Most moms would agree that being a mother is the most difficult job in the world. As a mother of three, I know it's true. What keeps us going despite all the challenges? Here's a list, with ideas contributed by actual moms, of 15 ways mothers are "paid," making it the best job in the world.
1. The second chances to experience all the firsts in life.
Remember how great it was to be a kid? To go on your first roller coaster? See the ocean for the first time? This year, we took our kids to their first baseball game, and I loved seeing them soak it all in. Reliving these moments through the eyes of your child is worth more than gold.
2. The way a child's eyes light up when they learn something new.
There is nothing more magical than witnessing a child learn a new skill, whether it be riding a bike or using the toilet. Reaching milestones with your child means your hard work has paid off, and the sense of fulfillment you will experience far outweighs a paycheck.
3. The kisses, hugs and cuddles with your child.
No matter how hard the day has been, when you feel those chubby toddler arms around your neck, all the troubles melt away. Same goes for kisses and cuddles. These are just added bonuses to being a mother, which make everything you do worth it.
4. The laughter and smiles from your child.
Every mom knows that seeing your baby's first smile is priceless. I can remember the first smile of each of my children and feeling that new connection. Similarly, hearing a baby laugh can hush all the fears and worries you might have.
5. The way your child always loves and adores you, no matter what.
All moms make mistakes with their children, and this might cause guilt. Your child will love you regardless. On a horrible mom day, I asked my children to tell me, on a scale of 1-10, how much they loved me as their mom. Without hesitation, they shouted, "10, Mom! 10!" Moms, you are doing great. And if you doubt it, just ask your children.
6. The way your child is honest and genuine.
Let's face it, children are funny. Their ability to be honest about a person or situation brings so much joy to parenting. In addition, they are much more genuine and heartfelt than most adults. There is so much we can learn from them, in this regard.
There's no greater motivation to be good than knowing your children are watching you. This pushes you to be an even better person because you want to set an example for your child. But don't be afraid to let your child see you are human, too.
8. The ability to learn patience.
I thought I was patient until I had children. I still remember overhearing a mother yelling at her child when my oldest was an infant. I thought, "I'm never going to become that mom." Well, I did. But that doesn't mean I'm not learning patience in the process. We develop this attribute day by day.
9. The opportunity to develop empathy.
When you have a child, suddenly your feelings aren't as important. If your child hurts, you hurt. You want to take the pain away, which isn't always possible. This characteristic comes with being a mom, and I would guess it starts once you know you are expecting.
10. The opportunity to guide someone on the right path.
You want what is best for your child. Guiding them as they grow is more rewarding than any salary. I love walking along the path of life with my children and being there when they both stumble and triumph.
11. The ability to create memories you both will treasure.
Memories are created every day as a mother. Little things, like when my daughter makes up a funny joke or big things like seeing my son play in his first piano recital. Capturing these memories, whether on camera or by simply retelling them as a family, enriches my life as a mom.
12. The opportunity to be a teacher.
Perhaps the number one job we perform as moms is that of a teacher. Our examples teach our children the most. If I were to sit down and make a list of all the things I need to teach my children, I would feel defeated. But they are learning from us and right alongside us.
13. The chance to share your passions.
You enter your role as a mother armed with your own culture, passions and traditions, and these can be shared with your children. Seeing my son progress on the piano has been so rewarding to me. This sharing of passions and talents can bond generations.
14. The ability to focus on a few people and make a big difference.
Being a mom might seem simple — you're only responsible for your own children. However, what you are doing as a mom is making a difference. Think of the impact you are making in the world by raising children.
Babies need constant care. Children need help tying shoes and getting dressed. The tasks you perform can feel monotonous, but what you are really doing is selfless service; performing work that cannot be done by your children. Eventually, you will get to see the fruits of your labors.
Being a mother means your paycheck is infinitely large. And to top it all off, you get to experience the deepest love imaginable. Motherhood is a job worth living — no monetary payment required.