Before I became a mother, I didn't understand why any woman would choose to take on the role of parent. All I heard was how exhausting, frustrating, and all-around difficult it is to be a mom. Women were quick to tell me that they never slept, they barely showered, and they felt like they were drowning under the constant pressures and obligations that come with raising a child. Of course, I was told all the reasons why motherhood is beautiful and well worth the hardship, but I was also told motherhood was stressful and scary and taxing and, back then, the cons seemed to outweigh the pros.

Now that I'm a mother, I realize why moms love being a parent. Is it easy? No. Is it absolutely awesome in so many new, exciting, and surprising ways that even the most upsetting of days pales in comparison to the looks they give you and the things they say and the ways they love you? Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes. Being a parent means you're constantly afraid for your child, constantly worried you're doing a great job, but loving every minute of it because that terror is mixed with delight and wonder and so much love that there are days your chest aches and your breathe catches behind your smiling teeth. It's this marvelous, pain-in-the-ass mix of good and bad; a true representation of humanity itself, all wrapped up in a relationship between a mother and her child that is constantly growing, always evolving, and consciously being nourished through love, pain, hardship, and happiness. It's the knowledge that yes, you could (and will, trust me) mess up, but you will also help guide another human being through life and into the world, giving them the tools to experience every beautiful, horrible, magnificent and melancholy moment that makes life worth living.

In short, it's a crazy ride that can sometimes make you nauseous, but one you never, ever, want to end. Here are 22 moms, sharing why they love being a parent, because there's real magic in motherhood. A magic worth sharing.

Brittany, 24


"Goodnight kisses. Stinky morning breath. The way they look at you to see your excitement when they do something cool. They way being a mother has changed you and now you cry at everything. All the advice you are now able to share with your loved ones, so they don't have to learns things the hard way like you did. Waking up in the middle of the night just to go check on them, no matter how old they are. Having someone love you endlessly, no matter what you look like. Watching your husband be an amazing father and know that you guys are a stronger team now than you ever have been, because of the love you share for these tiny little humans you made together. Snuggles. Endless amounts of squeeze tight snuggles. And loving two people more than you could ever describe in words because only your heart truly knows how much you love your children, and how much you love being a mother. That's what I was put here to do."

Jamie, 33

I get to experience the happiest feelings of my childhood all over again, but through their eyes. So I get a double-dose of happiness: I get to remember the good times I had and I get to see the people I love more than anyone in the world experience it, too. Moreover, I often get to provide those experiences. It's awesome.

Alison, 22

"Maybe I love being a parent because I get to see my two children shape themselves into the amazing people they are, every single day. Maybe it's because they teach me things daily that I never would've known without having kids. Maybe I love being a parent because every morning and every night my son looks me in the eyes and says, "I love you so much mommy," and that lets me know I am doing something right when it comes to parenting. It could be because my kids saved me in more ways than they will ever know. Or because they introduced me to a love I never even knew existed.

I'm not sure if I can even pin point one exact reason why I love being a parent to my two loving children. All I know for sure is that being a parent is absolutely amazing."

Heather, 34

I love being a parent because there is nothing more amazing that watching your child learn and grow.

Brittany, 29

"I always have a friend. Someone who wants to hold my hand and share all their days with me."

Marchelle, 26

Being a parent has taught me to love harder than I ever have. My son has shown me the little things that we, as parents, overlook or don't have time to stop and appreciate!

Lindsey, 34


"There's a sense of accountability I'm not sure I'd have if I haven't been a mother my whole life, and it's so crazy awesome to see your "baby" become really independent [and] an adult."

Karly, 28

Being a parent makes me a better person. I want to be the best role model for my daughter that I can be, so it's helping me break some of my bad habits and start living a better life. Also, the giggles and the cuddles.

Rebecca, 30

"Oh geez. The chubby cheeks. The sticky hands. The mischievous smiles. The fleeting glimpses of the woman she will become. The knowledge that the process we are co-creating, the bond that is mother and child is so ancient and primal and has been done countless times but never quite like this.The wisdom in her eyes that is still unsullied by the world. Her wearing a pirate eyepatch."

Kellie, 52

Unconditional love from parent to child, and visa versa.

Rachel, 31

"It's impossible to say what I love most about being a mom. It's exhausting and you constantly feel the weight and pressure of molding these little beings to be healthy productive members of society. One of the things I love most is being their soft place to land, the one they turn too. When they ask me if we can snuggle for a little bit or the pride they get in showing you something they've learned; the bursting joy you feel is like no other high. I feel like they've taught me so much about when to be stern and when to give grace. They love without condition because they are loved without condition."

