Motherhood is…

Motherhood is middle of the night wake up calls for a glass of water or a fan or a light or a blanket or a bear or a kiss or a band-aid.

Motherhood is making lunch after lunch after lunch after lunch only to find the healthy contents stuffed behind a car-seat.

Motherhood is all of your spending money.

Motherhood is not remembering what it’s like to get a full night’s sleep.

Motherhood is siblings bickering over who can look out of which window and who started it and who you love the most even though you love all of them the same but at the moment you don’t like any of them in the least.

Motherhood is wiping more poop than you ever thought you’d see in your life.

Motherhood is a car so filthy that you are embarrassed to let your own husband see it.

Motherhood is hearing the word “why” at least a hundred times a day and most of the time, not having an answer.

Motherhood is knowing, just from the touch of a forehead, almost exactly what your child’s temperature is.

Motherhood is stretch marks dominating your belly and feet a full size larger than before and sad, deflated boobs.

Motherhood is finally appreciating your own mother.

Motherhood is fantasizing over reaching the bottom of the laundry pile, knowing full well that it’s never going to happen.

Motherhood is singing all the words to your kids favorite songs even though they annoy the hell out of you.

Motherhood is never feeling at peace unless all of your children are with you, under your own roof.

Motherhood is always feeling mildly sick but never being able to wallow in your own misery.

Motherhood is never peeing or showering in peace.

Motherhood is using your sleeves to wipe runny noses and your spit to clean dirty faces.

Motherhood is being able to identify just who is coming down the stairs based solely on the thudding of their feet above you.

Motherhood is not even wanting to say “I told you so” even though you did, countless times.

Motherhood is when, just as you want to curl up into a ball of pure exhaustion and desperation, one of your children suddenly farts or burps or does something spontaneously funny. It’s the moment when you dissolve into a hysterical fit of laughter; the kind that you haven’t had since you and your seventh grade BFF were caught passing notes about which boy in your class you’d most want to be stuck in a closet with. It’s the moment you pause and look at your children, all piled on your bed, breathless and rosy cheeked, and think that the only things that really matter in the world are right there in front of you. They are yours, and they are worth every sacrifice and sleepless night.

And then, it’s the moment, two seconds later, when one of them will accidentally kick the other one on the arm and the other will bite in retaliation and you will wish, for the hundredth time that day, that you could just rewind time and savor that peace and joy for more than an instant.

Rinse and repeat a million times. That’s what motherhood is to me.

Related post: This is What They Don’t Tell You About Motherhood

About the writer


In addition to being the founder of all things Scary Mommy, Jill is also the New York Times bestselling author of Simon and Schuster’s Confessions of A Scary Mommy and Motherhood Comes Naturally (And Other Vicious Lies)


Lynn Broering 1 year ago

I am a mother of 7. Oldest in college. Next one in Heaven, (more to come). Next one in college and just became a vegan. Good thing I love her so much. Then came 2 boys. And last but not least 2 more Boys! As I was delivering the last two, I had an embolism (a blood clot that went to my brain — as a result– I have ‘Short-term Memory Loss’. So Wonderful to Be ALIVE, Honestly. Nathan which his name actually means “Gift of God” has been deceased now for 20 years (21 years on Christmas Eve Day) and Lo And Behold not only did I get to “SEE” him but I also got to “TALK TO HIM!” So my point is this, Hug your children as often as they allow and ALWAYS tell them Good Morning!, and Good Night! FOR this is what being a PARENT IS ALL ABOUT=)!!

Pamela Dykstra 1 year ago

…is the discovery of my inner, multiple personalities…being awake at 2:34 am after being woken to lovingly assist my son to go pee, feverishly finishing an overdo consultant report, doing the disheslaundrymoppingthefloor, delisting my okcupid account after receiving two marriage proposals and three invitations into poly relationships over the weekend, when all is want is an effing DATE or how about INTELLIGENT CONVERSATION, reading all the holier than thou spiritual crap people post on facebook, wondering when the hell i will just BE, when there is too much to DO, crying at the contrast between the family photos posted by my friends, and the abyss of single parenting that means I haven’t appeared in a family photo for 4.5 years, and then stealing into my son’s room, gazing at his angelic face in the light of my cell phone, my breath taken away by his beauty…knowing that I have 4 hours and 22 minutes to get myself into a semblance of calm, centred sanity before he wakes…..

