Raise your hand if you've ever complained about how hard motherhood is.
Keep it raised if you've ever maybe even shed a tear about how hard motherhood is in those moments when you feel totally alone and the baby won't stop crying, your daughter tells you she hates you for the first time, or you forget to take the tooth from underneath the pillow and your child looks you in the face with the realization that you have been lying to them.
And don't put it down if you've ever completely lost your shit to your partner about how they just can't understand what it's like to be you and have the weight of the world rest completely on your shoulders.
Yup. Is your arm starting to get tired by now? Mine too.
Listen, we talk a lot about how hard being a mom is, and that is absolutely true. It is hard, and sometimes there is nothing we need but a little commiseration and sympathy to just get it off of our chests. It also helps to realize that other moms are struggling just as much as we are. I'm guilty of it myself.
We should never take our children—or the opportunity to see them every day—for granted.
But in the spirit of the holiday season, when we are all feeling a little more thankful for the gifts we have been given in our lives, maybe we could take some time to also consider some of the amazing and unexpected gifts that motherhood have given us, too:
1. Relishing joy in the simplest of moments
There is nothing like motherhood to teach how to appreciate the smallest moments in life. From actually enjoying a hot cup of coffee in the morning to learning how much joy can be found in simply watching the falling snow, motherhood has taught me the happiest moments in life truly are the smallest ones. It's a reminder of what we have day in and day out, even on days when it's hard. I am so very grateful for that.
2. How not to be such a lazy bum
There, I said it. I'm a lazy bum at heart. I love my sleep and my comfy clothes and I am not a fan of such things as cooking gourmet meals and, um, getting dressed in real clothes. But motherhood has forced me out of my shell. It's taught me that I am capable of anything, whether that be working the night shift when our family needs the money to pay bills to learning to cook even when it doesn't come naturally to me. Growth is always a good thing.
3. Admitting to myself when I truly need a break
Even though motherhood forces me to go above and beyond what I think my limits may be, let's be honest, no one can continue at that pace forever. I've been a mother for eight and a half years and I am just now finally beginning to realize how important it is to admit when I need a break. I am no good to anyone when I'm crabby and stressed and exhausted. Yes, sometimes it's inevitable and I have to put my "mom face" on, but acknowledging that I need to care for myself too is just as important.
4. Chubby baby feet
I mean, seriously. This one is self-explanatory. I will be old and gray and my mind may be going and I will hold onto the sweet, sweet memories of my baby's chubby feet until I draw my last breath. OK, that's a bit dramatic, but you get my point. Chubby baby feet make the world a better place.
5. Realizing that growth is a privilege
Growing up? It's a privilege. There are so many mothers I know who will not be watching their little ones grow up, celebrating birthdays and reaching the milestones that we all dream of, and it's only made me realize how we should never take our children—or the opportunity to see them every day—for granted.
Becoming a mother has made me realize that there is so, so much I don't know or have the answers to. It's such a fragile position to be in as a parent, when so much of this little person's development rests on our shoulders. And frankly, it's kind of terrifying, but in the end, I have to hope that love will be enough.