We all really ,really want our kids to feel safe and loved.
Every mother does everything she can to make sure her offspring feel loved (even if that means giving them up, or leaving them). But what more can we do besides tell them we love them, provide a safe home, good food, and great life experiences?
We all know people who had every financial and educational advantage in life, but they still don't love themselves. If you've ever confronted your parents about how you didn't get enough love and support as a child, they might claim that yes, yes they did love you, they always made sure you had food on your plate.
So what is the key to making kids feel loved if it isn't really food, money, and shelter?
I'm going to share with you two sure fire ways to make sure your kids feel your deep, unconditional love. First, is love languages.
What's a love language?
Love languages are the different ways or modes in which we prefer to show and receive love. Touch, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Gifts, & Words of Affirmation. If you want to find yours go to http://www.5lovelanguages.com/ to take the free quiz.
Mine are QT and Acts of Service.
So why are we talking about love on a pre-motherhood blog?
I talk about love languages in our Mom Class in the Love, Sex, and Motherhood lecture. Knowing how to ask for love and give love to yourself and your spouse is really important in being a great mom and enjoying motherhood.
It takes practice!
I worked a lot with kids and families, but I was only familiar with love languages when it came to dating.
Somewhere along the line I learned that kids have love languages too.
I got so excited, because it explained so much. Touch is low on my list but so many kids I worked with would put their hand on my leg, hold my hand to show me something, or want to sit very close to me while we watched TV or did an activity. I would sometimes scoot over or let go of their hand. Now I realize they are just showing love and asking for love. Now I’m more aware and make sure I pat them on the back or the head or give them hugs for no reason at all. It felt a little vulnerable or silly at first, but I realized I was just practicing a new love language.
To emotionally prepare for motherhood and baby, get to know all the love languages.
You’ll want to lavish your little ones in all of them until they seem to develop their own preferences.
(I had everyone in my family take the quiz and I wasn’t able to determine if there is a genetic/environmental influence. There didn't seem to be a pattern.)
Practice the ones that make you feel the most vulnerable or the ones you judge the most. Find out what your partner’s love language is and work on giving them more.
These love languages give you a specific tool to help you show love.
See the graphic below to get concrete examples of how to express each love language.
you can go one step further...
the most important way to make sure your kids feel love and love themselves, is to love yourself.
Model self-love and you won't have to worry about being spot on about expressing the love languages correctly.
We often think if we just express that we love someone (saying it, showing it, etc) they will know that we love them.
However, that is not always the case.
Maybe your mother never told you, you were beautiful, so you swear you will tell your future daughter that she is beautiful everyday. You don't want her growing up and feeling unattractive and unlovable. However, if you don't feel beautiful and lovable as an adult/mother, then you aren't able to really model that. You can tell your daughter til you are blue in the face that they are amazing, but if their number one role model/super hero doesn't feel that way they might have a harder time feeling the same.
Show them what it looks like to:
- respect themselves- by taking time for yourself
- listen to their intuition -by letting them see you follow yours
- put up healthy boundaries - by showing them how you can say "no"
- be confident - by doing your own thing regardless of what others think
- love their body - by expressing how much you love and admire yours
- celebrate themselves - by showing them how you treat yourself
- take time outs - by closing the door and having "me" time
- be happy - by doing what feels right to you
- feel good - by dancing to your favorite music and keeping a positive mood when you can
To sum things up, if you want your kids to feel like they are precious, amazing, beautiful, smart, worthwhile, whole, and valued, then you have to feel that way about yourself first AND be able to get vulnerable and express love in all the different love languages.
Learning to love yourself and express love can be a challenge and a life long project. So don't beat yourself up :)
If you want to know how to love yourself more, then you can take a look at our 6 week pre-motherhood course. We talk a lot about personal development and learning to love yourself and your life before you bring kids into it.
What's your love language? Is it different from your partner's? How do you feel when you express love in a way that is foreign to you?