Motherhood is a wild ride some women choose to get on, some women wish to get on, some women unexpectedly find themselves on, and some women pass on, altogether. It is not for the weak. And there should probably be a sign that says, "Must be ‘this strong’ to ride." But for those who jump on, it can actually be pretty fun.
We talked to more than a dozen women about what they secretly love most about motherhood. Here are the top things women won’t often admit they like about having kids!
Having someone to help run errands
"I love that I finally have a toilet paper go-getter," said Morgan Grace, a lecturer at St. Mary’s University. Having kids means never having to drip-dry because there’s always someone within ear-shot when you need another roll. And since the bathroom is the least private place in your home after you have children, you probably won’t even need to shout. There’s always someone close by ready to retrieve.
"I love that I have someone else to go turn up the air, or grab the remote," said fitness trainer, Amanda Cronk. With as much effort as parents put into potty training, it’s nice to get a little something back.
An excuse to stay home
Jenna Allen is a part-time stay-at-home-mom who teaches class a few nights a week. She has rearranged her schedule so that she can be home during the day for her three kids. She said although her poodle, Georgia, is a huge personality covered in fur, she’s not sure she could rationalize being a stay-at-home dog mom, without having a few human kids too.
A reason for grilled cheese
"I love that I have an excuse to eat a grilled cheese for breakfast," said Jessica Bostic. Kids are known to get stuck on one or two food options, and obsess. Since they’re eating the same thing morning, noon and night, sometimes it’s just easier — and tastier — to join in. "I love eating kid food," said Jenna Allen. Grilled cheese, PB&J’s, mac-and-cheese, and pizza are the best! Kids make it ok to give into those temptations.
Having some help around the house
"I love that I can entice them to do chores I hate, like clean baseboards, for a small nominal fee, and I pawn it off as teaching them the value of work and money," said Tonille Carlon-Burrows. Teaching future generations the value of hard work while simultaneously getting free labor is a definite perk. Of course children are typically the reason the house is a mess, but those baseboards aren’t going to clean themselves!
A reason to play
"I love having an excuse to do kid things," said Becky Spiekerman. Going to theme parks, watching cartoons, and playing games are all activities we claim are just for the kids. But sometimes it’s fun to have an excuse to just sit and color or do a puzzle.
Kids make you slow down and remember what it means to just be silly and have fun. "Kids are my pass to do ball pits, and jungle gyms, and Disney movies," said Joanne Wasmus. Without a child by your side, you might get some questions and side-eyes for jumping solo into a ball pit.
An excuse to skip out
As often as we use kids as an excuse to do fun things, we also use them as an excuse to skip out on obligations. More than one mom responded by saying they love having an excuse to decline an invitation because staying home and laying on the couch sounded more fun. Leaving a work party early "because of the sitter" is a classic move, Spiekerman said.
A reason to shop
We all love to treat ourselves, but there is also something indulgent in treating our kids to something special. "I love giving her everything I never had," said Monica Saenz. "I’m not trying to make her entitled, but it makes me feel proud, as a single mom, to spoil her a little."
An up-close study of human behavior
"I love when they fight," said Amanda Joelle. "I just love seeing their personalities come out and how they learn to deal with one another. What better way to learn people skills than dealing with a pain-in-the-ass sibling?"
The sick snuggles
There are definitely exceptions for terminal and serious illnesses, but sometimes we like when our kids are a just little under the weather. "I secretly enjoyed Caroline being sick last week because I didn’t have to go anywhere or get dressed for two days," Spiekerman said.
It’s not that we mothers like to see our kids in pain, but we do drink up those snuggles that are so badly needed when they have a tummy ache. And we can leave work early to go get a sick kid. The best though, is when they still have a fever, but the symptoms are gone. They can’t go to school because they’re contagious, but they don’t really feel bad anymore. So everyone can eat popsicles and snuggle up with some Netflix, guilt-free.
