The Little Joys of Motherhood

posted in: Motherhood 113 comments

Motherhood is hard. Everyone who is a mom, knows that.

We survive and thrive however, on not just learning from the hardships, but in reveling in the little joys that motherhood brings.

Things like….

1. Successfully removing a massive booger from your toddler’s nostril, after it’s been bugging you for 2 hours.

2. Your child actually eats the food you cook.

3. The baby wakes up in the middle of the night to nurse … and goes straight back to sleep after.

4. Everyone gets a nap and wakes up happy.

5. You go through the day without changing clothes (yours, the toddler’s, the baby’s) multiple times.

6. The toddler says “Love You” without prompting.

7. You only spend 10 minutes cleaning up toys, as opposed to 30 minutes.

8. No one spilled anything on the couch.

9. That moment when everyone is getting along, no one is tantrum-ing, and there are smiles all round. Even if it only lasts for 5 minutes.

10. This:

Toddler with baby

What brings you joy?

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Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the worldโ€™s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Womenโ€™s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesnโ€™t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

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  • May 21, 2012 Sue

    Love those simple joys. Mine? Making it through The Twins’ birthday weekend without losing my cool (or any of their collective 30 guests) during their parties. xo
    Sue recently wrote…Donโ€™t Call It a Comeback.My Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      Oh my, I bow to you.

  • May 21, 2012 Emily

    Yep. That list sums it up. And 11. Not having to go back in the toddler’s room 17 times after putting her to bed. 12. Baby lays down in crib on first try. 13. Combing toddler girl’s super long hair doesn’t lead to tears and tantrums 14. A chocolate cupcake I don’t have to share.
    Emily recently wrote…Breakfast is a Hoot!My Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      #14 speaks to me. Yes, that.

  • May 21, 2012 tracy

    That looks pretty joyful. xoxo

    Joy today – drinking coffee and reading the entire Sunday paper without interruption(this wasn’t suppose to be about my kids, right?;)
    tracy recently wrote…Out of the Danger ZoneMy Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      Hah! No, your joy is their joy, right? Happy mom, happy kids. xo

  • May 21, 2012 Alexandra

    You are doing so well, A.

    You amaze me.
    Alexandra recently wrote…When "Good Morning" Leaves You Stumped For An AnswerMy Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      Coming from you, that’s huge. Thank you.

  • May 21, 2012 christine

    Oh what wonderful joys, especially the photo!
    christine recently wrote…Running LowMy Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      Thanks Christine!

  • May 21, 2012 My Inner Chick

    Ohhh My Gosh,
    that photo says IT ALL, Mama A.

    Sweeeet. Xx
    My Inner Chick recently wrote…Kay Marie Sisto’s Story On Fox News 21My Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      It makes me want to weep, that photo. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • May 21, 2012 Kimberly

    So true. I’m trying to stay in those little moments of calm so I don’t lose my patience (or my sanity!).
    Kimberly recently wrote…Turning TwoMy Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      Oh yes, without these moments, I’d lose it ๐Ÿ™‚

  • May 21, 2012 Runnermom-jen

    Yes!!! It’s all of these little things that bring me great joy as well. It makes me happy to hear your days are filled with joy ๐Ÿ™‚
    Runnermom-jen recently wrote…I Should Be…My Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      Most of the time, yes! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • May 21, 2012 angela

    A perfect photo!

    My joys are in the little things, too ๐Ÿ™‚ Like Dylan learning to say “wuv” and getting so excited about all the things he “wuvs”, like cupcakes.
    angela recently wrote…Expectations of the JobMy Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      I wuv cupcakes too!! And I would totally get excited as well. (Can you tell I’m craving cupcakes?)

  • May 21, 2012 Elaine

    I love all these wonderful joys that you listed! And I love seeing that photo, oh my goodness!!

    I had a lot of joy this morning when my three were playing nicely together. Yeah, awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Elaine recently wrote…Lego Bounce Party & MEMMy Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      How awesome is that!!

  • May 21, 2012 Jessica

    I’m still waiting for the kids to eat the food I cook and to not give it to the dogs. Maybe one day.
    Jessica recently wrote…Now You Can Call Me “Fancy Pants Mommy Cita”My Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      It’d happen, just you wait.

  • May 21, 2012 JDaniel4's Mom

    What wonderful moments! It truly is the simple and tiny moments that can make a whole day wonderful!
    JDaniel4’s Mom recently wrote…A Road Trip Muffin Tin Meal and Road Trip Travel ItemsMy Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      Yes, yes it is.

  • May 21, 2012 dumb mom

    I LOVE that photo. So, so adorable! And, my Dudes are all 4 and older and I still don’t think we have a day no one spills something on the couch. That’s why it looks like someone committed a homicide on it.
    dumb mom recently wrote…Dude Mom Life. Mud, Snipers, and Super Hero Birthday Parties.My Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      Thanks Amanda!! We do have nearly daily couch spills – so when it doesn’t happen, I rejoice!

