Who needs glamour when you have a glue stick and glitter on the kitchen table? Why revel in grand openings when you’ve got grand finales every evening that include snuggles and secret spilling? Read on to find out why we’re grateful that our little turkeys turned us into parents.

huggingphoto: Stevegatto2 via flickr 

1. We get to wage war on mean people by raising kind ones— one kid at a time.

2. We get to find stowaways in our beds at dawn, which means that the security blanket, night light, and glow worm are the JV to our Varsity. Just being near us makes them feel more secure.

6106993433_451ea9e9be_bphoto: LB1860 via flickr 

3.  No one wants to have the applesauce wiped off their chins by a stranger, including us. And one day, that applesauce-covered cherub will be wiping our chins (we hope).

4. Because sooner or later, our 30s were going to spell trouble on our waist line. Just having a baby, or two, or three, changes the perspective and takes us from totally not to totally hot in 1.2 seconds. “I maybe be 20 pounds overweight from a pregnancy 8 months ago, but my friends all say you look amazing! I can’t believe you’re out of those maternity pants so soon!” Total. Hottie.

smores and dadphoto: Anthony J via flickr

5. Because no one raises an eyebrow when the grocery cart is filled with graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate if there’s a kid nearby.

6. The secrets that they spill before bedtime are worth every Sign-Up Genius in your inbox. How can they go from “I think Iron Man is more powerful than Flash Gordon” to “Did your soul know mine before I was born?” in the same breath?

leaves and kidphoto: Halbag via flickr

7. Because being a parent makes us appreciate—or at least understand—ours a little bit more.

8. Because everyone needs some humility to keep it real, and there’s nothing that spells humility like dealing with the bodily functions of a toddler.

9. Because we don’t have to make up an excuse to watch The Parent Trap, The Rescuers, or Goonies.

377763536_2c28c3d66f_ophoto: Elizabeth via flickr 

10. Because a dirty house is not only allowed, but expected.

11. Because of the 24-hour comedy routine that are our kids. Quiet, grown-up affairs now feature adults of all ages in tears from laughing so hard at silliness and nonsense jokes.

meditationphoto: Mike Tidd via flickr

12. Because we have tiny little mindfulness experts surrounding us every day, and there are no better examples of living in the moment than our kids.

13. Because at every milestone, we think, This is the best. I wish I could freeze time, but they stay as sweet, funny, loving—but gain in knowledge, empathy, humor and more—as they grow in to people. And they still give hugs!

14. Our friendships with other parents are steeped in reality. When they’ve seen you in the midst of a household stomach bug and still come around, you know you’ve got a friend for life.

lovephoto: Toshimasa Ishibashi via flickr 

15. We don’t have to be cool anymore. We just have to show them how much we love them.

16. Because when they can’t read, you can convince them that almond butter smoothies are milkshakes.

holding handsphoto: Mats Lindh via flickr  

17. Because there’s nothing sweeter than when a little hand reaches for ours unprompted.

18. Because we get to spend every day with the most awesome people we’ve ever met.

26345406630_51be07112d_zphoto: Philippe Put via flickr

19. Because humor and patience comes with every conversation and every outing.

20. We get to re-read all our favorite children’s books to them. They WILL learn to love Pippi Longstocking as much as we do. They will.

21. Because our children’s presence ensures that we stop to enjoy the fun stuff, in every season: apple picking, pumpkin carving, snowman building, water sliding. There are a million reasons (or excuses) to blow things off on our own; with a kid, no way.

What’s filling your parenting bucket with gratitude these days? Tell us in the comments section below!

—Shelley Massey, Gabby Cullen, Ayren Jackson-Cannady, Kristina Moy, Amber Guetebier, Mimi O’Connor, Meghan Rose, Erin Feher, and Leah Singer