Shop the fall collection ➔

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.

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!

Setting Boundaries with Toxic Family Is Hard but Worth It

In: Motherhood
Family walking in water

Breaking generational chains is one of the most amazing, beautiful, and beneficial things I’ve done for my family. My children are happy and healthy and know they are loved unconditionally. I continue to heal my inner child and find my worth. I feel so much relief knowing my children won’t go through the trauma and pain my husband and I did.  But breaking those chains, establishing boundaries, going no contact with abusive family members, explaining to my children that they can’t see our relatives who they love so dearly because they were hurting us. That is hard. That is painful....

Keep Reading

As a Mom, I’m Always On

In: Motherhood
Mother and two kids at home

Yesterday, my kids made to-do lists as I do, they pretended to be Mom in their play, and they wanted to look up a bazillion and one things on my phone. These little humans are watching me. They are taking in all my actions, one by one. And it’s exhausting. From 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. (or later), I have to be “on.” I am expected to watch what I say (no cussing), be careful what I watch (no inappropriate memes or shows), stay off my phone as much as possible, and, of course, enjoy every moment and be present...

Keep Reading

Dear School Bus Driver, My Whole World Is In Your Care

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy standing on school bus stairs, color photo

To the bus driver I do not know, You don’t understand how hard it is to let go of my child’s hand in the morning and hand him over to you. You don’t know how long it took me to make this decision . . . to let him ride the bus.  Some may say it’s brave or courageous to trust another with your child’s life. I sometimes think it can be daring but also really unwise.  RELATED: Every Time I Leave My Child With Autism in the Care of Someone Else, I Worry In today’s world, we must worry...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to Girlhood Innocence

In: Motherhood
Little girl walking down road

She loved pickles and pudding and rocks that glittered. And forts that touched the ceiling. She mastered shadow puppets on night walls and Carol Burnett’s Tarzan yell in lieu of bedtime stories. In her innocent mind, the bogey man hid in the closet because he was scared of her. Thus she coaxed him out nightly with “shh . . . it’s okay, you’re alright.” She mailed letters to the mailman with sticky hearts on both sides and Cheerios in the envelope. RELATED: I Wish I Could Freeze This Moment of Innocence She regularly asked our 96-year-old neighbor Mr. Grayson if...

Keep Reading

Every Time I Blinked, They Grew—and It Was So Beautiful

In: Kids, Motherhood
Boys kissing mother black and white photo

I thought we were prepared, but we weren’t. Not even close. Not in the tiniest, least little bit. When we hugged our precious, oldest boy and left him to start college just a few hours away, we didn’t know what was coming. The waves of emotion, of loss, of pride, of accomplishment. They say not to blink because your kids will grow up. But despite how much we may not want to, it’s involuntary. We have to blink. They don’t talk about this part. No one tells you what to do when you open your eyes again. RELATED: I Blinked and...

Keep Reading

I Am An Autism Mom

In: Motherhood
Autism heart puzzle piece symbol in hands

I have always known what kind of mom I wanted to be. The mom who has the best after-school snacks. The mom who’s always ready with a warm hug and a kind word. The mom who makes jokes that get the kids to roll their eyes but laugh hysterically when they repeat them to their friends. I wanted to be a super involved mom—there for every activity, every field trip, every adventure. We all have our motherhood labels, usually defined by our children’s current hobbies or seasons of life. A kindergarten mom. A PTA mom. A scouting mom. A soccer/lacrosse/baseball/hockey...

Keep Reading

The Boss Around Here Is Tough

In: Motherhood
Tired mom with baby drinking coffee

I’ve recently changed careers. I was so used to working a regular 8-5 job over the last 13+ years. Sure, there were some late nights, plenty of obstacles, and a multitude of frustrations, but this career change has been life-changing, to say the least. We’ve all worked with difficult people before. I should be used to this, but this new boss I have has been nothing short of tyrannical.  Before I’ve even had my morning coffee I’m at his beck and call. You never know when he’s going to need something, and I have to be ready at all times....

Keep Reading

To the Homeschool Mom Trying Her Best

In: Motherhood
Homeschool family

Homeschool mothers are their own worst critics. The subject doesn’t often come up, but occasionally someone will discover I was homeschooled. My mother taught my siblings and me at home from third grade until I graduated high school. Most people don’t really care about my education before college, but homeschool mothers pepper me with questions. What curriculum did you use? What was your schedule like? Did you have issues getting into college? What did you love about it? What would you have changed? I know why they ask. They have a list of all the things they have heard about...

Keep Reading

What a Gift It Is To Watch My Babies Grow Up

In: Motherhood, Teen
Mother in pool with teens in background

A few weeks ago I ran away and I brought my family with me. It’s become my favorite thing to do for my birthday week. Nestled neatly between the end of the school year and the beginning of the longest stretch of summer, for years that week has provided my family and I with the perfect freedom to get away. There are four simple rules for this escape from our normal lives and they are always the same. Our location must: 1. Be located in a climate with palm trees. 2. Require an airplane to get there. 3. Have a...

Keep Reading

I Love it When You Smile at Me

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little girl in wheel chair with classmates, color photo

I gained a bit of insight today. We were walking past the checkout at the store this afternoon when we came upon a mom and her children, waiting in the checkout line.   RELATED: A Simple Invitation Means the World To a Special Needs Parent My daughter Chloe rolled by them in her wheelchair. I watched, as I often do, as the children noticed her. One girl about Chloe’s age smiled at her as we walked by. As soon as we had passed them, Chloe turned to me and said . . . “She’s the first person to smile at me!”  Let me say I...

Keep Reading