Posted: Feb 12, 2014 10:00 AM
 
"I love you." It's three little words that mean so much. We've chatted with moms who use the L-word often with their kids and moms who just plain don't. Moms on both sides of the love-fence have a lot to say about how they use their "I love yous" at home and what it means in their family.

Love... no matter what

A mom of three, Kristin shares that she and her husband are trying to build a good foundation for their children, which includes telling them that they are loved. "We try to emphasize that we love them regardless of what has happened that day — good, bad or ugly. We also try to do the same thing with each other."

During those seven years of duty, 'I love you' became so much more than just a phrase — it became the glue that grounded us and reminded us of why we were together.

"In the past seven years, we have gone through three deployments and countless other trips," explains a mom of two boys, Kindra Svendsen, who is also a former military wife. "During those seven years of duty, 'I love you' became so much more than just a phrase — it became the glue that grounded us and reminded us of why we were together and, still today, resonates deep. 'I love you' is more than words to our family — it's dedication, a stress-reliever and a reminder that life is sweet!"

Sara Willy, a mom of two, shares, "I tell my kids that I love them about a hundred times a day. I want it to be the thing they most remember about growing up... that they were loved. I'm sure that I overdo it at times, but it just falls out of my mouth when I look at them!"

More than just I love yous

"Saying 'I love you' and showing 'I love you' must be congruent," says mom, Allyson Tomchin. "I say 'I love you' as often as I can, but most importantly, my actions speak louder than my words. Don't forget the hugs and kisses too!"

One very special way that we use to always make sure that we say 'I love you' is by squeezing the other person's hand three times.

Mom and blogger Maria Colaco of The New York Mom shares their family's secret way to say "I love you" when saying it out loud (which they also do regularly) isn't convenient, "One very special way that we use to always make sure that we say 'I love you' is by squeezing the other person's hand three times. Once, my daughter was about to start her swim meet and I gave her hand three squeezes. She looked at me and gave me the sweetest smile. It's our secret family code!"

"Despite being a writer, I am a woman of few words when it comes to expressing my emotions," candidly shares author Darah Zeledon. "I prefer to say 'I love you' through body language. When I hug my kids tight — which occurs without warning and frequently all day long — I squeeze for dear life, inhale their unique scents and press my chest against theirs. I literally strive to transmit the love from my heart to theirs."

One of our allParenting writers, Sherri Kuhn, shared this about how she changed her methods when it came to telling versus showing her then teenaged son that she loves him: "Once my son reached the mid-teen years, I didn't want to make him feel awkward by constantly telling him 'I love you!' so I backed off a bit. I show him in different ways now. When I walk by him and he's sitting down, I gently touch his shoulder as I go by. When I'm out, I text him to see if he wants a candy bar or some little treat. They are little things, but they connect us."

Learning those three little words

When I became a mom, it was very important to me to create an emotional connection with my kids at a very young age. I wanted to make those words as natural as saying 'hello.'

Mom of two children, ages 8 and 10, Sonia Singh shares that she had to learn to use those three little words. "I grew up in a home where there were no 'I love yous' expressed. So, when I became a mom, it was very important to me to create an emotional connection with my kids at a very young age. I wanted to make those words as natural as saying 'hello.' They always say it back to me, which is a great feeling. I know my message is being received."

"We always say 'I love you' upon our goodbyes," mom and author Tomi Tuel tells allParenting, "All of us, that is, except my daughter. She has a harder time with it and only recently, at age 17, started saying it back. I think what finally broke her was our 3-year-old son. She adores him and tells him all day long how much she loves him, but before he came, she wasn't having any part in it, typically only responding with 'me too,' which drove me nuts!"

Paige Furness MacMillan shares that she is often pleasantly surprised at her family's use of the word, "Growing up, I felt loved and knew I was loved, but we didn't use it much. Life was good, but not necessarily affectionate." She continues by sharing how she uses "I love you" now as a mom: "Now, the way my husband, boys and I are is so different. We didn't plan it that way or sit down and have a conversation when we were planning our family, saying 'Hey, let's smother our kids with the love word!' It just happened that way. I love the 'love' that is swirling around our house!"

More on love

Why do you love one child more than another?
Yell less, love more
Lunchbox love notes

Topics: love life