The Many Seasons of Parenthood
Parenting is hard.
From sleep deprivation with a newborn, to potty training difficulties with a toddler, bullying issues when a child enters school and later peer pressure battles, every day is a new challenge.
The days feel like they will never end, and when they finally do, you realize that you'll probably face similar challenges the next day. It's an exhausting, seemingly never-ending battle.
I remember when my second child, Nathan, was born. He had acid reflux and on top of that, he had his nights and days backwards. I was up all day with my daughter, Paige, and up all night with Nate. I smelled like spit up for months, looked like a zombie and was on the verge of having a breakdown because of severe postpartum depression.
My husband helped where he could, but it was his first year teaching at a new school, and he needed sleep in order to be as effective of a teacher as possible for his students. I felt very alone, and very, very tired.
One particularly rough day, I asked my mother-in-law how she survived having three children and the daily struggles of motherhood. She responded by saying that whatever I'm going through was just a season; Nate's reflux wouldn't last forever, just as Paige's colic didn't last forever. Some day this will be over; yes, there will be another battle I'd have to face, but this one will be a distant memory. She assured me that at some point, I will get that full night's sleep that I was so badly craving.
I have to admit, I didn't like that advice at first. I wanted something that would work immediately, that would cure the reflux and guarantee me a full night's sleep that night. I thought she was holding out on me and wanted me to figure it out on my own. Deep down I knew better, but when you haven't gotten sleep on a regular basis for a couple months, your brain does funky things.
But in the end, she was right. At 6 months old, Nate outgrew his reflux and I finally got my sleep. It was a long season, but we made it through it. That bit of advice became my mantra, and it has made such a difference in my parenting.
The funny thing about seasons is that they always feel long when you are experiencing them, but as I'm finding out later, sometimes they pass by too quickly. There are days where I wish I could go back to the newborn season of sleepless nights, just so I could hold my children in the quiet hours of the night, knowing they need their mommy.
My days of snuggles are numbered; this fall I will have two kids in school, and before I know it, my husband and I will be empty nesters. Time is passing by faster than I ever imagined, and I have to learn to enjoy every minute I'm given with my children, whether it be good or bad.
How do you handle those bad seasons in life? Do you ever wish you could go back to a “bad” season, even just for a moment?