Do you LOVE being a mom?
November 6, 2019 3:10 AM   Subscribe

If you LOVE being a mom (or the default parent if not a mom), can you break down why? Is it something you DO? Is it a way of thinking? Is it an attitude thing? Just your personality?
posted by semacd to Human Relations (21 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I sometimes love being a mom and other times I don’t. I like being a mom when I get time to do activities that are meaningful to me, when I feel connected to the people in my life, like friends who knew me before kids. I love being a mom when I’m rested and balanced.

I think that’s a big part of it.
posted by catspajammies at 3:34 AM on November 6, 2019 [6 favorites]

I love being a mom. I don't think it's my personality; I'm really, really not a nurturing or "feely" person by nature. Adorable kittens leave me 100% cold. I definitely had misgivings heading into the experience.

Things that make mom-hood delightful to me:
--the moral clarity of having a person whose needs you are responsible for meeting.
--The satisfaction of being able to give happiness to someone you love through simple, straightforward actions of your own.
--The scope for creativity and analytical problem-solving, in a way that feels absolutely motivated and worthwhile (no "eh, why am I wasting my time on this for my boss/ myself, who really cares?")
-- Honestly, just the visceral/ probably-hormonal physicality of the experience. My kids smell nice to me, and are nice to hug and to look at. Being around them has a kind of deep animal "rightness" in it that is very pleasant.
posted by Bardolph at 3:46 AM on November 6, 2019 [47 favorites]

I never had myself pegged as someone who would be a mom, much less enjoy, or even love it (as I do). As far as what I _do_, I don't love all that- no way- too much clean up, too little sleep, lots of exasperating annoyances. Why I love being a mom is because of what my son does... its so fascinating and beautiful to watch and experience that. And to help another person unfurl over time and experience and relating/understanding- I do love the sense of that as a higher calling (which I embrace because it sure helps the exhausting slog through all the messy/sleepdeprived/not fun stuff).
posted by iiniisfree at 4:33 AM on November 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

I love being a mom most of the time (about 80% of the time). That said, I feel like I would love it less if I actually were the default parent - my husband and I have agreed to equally share parenting and for the most part have been successful at that. I think it's important to have help, in some form or the other, to really feel happy as a mom.

I was saying in a different context the other day that the problems of being a parent are easy to explain to others, but the joys are private and not easy to share. So I'd say that one thing both my husband and I do to appreciate parenting more is to try to capture these little joys and talk about them with each other (really the only other person who can entirely understand). Each day usually ends with us giggling about some funny thing our two year old son said. So in general, while it's not easy, the joys do outweigh the problems quite considerably, though that's hard to understand from the outside.

Having a sense of humor is important, as well an ability to go with the flow. Children do up end a lot of your plans and so you can't be completely wedded to them.

Watching your child learn and grow and acquire new skills is one of the most rewarding aspects of parenting. Sometimes we pinch ourselves because we can't quite believe that this amazing creature came from us! It feels incredibly visceral and satisfying in a primal way.
posted by peacheater at 4:39 AM on November 6, 2019 [7 favorites]

I'm a default parent and massively agree with Bardolph (and, yes, the depth of those feelings is a function of well-restedness and support for the rest of the stuff in our lives). I also really like feeling competent at things and, at least for now, I've felt like I have a really solid grasp on what I'm supposed to be doing as a parent. I completely understand that that feeling is not universal and it's entirely possible it'll go away as my kiddo gets older, but thus far, when I do the things I feel are correct and/or follow the guidelines/advice given by parents I admire, they work. (Thankfully. Thankfully.)

Having a child has also made it incredibly clear to me who is actually owed/deserves/needs the level of care and support I used to try to give to certain others, which is: nobody except a tiny little baby or a sick/hurt kid. My child and I had a lovely six months or so of me providing for their wants/needs as absolutely as I could, and since then what they've needed and wanted most is continuously greater autonomy. And if my one/two/three/four-year-old needs greater autonomy and me to just generally take a step back, then everyone else I used to pour myself into and try to make their lives better despite/in spite of their own choices... all of those adults need to either figure things out on their own or at least ask for my help in specific reasonable ways. (And I do take my share of responsibility for having done that in the first place: it wasn't just them.)

