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13 Things moms wouldn’t have without their kids — good, bad & in between

“You’ll miss this.”

“They’re only young once.”

Recognize these clichés we like to throw at moms, usually while they’re dug deep in the sleep-deprived trenches of parenting? We’re told to treasure every moment of being a mother, but that’s bull: not all elements of being a mom are meant to be cherished.

I love my kids. I love being a mom… usually. My kids add so much spice to my life, and by spice, I mean messes, noises and caffeine dependence. Some parts of motherhood are awesome; some, not so much. Here are 13 things in my life I wouldn’t have without my small humans — the good, the bad and the messy:

Obvious physical damage:

1. Stretch marks

2. Saggy boobs

3. Varicose veins

4. The fact that my belly button is two inches lower and half and inch to the left of where it was before I got pregnant. And seriously, how does that even happen?

More: 5 Ways to battle stretch marks during pregnancy before they start

Signs of wear and tear:

5. Bags under my eyes

6. Frequently occurring gray hair

7. Short-term memory loss (AKA momnesia) 

Okay, maybe I can’t blame my gray hair exclusively on my kids, but the terrible threes (whoever said it was twos did not know what they were talking about) escalated my need for regular root jobs. Regular being like every two weeks. Sigh.

More: Parents are naming their babies with random words, and it’s kind of cool

But, it doesn’t all suck…

8. My enhanced sense of fashion: I am rocking a giant-@ss handbag and sneaker-soled flats that are supposed to be cute (they are not). Yes, childless 21-year-old, I see you and your sleek little clutch purse mocking me with your eyes. Whatever. I have enough stuff in this bag to survive a zombie apocalypse, and my sensible footwear and I have a way better chance of outrunning the walkers than you do.

9. A cast-iron stomach (AKA the ability to handle lots of gross shit, including every type of fluid that can be projectile-expelled from a small child’s body) 

10. The ability to find any lost object, detect any lie and see what a child is doing when my back is turned. I also possess the talent of being the only person in my house with the skills to replace the toilet paper roll. I am practically a ninja.

11. Acrobat-like contortion abilities. I have honed this skill due to the short people who creep into my bed on a nightly basis. I can twist myself into an unrecognizable form to avoid the feet in my nostril, kidney and… well, you know where. That’s not fun. If I ever get completely fed up with being a mom, I am sure the circus could use someone like me.

12. I’m so relaxed… about cleanliness. There are only so many LEGOs, underpants and straws from Capri Sun pouches I can pick up off the floor until I just don’t care.

13. My uber-gourmet palate, which has been carefully trained after many a relaxing meal eaten standing up at my kitchen counter. And yes, a relaxing meal includes scraping the SpaghettiOs my kid didn’t eat out of a Thomas the Tank Engine bowl.

More: Mom explains why they’re adopting a no-kid policy for their bed (VIDEO)

Yes, sometimes I miss my pre-kid body; being able to sleep in my whole bed; being able to sleep, period; and choosing clothing for reasons other than “that will still look okay with snot on it.” Yes, I look in the mirror and realize that motherhood has taken its toll on my appearance and my sanity.

But, I love being a mom. I love the look of delight in my children’s eyes when I teach them how to do something simple, like make a shadow puppet. They think I’m absolutely the coolest person ever for putting blanket over the table and making them a “fort.” When they’re lying next to me sleeping, I love to watch their angelic little faces and listen to the rise and fall of their breathing.

Until one of them kicks me in the vag. Then being a mom kind of sucks and I have to wait until one of them does something cute again.

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