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10 Ways Being a Mom Makes You a Total Badass

Photograph by Getty Images/Cultura RF

I don't know about you, but sometimes I fall into bed so exhausted at night that I forget what a superpower I am. But the fact is, moms are the most badass beings on Earth—sometimes we just need a little reminder. Read on for 10 ways being a mom makes you (yes, you!) a total badass, and consider yourself reminded.

1. Birth, Hello. (Also adoption!)

There are few things that compare on the badassery scale to growing and pushing out a whole human person, or, alternately, to finding one's way across the universe to a baby who you didn't gestate but who was, according to fate and feats of true love and wonder, absolutely meant to be yours. Becoming a mother is a big effing deal and once you've done it you know whole parts of yourself that you didn't before, and that you can do absolutely anything.

2. Mama Bear = Always There

"Being a mom has given me the grit to keep going even in those moments when I don't think I can, simply because I'm Mom. I'm the only line of defense between normalcy and chaos. When there's an all-night toddler vomit-fest, a bloody knee, or a little sobbing body, I comfort my kids, clean everyone up and keep us all going strong. I surpass my own limitations time and again, because I am Mama Bear, hear me roar!" - Sarah Allen, mom of two, Edmonds, Washington.

RELATED: 6 Things I Thought I'd Never Do When I Had Kids

3. We Just Deal with Sh*t (Like, Literally.)

"It's amazing how quickly I became really blasé about baby poop. Full-on onesie-soaking blowout? No problem. And it's a good thing I got tough on that front because turns out toddler poop is not the same thing. I'm seriously impressed by my ability to not throw up Every. Single. Day. when dealing with my potty-training daughter's messes. It's a dirty job, and only a mom could do it." Jennifer Lima, mom of two, Smithville, Ontario.

4. We Say No (Without the Guilt)

"I no longer take on commitments, spend time with people I don't like, or generally serve myself up 'for the greater good' like I used to. Nowadays, I realize how precious my time is, and I spend it meaningfully—no more long phone conversations just to be polite or offering hours of the time I don't have for causes I'm lukewarm about. I value myself and my time more than ever, probably because I don't have a whole lot of it to spare after I'm done giving it to my kids." – Christie Megill, mom of two, Seattle, WA.

5. We Love So Much It Hurts

My older kiddo somehow just turned six and it's filling my heart up and tearing my heart out at the same time. I expressed this to a few friends with school-aged children, who nodded in complete understanding. All the moms know, but nobody told me! "It's too painful to talk about," my friend Susan explained. So I'm just saying it here, acknowledging this thing: Watching our kids grow up before our eyes (like, we blink and BOOM, they're SIX what just happened?!) is the most fulfilling—and the most painful—process in the world. We love these little people completely, knowing full well that they'll leave us someday. That while they will one day no longer be ours, we will always be theirs. We do this willingly. Because we're that badass. (We can go back to not talking about this part of mom-life again now, though.)

There's not much to say about this one except that sleep deprivation truly sucks, but we deal with it anyway and we STILL (kind of) hold our lives together in the midst of the sleepless blur.

6. We Lift

When I became pregnant with my first son in New York City I suddenly noticed the moms all around me hauling strollers AND children AND giant diaper bags AND groceries, in their arms, up subway steps. This was, like, a daily sighting. I don't live in New York these days but I sure do carry around an inhuman amount of stuff on a regular basis. Because I'm a mom of two now and that's how we do. (Bonus: my belly may be shot but my biceps have never looked so good.)

7. We Have Serious Willpower

"There are many situations in motherhood requiring enormous willpower but none so much as that moment after you step on a Lego piece and stifle a string of profanity. I'm mostly usually successful at that by now." – Nicole Basham, mom of one, Austin, TX.

8. Because Sleep is for the Weak

There's not much to say about this one except that sleep deprivation truly sucks, but we deal with it anyway and we STILL (kind of) hold our lives together in the midst of the sleepless blur. We, at least, somehow don't crash our cars. That's really something.

RELATED: 7 Things I Didn't Know About Myself Until I Became a Mom

9. We Build the Village

For all the talk of the "Mommy Wars," I don't think I've ever felt so understood and supported as I have with my mom friends. Sometimes just seeing a mom and being a mom is enough for instant bonding. I can think of times my friends have cleaned up my living room just because, run over with Advil when I've woken up with a headache, hugged me when I've cried, laughed with me until we've almost peed our pants, held my babies, fed my babies (milk donors I am forever indebted!), and just generally been there being awesome in every way. And, in kind, I do the same—bringing soup when friends are sick or taking their kids so they can grocery shop… There are countless ways to make a mom's day easier and what goes around comes back tenfold. What you end up with is a very strong village. Moms have been building bridges of connection since the beginning of time.

10. We Have Invisible Arms (Don't panic: It's a Metaphor)

Whether we work out of the house or not, moms have many jobs to do and we're usually doing at least four or five of them at once. An image that's really stuck with me is one Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh writes about in his book "A Pebble for Your Pocket." He describes parents as many-armed Bodhisattvas—beings who are working hard for the happiness of others. It might appear that most moms have only two arms, but if you look closely, you'll see she has more: One arm holding a baby, one arm cooking dinner, one arm responding to an email, one arm writing an article, one arm calling her own mom, one arm high-fiving her husband/partner, one arm helping to build a block tower with her toddler, one arm washing her hair maybe once a week or so… Look closely. Some might call it multitasking, but really, it's a superpower. You are a badass multi-armed Bodhisattva. You are amazing.

Don't forget it, tough girl.

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