Essentially, I love having our own little bubble of a world where things make sense on a very deep level. I love having a tiny companion in the big world and teaching them how to express their feelings and desires and how to behave the ways towards others that I wish everyone would. I love that they are utterly themselves, with very little regard for social conventions or pressures. I am proud of whatever contributions I've made in making their life a safe place for those things. I love that they remind me of my values and give me a continuous reason to be my best self, even when they're not right there, because the things I do and the choices I make affect the world they live in.
posted by teremala at 4:57 AM on November 6, 2019 [15 favorites]

I wouldn’t say I LOVE being a mom/parent: it’s a near-constant test of endurance and patience, and it’s given me all sorts of new anxiety fuel. But I do LOVE my kid, and the work of parenting is just the cost of getting to really really know a delightful kid or two or eight.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:16 AM on November 6, 2019 [4 favorites]

For me, a huge part of this is life conditions which make loving it easy. At this point, we have one kid whose needs have never overwhelmed us for longer than we could handle. I have a partner who really, really pulls his share. I have a full-time job which I don't love, but gets me out of the house but still lets me deal with family stuff when I need to. We can afford daycare. There are women in my family who would have loved being a mom a lot more if they had been as lucky as I am.

He is learning something new all the time, and it is just so fascinating to watch a person become themselves. When he was an infant and discovering his hands, I would just hold him on my lap and watch for as long as he would let me. He's bigger now, and even when he's taking a lot out of me, I feel grateful to just step back and be sort of like, "wow, new emotions!" or "holy cow, he understands a lot more than he used to." I just feel grateful that I'm there for it. My husband is this way too, and it's good that we can enjoy and laugh about this stuff together.

It feels more like fate than personality for me. I've never been especially nurturing or patient or whatever, but I always wanted a family with children. My husband recently said that becoming a parent was an extension of his personality, but a totally new side of mine. I agree with him, but I also knew that this was in me and was not surprised by it.
posted by figgy_finicky at 6:31 AM on November 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

I love my kids intensely. But I did not intensely love being a mom...until they got past about 4 years old. Now I have a 8 year old and a 14 year old and I intensely love being their mom.

For me I had to a) get past the idea that I was screwing up. I do screw up constantly and now they are old enough to tell me about it, but I also get to see that they are also neat people with plenty going for them and my "good enough" may good enough.

b) Honestly, I did my very best with them as toddlers etc. and I loved them, but the grind, I did not love. Looking back I wish I had been able to enjoy it more but I didn't, and I want to think I would do it differently but...I might not.

Basically, my "one killer app" to being in love with being a parent was time and letting the relationship with myself as a mom grow.
posted by warriorqueen at 7:06 AM on November 6, 2019 [9 favorites]

I don't love all the day-to-day responsibilities of being a mom but I love having my two kids in my life. When they were very little, what I loved was their precious, beautiful little selves - their delighted smiles, the smell of their heads, the way it felt to hold them. I was never a baby person - always thought it was odd that baby humans were so much less cute than puppies or kittens. So I was surprised to find that my own babies were the cutest things I had ever seen and that I loved the baby stage. (I didn't love the sleep interruptions, the physical strain of having to carry them, the lack of free time, etc. but the babies themselves were so delightful they were worth having to put up with the rest of it.) I always liked little kids. They're just so freaking cute. They look cute, they act cute, they say cute things. So it was fun to have little kids for that reason, but I've enjoyed them just as much as they've gotten older. They're teenagers now, and I couldn't pick a favorite age. It's cool seeing them develop interests and skills and become who they're going to be.

I've enjoyed having a reason to do all kinds of fun things I wouldn't have done otherwise. I loved reading to them - revisiting childhood favorites and discovering new favorites. I still read to them when we can find the time. It's fun taking them to museums, fairs, parks, camping. Because I had kids, I started going skiing regularly instead of just now and then and I got a lot better and had a lot of fun. I started taking the kids ice skating a lot and it gave me a chance to get way better at that. I absolutely love ice skating but would feel a little weird going to a rink by myself and it wouldn't be as much fun. It's fun to play games with them - not little kid stuff like Candyland, but real games like Set or chess. When they were learning to read I made badly-drawn but funny easy reader comics for them and wrote little stories. As they got older, because I had an encouraging audience, I started doing more writing - fan fiction for my daughter, a writing exercise that has turned into a partly-finished novel, etc. I homeschooled my kids and that involved a lot of learning myself. It was great to have a reason to really think about and learn to understand things like heat transfer. I enjoy teaching, so I liked explaining things to my kids and doing some classes for groups of kids in our homeschool coop. Family vacations are fun (overall, mixed with annoying and stressful incidents.) It's fun to watch movies together, eat together, work in the yard together, decorate the Christmas tree together, have family traditions and shared happy memories. I like the fullness and business of family life. (Though I also very much liked all the peace and time to do what I wanted when I was single.)

