‘The last thing I wanted to do was hug her.’: Overwhelmed mom ‘swallows her pride’ to embrace daughter during meltdown, ‘they don’t need you to shame them’

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“The last thing I wanted to do was hug her.

She had just bit me.

And screamed at me.

And did that thing where she makes an angry face and blocks me as I’m walking with every step I take.

The last thing I wanted to do was hug her.

But here I am, on the bathroom floor, engulfed in her embrace, her love, and the grace she was offering up to both herself and I at this moment.

You see, I’m not innocent in all this.

I had been distracted by a last-minute project.

I was half-ignoring her.

I had just returned from a weekend getaway without her, and here I was, not even home for two full hours, and my actions were shouting to her, ‘I don’t have time for you and this toddler nonsense.’

She whined. I yelled.

She took. I grabbed back.

She screamed. I screamed louder.

She wanted to be in control. So did I.

And so she lost it on me, and she bit me; not hard, but I sure overdramatized it to make a point.

I placed her in timeout and ventured a bit away from her to have my own.

It only took a few seconds, and I came to my senses.

Her behavior this afternoon was an age-appropriate semi-involuntarily, unthought-out, reactionary response to a newly-home mama who wasn’t giving her deserved attention or the gift of her time.

And, so, I grabbed a piece of humble pie from the kitchen and swallowed my pride on the way to her.

‘Do you need a hug?,’ I asked her. I sure did.

She obliged, and I hugged her tight.

And then tighter.

You see, when our little humans act up or out, they don’t need you to shame them, your judgment, a punishment, or an ineffective timeout.


What they need is you and your presence, your awareness, acceptance from you, understanding, your empathy, a plethora of grace, and a hug.

Not like that, but tighter.

Even tighter.

A little bit tighter.

Yep — just like that.

Good job, mama.

Growing up is hard, and you’re both doing a really good job.”

Nicole Merritt of Jthreenme

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Nicole Merritt of Jthreenme, where the post originally appeared. You can follow her on Facebook, her website or podcastDo you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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