Claudia Esperante Biller 1 year ago

Love! So true.

Liz 1 year ago

I said I’d never do the spit clean thing because I hated when my mom did it to me. Did it this week!

Meghan DeMariano 1 year ago

Motherhood forces me to slow down a tad, to stop and enjoy precious little moments with my kids.

Kelly Nesson Dunn 1 year ago

I’m blessed to say my husband, Rad, can identify with many of these too! Thanks for being my partner in this priceless journey

Laura Avendano-Stoecker 1 year ago

Motherhood is so much

Becky Zwyghuizen Garvelink 1 year ago

Michelle, motherhood is trying to take a damn shower and your 2 year old is, at least, nice enough to throw up on you beforehand. Lmao

Nicole Morris George 1 year ago

Made me catch breath

Kelli Fleckenstein Tezanos 1 year ago


Jenny Kruschke 1 year ago

This is perfect.

Nicole 1 year ago

Motherhood is counting the sprinkles on a cupcake. It’s having 5 of your child’s stuffed animal so it’s never lost. It’s taking on one more commitment because no one else will. It’s crying on the first day of school because you now know you don’t have your child to yourself. It’s being scared when your child starts to drive not only because of what can happen but also because it’s one more giant step of independence.

Danielle Curry 1 year ago


René Baumann 1 year ago

True and so much more. Love every single second of it!!!!!

Lisa Venedam-Adler 1 year ago

That is my crazy wonderful life!

Angelica French 1 year ago


Sheri Schmitt 1 year ago

This is my life …. !!!!!

Anna Reardon 1 year ago

Clicked “like” cuz there was no “I f’n LOVE this!” Button :-)

Mamasita Turtle 1 year ago

My thoughts exactly

Tanya Semler 1 year ago

yes well said!!all the above!

Naomi Mahncke 1 year ago


Tara Daly Botka 1 year ago

Yes. This.

Sarah Fritz-Maldonado 1 year ago

Its the reason I’ll never get my sanity back… But I guess that’s fine crazy people are interesting

Amanda Horner George 1 year ago

Perfectly said!

Lindsay Curlett 1 year ago


Beth Nada 1 year ago

The only reason I’m not drunk in a ditch or in jail for murder 😀

Jenn Fuchs 1 year ago

The purest form of love!

Colleen Hildreth 1 year ago

So true❤️..and wouldn’t trade it for anything!!

ohgodkillmenow 2 years ago

Fatherhood is all the aforementioned misery without the modicum of joy.

Julia 2 years ago

I feel slightly guilty that I share lipgloss with my three year old – but not too much!

Liv Monnie 2 years ago


Theresa Timmer 2 years ago

And motherhood is over in almost minute, so enjoy.

Jaime Clark 3 years ago

Motherhood is using the cleansing breaths you learned in lamaze to keep yourself from exploding.

Motherhood is those beautiful moments when out of the blue your child hugs your neck and says “I love you Mommy.’

Motherhood is hearing your 8 year old daughter say “I was really proud of myself today.” And then listening to her explain every detail!

OzMum 3 years ago

OMG! I have just found heard about Scary Mommy, logged in and you made me cry! Such inspiring words and so so true. Thank you so much for making such a wonderful website – I’ll be recommending it to all my friends with kids or soon to be mums.
Keep up the great work and thank you for your words of wisdom Ladies!

jhan 4 years ago

Love this blog, can relate to most posts even though the “baby” is 24. Especially relate to post on “How To Write A Book”, that’s me to a tee.
Being a mom means all of what everyone else wrote on here but also being driven to the edge of insanity by a stubborn, hard headed yet beautiful and smart 24 year old who’s adventures in dating include a mother’s worst nightmare. Last summer because of this I took up jewelry making instead of other more interesting vices and named the collection after the n’er do well hope-never-in-hell-future-son-in-law to be: The B. Nolden Collection!
Being a mom means seeing the word “Mommie” on same 24 yr. old’s speed dial list and feeling secretly happy.

Evie Antonis 4 years ago

I’m not the only person in the world who gave up on relaxt showering and peeing when she became a mum…What a relief!!!

