I have not seen my oldest son in five days, even though he lives at home. I never get answers whenever I ask him a question. His room is constantly a mess, and he seems annoyed every time I want some information about his life. I am not ready for this phase of parenting.
When he was in middle school and went through puberty, he became more quiet. He seemed angry, like he didn’t know what to do with his emotions. He went from being this little boy that loved me and clung to me and wanted to spend time with me, to someone I didn’t even recognize. I was not ready for that stage of parenting.
When my daughter entered middle school, she had a lot of trouble with her friendships. She cried a lot. Whenever I would try to help, she just seemed so annoyed with me I felt helpless–like there was nothing I could do. I was not ready for that stage of parenting.
When my youngest child was about two years old, his tantrums became epic. He would throw things in the grocery store. He would cry for hours if we were somewhere that he didn’t want to be. He hated going to bed and would throw his toys across his room. I couldn’t go anywhere with him. I had two kids before him, but I still was not ready for that stage of parenting.
When I brought my second child home from the hospital, I felt my heart pulling in so many different directions. I wanted to spend as much time with her as I could, yet I felt like I was neglecting my oldest son. Some of the looks he gave me while I was nursing her were enough to break me. I was not ready for that stage of parenting.
When I brought my firstborn home from the hospital and he was up all night unable to nurse and I felt like I had no idea what I was doing despite reading all the books and taking in all the advice, I felt like such a failure. I wondered when things were going to get easier. I didn’t think there was light at the end of the tunnel. And as much as I had tried to prepare myself for that phase of my life, and was unbelievably excited for it, I was not ready for that stage of parenting.
When all three of my kids stopped believing in Santa Claus, the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy, there was a part of me that felt sad and nostalgic. It was hard for me to admit that phase of their childhood was over. And I was not ready for that stage of parenting.
So I’m here to tell you that each stage of parenting is hard for its own reasons. You will never be ready for it–not for any of it.
And then as soon as you start to settle into the new routines, the new traditions, the new ways your kids are acting, they will change. And you will have to change with them. You’ll never feel ready, but that does not mean that you are failing them as a mother.
So when times feel extra hard and you think to yourself, I was not ready for this and I am not dealing with it well, remember that you are doing the best you can and that’s all your kids need from you.