A lot of discussion and thought has been swirling around me lately in regards to phases. Particularly when it comes to family and littles. You only just conquer one new obstacle and now they learn how to open their door and there’s no reigning in that feeling of FREEDOOOOM!
If I had a kilt to put on O, you’d see a picture of that here: small Scottsman running around the corner, chubby fist raised, bouncy cheeks smeared with blue paint (or PB&J), mullet-top flapping in the breeze of his speedy approach, tiny mouth stretched open…my very own itty bitty Braveheart.
These ever-evolving phases—they’re exhausting! One day you feel like the master of your home, and the next far more like a zookeeper. Or an inmate. What gives? How do we survive?
I’ll tell ya what: I don’t simply want to survive, I want to thrive in each stage our family grows through. That’s been mine and Ethan’s goal, and I’d wager that most families would agree.
Let’s take a quick peek at some modified phases we go through with family building:
Positive pregnancy test. Oh baby, it just got real. YAY!
PHASES TWO – FOUR
Nausea. EXCITEMENT. Fear. JOY. Acne. Weird hair. Weight gain. SO MUCH JOY. Planning. Perfect skin (I don’t know how this happens). Backaches. Swollen everything. Baby kicks. Baby wants out…
Up all night, baby, up all night. Leaky boobs. Sudden onset of male pattern balding (I shed a LOT of hair postpartum, guys). So much tired. So much happy.
PHASES SIX – ?
Crawling, walking, running, talking, eating (why am I still not getting any sleep?), diapers, potty training, car seats, always adjusting to something, never-ending happy.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far about this rollercoaster: each stage is so fun. But so hard. You’re always encouraging your child to climb that next skill mountain, but somehow climbing up snowballs into this tiny, unreasonable person mastering the “childproof” locks you’ve so carefully installed and you’re curled up in a ball with toilet paper strewn about like confetti.
Come to think of it, you did want to make confetti-filled balloons for their next birthday party—maybe there’s a way to salvage this.
According to Moms Everywhere Incorporated, we keep our heads high and our spirits soaring (see: THRIVE) by using the following tried and true methods:
Humor. Large doses daily.
This is truly what the doctor prescribed when it comes to motherhood. Sometimes when your toddler comes streaking (I do mean streaking) around the corner and you’re terrified of where they may have, ahem, dribbled along the way, you have to laugh at the absurdity of it.
Who does that? Clothe yourself you tiny barbarian!
Instead of being angry, turn on that funny bone and give it a good wiggle.
Here’s our little O getting his giggle on at six months. Be inspired. Never has a sweeter, toothless, grainy image graced your screen.
A popular Instagram hashtag carries much wisdom, it turns out. Someday (very soon) your little beast or beauty queen will establish adult-like inhibitions and become embarrassed by themselves and you and that childlike innocence will fade. DO NOT miss these chaotically beautiful days by entrenching your thoughts in what will be. Soak up the cuddles, smell the sweet baby smells, and revel in the chaos because one day you will miss this.
Let them be little and let your heart follow suit. The kingdom of heaven belongs to these “little” hearts.
Some days everything that can go wrong, will. The kids will be up at the crack of dawn, throw their food everywhere, refuse to nap, break your favorite coffee mug, dump and then proceed to squish blueberries into the beige carpeting, and then smear their poo all over their room in great artistic passion.
These days are tough. They seem to never end. They often bring out the worst in everyone. On these terrible, no good, very bad days, once the kids are in bed for the night: indulge a bit, friend. You have my permission to eat some chocolate, scarf down a cookie or five, and/or (hey, some days are downright hard—no judgement here) eat a bowl of ice cream.
That’s how I indulge. Maybe for you it’s a long shower where you get to SHAVE YOUR LEGS. Hallelujah, let yourself go wild! Maybe it’s painting your fingernails. Get it girl.
Pizza night = mom doesn’t have to cook = treat yo’self. Plus, pizza. Yum.
Whatever it looks like for you, give yourself a few minutes and recharge those batteries.
So how do we thrive and not simply survive as parents, regardless of stage or phase? We laugh. We appreciate right where we’re at. And we make sure we’re taking care of ourselves so that we can best take care of our people.
I love this mom life. It’s the messiest beauty there is, and nothing’s more satisfying than a mess made beautiful. Be encouraged in the knowledge that these littles are yours for a reason—you’re well equipped and you can do this and do it well.
Here’s to phases, friend. Keep on keeping on and savor this weekend!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the biggest daily hurdles you face to thrive in your current phase. Solidarity, sisters!