I remember well –she was looking into my weary (and teary) eyes, knowingly, as she watched me nurse and describe the utter exhaustion of cluster feedings and growth spurts and seeing 1 am and 2am and 3am… she smiled and nodded as she says “It won’t always be this way. This phase won’t last. They will grow up.”
A bit wistful, she looks at her teenage children, reminiscing about their toddler antics as she chuckles while I share stories of the “Gillespie circus” – peanut butter sandwiches in the fish bowl, poop behind the door, tutus and orcas and dinosaurs. She smiles as she says, “You may be exhausted now, but, it’s just a phase. They grow up. Quickly.”
I listen as she shares her concerns about allowing her teen daughter to attend a concert, her daughter’s rapidly approaching high school graduation and college choices, and having to decide on how to handle a situation regarding a grown man who disrespected her teen son. I think, “Hmph. This isn’t a phase. This is life.”
That’s when I realized that I have been interpreting that statement incorrectly.
Parenting isn’t a phase.
Parenting is a lifetime commitment filled with mountain tops and valleys, joys and fears, pride and anxiety, sleepless nights and even more sleepless nights. It is the best, hardest, most satisfying, and frustrating, exhilarating and exhausting job I have never gotten paid for. It has been worth the blood, sweat and oh so many tears, while often leaving me wondering, “How in the WORLD am I going to do this?”
One thing it is not – is a phase.
Children go through phases/stages – newborn, infant, toddler…adolescence, young adult, etc. Each phase requires patience, wisdom, creativity, soul searching and prayer.
Some seasons are more physically demanding as they need you absolutelyeverymomenteveryminuteeverydayrightnowMommyNOW!
Other times they require more mental and emotional stamina.
“Why can’t I do this?”
“Why Mommy? Why? Why?Why?!”
“How do I talk to him about this?”
“Where do I begin to encourage her in that?”
“How do we navigate this?”
Yes, the child goes through phases, the parent simply (or, not so simply) makes appropriate adjustments. If you have ever talked to a seasoned parent, you may hear “Just when I think I’ve got something figured out, they change.” There is always something new.
I remember tearfully questioning if I would EVER be able to conceive a child. I was talking to a wise woman, years ahead of me in this journey of motherhood. Her sweet motherly words of advice –
“Little girl, you’re going to have to learn to trust God with that baby now. There will always be something to worry about. Will you conceive? Will you carry full-term? Will they have ten fingers and toes? How will they do in school? Even when they are adults you will still be tempted to worry. So. Learn to trust God – now.”
That was over seven years ago. Enoch was just a dream, and the girls weren’t even considered a possibility.
I am only 5 years into this journey, and I have realized that my conversations with God are pretty consistent.
Bringing them home from the hospital :
“Lord, I have no clue what I am doing. You created them. Teach me how to raise them.”
“Lord, I have no clue what I am doing. You created them. Teach me how to discipline them.”
“Lord, I have no clue what I am doing. You created them. Help me nurse them, find what they like and get them to eat it.”
Stubborn/strong-willed/you done lost yo’ mind actions:
“Lord, I have no clue what I am doing. You created them. You betta help me. ”
Yeah. Pretty consistent.
And so is parenting.
So, for those of you out there wondering, “When will this phase be over?” It won’t.
Since that is the case, we would all do well to heed advice of my friend – “Trust God now.”
Here with you on the journey…