I'm passionate about philosophy, but after having my girls I'm even more passionate about Mommy Matters

Saturday, July 13, 2013

How Much Affection is Too Much Among Family Members?


     Showing affection among family members is different in every family, some families are huggers, some are more about high fives or hand shakes, some never really touch each other, but mine is a kissing family. Is it just me or is this weird? I never really thought of it as unusual until I started to get to know my husband's family better (his family is a hugging family, they don't mind showing affection but too much amongst adults is kind of odd). I'm not really sure why it bothers me now, but it kind of does. I guess I've just grown out of it or something, I don't know why no one else in my family has though. Usually in my posts I avoid personal stories and dialogue, mostly because I don't want to write about people and make them uncomfortable, but today I am making an exception. 
     Last night:
     My mom and step dad are in town, staying in our extra bedroom. When everyone started to decide to go to bed we said our good nights to each other. 
     My mom came up to me and said, "Good night" then leaned in to where I was sitting on the sofa, intending to kiss me on the lips. I realized immediately that I didn't really want to and it became an awkward half lip peck. I felt bad, but how do you tell someone, "I don't really feel like kissing you on the lips anymore, I've grown out of it"? 
     I turned to Husband after my mom went to bed and said, "I didn't want to kiss my mom then, it was kind of weird. I don't know why I've changed my mind and decided that I don't want to anymore, but I have." Husband just kind of laughs and continues with what he is doing. My mom doesn't try to kiss him on the lips or else he might be more worried about solving this issue too. 
     This morning:
     Mom: "You didn't want to kiss me last night did you? Was it because of what I had on my face?" (she had some mask stuff on, but it wasn't really the issue)
     Me: "Uh...kind of...no... sorry...." (super awkward and caught off guard)
     Mom: "I didn't think you did and I felt bad for a little while, but then I realized it was probably because of my face and decided to ask."
     Me: "It wasn't really your face... I haven't really been feeling like kissing other adults on the lips lately... Except for [Husband]." (as though it's a phase I'm going through, maybe this will make her feel less hurt about it?)
     Mom: "Why not? Our whole family does..."
     Me: "It's kind of weird, don't you think?" (half interrupting out of feeling bad and not wanting to feel worse, but then immediately deciding I shouldn't have called it "weird")
     Mom: "No. It's how we show our love for each other. Grandma (her mom) does too, I kiss Travis (her brother) too."   
     Me: "I know, but I feel weird about it now." (I say this half mummbled as I try to quickly walk away to avoid further discussion)
     The issue sort of ended there and we haven't brought it up again. My step dad tried to kiss me on the lips as they left for the day's activities but I avoided it completely by hugging him and letting him kiss my cheek instead, he didn't seem hurt or weird about it.
     I first realized that my thoughts on this subject were straying from the thread my family thinks as normal when my friends asked us if we kiss Squeeker on the lips. Or maybe they noticed we did and asked about it, I don't remember for sure. This was a couple of weeks back and I said that we do kiss her, "Is that weird?". I don't really care what other people think, but I realized after they brought it up that I thought it was weird for adults to do it and my family does it all of the time. For the last couple of years sometimes I just feel like avoiding kissing family members on the lips, thinking it is just odd. Our friends said that they wouldn't with their kids, but it's mostly because neither of their families did that with them. My husband said that his family do kiss kids, but by a certain age they stopped and only give kisses on the cheek or hug each other. That seemed to be more natural for me and a better answer because I do kiss Squeeker on the lips now, almost instinctively, but more often I like kissing her on the cheek or head anyway.
     I'm 23 years old and feel weird about kissing my mom.I kind of can't believe this is an issue, it's actually really funny when I stop and think about it.
     Is this something worth becoming an issue? Maybe I should just kiss her anyway to make her happy and drop it. I know there are other cultures wherein adults who are just friends of practically strangers kiss each other on the mouth, maybe I'm buying into some weird American stereotype? I really think that adults kissing, especially of the opposite gender is off-putting though. 
     Update - this afternoon:
     We had a late lunch together at Red Robin's. I can't remember the entirety of the conversation but here is one of my favorite parts.
     Mom: "Kissing is just how we show that we love each other."
     Me: "I still love you mom, we can hug and kiss on the cheek."
     Mom: "I feel like you're breaking up with me."
     Husband: "That's why we're in a public place, it all makes sense!" (funny babe, but not really helping)
     Basically the whole thing turned into a much bigger deal than I wanted it to. I regret bringing it up at all. Note to all those with extra loving moms: just take the love in whatever form, it's not worth the fight. That old saying is true: if momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

     How do your families show each other affection? How much is too much? 


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