2 Ways to Enjoy Motherhood

2 Ways to Enjoy Motherhood

Last week, I and around 10,000 other women attended the annual Binyan Shalem conference, 3-days of inspiring classes on motherhood, marriage, and life (a lot like JewishMOM.com, actually, if all you mothers reading this actually got to meet!) Here’s a gem from this year’s conference based on something I heard from educator Estie Arend:

As mothers, we experience 2 different kinds of pleasure.

The first kind of pleasure is ice-cream pleasure.

It’s instant. Your 1-year old takes her first step, your 3-year old gets his first haircut, your 7th grader brings home a 100 on her math test. Carefree moments at the playground, the zoo, walking along eating popsicles on a hot summer day. Moments of nachas and fun that make you pull out your phone to snap a photo…

And then there’s the other 99% of our mothering lives which we don’t pull out our phones to gush over later. Day after day. The routine. The responsibilities. Sometimes pleasant, sometimes less so.

And the pleasure we can experience during that 99% of our mothering lives is mountain-climber pleasure.

A mountain climber stands from afar looking at the mountain he is about to climb. So beautiful, majestic, what a deeply satisfying accomplishment it will be to reach the top!

And when he approaches the mountain, and starts climbing, he gets a blister, and a bee-sting, and he scrapes his knee, but through it all he feels the pleasure of knowing he is on his way to this goal he desires so much. No matter how exhausting and challenging the big climb.

When I heard about these 2 kinds of pleasure, I was reminded of the advice one great-grandmother gave me 15 years ago when I was the extremely overwhelmed mother of 3 children ages 4 and under.

She instructed me, “When things are hard, imagine yourself many years from now looking through your child’s wedding album. And imagine that photo of your whole family, you and your husband standing in the center, the proud parents of all of your grown children.”

Feel the pleasure, she told me, of the mountain climber sore and sweating, who knows one day he will be enjoying the view from the top.


  1. Thank you!!

  2. I love the analogy! There is something amazing about climbing!

  3. This is so beautiful

  4. Wow! Thank you!

  5. Beautiful inspiration! So true and universal. And like a mountain we can’t just quit in the middle, we have to keep going until we get there.

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