Being a mom is the best, hardest, most interesting, most fun, and most maddening thing I’ve ever done, or will ever do. The highs and lows are extreme. The rocky parts make me question my capacity—not to mention my sanity—but the beauty and wonder and breathtaking views from the peaks are unbeatable.
We live in an era of honesty about parenting, which is awesome. Mom writers have opened the doors to their messy inner worlds, letting us all know we’re not alone in the dark days and huge challenges of motherhood. That transparency is refreshing.
But it can also lure us into a negative mindset if we don’t balance the “parenting is hard” messages with the just-as-true “having kids is amazing” ones.
In that spirit, here are 15 things I love about being a mom.
1. The smell of a freshly bathed child
What is it about a kid’s skin and hair that makes moms melt? It’s not just the smell of soap. Children have a sweet, indescribable scent through most of their childhood. And their skin is so silky and soft. Throw in some footy pajamas, and there’s nothing more snuggly in the whole world.
2. Watching kids learn
From the moment they discover their own hands, watching children figure out the world and their place in it is magical to witness.
3. The sound of children’s laughter
There is nothing so pure in this world as a belly laugh from a child. It doesn’t matter what age. My 17-year-old’s laughter still fills me with as much joy as it did when she was 17 months old.
4. Children’s books
I never knew how much I loved children’s books. A good picture book is gold. I’m convinced that juvenile non-fiction books are the absolute best way to learn the basics of anything. Would I have ever picked up the Harry Potter series if I hadn’t had kids? Maybe, but enjoying it again and again through each of my three kids has been magical.
5. The unbearable cuteness of little ones
Seriously, is there anything in the entire world more endearing than your own kids? No, there isn’t. Especially between the baby and tween years. They’re still adorable after that, but in a more of an awkward, gawky way. Babies, toddlers, and little kids just kill you daily with their adorableness.
6. Getting to help mold a human being
This is actually a really scary aspect of parenting, but it’s also freaking amazing. Is there any greater role a person can play than to nurture a human being into adulthood?
7. Being my kids’ safe space
I love it when I’m able to calm my children simply with my presence. As much as I want them to develop their own coping skills, and as important as it is for them to learn to take care of themselves, I will treasure the short years where just my arm around them is enough to make them feel safe and secure.
8. Seeing how unique each child truly is
I have three children, each with their own individual personality, habits, tendencies, and interests. It’s fascinating to see how much of who they are is just who they are.
9. Finding joy in simple things
If you want to find your center and regain your faith in humanity, take a nature walk with a toddler or preschooler. Being a mom, I’ve gotten to see the wonder of the world through my children’s eyes continually for years. It never gets old.
10. Unconditional love that flows between us
The love between a mother and her children is as unconditional as it gets. No matter how annoying they are, no matter how much I get on their nerves, the love we share is as unshakable as a rock.
11. Being able to see through both my kids’ and my parents’ eyes
Raising my kids has sent me back to my own childhood so many times, and also has given me a new understanding and appreciation for my parents’ perspective during my own growing up years. It’s enlightening to be able to see where my kids are coming from, but also seeing my parents in myself.
12. Learning I’m both more vulnerable and stronger than I realized
Motherhood has tested me in every way. And I’ve been surprised to find that in some ways I’m not as assured as I used to be, but that in others I’m so much stronger than I ever knew I could be. Being a mom has helped me learn more about myself than anything else I’ve ever done.
13. Connecting with other women over our shared experiences
I’ve always loved my friendships with other women, but bonding over motherhood has added a whole new layer of depth to my relationships. It doesn’t get any more raw or real than bawling on another mom’s shoulder because you’re exhausted and sure you’re screwing up your offspring.
14. Having a whole new perspective on the concept of time
I swear time has completely shifted—and continues to fluctuate on a regular basis—since I had kids. The days sometimes feel unbearably long. The years go by unbelievably fast. Kids can make enormous leaps in development in a shockingly short period of time. I’m getting older, but feel younger, but then feel older, but then feel younger all the time.
15. Knowing I’m doing eternal work
Everything we do as parents impacts not only our kids’ lives, but generations down the line. Our kids and grandkids will change the world for better or for worse, and we play a significant role in which way that goes. Though the responsibility is immense, motherhood might be the best way for us to leave a lasting legacy.
Being a mom is tough, no doubt, but it’s also filled with untold amounts of awesome that ultimately outweighs the challenges. We just need to remember to keep the awesome in our sights.