Jess 4 years ago

That is one of the funniest and true things I’ve ever read!!! My favourites are the car so filthy you’re embarrassed to let your husband see it (check) and never getting to shower or pee in peace (double check). Thanks for making me smile, its been one of those days! xx

Annie Tacon 4 years ago

Motherhood to me is feeling tired and frustrated that they just won’t do as they are asked or they are fighting or asking a million questions that I am totally going to Google cos now i want to know the answer too!! Then just as I am ready to book that one way trip to the bahamas for myself suddenly I am through the day, they are fed, bathed and in clean pyjamas and all warm and snuggly in my lap smelling of soap and good health with their little teeth shining as they smile cheekily and ask for “just one more story K Mummy?” and although I am exhausted and the house STILL looks like a bomb has gone off in it (despite the fact i have been cleaning ALL day) I give in (as they knew i would) and we head off into the lands of fairies and dragons and princes together. Motherhood is hearing my little 4 yr old boy telling me all about how he is going to ask his uncle to build a rocket ship so they can visit their Pop in Heaven (of course they will land on the moon so they can come back to mummy). Motherhood is being worried and frightened by a fall or a fever and wishing it was me instead. Motherhood is wanting to shake another womans child for pushing my precious kids… Motherhood is wanting to shake my precious kids for pushing another child. Motherhood is those little arms that cling around my neck when they are frightened or hurt and no-one but mummy will do.

    Annie Tacon 4 years ago

    Forgot to add… Motherhood is trying your best as a single mum to be there for your boy only to be told as you take him to the park for a game of footy to “go sit on the ‘Lady Bench’ Mum, Girls don’t play football” :)

Jennifer 4 years ago

Wow, such a great statement and pretty much all true for me!

For me motherhood is the most tiring, hardest, unforgiving thing that I’ve ever done, but it’s also the most rewarding. Even though I barely have a chance to savor that reward I love my son more than anything and I can’t imagine a world without him!

Stacy 4 years ago

the most true statement … Having children from 21 to 10..there is total peace when everyone is asleep and safe and one can sleep for a night. And it’s totally unconditional love no matter how much they screw up

Diane 4 years ago

sometimes, motherhood is living through all mentioned above, and then having to be strong enough to see your daughter at the morgue, just to make it real, then planning her funeral instead of her wedding. And then, somehow, finding a way to honor her life, without losing your mind.

    Megan 4 years ago

    Oh Diane! Your comment brought instant tears to my eyes. My heart goes out to you. I will say prayers for your healing.

      Emer 4 years ago

      Ah Diane. My heart goes out to you too. What a terrible heartbreak to have to go through. I hope you have lots of people to support you through this and to keep you strong. You can honour your daughter every day of your life by being the person she knew and loved. For what it’s worth, sending hugs your way.

        Annie Tacon 4 years ago

        My heart breaks for you. I thank you for reminding us in the midst of your pain what gifts our children are. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Emer 4 years ago

It’s a tiny sweaty little hand slipping perfectly into yours as you stroll along the street worrying about bills etc and you look down into the most beautiful eyes and a beautiful smile and the worries disappear for now. It’s reading the same story every night for 8 months. It’s singing the same silly songs over and over. It’s covering your walls with a million works of art that mostly consist of a few lines. It’s a little warm body sneaking into bed beside you in the middle of the night and falling asleep in the crook of your arm and waking up the next morning with a kick in the ribs and a bare backside parked right beside your face! It’s dancing like idiots around the kitchen at a moments notice. It’s your heart breaking when you hear “I hate you mammy” because you’re trying to teach them right from wrong. It’s two minutes later when they come crying into the room and say sorry and tell you how much they love you and then tell you that seeing as you’re so good they’ll let you buy them an ice-cream. It’s being there to dish out the cuddles after every fight they’ve had. It’s the magic in the kisses that heal the cuts. It’s the butterfly kisses before bedtime. It’s blowing raspberries on their tummies and even though it drives you crazy having it done to you. It’s listening to them starting to learn an instrument and telling them they sound marvellous even though you don’t think your ears will ever recover from the assault! It’s framing their first school report. It’s rooting through a drawer for something and finding the envelope with their first curl in and sitting on the floor smelling it and feeling it and getting all nostalgic. It’s being their best friend unconditionally. I love my babies (even though one of them is 20 he’s still my baby!)

