Do you ever pick your kid up somewhere and they don’t greet you the way you expected?
After being apart, you picture them running to you with the biggest smile and open arms, but instead, they shoot you a quick glance and get back to that toy. Or maybe they don’t even acknowledge you at all.
Sometimes, it’s a real punch in the gut, and lately, it’s gotten me wondering:
How many times has JeeWoo woken up in the morning or approached me excitedly and not received the greeting he expected?
Well, given that his mom is part bear, could use a WEEK to prepare for every day ahead, thrives when she’s alone, and is just now adjusting to the SIX-AYEM wake-ups that kicked off about two months ago, that number’s probably pretty high.
And THAT is a real bummer for this innocent little guy.
So, I’ve been making a point to change that. No matter how hard it is to lift the corners of my mouth some days, I do it — and I do it BIG.
I greet that day-starting darling with the biggest smile I can muster before he preps to flail something over the railing. From Giraffe to his shirt to a fresh pair of underwear, I never know what I’m gonna catch.
But here’s what I do know: Seconds after I hang an intentional grin on my face, my frustration melts away, my focus hones in on him, and I’m genuinely ready to give him a huge hug, floor cuddle, or whatever he needs at that moment.
From there, there’s this crazy little ripple effect of joy. Of course, not every morning is rainbows + butterflies after I decide to smile (HA! If only it were that easy!), but there really is something to this.
Not only are smiles contagious, but they spur a chemical reaction in the brain that has been proven to increase happiness and reduce stress.
Also. The more aware I’ve become of my facial expressions, the more conscious I’ve been about how I act with him in other scenarios. It’s been making me more present!
When your kid comes barreling outta their room or interrupting your work / convo / down time too soon, give ‘em what you would expect and what they surely deserve:
THE. BIGGEST. SMILE.
This post is part of the Mama Be Present series:
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