Moms Have Phases Too

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When my husband and I had our first baby, we had a lot of those “this is our life now” moments.

Middle of the night diaper blow-outs, inexplicable crying episodes (with a 400-item checklist of potential reasons), a house suddenly brimming with pastel-colored stuff…THIS is our life now.

Missed social events, Saturday nights at home, boring errands turned mini-vacations, conversations with friends dominated by births and boobs…THIS is our life now.

But it wasn’t—not exactly.

We’re still only a few years into this parenting thing, but I can already see that we were emphasizing the wrong word.

Instead of “THIS is our life now,” we should have been saying: “this is our life NOW.”

As in, this is what parenting looks like for us at this particular moment. A month from now, it could look completely different. A year from now, it will definitely look completely different. And five years from now…well, just picture that for a second.

We parents love talking about our kids’ “phases” of life. When they go through rough patches, we’re comforted by the words “it’s just a phase.”

Recognizing a phase gives us permission to relax. It helps us step away from Google. It calms our instinct to “fix” things or handle them perfectly—instead, cueing us to just breathe and let the storm pass.

Well, guess what: we moms have phases, too. And it can be just as comforting to recognize them.

Those early postpartum days, when you’re exhausted and crying and sore and leaking milk, you don’t recognize your body, you hardly know your baby, and it feels like life will never be normal again?

That’s a phase.

When you’re juggling X kids under X age, your whole day is dictated by the mood of a toddler, and you feel like all you ever do is clean things that immediately get dirty again?

That’s a phase.

When you want to reach out to other moms, make some new friends, and plan some play dates, but your “schedule” is wildly unpredictable and it’s just so much easier to stay home?

That’s a phase.

When you feel like you never get anything done because you get interrupted within twelve seconds of starting (and then forget to come back to it)?

Well—I’ve heard that’s a long one. But still kind of a phase.

Should any of these phases get you down (and by “should” I mean “when”), just remember the cue: breathe, and let the storm pass.

Most likely, this isn’t your life forever. It’s just your life right now.

A Mom Phase isn’t necessarily something you have to fix, or force yourself to come to terms with. Sometimes, you just have to let it be, and let it pass.* Recognize it without judging it. Tell yourself the things you would tell a friend in your shoes. (And then keep telling yourself those things, over and over and over…)

–About those early postpartum days: during what other time in life are you more completely justified and celebrated for bumming around the house in baggy pants all day long? Tell someone you managed to shower one day and they’ll be blown away by your motivation. Take it! (Why not??)

–The X kids under X age years: you don’t need a single excuse for bringing store-brought cookies to the party instead of something homemade. (No one cares, I promise!) This is your time to lean. Own that, and others will follow your lead.

–To the homebound mom: you are not antisocial. You’re just a little trapped—for now. Don’t forget to count the little wins, like when you chatted with that girl at the park for 5 minutes. Do what you can, but don’t stress about it. Someday, when life looks different, you’ll be back. (Also, it’s ok to just like to stay home!)

–To the interrupted mama: all I can say is, I know, girl. (I’ve been working on this blog post for two weeks!)

Whatever the phase, don’t let your mind trick you into thinking it’s forever. And don’t forget to appreciate the good things that come along with each phase—those are fleeting too! (I mean, my youngest is a year old and no one’s impressed when I shower anymore…)

Keep your chin up, Mom. You’re doing awesome.

Have you been through a Mom Phase before? What helped you cope?

What would you say to a fellow mom going through a tough phase?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

*P.S. Postpartum depression, or any depression, is NOT a Mom Phase. If you think you might be facing something more serious, please seek professional help!

Kim grew up in Minnesota, but moved to Madison to attend the UW and fell in love with the city’s spirit and culture. She's married with three sweet kiddos - Mason, Joshua, and Leah. When she’s not racing monster trucks across furniture or pretending to be interested in video games, she’s working on freelance writing projects or teaching strength training classes through her small fitness business, Lioness Fitness. Kim's a food allergy mom, which means she can read a food label like nobody’s business. She's also a sucker for good wine, good sushi, a good book, and ANY beach.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Kim! I love this post so much. I was just talking to a mom friend last night about how we’re in the forget-everything-need-grace-from-everyone phase. 🙂

    I work for ForEveryMom.com, a parenting site, and I’d like to share this post with our readers there. With your permission, I’d like to republish this post, giving you full credit as author, linking back to the original post here, and including your bio and head shot. What do you think??

  2. I’m 67 with 5 adult children and 8 (soon 9) grandchildren. Love your post. It’s so true and I hope the phase aspect brings some peace and acceptance to new Moms going through it! Our oldest just turned 40 and our youngest is 34. Each one of them continues to “phase” and we embrace each one! Oh, some are more difficult than others. The biggest surprise in my life is having adult children and grandchildren. Nothing like I expected, not one bit! But, it’s great. We still just had to learn to be flexible. To adapt. And to know that it’s just a phase! Great blog!

  3. Just what I needed to read today, as I sit on my couch tucked under a sick toddler. They’re only small for a brief time…

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