I know what you are thinking. What a terrible phrase. Especially when you are in “said” phase. And I totally get it. Some of these phases we experience with our kids are less than ideal and can be downright challenging to get through. Since starting this parenting journey of my own four and a half years ago, we have experienced our share of phases (the good, the bad, and the ugly) and I know first hand that is can be tough when you are going through them.
Some of our “phases” have included the following:
- A baby who wakes up every few hours for months on end.
- A baby who refuses to nurse.
- A baby who refuses to take a bottle.
- A baby who would easily sleep in the car seat wherever we would go.
- A baby who loved the pacifier.
- A baby with reflux.
- A baby (without reflux) who spits up a ton each time he eats.
- A baby who hates to nap.
- A baby who puts everything in their mouth.
- A toddler who suddenly freaks out at bath time and screams the entire bath.
- A toddler who is a complete danger on stairs.
- A toddler who has to adjust to life with a new baby.
- A toddler who refuses to poop on the potty.
- A toddler who wakes up entirely too early each day.
- A toddler who is an extremely messy eater.
- A toddler who refuses to eat much of anything.
- A toddler who suffers from severe separation anxiety.
- A toddler (who has been sleeping through the night for months/years), suddenly starts waking up again.
- A toddler who gives up his nap.
- A toddler who sleeps everywhere except in his bed.
Some of these phases were short. Others dragged on for a much longer period of time. Some weren’t too tough to get through. Others were a bit more challenging. We are currently experiencing the “no sleep ever” phase for the third time in our life with our six month old who doesn’t sleep much more than 2-3 hour stretches. I remember this phase well with my other two kids and it totally stinks. Each night before bed I say a prayer hoping that tonight will be “the night” that my son will magically sleep through the night and life will start to feel normal again. That has yet to happen but this time around my perspective has radically changed. I am well aware that this “is just a phase” and while it might end tomorrow or six months from now, it WILL end. I know that for certain. And that reality keeps me going. And just like we have surpassed the “refusal to poop on the potty phase,” the same is true for this phase. It is just a phase and we will get through it. This perspective has helped me deal so much better with these challenges because I know many of them are short-lived.
As you have probably learned by now as a parent, our kids change and evolve so very quickly. It really is true that while the days are long, the years are short. I feel like I blink and we are through another year with each of our children. And every few months a new curve ball comes sailing along and we have to adapt and figure out our way through it. This is parenthood, I guess. But what I am learning is that maintaining the perspective that this is truly “just a phase” and that you will soon be working your way through the next one is helping me navigate a little better than when I first became a parent.
One day I asked a wise friend of mine (and a veteran mom with five grown children) what her favorite “phase” with her children was. Was it when they were all little? Or when they were in grade school? Now that they are older and live on their own? She responded in a way that I absolutely loved. She shared with me that her favorite phase was always the one she was currently in. That she tried/tries to live in the present with her kids and while each phase with children has its particular joys and challenges, she enjoys the current phase she is in, focuses on that and doesn’t dwell too much on missing the past phases or looking forward to the future ones. I found these words to be so very useful and challenge myself each day to truly embrace the current “phase” we are in – challenges and all – because pretty soon that phase will be over.