Feeling Touched Out? You’re Not Alone. This is Why Moms Feel So Touched Out
If you're a mother, you may completely relate to the concept of being touched out. In fact, tell me if the following has ever happened to you …
It's late at night, you're finally tucked in your bed, away from the kids, the blissful comfort of the blanket wrapped just perfectly around your shoulders. You're just about to close your eyes when it happens: Your husband, unwrapping your perfectly-placed blanket to go in for a cuddle. And instead of welcoming his embrace, your first instinct is to unconsciously (and probably visibly) cringe so hard.
No, you're not a terrible wife. You're just a mom who is totally and completely touched out.
Being a mom who is touched out is as simple as it sounds. You are simply being touched too much for your own comfort during the day. Now that I am a mom of kids who are a little older (between the ages of 3 and 9), I don't experience this as much, but when my kids were younger, omg was this my life. Not only was I breastfeeding 24/7, which meant having an actual person sucking the life out of me all day and night, but the baby was constantly with me–pulling my hair, biting me, pinching at my skin (why do babies do that, why??!), climbing on my legs, clamoring to be picked up.
And then, of course, the toddlers come with their own needs, for cuddles and kisses and carting around when their legs suddenly stop working at the precise moment you really, really need them to walk. And even older kids find a way to be close to mom, with a certain knack for stopping right in front of me the moment I'm trying to walk or push a cart at the grocery store. All of these things are good things, of course, and as moms, we are so grateful to soak up the physical moments with our kids while they still want to be around us because we know the teen years are looming when it won't even be cool to look at us, let alone cuddle with us.
But still, we are humans with our own needs and thresholds and personalities and yes, physical boundaries.
I happen to be a very introverted person and need lots of downtime and alone time to recharge my batteries. So those early years of little people constantly hanging on me and needed everything from me–physically, emotionally, and otherwise–were incredibly, incredibly draining. Without fail, there came a point at every evening when I just wanted to NOT BE TOUCHED. And yup, that included being touched by my husband. I just wanted two seconds to sit in silence on the couch or on my own bed without my body being needed by another human being. Was that really too much to ask for?!
An article in Scary Mommy tackled this exact topic. And I have to say, when I read it, I found myself totally nodding along, because YES. The piece was actually written by a husband who explained how his marriage changed when he decided to give his wife “touch-free” time. He described how his wife explained that life with three young kids who constantly used and abused her body for their own needs gave her sensory overload and she needed a break from him.
“This whole conversation was a light bulb moment for me as a father and husband,” he wrote. “Never in my life had I felt something like sensory overload. I couldn’t imagine having someone touch me so much that I didn’t want to be touched by anyone, even the person I love the most, my wife.”
The piece was an important lightbulb for me to read, too. I realized that as much as I was aware of my own sensory overload and need to be physically alone sometimes, I had never actually expressed that need to my husband. He has probably been wondering what gives all these years as I rolled away or sighed heavily or literally hid under the blankets (mature much?).
So moms, if you're feeling totally touched out, realize that you are completely normal. It's absolutely, 100% OK to want your body to just be yours for a little while. But just don't forget to clue your partner into how you're feeling so that they aren't left alone in the dark, wondering how on earth a hug could upset you so much.
How about you? Do you ever feel totally touched out by motherhood?