Glitter may be the herpes of craft supplies, but it can actually be pretty fun. "I love wearing a tiara and glitter in my hair," Spiekerman said. Kids draw the silly out of you. They need to pretend and play in order to learn. So really, wearing massive amounts of eye shadow and sparkles is all in the name of education.
An excuse to nap
"I love being able to take naps ‘because the baby kept me up all night,’" said Lindsey Leire. Not all mothers have mastered the art of a good nap, but it should be a priority. The next time you’ll have a legitimate excuse to nap during the day, will probably be in your 80s.
Someone to blame
Most of the things women love about kids involve having someone to blame for their indulgences. But one of the most popular answers from the women we talked to, was that moms love having a kid to blame when they break things.
Maya Braden admitted she’s blamed the kids after she broke an heirloom, but the best thing to blame on kids is breaking wind. If someone comes up behind you in the grocery store before you’ve cleared the air, it’s easier to look at the toddler and smile apologetically.
The fan club
At least when they’re small, kids think their moms are the best at everything. We have a god-like presence, and it isn’t until their teen years that they even figure out that we’re human. "I love having someone who loves me unconditionally. No matter how much cottage cheese my ass gets, or rats nest in my hair. They think I’m the prettiest woman around," said Maral Faili.
Taking candy from a baby
"I love stealing their Halloween and Easter candy," said Carmela Cancino. Having kids means never having to say "I’m sorry for eating all your chocolate." The best is when they’re still too little to eat candy, but still super adorable to dress up for Halloween. There is no shame in a mother’s game when she strolls her adorable "pumpkin" around the neighborhood in his stroller, collecting a bucket-full of sugar. And to the mother goes the spoils!
Crystal Lee said her favorite perk is being able to use the high occupancy vehicle lane. Having extra people around in the grocery store can be a pain, so moms don’t feel guilty using their plus-ones as an advantage on the road.
The stand-up comedy credit
"I can burp like a beast and make my boys laugh, when everyone else would cringe," said computer coder Leia Shanyfelt. "I can make jokes about making booger soufflé for dinner and be completely ridiculously juvenile while winning at momhood."
An excuse for the mess
Accountant Katie Kirk invokes the old "I have a toddler" excuse for having a chaotic house. "No I didn’t just chuck my flip flops in the middle of the living room like a slob, the toddler did it," she said. It’s a little more understandable for your house to be a pit when you have walking, talking, slobber monsters running around, hell-bent on mass destruction.
A reason to slow down
"Babies give you an excuse to just slow down," said Beth Libson, mother of three girls and grandmother to one boy. "I’m rocking the baby so it’s ok that I’m just sitting even though I have 500 urgent things to do."
A reason to be better
In the wild, a lion cub learns to hunt by watching its mother. Every move I make is being watched and imitated by two little people, which means I not only have to watch my curse words, but I have to make sure I’m being the kind of person I’d like them to be. I don’t think you have to have children to be a good person. But having children made me a better person out of necessity.
Having children is like having one of those cosmetic magnifying mirrors that shows all your pores. You not only see yourself in them, but you see all your flaws magnified. The great thing is that you also see your best assets come to life. When my youngest laughs I can hear my own laughter, and when my oldest donated her piggy bank to the Salvation Army without being prompted, that made me feel like I was winning. My kids gave me a new purpose in life — to try and make the world a better place for them to live in.
It’s tough, but it’s worth it
Our job as mothers is to civilize little humans. A wise preschool teacher once told me that children don’t need to grow up to be people. They are whole people right now. Their thoughts, feelings and emotions are valid. But while they are whole people, they are uncivilized people. It’s our job as parents to honor our children, teach them to care for others, to care for themselves and not to pick their nose at the dinner table.
That’s a tall order. And it’s often a thankless job. But without kids, our planet has no future, and without good parents the children would be lost. With all that pressure to raise the next generation of humans, it’s only fair that mothers should enjoy at least a few perks along the way.