“Last week, I posted a set of family photos on my Facebook profile. In one, I stand alongside my husband and gesture towards my 5-year-old boy to smile for the camera. We stand beneath a sunny sky and before beautiful greenery. In another, we are making silly faces with our eyes bulged and tongues hanging out. There are solo shots of my husband and I embracing, and a few of my son and I snuggled up together on the grass. One of these photos caught my distant relative’s attention so much that they felt the need to comment on it.
‘Isn’t that a little inappropriate? Get a room!’ they commented. They were referring to a photo of my boy kissing me lovingly on the corner of my lips. Instantly, I was filled with anger, discomfort, confusion, and disgust. How was my innocent child showing me affection in any way ‘inappropriate’? To make matters worse, the whole ‘get a room’ part of the comment made me even more upset. It implied there was something sexual going on between my son and I, which was absolutely nauseating. But then I took a step back and relaxed. ‘Maybe they’re just joking?’ I thought.
I commented back, ‘What do you mean??’ Almost instantly, they began typing. He replied, ‘He’s too old for this!!!’ I could feel my blood boiling once more. Too old for WHAT? Love. Affection. Innocence? These type of comments, which I had received twice before, really got me thinking…What IS the appropriate age to stop kissing and/or stop letting your kids kiss you on the lips? To my distant relative and all the other mom shamers who do not yet have children (or maybe even do), the answer is simple: There is no answer.
But what I know is this…society needs to stop sexualizing normal mom behavior. I swear I can’t go a single month without encountering a new article of some mom who was shamed for breastfeeding her child in public. Backlash often includes comments like ‘this is disgusting’ and ‘how dare she, this is inappropriate.’ How is providing nutrition for a child ever inappropriate? I’ve read heated debates about what age is ‘okay’ to breastfeed at. Do we stop at 12 months, 2 years, 5 years? Debates about whether to wear a cover or not wear a cover. Whether breastfeeding with big boobs in public is ‘worse’ than breastfeeding with B-cups. The list goes on and on and on.
I’ve read psychology and opinion articles about how it’s ‘bad’ to spank children. All of them assigned a sexual nature to the punishment and implied the practice causes ‘weird fetishes’ in adulthood. Now, I personally don’t spank my children, but I have plenty of mom friends who I’ve witnessed give a light slap on the bottom if their child is misbehaving inside their home, and it seems to work just fine for them.
When it comes to mommy kisses, the answer is simple. These should continue as long as they feel comfortable for both the mother and the child. My son loves to give me goodnight smooch on the lips every once in a blue moon. There is nothing wrong with this. It’s love in its purest, rawest form. If my son and I see nothing wrong with it, then neither should you. Please stop sexualizing parenting. A mother always knows what’s best for her child.
You want to breastfeed until age 3? Go for it.
You want to give mommy kisses until age 7? Go for it?
As long as no one is being harmed physically, mentally, or emotionally, I see no wrong in it. It’s important to hear and learn different opinions and techniques on parenting to make educated decisions. I think all of us parents know how helpful this can be, especially in the early years. But what is not okay is someone shoving their narrow, black-and-white beliefs down your throat because they feel what you’re doing is ‘wrong.’ (And not for nothing, but when does this form of ‘communication’ ever create change? All it causes is anger and resentment!)
So, my advice is this and only this…
YOU. DO. YOU. MOMMA.
Don’t let the world tell you different.”
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