When growing up, I saw my mother as a superhero. She fed me, bathed me, washed my clothing and tucked me into bed with a kiss on the forehead and God’s blessing. She made me feel loved, protected and safe. Mami killed roaches that crawled on the walls of our NYC apartment, swatted away mosquitoes when we visited the Dominican Republic, and tended to my physical and emotional cuts and bruises.

Yes, my mother was my Supergirl. My Shera. My Wonder Woman. To this day, I look up to her and the sacrifices that she made for her children as a single mother. I hope I can be half the mom that she is when I have my own children.

Being a mom doesn’t come easy; it tests your will, your patience, and your capacity to love. It also strengthens women. Motherhood may be the best cure for a broken heart and spirit. But don’t take it from me. Listen to the wise words of the following moms who share the 12 ways that being a mom makes them stronger.

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You Have No Choice But To Be Strong

When women have children, they have to be strong no matter what. Mothers are the first line of defense. They are their to protect and serve, even when they’ve had a terrible day. In those moments when a mother wants to throw in the towel, she eyes her children and realizes she can’t. So she sucks it up. She is strong because she has to be.