I’m so tired of waking up every two hours. I can’t wait until my baby sleeps longer.
This thought ran through my mind almost every night as a new mom. Those middle-of-the-night feedings rocked my world, and I couldn’t wait to graduate to the next phase.
The only problem was that once I got there, I realized I now had a toddler on the loose. This meant nothing in my house was off limits, and since I couldn’t duct tape my child to a chair, I was in charge of chasing after him.
I would go to the moms’ group at my church and be encouraged by mentors who said, “This too shall pass.” They would add that the challenges change as kids get older, and the stakes get higher. Technology, peer pressure, drivers’ licenses—they open us up to a whole new world of mama worries.
Now that my kids are in the preteen phase, I can see that those women were so right. And I find myself wishing I had tucked their words deeper into my heart so I wouldn’t miss the joy in every stage of motherhood.
We do it so often, don’t we, moms? We lament the difficulties of the parenting phase we’re in and wish for the next…only to face challenges there too.
What if today we choose a different path? What if we embrace the season we’re in with gratitude and joy? Here are two ways we can do that.
Make the Most
Some days of parenting are harder than others, but behind every challenge is an opportunity.
If you’re in middle-of-the-night feedings, you can pray. If you’re chasing a toddler, it’s a good excuse to meet another mom at the park. If you’re helping with homework, make the most of a rare chance to sit one-on-one with your child. If you’re navigating technology boundaries with a teen, embrace the opportunity to review your own time on screens and make healthy changes.
Even if it’s a difficult phase of motherhood, remember that these are the days and moments your kids will carry with them throughout life. Seeing the opportunities will shift your heart from grumbling to joy.
Mark the Memories
Looking back at my kids’ baby and toddler phases, I hardly remember the exhaustion anymore. But I’m so thankful that in the midst of being tired, I recorded photos and videos to mark the memories. Every once in a while, I pull them up to remind myself of the laughter and general adorable-ness my kids have brought to our home. When I view those memories, I can’t help but smile.
No matter the season of parenting you’re in, record the memories. Pull out your phone and capture the moment so you can look back on it and remember. You might even make it a formal event, such as doing a fun video interview with your child each year on his or her birthday. I heard of one parent who secretly sets up a phone and records family dinner twice a year. Those routine moments are a beautiful marker of conversations shared and the growth of their kids over time.
There is so much joy in the season you’re in, mama. Yes, it’s hard sometimes, but these are the days your child will remember for a lifetime. Make the most, mark the memories, and savor the joy.