2sondad 4 years ago

You could substitute “Fatherhood” or even better ‘Parenthood” (for Motherhood) for any of the quotes!

Amy 4 years ago

Motherhood is ever-changing. Most of you moms look like you have young ones. I have teenage boys- 19 and 13. The hardest thing for me was the day I realized my children have a life I know nothing about and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. I am shifting from the controller to the observer- watching for when I am needed, waiting to let them make decisions and mistakes. It was scary but now it is very fulfilling. I am seeing the seeds I have sown come to flower in the lives they are building. No, they don’t do everything way I would, but they are turning into amazing young adults. So chins up- sleeping on the floor next the bed, working with those “other” parents at school, reading the same book 149 times- it’s all worth it.

TW 4 years ago

Motherhood is…
Getting called 156,456,789,325 times in a day, and then not at all.
Holding, and bathing, and feeding, and soothing, and disciplining,. and dressing, and explaining, and shopping, and driving, and hugging, and chaperoning…and then letting go.
Is realizing just be patient for a few years, and then it will all start again. The calls, the questions, the late night crying. Only then its your kids about your grandkids, or their broken hearts.
At least thats what my Mom told me.

Vee 4 years ago

Motherhood is have all the virtues I’ve never had. Motherhood makes my mother laugh because she said karma always comes.

Fortuitous Housewife 4 years ago

Motherhood – it’s the best job I never dreamed of!

Evan’s Mommy 4 years ago

“Motherhood is knowing, just from the touch of a forehead, almost exactly what your child’s temperature is.” This is such a weird skill, yet I have TOTALLY mastered it after having a kid.

Lauren @BooPatch 4 years ago

I wandered over to your website from twitter, not quite sure what to expect and I have now laughed (OUT LOUD) and teared up at my desk at work…thank God everyone here is a parent…
Motherhood to me is knowing I am not perfect; but to my two boys I am the world and that means I need to try harder every day.
Motherhood is realizing that everything you say/do/gossip about is being filtered by smaller ears, its my job to raise them to view the world in a good way and find the need to change what they don’t like.
Motherhood is endless questions, researching the questions you can’t answer and embracing a level of honesty you didn’t realize you had. Because you never want to lead them astray.
Motherhood is loving the little ways you embarass them; singing/dancing in the mall; because you look back fondly on all the dorky things your mom did (see above), and appreciate her so much more now.
one more…Motherhood is thinking your children are perfect and everyone elses are weird…

My oldest son asked me the other day if being a parent was worth it…I told him it was the best thing I ever did and the hardest thing. But I wouldn’t trade a moment for anything.

Lisa 4 years ago

Motherhood is a 24 hours duty… nice post!

Lou 4 years ago

Brilliant. Truly brilliant. I’m telling everyone about you…

Janene 4 years ago

All of this is so true! Right now motherhood is waiting for every kid to go to camp at the same time (victory!) and then choking back tears because one called home with a bad case of homesickness. My kids are so like the U2 song lyrics — I can’t live with or without them.

Me 4 years ago

Motherhood brings opportunities to make new friends (ones you didn’t realize you needed until you found them). The new friends are in the exact life stage that you are living b/c their children are friends with your children and all of the crazy things that go on during the day are shared by both families as the children come home and leak all of the info….and then we laugh together…because it becomes very clear which home the new swear of the day came from.

Karen 4 years ago

Motherhood has taught me the true definition of Love and Fear.

Caroline 4 years ago

Motherhood is an unexpected rush,
a wave of emotions that can turn on a dime.
Motherhood is an adventure
like climbing without a rope.
Motherhood makes me laugh, cry, and roll my eyes,
all in the matter of two minutes.
Motherhood was totally unexpected for me,
but the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Roksi 4 years ago

See, motherhood has the perks of kids and their funny antics (minus the poop). What people should really be better informed about, is how much pregnancy and labour can suck. :p

Until I got pregnant, I had no reason to find out things like – I’m going to pee and poop myself giving birth. EPISIOTOMIES. I mean, someone going with scissors (or a scalpel) at your crotch? Best birth control ever. A nurse is going to spray my crotch with water when I pee after I give birth??? Yeah, no wonder it looks so gloriously easy on television. I think if word got out, the species would be doomed. Also, regarding pregnancy: I did not know it was possible to double in size overnight. (Thank you little girl. Who currently looks like a heirloom tomato according to babycenter).