And being a parent is interesting and enlightening. It makes you reassess your own childhood and your attitude toward your parents. It's a whole different set of experiences you haven't had before, so it expands your life like travel or education or anything else new and different. I like having new experiences and adventures and having kids is one big new adventure.
posted by Redstart at 7:33 AM on November 6, 2019 [5 favorites]

Here are some things I love about being a mom:
- it changed my perspective about time. I'm not busy for the sake of being busy or to feel productive (see more below). Now that I'm getting more sleep again, it's also a lot easier for me to be in a moment in a way I never was before becoming a mom.
- it re-introduced me to play and just enjoying things with my body (looking at little bugs, checking out how different surfaces feel, etc.)
- it changed my perspective about how we value people. If you had asked me before motherhood, I would have said that of course I believed that people have inherent value. But I tied a lot of my own self worth up into how productive I was being at a corporate job. I don't do that anymore.
- it changed my level of empathy for others and my ability to relate to children in general.
- it's beginning to help me heal a lot of childhood pain and understand more about my parents.
posted by CMcG at 7:45 AM on November 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

I love being a mom to my particular kid. I happen to have a (now 13 year old) daughter who is very similar to me in outlook, temperament, and sense of humor. I find her delightful and genuinely enjoy spending time with her. No idea if I would enjoy being a mom to a different kid.
posted by missrachael at 8:23 AM on November 6, 2019 [4 favorites]

Nothing else I have done makes such full use of me.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 8:52 AM on November 6, 2019 [6 favorites]

I love being a dad 100% of the time.

- Children are sweet and fun.
- I enjoy doing things with my child like reading, puzzles, playing goofy games, learning new things together, exploring new places together.
- It's rewarding (and a good challenge) to take care of another person and help them on a daily basis experience life in the best way possible.
- It's an honor and a privilege to help another human being learn, grow, and be prepared for a lifetime of experiences.
- Having a child enriches your social life due to all the other parents you end up meeting.
posted by Dansaman at 9:15 AM on November 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

This is a purely selfish reason about why I love being a mom but here it is anyway. No one in my life has ever or will ever love me (except maybe my own parents) as completely, undeservingly, and unconditionally as my children do. They are still little, only 4 and 8, so I know the love they have for me is going to change as they themselves change. But right now the love they have for me is the purest and most amazing love I’ve ever experienced and that is...everything.
posted by teamnap at 9:28 AM on November 6, 2019 [6 favorites]

I would say I definitely love it. There are aspects of it that frankly suck, but in the grand scheme of how I feel about it on a regular basis - definitely love it. Honestly, the parts that are the hardest (in my personal limited 8 years of experience) are the first several years when it's really difficult to do things without extensive planning and thats if it's even worth the hassle and screaming fits.

Once my son was about 5 -- it became a TON easier. I think then is when I started to LOVE it. Now I have a daughter that is 2 and she is... she's really difficult. But I know this will pass as well, and I can't wait to get to that point. I'm not a lover of small children, but once they can travel well, communicate well, and they start to develop these personalities and little independent opinions separate from your own IT IS FASCINATING.

I catch myself staring at them when they're being sweet and wonder how I got so lucky. I barely remember my son being in those difficult ages anymore. He's smart and SUPER funny, developing his own opinions and personality and seeing those traits that are both mine and my husbands has been crazy fun. It makes all of it worth it.
posted by Sara_NOT_Sarah at 11:09 AM on November 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oh, yes, it is so healing. Sometimes something happens that reminds me of my childhood and my mother, and all I can think is, "How could you do that to little me?" Before, I never truly believed that things hadn't been my fault, that I wasn't somehow responsible even as a very young child much less an adolescent, that there was no way I could have behaved that would have made things better... but now I know. It was never me. Signing the will stating that my mother should never get custody of our kid no matter what felt like reaching back in time and finally saving that little bit of myself who still lived there.
posted by teremala at 12:18 PM on November 6, 2019 [17 favorites]

I love being a mom (and I stay at home so I guess I am the "default" parent or at least I am putting in most of the parenting time). It's not always 100% amazing 24/7 but on the whole I would say I definitely love it. I really like strategizing and problem solving with/around my kids, both logistically and emotionally. I love providing a stable, fun, pleasant environment for them and making my house a place where we all feel happy and safe. I think they're both funny and weird and amazing so it's truly enjoyable for me to talk to them, to see where they're at with things, to see when they get a new skill or demonstrate growth. I won't say that it's rewarding, because I truly think often it's nothing that I did, but it's very satisfying. I LOVE doing small and big family "rituals" with them (like anything from weekly Costco shop to big holiday traditions), it really feels like we're building a history together, like we are constructing our own reality.
posted by cpatterson at 1:06 PM on November 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

I absolutely *love* being a mom. I am head over heels in love with my kids, in a way I never would have expected beforehand.