  • May 21, 2012 Heather

    You perfectly expressed some of the joys of motherhood I think of. Thanks!
    Heather recently wrote…Lots Going OnMy Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      Thanks Heather!

  • May 21, 2012 Jessica

    Oh, this is so true! And the picture at the end? Priceless. Love. Love. Love. I hope you are doing well.
    Jessica recently wrote…Midwestern GirlMy Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Jessica! I’m doing as well as can be expected ๐Ÿ™‚

  • May 21, 2012 Barbara

    Love this. And that picture is just beautiful. Nothing brings me more happiness than watching my boys together.
    Barbara recently wrote…The RingMy Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      The love the Monkey has for his little brother? Just makes me melt.

  • May 21, 2012 Laura

    A shower. Oh wait. That’s not really kid-related. Having everyone cared for and happy and looked after so I can shower. ๐Ÿ™‚ (I haven’t had any free time lately, if you can tell.)
    Laura recently wrote…Never EasyMy Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      Showers are such soul lifters.

  • 5 minutes when no one is tantruming? I’m afraid that’s not possible.
    TB at BlueCollarWorkman recently wrote…Road Rage With a Gun… for realMy Profile

  • May 21, 2012 Kimberly

    My favourite is getting those drive-by leg squeezes…just short enough so they can run away yet long enough to sustain our hearts for the entire day. Xox
    Kimberly recently wrote…Itโ€™s Been One WeekMy Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      Hee! I love that, drive-by leg squeezes!

  • May 21, 2012 Lady Jennie

    What brings me joy is when I feel like I’m teaching them and interacting with them, and not just babysitting them.
    Lady Jennie recently wrote…The Colors of OchreMy Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      Ah that’s a good one!

  • May 22, 2012 AnnMarie

    You hit most of mine here. Knowing my kids are okay and happy. When my husband helps around the house. Getting some time to write.

    Gorgeous picture!
    AnnMarie recently wrote…Will I Ever See Clearly Again?My Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      See, husbands need to help out more! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • May 22, 2012 Kir

    oh my heart, that picture is PURE JOY.

    Jacob’s nose is such a mess with his allergies he is constantly hoarding lots of boogers and yes, i take great joy in getting them out of his nose. LIKE VICTORY!!!!

    I’m getting a lot more “I love yous” from out of the blue forom both boys…I love it too.

    *Swooning* over that gorgeous picture. xoxo
    Kir recently wrote…Mamaโ€™s Going To CampMy Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      Hee, VICTORY is the right word to describe conquering booger!!

  • May 22, 2012 Missy

    The end of the school year coming is what’s bringing me great joy at the moment!
    Missy recently wrote…10 Must Haves to Be EnoughMy Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      Woohoo, yay!

  • First off, that pic is to die for. Second, what brings me joy is when all three of my kids are engaged in a game of some type of imaginative play of their own design. And, no one needs me. Even if it’s for 60 straight seconds. THAT moment is pure joy!
    Sharon {Grumpy, Sleepy, and Bashful} recently wrote…Monday ListiclesMy Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      Oh yes, when you can just sit down and not be needed for a minute – hoorah!

  • May 22, 2012 Life As Wife

    Looks like Monkey is enjoying Scrumplet!!!

    My favorite right now? Unprompted hugs and kisses.

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      He absolutely loves his little brother!!

      I love unprompted hugs and kisses.

  • May 22, 2012 Kristen

    So very sweet that you captured that moment of happiness on film and in your heart! They are the cutest boys!!

    My joy right now would be when my girls join me on the couch while I am reading with their latest novels in hand. Love it!!

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      Aw, thanks!

      Oh I can’t wait til my boys sit down quietly with me to read a book.

  • May 22, 2012 Katie

    oh baby! look at those rubber band wrists! LOVE!

    Hmm…today’s joy? Charlie cracking himself up while I was pouring my coffee.
    Katie recently wrote…unmoving tragedyMy Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      Rubber band wrists, I love that description!

      Love how babies crack up at the most mundane things.

  • May 22, 2012 Natalie

    So cute! I love them. Congrats on your little joys!
    Natalie recently wrote…Running the Naptime GauntletMy Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      Thank you so much!

  • May 22, 2012 Julie

    Sweet boys! Scrumplet, he looks a bit more like his papa, yes?
    Julie recently wrote…The Invisible Elephant Saga, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the ZooMy Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      Yes, for now! Monkey did too, when he was that age. And now? He’s my clone. Heh.