At least there’s a reward afterwards. And my partner has a lot of experience with poop from our very spiteful dog.

dysfunctional mom 4 years ago

This is why you are Scary Mommy. This is just perfect.

amber 4 years ago

How very true!

Linda (aka: Fearless) 4 years ago

Motherhood to me (so far, with an 8 month old DD) is….

All of the things you mentioned in your original post.. PLUS

Never ending dishes.
Never ending patience.
Walking back and forth and back and forth until your baby falls asleep.
Humming the songs to every show on Tree House TV even when you (finally) get a night out with your pals.
Never fully “letting loose” because you actually care about how you will feel the next morning.
Teaching a man how to be an equal partner (sometimes, yes, they do need to be taught).
Listening to ENDLESS advice from every other mother on the planet, and filtering what you need and don’t need while politely nodding.
Feelings shitty about your stomach 50% of the time and 50% of the time accepting it by telling yourself “that was my baby’s home”.
Not talking to your friends who still party and struggling to find new friends who are productive and positive influences.
Being excited to buy all sorts of new things for your baby and feeling guilty for buying yourself one outfit.
Looking forward to the future but still missing the past (where the peace and quiet resides).
Being excited about poops after 3 days of constipation. (you & the babies)
Getting rid of pets if your kid is allergic.
Making sacrifices every day so that your child can benefit.
Letting go of parts of the old YOU, and embracing the new you.
Having motivation to go outside and play.
Wanting to share the joys with everyone around you (even though no one else really cares.)
Being ditched by your friends because they don’t think you can leave the house (and even if you can’t, an invitation would be nice!!)
Keeping your kid up late because that’s when they’re the snuggliest.
Passing up tickets to your favourite concert so you can afford to take your kid to see Toopy and Binoo live.

Tina @ Life Without Pink 4 years ago

Great list! Motherhood is cherishing the small moments in life; a kiss on the cheek, hearing ‘I love you’, a smile that can lift you up, a hug that you never want to end and the overwhelming feeling watching your child learn something for the very first time.

debi9kids 4 years ago

awesomeness Jill!
LOVE this!

Nikki 4 years ago

I absolutely love this post, Jill.

Kristi 4 years ago

Motherhood is wanting them to get older so they can do things on their own, and stop bugging you, but at the same time wanting them to stay adorably small and needing you. At least once every day I want to freeze time and at least once I want to speed it up. I try to enjoy it as much as I can though, because I know as some point they WILL be gone and I will be so sad.

Cutestuff 4 years ago

Motherhood is holding your sick child in your arms, praying and wishing, you could be sick instead of your child and crying over the fact that there is nothing more you can do to make them feel any better.

ninja Mommers 4 years ago

What a fantastically honest post. I wrote one like this a while back! Motherhood to me is Cheerios and Peanut butter in my hair, Sloppy kisses and getting sneezed on often 😛 LOL!

mommy23girls 4 years ago

Since becoming a mother I have never felt more beautiful, confident, responsible, crazy, happy, fulfilled, joy ,tired, frustration, like my brain was a car running on fumes, like i’ll never see my stomach flat again, like I just don’t care what others think, I KNOW WHO I AM! I am ” mumma” to three beautiful little girls that carry my heart in thier hands and the souls of thier ancestors in thier eyes. I see my husband, mother, mother-in-law, sister and myself in each of them. They are my family and my everything. And honestly I’ve never loved being a woman more than now!

Stef@hauteapplepie 4 years ago

Motherhood is getting to be a kid all over again. How else would I have recently discovered the joy of a waterside?

JourneyBeyondSurvival 4 years ago

Motherhood is all about doing what was formerly deemed impossible. By me.

I was never going to go crazy if my kid were stuck on the bus.
I wasn’t going to fart burp or make crude noises at the table or anywhere else ‘public’.
I wasn’t going to let my child misbehave in public.
I wasn’t going to let my child pick their own clothing.
I wasn’t going to let them eat ‘kid’ food.

