I was born to be a mom.

However, over the past year and a half, I have learned so much about motherhood that I was not prepared to face: from the lack of showers to the complete exhaustion to the sacrifice of almost any social life to the question of “Whose body am I in?!” to the amazing discovery of how deeply I can love someone I just met.

Becoming a mother can look different too. My grandmother became a mother by adopting my mom. My mom became a mother by having me, my sister, and my brother biologically. I became a mother through adopting my first daughter, Willa Gray, and then giving birth to my second baby girl, Ada James, three months later. Both of my “birth” stories were very emotional and extremely difficult and turned into the most amazing love stories.

Lauren Akins (right) with her mother, Lisa
Photo: Jeremy Cowart; Hair and Makeup Styling: Ali Ryan; Wardrobe Styling: Tina Jiang/Amax Talent

When I dreamed of becoming a mom, I had only a daughter’s point of view. After watching my mom “mother” us (having the happiest childhood imaginable), I thought I pretty much had the “mom thing” figured out. Yeah, right. I appreciate my mom in a whole new way now that I have experienced firsthand the crazy sacrifice she made for us. But more than a sacrifice, it’s an unmatched, indescribable gift.

No other accomplishment in my life is even comparable to being a mom. Nothing in the world could be more rewarding. Motherhood has topped it all. I may not remember the last time I washed my hair. I may have slept just five hours last night. My social circle may now consist of only a 2-year-old and a 4-month-old. (Do my dogs count?) I may never squeeze back into my skinny jeans again—if I do, I definitely won’t look the same. But my goodness, if I was put on this earth for anything, it’s to be a mom. And it’s worth it all.

Photo: Jeremy Cowart; Hair and Makeup Styling: Ali Ryan; Wardrobe Styling: Tina Jiang/Amax Talent

The giggles, the cuddles, the kisses, the playtime, and each “I love you, Mama” moment make every single “sacrifice” not really a sacrifice but instead a privilege. It’s a sweet blessing to be the mother of two of the most amazing little girls God has ever created. And to just think He gave them to me. Could a mother be luckier? I don’t think so. And as for all of the moms (including myself) whose days are not always rainbows and butterflies, that’s when a whole lot of Jesus and a little bit of wine go a long way.

Becoming a mom has rocked my world. But my girls have become my world, and it couldn’t be any sweeter.

Lauren Akins is a devoted mother, wife, and philanthropist. She currently lives in Nashville with her husband, country music star Thomas Rhett, and their two little girls, Willa Gray and Ada James.