while to realize that I had stopped our little ritual. And when I started giving him hugs again until he let go, I noticed his mood shifted and mine did as well.

Instead of the tantrum and frustration we both felt if I brushed him off or tried to speed things up, we both felt more calm and could move on with what we were doing.

There are still hard days and big emotions, but I have felt a shift and I think you will too.

I’ve tried to see things from his perspective. He doesn’t know my agenda and to-do list. He is making big discoveries and trying new things and maybe that gets overwhelming so he wants to come back to a safe space for a moment. Or maybe he feels proud of a new discovery so he wants to celebrate with me. Maybe something scared or surprised him so he is looking for comfort and safety.

Whatever it is, I want to be there. I want him to know I am his safe place.

It’s easy to get busy, but I don’t want to be too busy for my kids.

2 seconds or 20…. I have time for a hug and those seconds fill me up way more than a full dishwasher does. Two dishes put away or my kid knowing he is loved? I know my choice.

Will you try this? I want to hear your story.

*I can't find the article I originally read, but if you google "8 second hug" you'll find all sorts of info. (or 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds...) In my opinion, hugs make you happier regardless of time. xo

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