We spend a lot of time encouraging each other because motherhood is hard! There is nothing more amazing than when your free single friend honors how hard you work as a parent too. But next time she pays you a compliment and then flits off to drinks at the latest hotspot before staying out for a late-night show, keep in mind that she’s secretly jealous of some of these mom perks you get to rock daily.

1. Mom hair. Oh, sure. Mom hair used to be a big joke (see SNL sketch for reference). But all of that’s changing with messy waves and the bedhead craze. While young ladies out there spend an hour with their waving wand, moms wake up from a [terrible] night’s sleep with “the look” (at least on one side of their head).

2. Strollers. You don’t think about how hard it is to carry everything around with you for a day until you experience the glory of the stroller. Pretty much a vehicle that’s allowed inside, a stroller makes errands and play that much easier. Think you might need the extra toys? Just toss them in the stroller basket. Need a handy place to put your cell phone and keys? Just buy the cute little stroller caddy. While you’re at it--add the cup holder for the unending lattes you’ll be consuming all day.

3. Meals and cleaning. This magical perk is most noticeable right after birth, which is, don’t get me wrong, very hard work. But people recognize it’s hard! And they send you things! Presents! Your favorite carry-out! Flowers! And sometimes they bring you home-cooked meals and offer to clean your house while you rest!

4. Nap time. Like free meals and chores, I believe nap time is something a mom really earns. Once the kid passes out, we collapse into nap time. But the delicious part? It can be your nap time too, if you want. Or your movie time. Or your “eat ice cream directly out of the pint you hid in the back of the freezer time.” (Or all of the above.) Even do it in yoga pants if you want to!

5. Leftovers. This one is kind of a secret, because you’ll only ever hear moms complain that all they’ve had to eat that day were the crusts of the kid’s PB+J. But I ask you: When was the last time you actually made yourself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? They are delicious! That whining mom enjoyed every bite of her toddler’s delicacy.

6. Styling experience--and sometimes even matching outfits. Something about motherhood explodes a woman’s sartorial sense. There are no better humans than toddlers strutting the streets of New York, I’m sure. All tiny clothes at Target that you wished came in your size? Well, moms get to buy those and put them on babies. *Bonus: When you can recreate the outfit in adult proportions and you get to match.

And let’s not forget the serious stuff. Becoming mothers opens up something in us that we didn’t know existed--a love, a grace, a wonder. Through the tough spots, we’re rewarded with smiles and chubby thighs, kisses and a whole slew of firsts. All joking aside, you don’t have to look far to see the real perks of motherhood--even if they aren’t apparent to somebody else.

Illustration by Amanda Crowley.