  • May 22, 2012 jlweinberg/jen

    That photo brings me joy! And oh, my, I just dug out the biggest boog from Theo’s nose and it gave me so. much. satisfaction. You are doing great, mama!
    jlweinberg/jen recently wrote…Shopping For Summer ClothesMy Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      Right? Booger duty can be so satisfying. And thank you!

  • May 22, 2012 Raquel

    What a beautiful photo, you are so blessed with your beautiful boys! It is hard being a parent but the but the little joys in motherhood make it all soooo worth it ๐Ÿ™‚
    Raquel recently wrote…How To Be Happy; 10 Shortcuts To HappinessMy Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      Yes, I am blessed indeed!

  • May 22, 2012 Leslie

    Iโ€™d say that #4 would be cause for a party! (but then that would lead to toddler crankiness and frustration…ugh) On a side note, the Husband is now so used to clearing out the toddlerโ€™s nose, that heโ€™ll even go for mine if thereโ€™s something there (yes…another fun side effect of pregnancy)!
    Leslie recently wrote…{Mama Monday} Pregnancy UpdateMy Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      Hahahaha that’s hilarious! (the husband going for YOUR boogers!)

  • May 22, 2012 Susi

    Beautiful list. I so agree with you on all of these. Without these moments there would be a lot less mothers out there.
    Susi recently wrote…U Printing Business Cards {Giveaway}My Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      Thanks Susi!

  • May 22, 2012 Leighann

    Great reminder for us to find the wonderful in even the tiniest things Alison!
    Leighann recently wrote…A Jewelery Give-Away!My Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      Especially with booger extractions ๐Ÿ™‚

  • May 22, 2012 Erin

    I like when everyone takes a nap at the same time so Mommy can too!

    PS. Super sweet picture of those babies ๐Ÿ™‚
    Erin recently wrote…What a WeekMy Profile

    • May 23, 2012 Alison

      Oh yes, nap times are awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • May 22, 2012 Tonya

    Yes, yes, yes x 10. Greta list and that picture is pure joy!
    Tonya recently wrote…We Are EnemiesMy Profile

    • May 24, 2012 Alison

      Hee! Thanks Tonya!

  • May 22, 2012 Galit Breen

    It really is all of those small moments, isn’t it?

    They become so very important as chaos begins to reign!

    Giggles and sunshine and thunderstorms and dark chocolate and running and dance parties and hand holds and big hugs and lemon cupcakes (!) bring me joy.

    Le sigh. This is lovely.

    Galit Breen recently wrote…Sunshine and Cookies and FriendshipMy Profile

    • May 24, 2012 Alison

      Your joys are beautiful and lovely! xo

  • My eldest can go potty herself and wipe her own nose, which I have to say is a relief for me. Oh and both kids have coined on to the idea of ‘sleeping late during the weekend’, they sleep until 7hr30 which is still early for a Sunday but way better then 6h00.
    Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes recently wrote…Just keep breathingโ€ฆMy Profile

    • May 24, 2012 Alison

      I’m so jealous!

  • May 22, 2012 Kristin

    That picture is precious!

    These days, I love it when Lil’ Bit grabs me around the neck and pulls me in for a kiss. Up until recently, I’ve always been the one to have to initiate such snuggles, so it brings me joy to realize that she can reciprocate now. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Kristin recently wrote…We Were So StupidMy Profile

    • May 24, 2012 Alison

      Yay those are the best kisses!

  • May 22, 2012 Haley

    Perfectly said! I especially loved the triumph over the booger (this said from this Mama who is just ending a cold with her toddler).
    Another good one? Actually going to the bathroom without a little one coming in or knocking continuously at the door.

    • May 24, 2012 Alison

      Oh yes, alone bathroom time. SO JOYFUL.

  • May 22, 2012 Shiftless Mommie

    I’m so with you on the booger thing. I get a little obsessed. How can they breathe?!

    My simple joy is when the kids are all in bed by 8 and my husband and I can have a late dinner and talk about our day and laugh. Everything is in balance.
    Shiftless Mommie recently wrote…He Moves Me.My Profile

    • May 24, 2012 Alison

      Oh I’m totally obsessed with booger removal. OBSESSED.

      I do love when the kids are in bed early. Then I can finally exhale.

  • May 22, 2012 Natalie

    Awww so true my friend! Those are the reasons we chose to be mothers…not b/c it is easy but for moments like this!
    Natalie recently wrote…My Friendship SoapboxMy Profile

    • May 24, 2012 Alison

      Oh it’s never easy – thank goodness for such moments. Sanity savers.

