The story of how my husband and I met is a cute one, so I will give you the brief gist: 

My mom and I used to have regular mother-daughter mall trips. During each shopping excursion, we would grab a bite to eat at the same restaurant where the food was delicious, and a very handsome guy served us. Our server, my eventual husband, would always have our drinks ready for us at our table before we sat down. He served with a smile, cracked jokes, and flirted with me as much as my mom would let him get away with. Eventually, I returned to that restaurant over a Christmas break from college and got a hostess job there for the few months I would be home. My husband tells me the day he saw me on my first day of work there, he told the restaurant manager, “I am going to marry her one day,” and he did. Swoon!

If you ask my husband what he first noticed about me back in 2006, he would probably say my short skirt. Actually, I know that is what he would say because I actually asked him once.

I surely don’t wear short skirts anymore because spider veins and cellulite aren’t all that attractive, and sometimes I feel like neither is the rest of my post-three-baby body, but heck, what can you do. My hair isn’t as long, blonde, and playful as it once was, and I now more closely resemble a porcelain doll than a tanned, “just came from the beach” Barbie doll. Oh yea, and my hoo-has, well, those aren’t as cheerful as they once were either.

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But, guess what? All of a sudden today, I had an epiphany: I am hotter right now, at this point in my life, than at any time before. How is that possible, you ask? Because I am hotter right now on the inside than I ever have been (no pun intended!).

When I was young, I could be selfish, self-involved, and immature; now I have grown into a more selfless, compassionate, and mature adult, woman, and mother. I believe I am a great wife, a loving mom, a caring daughter-in-law and sister-in-law, a supportive sibling and a fun friend. There is so much more about the me now, that I think makes me more beautiful, attractive, and intriguing than any outer beauty ever did or could.

Do you sometimes give yourself a hard time for not looking as “hot” as you used to? Well, it is time you cut that out and realize that YOU, at your current stage of life, are the hottest you have ever been.

Recognize that, believe it, and remind yourself often!

And, on days you find it hard to see past your self-perceived flaws in the mirror, let me be your mirror and remind you of this:

Your perpetual kindness toward your children and family makes you hot.

Your raw genuineness towards all people who you encounter makes you hot.

Your constant generosity, with your money and/or your time makes you hot.

Your unwavering drive to succeed in business and/or in parenthood makes you hot.

Your unconditional passion for raising confident yet humble, more than decent human beings makes you hot.

Your intelligence and continued curiosity makes you hot.

Your often-humorous naivety and optimism regarding the world around you makes you hot.

Your endearing forgetfulness based on pure exhaustion from you giving your all, day-in and day-out, well, that makes you hot.

And that’s not all. What else makes you hot? 

Your uncanny ability to find the silver lining hidden beneath everything, including that post-children body and tired eyes of yours.

You look hot with your messy bun, your spilled-on shirt, and your half-painted toenails.

You are hot because you are a mom and nothing is hotter than that.

Originally published on the author’s blog 

Nicole Merritt

Nicole Merritt is a mother of three and the Owner and Founder of jthreeNMe, an imperfectly authentic peek at real-life marriage, parenting, and self-improvement. jthreeNMe is raw, honest, empowering, inspiring, and entertaining; it’s like chicken soup for those that are exhausted, over-stressed and under-inebriated, yet still utterly happy. Nicole's work has been featured by Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, BLUNTmoms, Thought Catalog, Everyday Family, Motherly & many others. You can follow Nicole at jthreeNMe and on FacebookPinterestInstagram & Twitter!