Before my kids came into my life, I had no idea the amount of joy I'd feel just looking at their faces. Sure, sometimes motherhood is hard and I want to hide in the bathroom so I can eat the last brownie all by myself, but most of the time there are so many "mom things" that make having a kid totally worth it. If you multiply those things by two, that's my life as mother to a darling 5-year-old boy and feisty 10-year-old girl. I used to hate it when I'd hear other parents say "every day's an adventure," but the truth is, they were right.
Before I had my kids I wasn't completely sure I wanted any at all. In my mind I did, but having survived a childhood that left me unsettled and scarred, I've always been somewhat afraid to start my own family. I was terrified I'd do something to unintentionally inflict the same things I experienced, on my own offspring. I've never been the type to fawn all over other people's kids and, typically, still don't (aside from a few that are too adorable for words), because well, they aren't mine. So, honestly, I wasn't all that convinced motherhood could be as great as it is. It was the experience itself that made me realize how wonderful being a mom can be.
After all the doubt, I got pregnant with my daughter and, five years later, had her brother (with loss in between), and my whole world changed. Not only was I beyond ecstatic to be a mother (something I never thought I'd feel), but I felt a new love I'd never experienced before. Plus, my kids are pretty adorable and make me laugh on the daily. They both bring different versions of awesome to the table, so I get to experience those quintessential "mom things" that make every day a damn adventure.
When You Meet Them For The First Time
There's nothing quite like seeing that little human, who's been kicking you for nine months, for the very first time. That saying "love at first sight" is absolutely true and I wouldn't trade those moments for anything.
When They're Old Enough To Say "I Love You"
The first time both of my kids said those three magical words are two of my favorite memories. Even now, when one of them says it (especially after a hard parenting day), I really feel it in the core of my being.
When They Take Their First Steps
All the firsts are exciting and terrifying and heartbreaking at once. You never realize how big they're getting until they move onto the next stage. Seeing my babies take their first steps was bittersweet.
When They Hold Your Hand (Or Finger)
There's nothing better than holding a tiny hand! I felt that way the first time my little one reached out for me, and every time since. It's such a small gesture, but it's truly one of the best parts of motherhood because it implies their complete trust in me (something I don't always feel worthy of, but something I'm always thankful for).
When They Low-Key Snuggle
My kids don't snuggle much these days, but when they do I can't help but melt. Their dad doesn't always notice these small things, but I do.
When They Ask You To Read One More Book
I don't always love to drag out the bedtime routine, but the older my kids get the more I don't mind. I can't help but wonder when that time will be the last time and they've outgrown the need for mom to tuck them in or read to them or all of the above. The nights I read a little extra or sing another song, I see the gratitude reflected back and think to myself, "Yeah, this is totally worth it."
When They Ask To Be Held
My youngest still likes to be picked up and carried when he's tired (part of being the baby). Honestly, I don't mind. It lets me re-live all the days he let me carry him when he was smaller.
I'm not crying, you are.
When They Bring Home Special Artwork
Lately, my son's been doing "portraits" of me. He's only 5 so they're obviously the greatest images ever created in the history of all creation. Yesterday he created a picture complete with the sun and some grass made of yarn. I mean, he's a regular Picasso.
When You Rock Them To Sleep
I don't rock my kids to sleep anymore, but I sure do cherish the nights I did. After a hectic day, where we often crossed paths without a whole lot of interaction, those bedtime snuggles gave us the chance to reconnect.
When They Give You Loving Nicknames
My daughter is sweet, don't get me wrong, but my son calls me something new everyday. Yesterday, it was "cutie." I don't mind.
When They're Old Enough To Care Back
You know that feeling when your baby is old enough to offer a hug, pat your back, or kiss your cheek? It's the best.
When They Cheer You On
I run competitively, and my kids are at the finish line of a lot of my races. They encourage and cheer for me, support and champion me, whether I run well or terribly. At the end of my last marathon, it was freezing temperatures. They sat outside for hours holding signs for me. If that's not worth having kids, I don't know what is.
When Siblings Play Well Together
As they get older, they play a little less together because there interests are different. The times I catch them laughing and having fun together, though? Yeah, I wish I could bottle those moments.
When They Compliment You
At some point every day, my kids tell me something nice. Even when I've not showered, dressed, or brushed my hair, they'll tell me I'm pretty. When my food is burnt, they say it tastes great. When I'm stressed from life and feel like a failure, they tell me I'm doing a good job.
When They Offer To Help
I've tried to instill the importance of responsibility by tasking my children with daily chores. However, on the days when they offer to do something that's not on their chore list, or to do extra chores, this parenthood thing is totally worth it.
When They Make A Toy Out Of Anything
My daughter used to play with socks, old clothes, and plastic grocery sacks. My son can entertain himself with a handful of rocks. It's awesome.
When They Learn New Things
I love seeing my kids learn new things. Honestly, it feels like I'm learning them for the first time, too.
When They're Happy To See You
No one in the history of my life has ever been more excited to see me than my kids, particularly my 5-year-old son. First thing in the morning he's psyched to see my face. He's equally psyched after school and when I've been in the bathroom for all of five minutes. I'm so popular with him, it's ridiculous (and I love it).
When They Make You Laugh
I laugh every day, thanks to my kids. They say the most random, off-the-wall stuff, that it's hard to take life so seriously afterwards. Actually, I credit a decrease in my anxiety to their humor.
When They Want To Be Like You
Of all the mom things that make having a kid worth it, one of my children repeating something I say or behaving in a way I would behave is a the top of that list. There's no better form of flattery and a great reminder I must be doing something right.