  • May 23, 2012 Emilia

    Great list, I agree with all of your points, but there are thousands of reasons why it is gorgeous to be a mom. One of my favorites is when my son hugs me early in the morning. It is much better than wake up for the clock:)
    Emilia recently wrote…Meine Heimatstadt in UngarnMy Profile

    • May 24, 2012 Alison

      Oh there are definitely a lot of reasons. These are only a few ๐Ÿ™‚

  • May 23, 2012 Christine

    Yes. Booger removal has made me feel victorious as a mom, too. Also successful naps are good for everyone, even the non-nappers (if there are any.) Do you find your house is more quiet when a child is sleeping than any other time of the day or night? I’ve always found that somewhat miraculous. And delicious.

    Glad all is going well. xoxo
    Christine recently wrote…Senior Hottie: Then and Now with Bonus Track ~ The Lost Years.My Profile

    • May 24, 2012 Alison

      Oh yes, absolutely deliciously quiet. And I love it.

  • May 23, 2012 Nikky44

    It’s hard to be a Mom, very hard but so rewarding!
    Nikky44 recently wrote…"West Side Story"My Profile

    • May 24, 2012 Alison

      The best role in my life ever.

  • May 23, 2012 Mom on the Make

    Excellent list! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Two recent little joys for me:
    1. My four year old son setting up a picnic for us in our backyard. ๐Ÿ™‚
    2. All three of my little ones liked the dinner I made last Tuesday (Leg of Lamb from Trader Joe’s, in case you’re wondering). Really difficult to find something everyone likes, so this was a big win.
    Mom on the Make recently wrote…My New Lands’ End Teak BenchMy Profile

    • May 24, 2012 Alison

      Aw, a picnic sounds lovely! That’s incredibly sweet.

  • May 23, 2012 Christine

    LOVE that picture. It’s the sweetest, isn’t it? And the booger! Ohmygoodness I feel relief just reading that. Phew.
    Christine recently wrote…Why I should write for YOUR magazineMy Profile

    • May 24, 2012 Alison

      It is the sweetest! Hah, glad to hear I’m not the only one who feels that way about toddler booger.

  • May 23, 2012 Elena

    #6 is always my favorite! Melts me. But yes, I get excited about successful booger removal as well. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Elena recently wrote…Local Giveaway: Join Me at Sip of MichiganMy Profile

    • May 24, 2012 Alison

      Love you and booger removal rank VERY high around here ๐Ÿ™‚

  • May 23, 2012 Greta

    The little things mean so, SO much. And the sibling love? Kills me dead.
    Greta recently wrote…Great Expectations: The Three UnderMy Profile

    • May 24, 2012 Alison

      Oh it kills me dead each time too!

  • May 23, 2012 Missy Olive

    Congratulations! So happy to see you back at the blog. What an adorable photo!!!!

    • May 24, 2012 Alison

      Thank you, and thank you!

  • #5 is the best. I love(d) those days.
    Jay- The Dude of the House recently wrote…Are You Husband Enough?My Profile

    • May 24, 2012 Alison

      What, Little Dude doesn’t nap anymore? Say it is not true!

  • May 24, 2012 Julia

    This is beautiful. That picture melts my heart!
    Julia recently wrote…Little Boy NoahMy Profile

    • May 24, 2012 Alison

      Thanks Julia!

  • May 25, 2012 Asianmommy

    Aww…aren’t they adorable?!
    Asianmommy recently wrote…Learn Korean with Korable BlockMy Profile

  • May 25, 2012 Shannon

    People often ask me if I get bored with the monotony of life as a SAHM/WAHM. I really don’t. The little things are enough. Thanks for your thoughtful post.
    Shannon recently wrote…What to Really Expect When You Are ExpectingMy Profile

    • May 25, 2012 Alison

      Thanks for reading, Shannon.

  • May 25, 2012 Mirjam

    That photo is precious.
    I love your list of simple joys.
    The spontaneous toddler I-love-you’s are my favorites. And my 6 year old’s chuckles and my 9 year old’s spontaneous hugs. He does it often!
    Mirjam recently wrote…A smile and a tearMy Profile

    • May 26, 2012 Alison

      That he still hugs at 9 – awesome!

  • May 26, 2012 Kristin

    Oh the joys and trials of motherhood. You are clearly swooping right in to twosville with grace! Love the photo!
    Kristin recently wrote…The World of Book Kerfuffles Makes me TitterMy Profile

    • May 26, 2012 Alison

      ‘Grace’ is not the word I’ll choose, I’m more like muddling through it ๐Ÿ™‚ But thank you!

  • May 26, 2012 Bruna

    Funny how such simple little things like you listed above could make all the difference in the world when you’re smack in the middle of being a new mommy again.

    Love the photo! Adorable. Warms my heart โ™ฅ.
    Bruna recently wrote…advice from a teenagerMy Profile

    • May 26, 2012 Alison

      Those small moments are what keep me going!

  • May 28, 2012 Just Jennifer

    Love that photo, Alison!
    Just Jennifer recently wrote…TGIF: The Spider and the CheetoMy Profile

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