The Phases All Parents Suffer Through

by Susie Johnson
Originally Published: 
An angry little ginger girl
Image via Shutterstock

Now that we are almost ten months into child number seven, I have finally figured out that raising children is simply making it from one challenging phase to the next. Just when you make it through the stage that you thought was the worst, a worse one comes along…

Phase 1 — Sleep Deprivation.

If you are lucky, this phase will last only two or three months. But for many, it’s closer to six or seven months. Hang in there long enough though, and one night, you will go to bed, prepared to wake up in a couple hours. Eight hours later, you will roll over, look at the clock, and realize you have had your first full night’s sleep in months. Then you will panic, thinking there is something wrong with your child, and you will rush to check on her. Holy Shit! She’s fine, and she slept through the night! You will breathe a sigh of relief. Oh, things will be so much easier now…

But then…

Phase 2 — Mobility.

This phase is worse than the sleep deprivation for two reasons. First, your child will find every single choking hazard known to mankind and put it into his or her mouth. You will want to destroy every toilet, garbage can, and dog/cat dish in your home. Your ability to complete any household task is now seriously compromised, if not completely destroyed. In addition, you will realize how dirty your house is and determine when it is time to wash your floors based on the shade of gray (or black) on your child’s knees and on the tops of his or her feet.

This phase lasts for about two years. It’s a doozy, but one day you leave the bathroom door open, and nobody goes in and washes their face in the toilet. And then, the next day, you leave a garbage can on the floor, with garbage actually in it, and two hours later, the garbage is all still inside of the can.

Phew! NOW you can relax a little.

But then you enter…

Phase 3 — Talking.

You push and push for your child to say that first word. “Say Mama! Say Mama!!!”

What you don’t realize is that once they talk, they never stop. Those first couple Mamas are cute. The 4000th Mama is really fucking annoying. Especially when you hear all 4000 of them in the same hour.

And when “mama” is preceded by “You’re the worst”, and followed by “ever”, well, then it’s really not so cute.

This phase never ends, but you do, at some point, accept it.

And then…

Phase 4 — The 3 and 4-year-old.

Forget the terrible twos. They are a joke. The threes? SUCK. And the fucking fours are a true test of patience.

This phase can put you directly into therapy. Or a mandatory anger management class.

The words “Whyyyyyyyyyyyyy????” and “Pleeeeeeeeeeeaaasse???” and “NO!” will spew from your child’s mouth at least 387 times each day.

Whoever came up with the time out was for sure in the throes of this stage.

You exit this phase exhausted. Panting. On the verge of collapse.

And then…

Phase 5 — Lying.

If you think your kids don’t do this, then you are still in this phase, and you are doing it to yourself.

Phase 6 — But Jane’s mom let’s her do it.


Phase 7 — Fucking teenagers.

I’m not sure which is worse. This phase or Phase 4. They are both equally horrifying. But in this phase your kids might be bigger than you, and they can outrun you.

So I guess this phase is the worst.

Phase 8 — Can I have some money?

This phase lasts the longest of them all.

I know, because I’m 45 years old.

And I’m still in it.

Related post: Parenting: It Doesn’t Get Better

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