Haters gonna hate on all kinds of things. Breastfeeding. Extended breastfeeding. Letting a child share a bed with you. Some people, unfortunately, even have beef with parents who kiss their kids on the lips. The most recent celebrity to get flack for a lip kiss with her kid was Hilary Duff, with critics calling the kiss "inappropriate" and "unhealthy." To these people I say, "Stop the mom shaming (and also get a life)." I love kissing my toddler on the lips, so there are more than a few reasons why I will continue to kiss my kid on the lips and won't apologize for it.
Today I was in my kindergartener's classroom for a holiday party and I leaned in for a kiss goodbye. He usually kisses me on the lips. Now, these kisses are not the same as the kisses I share with my toddler: wet, slobbery, and would be gross if they weren't absolutely freakin' adorable. Just a perfunctory peck on the lips, but still, very cute and sweet. However, when I leaned in for my goodbye kiss, he kind of froze and gave me this look like, "Mom. Not in front of my friends!" So I made myself upright and gave him a little wave instead. He waved back, and then darted off.
Guess we are at the beginning of the end, dear reader. Luckily, my 2-year-old son still loves — no, requires — kisses on the lips from his mom. So I'm going to milk it for as long as I can, and I'm definitely not sorry about that.
Because He Won't Let Me Do It Forever
When I was a brand new mother, every stranger on the street seemed thrilled to remind me "this is going to go by so fast." "This," of course, being my newborn's time as a baby. "Before you know it, he's going to be in college," they would say.
Now that I've really internalized that yes, my son's childhood is going to go by in a flash, you want to tell me I should give up one of the pure joys of being a mother? The delightful little kisses that my toddler gives me with such exuberance and gusto? Why would I ever want to do that?
Because He Is Delicious
My toddler's breath still smells like milk and chocolate. Maybe it is because he mainly drinks milk and eats a lot of chocolate. Oh well! We'll have some reckoning to do at the dentist's office later in life, I guess.
I am obsessed with my son's breath, particularly when he has a pacifier in his mouth. Sometimes, when he is sleeping beside me at night, I just press my face up to his mouth so I can smell the mixture of his pacifier and milk breath. So you can bet that when he comes in for a smooch, I'm all about it. He is just yummy.
Because He Kind Of Forces Me To
Even if I tried to give him a chaste cheek kiss, most times he wouldn't let me. He likes to take my face in his hands and pull it to his mouth. Granted, this isn't something he does with anyone else, the forceful mouth kiss thing. That wouldn't be allowed because consent is important, and something I'm all about teaching.
This special take-my-face-in-your-hands-thing is just for mommy, and a fan. This is our special thing.
Because Why Wouldn't I?
Of course, if I had the flu or some other illness that could be transmitted orally, I would not kiss my kid on the lips. However, unless health is an issue, why wouldn't I kiss my sweet boy on the lips? I love him to pieces and this is one of the many physical ways we show affection. I love cuddling him, stroking his head, nuzzling his cheeks, giving him butterfly kisses.
We are a very loving family in general, my husband and I, with both of our children (when our 5-year-old son allows us, in private, of course). I can't think of any reason why I wouldn't kiss my child on the mouth unless I was sick, or if he asked me not to. If he refuses kisses, then I don't force it. I do not believe in forcing physical intimacy on my children. However, when he goes in to kiss me on the mouth, I would never refuse him a kiss back.
Because Why Would I Apologize For This Sweet Moment?
I can't imagine apologizing to anyone for anything related to my parenting, because I don't see how it affects another person (who is not my partner or my child). Unless, of course, my child hurt another child and I failed to address the situation in the right way, I just don't see how my private choices, such as kissing my child on the mouth, affect anyone else.
If the image disturbs you, look away. If you think this has some kind of sexual connotation, blame our culture and society and then do some work on yourself, as I believe you clearly need to rethink your own thought associations. Because that says more about you then it says anything about my relationship with my child.
Because You Don't Have To Kiss Your Child On The Lips If You Don't Want To
Seriously. Just, you know, don't kiss your kid on the mouth if you think it's gross or icky. However, let me and my child do our thing.
Because I Don't Discriminate Kisses
Hey, guess what? Not only do I kiss my child on the lips, but I also kiss his elbows, his toes, his underarms (that really gets the giggles going), behind his knees, his belly, and his cute little butt (but only after bath time). His skin is so soft and baby smooth, and he loves to tell me which body parts to kiss before I kiss them.
He'll hold out his arm and say, "Kiss my elbow!" Then he'll hold out his other arm and say, "Other elbow!" I love these moments and these sweet games we play together. When he inevitably grows up to become a sullen teenager who doesn't even let me into his room anymore, I know that these are the moments I'll look back on as I try to hold back the tears.