Like peacheater said above, it's hard to explain exactly why, but I think it comes down to the fact that I really like who my kids are. I have two 13-year old girls and an 11-year old boy, and they are simply the coolest beings on the planet. I get immense satisfaction from watching them interact with the world, and I always have. It feels like such a privilege to get a front-row seat to someone's entire life! To get to observe them, to teach them, to learn from them - all while they adore you and you adore them - it's such a self-perpetuating cycle of mutual interest and love. The more you see and feel it, the more you'll find to see and feel.

An example, which might help explain what I mean:
Yesterday was Election Day, and one of my daughters went all in with helping with our school's bake sale. She spent all day Sunday baking brownies, cookies and rice krispies treats (by herself), and then yesterday she helped me set up at 6:30 in the morning, asked to come vote with me (at a different location), took three 2-hour shifts to sell, and then went back in the evening to help me clean up. I was blown away by so many things: her independence, her sense of civic engagement, her baking skills, her politeness in how she treated everyone (buyers and non-buyers alike), her eloquence, her work ethic, her willingness to help both her community and me - I could go on and on.

I say this not to brag about how amazing my kid is (although clearly I think she is) but to show you the kind of rewards I get from being a mom - just this single example had me being utterly filled with pride, and awe, and gratitude, and hope for the future, and love. I could give you similar examples with each of my other kids - neither of whom wanted to help beyond baking a batch of cookies, but who have their own things that make them special.

I cannot explain how it feels to bask in this kind of love and awe and pride almost all the time. Parenting is HARD, there's no question. But the rewards are... breathtaking. Awe-inspiring. Joy-inducing. Truly amazing.
posted by widdershins at 2:30 PM on November 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

I love my kids, more than anyone. To have them opened a new dimension in my life, and they are my first priority. But I have never loved being a mom. I don't mind it too much, and I'm OK capable of it, but I would never have been able to stay at home beyond the first year. I admire those who can, but I also made peace with myself early on. My girls have the mother they have. I can give them some things and not some others and in a way, it's like that for all mothers wether they love the role or hate it. So the simple answer to your question is, for me it's something I do. I think about it, set up values and principles, and act on them.
One of the fascinating things about children is that they each have their own personality, and they deal with whatever conditions they are given in different ways. One of my daughters probably dreamt of a more motherly mother, the other probably thrived in the cool air. I've seen my task as a mother to support them in how they handle life, and to respond to their needs in a balanced manner the best I could. I still send more emojis to the one who wants the explicit love and make more jokes with the one who wants her own distance.
My now adult kids feel I was a relatively strict mother, in that I almost never entered negotiations like their friends' parents often did. I need clear boundaries. But they also experienced more trust and respect than many of their peers. I wanted them to be sure they knew they could always call me if they needed me, and that begins when they are three, not when they are twelve. I won't say I've never scolded them or made mistakes, I have, like everyone does. But I've based my parenting on respect and reason and tried to manage my temper, and perhaps that has been easier because I've had a bit of emotional detachment from the parenting role (not from my babies).
I'm very proud of both of my girls now they are adult, on top of loving them endlessly. They are doing well, they are managing the challenges their generation deal with, they are great friends to their friends, and I think that last thing is the most important one.
posted by mumimor at 2:51 PM on November 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

Single dad here.
Being a lone parent sucks.
No time, career fucked, expensive, "romantic life?" El Oh El, just constant and relentless work.


I get to be involved 24/7 in the life of the most wonderful human I've ever met.
I get to help her grow into the adult she will become.
I get to laugh with her (so much laughing).
I get to support her.
I get to be surprised and challenged by her.

It's difficult but I love it! God help me, I do love it so
posted by fullerine at 4:53 AM on November 7, 2019 [6 favorites]

I am a mom to a sub-1 year old.

I would never have expected the joy of spending time with a little being who does not care if I am smart, funny, talented, attractive, all the things that I feel compelled to turn "on" and "up" with other adults.

Baby just enjoys being with me while he explores his world. Recently, he will crawl 6 or 7 feet away from me, need some reassurance, turn around to make sure I'm still there, smile gently when we make eye contact, and continue exploring. Watching that kind of emotional reassurance come over him because of me is...deeply, deeply worthy.
posted by vacuumsealed at 6:02 PM on November 20, 2019

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