In short, my children have taught me to do the impossible. Rejoicing.

MizzMommy 4 years ago

O my God! I’m so choked up after reading that! So true! However, I’m sitting here trying to keep my motherly composure in front of other Mommies and kids at this moonbounce place. Wish I were at some fancy lunch date or at the spa getting a massage…but I’m here, relishing in my motherhood, and I know other moms can’t do this type of thing during the day. I love hanging out with them…to a point. When I reach that point, I HIT THE CONFESSIONAL!! :) Your post made my day, as well as gave me another type of reality check. THANK YOU

Erin I’m Gonna Kill Him 4 years ago

Honestly, Jill, you do these so well. And somehow you manage to add or expound further on the original notions.

I can’t get over how motherhood has changed every single facet of my life. Some for the best, some not.

Goddamn, I’d love to see a movie in the theater though.

    mommy23girls 4 years ago

    a good babysitter is worth every penny!

      mommy23girls 4 years ago

      I wrote that , then tried to remember the last time I actually could get a babysitter or watched a movie that wasn’t animated? Umm , let’s just be thankful for HBO ( Netflicks doesn’t exist here , waaah!)

Nami 4 years ago

So true.
I so needed it today. Thank you.
Motherhood to me is constant interruption, nothing getting done and all the noise, yet every morning when I wake up, first thing I want to do is to wake up the kids and look at their smiley faces.

vanillasugarblog 4 years ago

i’m not a mommy but i am a wife.
i know being a wife to a grown up 2 year old (at times) is HARD.
i don’t know if i could write all this and be so nice.
you wrote this so nice and neat.
mine would have curse words for real.
that vomit phrase stuff scares me……still

Genni 4 years ago

Motherhood is being able to look at another little person and feel like your heart is going to explode. Sometimes from love, sometimes not…

Ally 4 years ago

Motherhood is catching vomit in your bare hands, even when other people’s vomit makes you vomit.

It’s also a 16 year old who will still share a blanket on the couch with you while watching a movie you’ve both seen five times.

MomEinstein 4 years ago

How true these all are.

Motherhood is…
Trying to put your baby to sleep for hours so you can do things, then only wanting to stare at them once they fall asleep.

Wishing you could have personal space again.

Never eating a hot meal.

TornadoTwos 4 years ago

I think you described it perfectly, love this post! You captured just the right amount of “pulling out your hair” moments with the “melt your heart” moments.

Finally a Mom 4 years ago

Motherhood is a VERB!

Imperfect Mommy of Two! 4 years ago

I can’t believe you can see inside my mind, my home, my life! Everything you said has happened, a million times! Thanks for your candor, humor, and honesty. I DO love it all – from “Mommy Monster”.

The Flying Chalupa 4 years ago

Jill, you are just SO good at this. One of my favorite posts, especially the not being able to wallow in your own misery. Lord, ain’t that the truth. And the sleep – the sleep! – it really all comes down to that, doesn’t it?

michelle 4 years ago

You got it right on…love this post!

Arnebya 4 years ago

Motherhood is —

Sharing the last of your food when you haven’t eaten all day but your child asks for some; reversing stance on something you thought you could never be convinced differently about; sneaking tequila before noon then trying to account for your overly silly mood (which they love, by the way!); knowing that “because I said so” “I’m the adult, you’re the child” or “Do as I say, not as I do” aren’t logical answers to virtually anything (even though they’re usually the first thing to pop in our minds); knowing that life without them would allow you to pee and shower in peace (like Jill’s original post says) but you wouldn’t trade washing your butt in front of them for a life without them. Motherhood is driving to a birthday party two hours away and they’ve all fallen asleep and you realize you have to pee but can’t pull over because there’s no shoulder, traffic is not moving, but there are diapers.

Christina Simon 4 years ago

Great post, very true!!! There were so many things about being a mom that surprised me–and still do!

Christa 4 years ago

Complaining bitterly every time you have to change the crib sheet and then crying uncontrollably when they outgrow the crib.

Rae 4 years ago

Its looking at your child(ren) and wanting to cry because 1- you never knew you could love anyone so much you feel like your heart might burst, and 2- the realization that the people you love this much are making you crazy…


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