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The Top Ten Best Things About Being a Mom

It's almost Mother's Day. Yes, that one day to celebrate all of the millions of tiny, unnoticed things you do 365 days a year. I became a mom for the first time in early 2010. Eight years and three kids later, I've definitely had my share of parenting ups and downs. Every time I feel like I've mastered a stage that my kids are going through, another one comes up. Good nights of sleep are few and far between because someone is either waking up, sleeping in our bed, or I'm up worrying about them. Some days it feels like someone has been screaming, crying or whining at me every minute of the past twenty-four hours. It's true what they say: Motherhood is not for the faint of heart.

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(Cuz' the motherhood just don't stop!)

However, if I had to do it all over again, I still wouldn't change a thing. To people without children this might sound crazy after reading the paragraph above, but I think motherhood is just one of those things you can't really understand until you're in it, like skydiving or kidney stones. It can be extremely painful, but also exhilarating and a source of great accomplishment, not to mention the love. Your capacity to love suddenly becomes immeasurable. Read on below for my ten favorite things about being a mom so far.

My Top Ten Favorite Things About Being a Mom:

1. The feeling you have the first time your baby sleeps through the night. I always took sleep for granted before, but not anymore. That feeling of relief mingled with elation and exhaustion is a powerful cocktail.

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2. Hearing my kids say something super adult. Today Nora, my three year old, said, "We'll have this done in no time!" I'm pretty sure I've never said that. I don't know where they hear some of these adorable things that they say, but I say keep 'em coming because it just makes my day!

3. Having a built-in excuse to get out of anything you don't want to do. The baby is sick. My toddler is napping at that time. The kindergartener has a birthday party. These are all good ways to get out of an annoying co-worker's baby shower, dinner with a critical great-aunt, etc. Is this wrong, maybe. Would it be more mature to just say no, definitely. You know what, it's still ok. We're mothers, not saints!

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4. Hearing your child laugh, whether it's for the first time or the thousandth. I might be biased, but my kids have the best, most contagious laughs. It's impossible for me not to smile when I hear them, even when I can tell they're up to no good.

5. Three words: Moms. Night. Out. I used to go out all the time before I had kids. Nights out require more planning these days, but I don't take these times out with friends for granted now, which makes them all the more meaningful. We all need those moments when we can just go out and be women and not hear, "Mom, Mommy, Mama!!" every ten seconds. These nights out are also a great time to get support from other moms who truly understand your feelings. Nothing makes you feel better as a mom than realizing you aren't the only one crazy one out there, and that actually you're not crazy after all!

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6. Having one on one time with each of my kids. With all of their needs, tantrums and fighting, it's easy for me to get frustrated with my three and forget how singularly awesome they are. When I get to have time with them individually, it's so special. The conversations we have in those moments will stay with me forever.

7. That blissful moment when I get all three kids to bed and fall into an exhausted clump on the couch. In my house this is also often known as Wine O'clock. You're still aware of everything you have to do and all the events that await you tomorrow, but for those few sweet moments you can just relax and zone out in front of the television.

8. Marveling at the differences in my kids.There is the wonder that is my son's memory, Nora's ability to repeat back any tune she hears and my older daughter's inventive, artistic talent that she got from only God knows where. (Seriously, her father and I have trouble drawing stick figures.) I've never felt so in touch with my spirituality than when I see these kids growing in different directions and becoming who they were meant to be.

9. Motherhood gives this introverted lady an easy way to talk to people. I've always been pretty shy, and had found it difficult to make friends after moving from Ohio to Virginia after college. However, as soon as I had my son, I had an instant connection to other moms. I could start a conversation just by asking, "How old is your baby?" and suddenly I had a new friend. Thanks, kids!

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10. Seeing my children practicing the values that I've tried to pass on to them. In my mind, my biggest task as a parent is to raise independent adults who are filled with compassion and integrity. This is why nothing brings me greater joy than seeing my kids being kind to others or rising above a bully and walking away. When my son asks if he can pick out something for his sister when we're at the store together or my daughter asks me if we can give some money to the person who is standing on the corner asking for help, my heart swells with pride, and I know I haven't been getting it all wrong after all.

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The instant love you have when you hold your child for the first time is a feeling you never forget, and in my experience, that feeling just grows stronger with each passing year. Loving someone so fiercely has its challenges. You feel their joys and successes like they're your own, but you feel their sadness and failures too. Motherhood is definitely not a job for the weak.

One day a year to celebrate all that mothers do all day, every day just doesn't seem like enough. That's why it felt important for me to remind all of you that, though this job might be undervalued and under-appreciated in our culture, at FIT4MOM we see you and value you every day. We see how hard you try and how much you love, and we see how your babies look up at you with such trust and admiration. Don't underestimate the importance of that or shrug it off as someone anyone can do. You are phenomenal moms and phenomenal women, and don't you forget it!

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Happy Mother's Day, Mamas!

♥ Erin

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