Nicole, 35

I love watching them change. Developing there own little personality! And knowing that no matter how bad I want to sleep in and or have a quiet moment or a clean house, I still wouldn't have it any other way. Plus that will come sooner than I am ready. They grow way too fast!

Laura, 29


"I love being a parent for all the completely cliché reasons. But, what I love most it how it has changed my perspective of my parents and my in-laws. I find myself in my mom's shoes constantly, thinking, "I'm sorry I was (am) such a picky eater, I can see how hard that must of been for her," or, "I bet she loved to tickle me until I couldn't hardly breathe from laughing so hard, when I was a toddler too."

Danielle, 28

I love being a parent because it just keeps getting better. Just when I thought I couldn't be any prouder, or my heart couldn't possibly hold any more love, this little lady does something completely new that leaves me in awe all over again.

Shannon, 37

"I worked so hard to become a parent (my husband and I adopted) and now that I'm finally a mom, I can't imagine being anything else. I love his hugs, his joy of discovery, his laughter and just everything. I can't wait to see the man he grows into. He's just amazing."

Susannah, 32

I love being a parent because my children have taught me patience, an amazing kind of love, and how to be a better person for them.

Dorota, 45


"The sense of purpose and meaning my children gave me. I no longer ask myself "why am I here?" — all I need to do is look at them, and there's my answer. They put everything in perspective, they provide me with a natural hierarchy of priorities, and they are at the top. (Yes, I love my husband, and he is my #1, but that is a different kind of love, so I do not compare them.)

The way you love them, madly, just almost irrationally; it is a feeling that is beyond anything, just bliss. And for me, they give me courage, because you have to be brave to be a parent. The hard stuff is the way your heart is no longer inside of you, like that saying: once you have children your heart is on the outside, inside your child or children, walking around. And yes, seeing your husband be an awesome dad, is just incredible. Then there is all the soft stuff; the giggles, the laughter, the tickles. Nothing like the sound of your children laughing, or singing somewhere in the house. [My husband] and I just look at each other when we hear that, smile, and do a high five, and affirm "our kids are awesome".

Watching them asleep at night in a tumble of bedding and messy hair. The time they make you smell their feet and you say "ewww" and they laugh, and do it over and over and over. I guess it is those moments that you wish you could turn into gems and freeze them in time and love and memory. And their love for you. You feel so loved, your heart bursts. And when you have a crappy day at work, or people are mean to you, you come home and grubby, sticky hands grab you and you get hugs and stinky, sticky kisses and they fight over who loves Mama most. [It's] priceless, you can't put a value on that. It makes you realize those other people do not matter. The little ones you made ('cause, isn't that amazing if you are the Mama?) are what matters.

And OK, you asked for what we love, because, of course, there's plenty of "and I don't love this..." in the mix. But the light is much bigger than any of the shadow."

Christi, 31

Being a mom has given me a purpose. I've been trusted with three beautiful souls to teach, laugh with, love and ultimately learn from. The way my children look at me with such unconditional love, makes me want to always strive to be the best mother possible.

Katie, 30

"Being able to make a total ass out of myself in public and then excusing it because of my toddler. Singing in the grocery store, rawring at the zoo, jumping in puddles and playing make believe at the park."

Nicole, 34

What I love most about parenthood is getting to watch them learn and grow. And nothing beats the look on my daughter's face when I get home from work, or anywhere else for that matter. The unconditional love and the snuggles on the couch and thinking about the amazing things to come! I love it all!

Rachel, 31

"I love being a mom because of all the love, learning, and fun. [My son] and [my daughter] make everyday so fun and full. They are both growing and developing new things everyday!"

Britney, 27

God, there are so many reasons why being a parent is the best thing in the whole world ... When my doctors told me time and time again that I wasn't going to be a mom, my world was crushed. After three miscarriages and two ectopic pregnancies, I was devastated. All I ever wanted to be was a mom and I felt like that was taken from me the second my doctors said it wasn't possible.
Having [my daughter] was one of the happiest days of my life. I couldn't stop crying. I realized now was my chance to finally prove to the world that I was an awesome mom. They've taught me the true meaning of unconditional love, patience, and to never give up. I am their shield from this crazy world and even though someday they'll try to push me away, I won't leave them. We wouldn't be [our family] without those little turds and don't want to imagine our lives without them.