Have you ever felt "touched out"? I've heard this term tossed around the mom world, but didn't really understand what it meant until I was around 6 months pregnant with Layla and dealing with a 1 year old, too. Have you ever realized how often your kids touch you? I challenge you to mentally keep track for an hour (yes, just an hour!) and see how often your kids do a physical check-in with you.
I did this with my kids and here's a quick rundown of our hour... Just kidding! This entire post would be listing each time Lincoln poked me, asked for up, said "help me" while clinging to my leg, or each time Layla whined, got stuck crawling somewhere she wasn't supposed to, breastfeeding time, endless diapers, etc. It is simply endless and immeasurable the amount of times my kids touched me in some way.
As I said above, I felt this for the first time when I had my little girl in my belly and my little boy in my arms. I was still breastfeeding Lincoln so between pregnancies I never had a break in terms of my body. It never returned to MY BODY because I was still feeding Lincoln. I think that's what contributed most to my feelings of being touched out.
Touched out doesn't necessarily present itself in a way that you don't ever want to be touched. It almost feels like burnout. You get to this mindset where you think everyone just needs to leave me the f alone and quit needing me. We obviously don't mean this. You find yourself thinking I'm going to lose it if one more child cries or says mama. And, of course they do 5 seconds later.
My son is going through this stage of being terrified to poop and to finally go he wants to be held and rocked. It's so innocent and sweet that he knows I am his safe spot, but at the same time, it's hard to accept being squeezed for such a menial task. Pooping. And then you throw in a baby who's due to breastfeed and it's just so much touchy feely.
That's the root of being touched out. Neediness. These little humans need you for EVERYTHING...including handling their own emotions. My toddler is pretty emotionally intelligent. He can understand breathing, and is able to calm down without getting frustrated, but it's still a lot for him to manage on his own. Sometimes he needs me to say "okay" and he can move on. Other times he needs contact.
They're not always going to need us, and while in the moment it really sucks to be dragged around, drooled on, poked, and prodded, it's fleeting. At least, I think. I haven't seen the light at the end of the tunnel. My kids are both still little. But I feel like I'll miss this clingy stage Lincoln is in. I'll want a hug and he'll refuse me someday.
I'm not saying this makes up for the constant caregiving and tending to others' needs, but it helps break the cycle of being burntout and touched out. It helps at the end of the night to share the attention with your significant other. It helps in the moment when you have to give one more hug or one more knee to the gut. It definitely helps to see them grow so fast.