Becoming a parent and becoming a mother has taught me a number of lessons. There are many, countless lessons. Among those are the fact that for the foreseeable future you will never pee alone again, you will never get a night’s sleep without interruptions and you won’t be able to have nice things.
One of the lessons learned, that sticks in my head and gets passed on to new mothers (You’re welcome!) is this one:
Whatever you worry about right now and whatever keeps you up at night, it’s just a phase.
Heard that before?
Now before you start rolling your eyes and give me THAT look, let that sink right in. Just give it a minute and think about it.
Because it is a fact.
Whatever challenges and difficulties we face at any one time, whatever keeps us awake at night, it is just a phase. Take this as a word of comfort and encouragement. You are either at the start, right in the middle or at the end of a phase. I can’t make the difficult phase end. I can’t speed it along and I cant give you all the answers you may be looking for, but I can tell you this:
It won’t last forever. You will get through this. Promise!
When I first became a mum, I was clueless. Maternal, yes, but clueless nonetheless. Looking back now, I knew little compared to what nearly 10 years of motherhood and 4 children have taught me. Like any first-time mum I spent my waking hours looking for explanations, rationalizations and validation. My baby was crying for hours in the evening. I was worried. I wrecked my head. Why is he crying? What’s wrong with him? What am I doing wrong? I read up about reasons why babies cry. I needed to have an answer. Not knowing better I decided that colic had to be the culprit. I don’t know to this day if colic was the cause for his distress. What I do know is that I spent a long time wondering and worrying, searching for answers and before I knew it, this phase had passed and a new one had begun. It happens so seamless, without warning or announcement. My second baby came along and so did the renewed search for explanations and relentless efforts to understand every cry, every sleepless night, every little hiccup along the way. (By the way, did you know all the things I said I’d never do for my kids?)
As my parenting journey continued and the more I learned and experienced with my own children, I found myself searching less and less for enlightenments. Instead, I started accepting that whatever they are going through right now, it’s just a phase and knowing that behind every metaphorical ‘turned corner’, another phase was awaiting.
Whether your child is a toddler, a wobbler, or a pre-schooler, they are in a phase. In the first few years of life they go through many developmental stages, changes and phases. It’s hard to keep track. They may sleep through the night now, but wait til that next tooth is cutting through. Hell hath no fury like a teething baby. They may eat your chicken casserole today but throw the bowl at you the next day. They may be independent and cheeky today and clingy and unsure the next day. When you think you have it all figured out, everything is about to change. If they’re not teething, they are probably going through a growth spurt. If they’re not growing, they are probably coming down with a cold. If it is not that, they might just be struggling with a fart. WHO KNOWS!
But it will pass. In a few days. Or weeks. Maybe months.
But that’s not to suggest that we should grit our teeth and hold out for the next phase. Don’t wish those phases away. And don’t worry if you don’t have all the explanations and answers. A phase is only a snap shot in time of our child’s life. Embrace each phase and enjoy it as tough as some of those phases may be. It’s an opportunity to influence your child’s future because once a phase is over, it’s over. (My eldest is now 10!)
That’s right, Mama, it’s just a phase.
the mum who cannot wait for that early waking phase to pass.
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