Life After Birth: It's Just a Phase
Every time I think I have this mom thing figured out, something changes. Isn't that just life for you? You know how kids and children go through "phases"? Like the "eating stuff off the ground" phase, or "repeating everything ten times" phase, or even the "biting everyone really hard" phase? Yeah, well, turns out that adults go through phases, too. It's called life. And learning. And it's totally normal.
Your New Normal
I have a two-year-old. I've witnessed many of his phases, and been so grateful that most of them don't linger. But, I do miss certain cute things he used to do that he's since grown out of, and I'm sure I will continue to miss little such habits and phases in the future. On the other hand, I'm pregnant with my second child (another boy), and I know some big changes are around the corner. Changes in my oldest child's behavior, adjustments, changes for my sanity and level of productivity, and changes in schedule with having a newborn and a toddler. My point is this: we are all changing and growing, and what's our normal now will not be our normal forever.
What I'm saying isn't ground-breaking or new, really. But I think it's important that we take the time to consider that we all have different phases of life, and each phase will continue to change. So when you have your first kid and start solid foods for the first time, only to have her drool it out with disinterest, know that this is just a phase. No matter how much she seems to detest solid food now, she'll eventually learn the ropes, and eat, and become a normal, eating child. I promise!
Finding Freedom in Change
And when my second kid comes along and wrecks our schedule and current way of life, I'm not going to worry too much about it. Yes, I'll be in survival mode for a good several months, but that's okay. Because it's just a phase, and plenty of strong women have done it before me. My normal now won't remain after baby #2 comes, and the new normal won't stay forever, either. Once we can accept this "it's just a phase" philosophy, we don't have to get so hung up on things that aren't perfect.
Don't be too hard on yourself or your kids; this too shall pass. The good and the bad, the ugly and the cute--it will all pass at some point. As long as you accept that each hurdle of motherhood is not forever, it makes it that much more doable. And you can do it. But sometimes we just have to sit back and watch hard things pass. Because it's likely just a phase.
Mom PhasesI think about the women around me and their various stages of life:
- First-time-mom with a newborn: She is sleep deprived and just making it through the day. But it's just a phase, and she'll figure things out soon.
- Mom of a toddler: She's exhausted by her kid's tantrums and relentless energy. But he won't be at home forever, and school will soon be his main activity.
- Mom of multiple young kids: She's constantly multitasking and thinking about five things at once, while keeping everyone alive and barely taking a minute for herself. But children will grow up someday, and life will slow down.
- Mom of young adults and tween children: She's figuring out where she fits in and how her role as a mom has changed; thinking about her future and how to spend her perhaps new found free time. There isn't much young motherhood left to tackle.
- Empty-nester mom: She's arranging her life around visiting grandkids and children, restarting old hobbies and trying out new ones. She's figuring out a completely new and different phase of life.
Everyone Has Something to Contribute
Each of these women are experiencing new things and tackling different challenges. It's important to remember that even if you're in a much later phase, and you've "been there, done that," that a younger or less-experienced mom still has very real trials, and she still has knowledge that you may not. Listen to moms that are more experienced than you, and learn from them. We all have something to contribute, and we all have different bits of wisdom. At the same time, we'll all experience similar things in the great tapestry that is parenthood.