Let's get it out of the way: motherhood isn't always amazing. Sometimes being a parent sucks. Sometimes (*looks around to make sure no one else is looking and then whispers*) our kids suck. Yes, yes, nothing is perfect, disclaimer, disclaimer, blah, blah, blah. But guys? Sometimes motherhood f*cking amazing, too. For real. No words can describe how incredible it often is to be a mom... but I asked some intrepid souls to try by asking what's the best part of motherhood.
Obviously there's no one answer here because, yes, everyone is different. But what struck me is that just about everyone's answer tapped into the idea that motherhood enables you to feel a particular kind of appreciation that is unique to the experience of parenting a child.
For me, parenting is a kind of time travel. On the one hand, I look at my children and I see them not just for who they are, but for who they are growing into. They give me these glimpses into the future (which, in turn, gives me hope that the world isn't going to continue to be a massive dumpster fire). I will also forever see them as the little babies who lived inside of me. In my 6 and 3 year old I also see my 5 and 2 year old, my 4 and 1 year old, and my newborns. All of those versions of them exist at once. I also experience time travel by simultaneously experiencing things for the first time as a parent and remembering what it was to have similar experiences as a child. Everything, and even the stuff I've been doing for years, feels brand-spanking new while, often, retaining familiar comforts and joys.
In short, my kids make the world more interesting, exciting, and joyful. But what did other moms have to say on the issue? Take a look:
"I love seeing the pure excitement that my nugget gets from seeing things. 'Ahhh! A cool bus!' 'Mama look a bootiful bufferfly!' [My daughter] has truly helped me sit back and enjoy the simple things in life."
"The best part for me is seeing my child master something that I taught her. From something as 'small' as speech (she struggled with speech so we were working on sounds like 'sp' in 'spoon' for a while and the day she got it right we seriously wanted throw a party!) to something as big as indoor rock climbing. My husband and I have done it for fun since before she was born, but were never big into it. But we decided to expose her to it and see how she did. We started her last year at age 2 and she immediately loved it. Now she draws a crowd when she climbs there and is showing a lot of promise at a crazy young age."
"Knowing that right now, at this moment, YOU are their world. You know everything, are everything, and can fix everything . This obviously doesn't last forever. But, for now with my young ones, it is enough to give me life.
[Also] their laughter is infectious. Hearing the giggles turns my day right-side up almost immediately."
"So many things, but one I didn't expect before becoming a mom is that my daughter (3) takes care of me. When I am stressed, frustrated, upset, or angry, my daughter always asks me why I am feeling that way and gives me a hug. We, of course, support them, but they support us in little ways, too."
"Randomly I would have to say the best part of being a mom, aside from the feeling of being head over heels in love with my incredible baby, is co-parenting with my husband. I am so proud of the beautiful bond my husband has with our daughter, and I love that the three of us are building our family every single day."
"[O]ne of the best for me is getting to look at the world through a child's eyes again. I love seeing my kiddo learn new things and experience things for the first time. We just went to the science museum yesterday and he watched his very first planetarium show. You know how exciting those things are! He was so psyched that one guy behind us told him he hopes he never loses that excitement for life. I wholeheartedly agreed. It's awesome to get to share the world with this little human."
"Seeing my heart walking around dancing, joyful. It's amazing. It's terrifying but it's so worth it."
"Watching my daughter play with the wonderful people in our lives. Watching them love on her, the joy on her face, and the sweet and kind way she loves them back. Makes me feel that I've taught her compassion and confidence."
"I love watching a personality develop, and catching glimpses of myself as a child. Also I love the magic of make believe and getting to play Santa and the Tooth Fairy and make my child believe in magic is super fun!"
"Watching them discover the world [and] discover their emotions and actions and empathy for others. What hits me in the feels every damn time is when they see me from afar (think school production, seeing me through the window at school,etc.), and those little hands wave like they have never waved before, and that face shines like the brightest star in the sky, and then that little hand blows me a kiss, and those lips whisper (or yell!) 'I love you, mommy,' and then the child next to them is told that I'm his mommy, and his mommy is here. ... Nothing matters in that moment. What matters is the love radiating from that tiny human, my tiny human. This may not be the best part to some, but to me, this is pretty freaking incredible. Success in seeing your child thrive, grow, discover, and love."
"Now we always have fruit snacks in the house. Just kidding. It's seeing them make connections with the world around them, and express ideas and feelings and love without prompting."
"The unconditional deep love between parent and child. I don't think anyone can fully explain it to you until you have a child. Both loving them and the love you receive in return."
"Parenting is a good excuse to do kid stuff again, random stuff, like have a room full of collectible Star Wars figurines and not feel guilty that they don't go with your decor or that you spent the equivalent of a years worth of college tuition on them. It's also an excuse to dress little people up in costume for the sake of trick or treating and then have an excuse to siphon off their candy rations. (I kid)."
[Writer's note: I've known Ella for a long time now, guys. She's only part-way kidding.]
"My oldest is about to turn 6. I am still a relatively new mother, but I think what I'm going to like most is having young people in my life, who share a lot of interests and experiences, who I can talk to and do things with... We play games together, talk about anything and everything, and share so many different kinds of meaningful moments. They broaden my view of the world, and make my life more interesting, meaningful and complex. I am hoping this aspect of parenthood will continue to develop as the years go by."
"Just today I was watching my daughter (who is just shy of 13 months) and thought to myself, 'Wow, I'm just along for the ride!' There's a whole little person with a big personality in there, and I get to watch it hatch!"
"My little guy is only 15 months, so we've still got lots to experience! But so far my heart just swells watching him interact with his world. The beginning was rough! And some days/nights still are... but it's worth it a million times over. He's happy, he's a social butterfly, he's silly, he's loving, and he brings so much joy to everyone he meets. And I'm in awe that this amazing little person is ours!"
"Watching them teach each other new things."
"There is a feeling I get when I snuggle my girls... I can't explain it, and I am almost certain a language much more beautiful that English has a word for it, but when we are snuggling I can just feel all the trust that they have in me. Its like when their little heads nestle into my shoulder they say "I know you love me, I know I am safe here." That is the best feeling in the world."
"I feel like it has opened my eyes, heart, and soul to so many things, or changed my outlook on them. Everything has been intensified, the good and the bad. It's often scary and it sometimes hurts, but it is so very worth it. Their unconditional love and lessons in forgiveness and kindness ... How they make me see the world through their eyes and enjoy all the small wonders and adventures that are right in front of us."
"It's so hard to put into words, but my children are the closest thing to actual magic in this world to me. One of my favorite things is talking to them and listening to all the funny/wacky/crazy/loving things that come out of their mouths. I just love the way their brains work and watching them grow and develop."
[Writer's note: Sometimes the shortest, simplest answer gets to the heart of the matter best.]
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