Hugs vs. Swats

The hugs should win every day right?


Even when mom is sick and feels like she is not possibly going to survive the day?

Even when everyone has been on their worst behavior ever…all at the same time?

Even when all you want is to go to the bathroom alone for once in your life?

Even when for the hundredth time you have asked someone to put their shoes away?

Yes, even then.

Because there is always going to be something in the way.  There is always something else that could capture your attention.  Something that competes for a mama’s embrace.  Something that steals your time and leaves you with not quite enough _______ (energy, patience, compassion) as a result.  Apparently in my home, the something else’s are winning.  This was the conversation that transpired today in the van:

Kyler:  “I not like it when you give fwats (swats) mama.  It makes me so sad.”

Caleb:  “I like hugs better.”

Mama:  “I like hugs too, do you like hugs Rylee?”

(pause) Rylee:  “You don’t hug us very much mama.  You could hug us a lot more.”

Mama (silent then quietly):  “Yes, I will work on that.”

How sobering to have the unabashed insight of my 6 year old.  How humbling to be reminded that I need to not forget the needs for plain old lovin’ in the midst of daily life that can so easily sweep me away with it.

When they are grown and gone I want them to remember what a soft, sweet mama hug that lasts longer than you expected feels like.  I don’t really care if they remember to put their shoes inside the shoe bench.  I want them to know my love for them is unwavering as they conquer the path that is before them.

As I type this-close to midnight-a sleepy and sad almost 40 pound three year old sits in my lap with his arms draped around my neck.  Just when I’d like 10 minutes to myself, he decided he needs a little more lovin’ tonight.  Of course I could take this chance to teach him boundaries and bedtime rules and such.  Or I could just enjoy the warmth of his breath on my neck and know that soon he won’t want to sit on my lap anymore.

I’ll go with the warm breath tonight in a heartbeat.



Thank you so much for this post- I feel like you were writing it just for me! This truely describes our family as of recent. We all need a reminder every once in a while- Thank you 🙂


I know you have your moments too, but I think you do such an amazing job of living in and enjoying the moments with your kids. I feel like I love being a mom more because of you! Well that, and the fact that Isaac is pretty dang love-able! Thanks for walking through the ups and downs with us.


Very sweet, Karissa. I’m with Danielle…you really do an amazing job finding joy in the present. They may not sit in your lap 20 years from now, but they can always come and jump on your bed in the middle of the night when you’re 60 😉


Please tell me Steph that you think I might have a different reaction that some other special 60 something…

Kristin McKinnon

Yes, a wonderful exhortation was what I needed to remember to hug more and swat less. Oh, and the love is soooo what I long for my children to remember. Thanks again for the perspective reminder. How sweet that you chose to love him late at night instead of teaching rules. I am trying to remember to do that first.

Cathy Waller

I did receive your check for the book and am shipping the book out today via media mail. I tried to respond to your e-mail but was blocked (2x).

Hope you enjoy the book. As I quickly read through your website, it should fit in well.