Everything Is a Phase



You get plenty of advice any time you enter into a new phase of your adult life. There are books and websites and blogs and magazines devoted to guiding prospective students, newlyweds, first time home or car buyers, entrepreneurs, and divorcees. But I would argue that there is no milestone that solicits more advice, both sought and unsolicited, than parenthood. Perhaps part of that is the visibility of the decision for most parents. People are drawn to pregnant women in a Target check out line like moths to a light bulb, eager and excited and well-intentioned and full of wisdom. Bless ’em.

Being pregnant with my fourth child, I have heard my fair share of parenting tips; the advice I have been given over the past six years or so has been often contradictory, sometimes inspiring, frequently useful, and occasionally obnoxious. But there is one little nugget that has stuck with me and become a mantra of sorts for my husband and I.

Everything is a phase.

At first this phrase may seem most useful in getting through the more trying parts of child-rearing. Sleep training, colic, teething, potty training, tantrums: all of these are common phases for most young children that feel absolutely interminable while you are living through them, especially the first time. It does help to remind yourself that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Your kid will not go to college in diapers. One day you may have to convince your child to get out of bed rather than desperately trying to get him to stay in it. Everything is a phase.

But I have actually found that this mantra of mine encompasses more than just the tough stuff. Because, as we all learn, the days may be long…but the years are so short. The words they mispronounce and you just can’t get yourself to correct, the way they struggle and yet insist on putting on all of their own clothes in the morning, the first lost teeth, the latest character or book or TV or toy obsession. They fade and they change and they shift and suddenly your child is new and different, and older and taller, and oh my gosh weren’t they just born yesterday?

So¬†while my son can’t consistently make it through the night without having an accident, I will grit my teeth and wash the sheets and whisper to myself that it is, indeed, a phase. Besides, he still loves to crawl under the covers in my bed and ask to snuggle just a little longer before we wake up his sisters in the mornings. And be still my breaking heart…that’s a phase, too.