Becoming a mother changes you. You are going to be devoted to your children, putting their needs before your own, and fighting fiercely to help them make their way in the world. There will be challenging times and good times. You are going to be busy.
But what you may not realize is how many small joys motherhood brings to your life. These small joys — these everyday little things that seem so simple at the time — make motherhood worth all the late nights, lost sleep, and meals eaten on-the-run.
Their First Words
Your child will eventually talk; most humans do. But for some reason, when your children mumble their first word, your heart will melt. There is something about language that is so magical, and you do not really understand this magic until your child is able to communicate with you using words.
After all those months of learning to read their body language and deducing what they want from their behavior, they are finally beginning to speak your language!
Explaining the Wonders of the World
Children ask a lot of questions. Sometimes this can be annoying, but other times, it may re-open your eyes to the beauty that is all around you. Questions like, “Mommy, why do flowers close at night?” and “Why is the sky blue?” can make you realize as much as you know about this world, there are still so many wonderful mysteries that have yet to be explored. Explaining things in child-friendly language can be really rewarding and fun, too!
Your Child Thinks You Are Julia Child
Even if you are a mom that barely knows her way around the kitchen, it is so rewarding to discover that your children love your cooking! The first time they eat at a friend’s house and are not interested in a dish because it is not made the way you make it; you will apologize to the host. But you will secretly be pleased in a way. Yes, you will want to teach your child to be polite, but that wo not negate your pride in knowing they prefer your cooking. You will even get this rewarding feeling again, years later. After a semester away at college, they will return home eager to dig into your home-cooked food.
Little Acts of Kindness
Most parents want to teach their children, above all else, to be kind to others. The first time they display a heartfelt kindness, you will be so proud! Maybe they will offer to give you their sticker or their candy when they can sense you are having a bad day. Perhaps you will see them offer to kiss a friend’s bruised knee and make it better.
These little acts of kindness make the world go ’round. Knowing you have instilled that benevolence in your own child will make you feel confident in the future of the planet.
Nothing fills a mother’s heart like the sound of her child laughing. Often, babies will laugh before they are even able to speak real words. Their laughter lets you know they are happy, content, and entertained. It has a way of erasing any guilt and worry you feel when you cannot get them to stop crying, or when they are miserable from a cold.
Laughter is like all positive human emotions rolled into one and put on display. This emotion coming from your little one will delight you.
There will be times when your children struggle. It may be something simple; they might struggle to learn to tie their shoes. Or maybe it will be more complex; they are diagnosed with a developmental disability and you know it will be harder for them to learn to read.
When your child perseveres and succeeds after struggling, you will feel like an Olympian that just won the marathon. You will take great pride; not only in their successes but in the work, it took you both to achieve that success.
Connection with Your Partner-Parent
Every now and then, the two of you will just look at your child together and be struck with a sense of wonder. You created this being — this wonderful, expressive, happy human. The way life recreates itself is so magical and special. Sharing that wonder with your partner will bring the two of you closer in ways you never imagined.
Maybe there is a certain expression or reaction that your child does that mirrors you or your partner. Or perhaps you will look at their feet and think, “Wow, my feet looked just like that 20 years ago!” Your connection with your child and the joy of motherhood will be profound. As your children grow, you will notice more ways they are just like you. Be what you want them to become.
This joy is as simple as they come. Cuddling on the couch or in bed with your little one will make you feel so comforted and loved. It will not matter what else is going on around you or how frustrated you were the day before when they would not eat their peas. Cuddling makes it all okay. You can immerse yourselves in your own little world where the only thing that matters is your connection.
Motherhood will bring its times of trial and challenge, but it will also bring many great joys that you never expected. From your child’s first words to the moment you recognize yourself in their behavior. Prepare to be amazed at how much more connected to the world motherhood makes you feel.
Never take these joys for granted. They are what makes us human. They are what makes you a mother.
Anthony Cupo is a trained mindfulness facilitator (TMF) from the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. He is a co-owner of Stepping Forward Counseling Center, LLC and has been meditating for over 30 years.