I knew being a mother would test me in a way nothing else ever has or ever will, but I truly didn't comprehend just how hard it is, until I became one. While my son entering the world, and my life, was extraordinary, it was also the beginning of a long, sometimes seemingly never-ending assembly line of difficult, exhausting, frustrating situations that can cause me to question my sanity, and even my choice to be a mom. For every challenging moment, however, there are two or more that make you realize you absolutely love being a mom, and I am constantly reminded that while my role as a parent is difficult, it is beyond worth it.
It can be pretty easy to get caught up in the "bad days" of motherhood, and fail to appreciate just how wonderful it really and truly is. I know I am guilty of failing to sit back and value all that I have, including my family. While I don't think I should dismiss my very real feelings of exhaustion or anger or frustration when motherhood is sh*tty, I do think it's important to remember that it's also something I chose and something I wanted and something I absolutely love experiencing. I know that I can dislike the crappy parts of motherhood, while still cherishing the overall experience. I know I don't have to love every single part of parenting, in order to love being my son's parent.
So, in an effort to truly take pause and cherish the moments that remind me that I love being a mom (and because my son's second birthday is right around the corner, so hello feelings), here are just a few moments that will remind you that being a mom is the absolute best.
When Your Kid Says "I Love You" For The First Time
It's very difficult to rank parenting moments because, while there are plenty of not-so great ones, there are so many wonderful ones, too. My son saying, "I love you" for the first time, is one of those moments. There were tears. There were so many feelings. There were smiles and laughs. There were hugs and more declarations of love. I had heard "I love you" before, but never have those three words affected me the way they did when my son said them to me.
When Someone Compliments Your Parenting
Recently, my family went to a New York Yankees game. We were sitting in the stands, with another family behind us, watching the game and enjoying a beautiful day. Randomly, the mother behind us tapped me on the shoulder and said, "I just want to say, you have an amazingly well-behaved little boy. Whatever you're doing, keep doing it." I almost hugged this woman for a very long and probably inappropriate amount of time, I was so grateful.
Being a mother means doubting yourself and your abilities on a regular basis, because the stakes are so high and you are so terrified of failure. In that moment, I was reminded that it's more than worth it. It made me so thankful that not only am I a mom, but I'm my son's mom, and I'm doing something right.
When Your Kid Wants You, And Only You
I'll be honest, this isn't always the best. Sometimes, and especially when I'm busy working or doing the dishes or cooking or answering emails or any one of the many things I have to do in a day, being the only person my son wants can be an inconvenience. However, when my son is sick or hurt or scared, and I am the one he reaches for, I just sink into feelings of pride and worthiness. I am so thankful that I can give another human being such a strong sense of comfort and safety. After all, that is my job as a mother, and one I take very seriously.
When It's Time To Give Presents
I'm sorry, but there is absolutely nothing better than giving your kid presents. Whether it's a birthday or a holiday or a "just because," seeing the excitement in their eyes and the happiness even the smallest, most inexpensive toy can bring, is just the freakin' best. It definitely surpasses getting presents yourself, which is something my 10-year-old self would never, ever, have predicted I would eventually say.
When Watching Your Favorite Childhood Movies Becomes Appropriate
This is just common sense, you guys. What better excuse to revisit the "classics" and drown in nostalgia than watching appropriate, cartoon movies with your kid, right?
When Your Kid Reaches A Milestone And You Helped Them
Whether it was my son crawling for the first time or walking for the first time or saying his first word or counting to 10 for the first time; it was all magic and all made me so happy to be a mother. To see him thrive and learn and grow and evolve is nothing sort of extraordinary, and to know that I have some small part of it is just magic.
When Your Kid Reaches A Milestone And You Have No Reason How
Honestly, I love the little reminders that my son is his own person and, at not even two years old, is already a better, more amazing human being than I am. I love seeing him grow in ways that I didn't actually and directly contribute to. When I see him learn something his father taught him, or something his grandmother taught him, or something he just learned on his own by watching and observing, I am in awe. He is more than I could have hoped or dreamt and he is more than my wildest imagination could have conjured up and knowing that I get to be his mother is, at times, completely unbelievable.
When It's Time To Read A Bedtime Story
Reading with my son is easily one of my favorite things to do, so anytime we get to snuggle up with a book and read about Elmo or a cat in some ridiculous hat or a train, I am happy. To share my love for literature with my son is something I will never, ever, take for granted.
When Your Kid Starts Copying You And/Or Says They Want To Be Like You
My son is constantly observing his father and I, and I see the result in his actions. He will put on my shoes and say, "Like mama," then follow me around our apartment. He will pretend to type on a non-existent computer, saying "Mama, work," while I answer emails and edit articles. Watching my son mimic me, and knowing that I am a source of strength and a person that will, one day, help him find his sense of self, is priceless. Knowing that I am setting a positive example, as a working mother who has provided him with a loving home, is a great source of pride that reminds me that, yes, it is amazing to be a mom.
When You Grow Closer To Your Parenting Partner
I am forever thankful for my son and his ability to bring me even closer to my partner. While solidifying our relationship is not at all why we decided to have a child, and making our relationship stronger is in no way my son's responsibility, babies just have a way of bringing people together (sometimes). I look at my son and our little family and how close we all are, and I just can't help but feel overwhelmed with gratitude.
When Your Kid Wants To Cuddle For Absolutely No Reason
This is heaven, I am convinced. Seriously, if there is an afterlife and such a place actually exists, it will be nothing but random baby cuddles for all eternity and I am in no way mad about it.
When Your Kid Experiences Something New, For The Very First Time
Watching my son experience something for the very first time is pure, unabashed, palpable joy. To see his eyes light up when he sees a car or point to the sky when he sees and/or hears an airplane, makes me appreciate the random things that I look past on a daily basis. Watching him get excited about a shoe or a leaf or a bird on the sidewalk, makes me stop and pause and actually see the world around me. I want my son to experience a wonderful childhood for his sake, however, in a way, I am getting to rewrite mine by watching him live his.
When Your Kid Is Fast Asleep, And They're Easily The Most Beautiful Thing You've Ever Seen
I mean, it's always easy to appreciate parenthood when your kid is sleeping and, you know, not crying or needing something or making a gigantic mess. However, there have been moments when I was either co-sleeping with my son, and simply turned to see his angelic face, or checked on him while he was asleep in his toddler bed, that I've become extremely emotional just looking at him. In those moments I experience this irreplaceable flood of love and protection and gratitude and awe and even doubt. How did I get so lucky? How did I grow and birth and sustain such a wonderful life? How did the cosmic cards align at some precise moment so I was able to be his mother? Those moments are always overwhelming, and always remind me that being a mom is the absolute best.
When You're Able To Give Your Kid Something You Never Had
I grew up in an abusive home, so much of my childhood was spent in fear and in pain. I didn't have an environment that was loving or nurturing. I didn't have two parents that would protect me; I had one parent who tried her best and one parent who was violent. To give my son everything I never had (like a loving home and a great example of a healthy relationship and safety and security and happiness) means more to me than I could ever hope to adequately express. I get to do what my abusive parent didn't. I get to right a wrong. I get to be a source of comfort and safety, and I will never take that lightly or look past how wonderful an opportunity that truly is.