Parenting is the hardest thing I’ve ever done—and that’s why I love it

The hardest tasks come with the greatest rewards.

Parenting is the hardest thing I’ve ever done—and that’s why I love it

I am not a glutton for punishment. I often quit things when they don't immediately come easy. I had epidurals with both my children. I always opt for novocaine at the dentist. I quit both piano and tennis when they became too difficult. I would never in a million years consider running a marathon. I don't like hard. I am not one of those people who enjoys suffering.

And yet, I am somehow voluntarily undertaking one of the hardest endeavors in life: parenting. And I'm finding it enjoyable.

I know how crazy that sounds. I can hear it whenever I talk to my friends without kids. Because they look at you, when you're out to brunch with your toddler and baby—shoveling food into your mouth because you know the minute your toddler finishes their bacon, you're going to have to chase them around the restaurant while carrying the baby—like you're insane.


I know they're thinking, "Why did they ruin their lives like this? Who would want this?"

And yet, in between cries of your baby, you find yourself trying to convince your friends that they, too, should have kids.

But those non-parent friends look at you, rightfully, like you're insane. You're most likely exhausted, your life is not your own, and it's all just. so. hard. And so I've always struggled to come up with a reason that isn't ridiculous when they ask why they should voluntarily have kids. Why they should do something that would make their lives so much harder, when they could remain kid-free and spend their income on trips to Paris instead of Disney, or fancy purses instead of strollers, or meals where they have wine lists and not sippy cups. Ugh, even making this list makes me so jealous.

After thinking about it for a long time (because I have a vested/selfish interest in trying to convince a few family members and very close friends that they should have kids), I've realized that the real reason that parenting is wonderful is because it's hard.

I started to look back at my life and all of the things that I was the proudest of—things that, as a result, I most enjoyed. And all of them were hard.

My award-winning choir from high school performed with several professional symphonies. I made some of my best friendships there. It was crazy hard. We had practice, not only during class, but also from 6 am until school started, almost every day of the year.

My trial teams were hard (yes, in my other life I'm a trial litigator), where often I was up in the war room until 3 am, getting no sleep, cranking out cross exam outlines, only to get up the next morning at 6 am to prep a witness.

Gut renovating our condo we were living in while I was pregnant was hard—making a million choices, having to cook dinner in the microwave every night and step around boxes and tarps. These are weirdly some of my fondest memories. And I would be willing to bet that each of you has a fondness for some of the most difficult things you've undertaken in your life, too.

Certainly, the amnesiac power of time softens all these memories and makes them seem better than they were at the time. But the same is true of parenting. Even in those sleepless nights, you probably found moments of laughter. And through a common goal, you probably made some life long friends.

Parenting is grueling, it is relentless, it is difficult, it is harder than anything I have ever done before. And I know without a doubt, that at the end of my life, I will be able to say with absolute certainty, it is the greatest thing I've ever done.

These are the best bath time products you can get for under $20

These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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