It’s just a phase. How many times have you heard that line as a new mum?
The answer is countless.
The baby’s not sleeping! – It’s just a phase.
He’s started refusing his daytime nap! – It’s just a phase.
He used to love his bath, but now he hates it! – It’s just a phase.
He’s started throwing tantrums over his soother! – It’s just a phase.
That might well be true, in fact the further I get along my motherhood journey, the more I realise that when it comes to babies, nothing is set in stone. They are constantly evolving and changing. The moment you think you’ve got something cracked, the goalposts change and there’s another challenge in front of you.
It can be truly exhausting and when you’re in the middle of the maelstrom, hearing the words;
‘It’s just a phase,’ are about as helpful as a leaky nappy.
In fact, I think the phrase should be banned.
As a new mum, I want to hear words of support and encouragement, instead of brushing me off with sweeping statements telling me it’s just a phase… thing is, before I became a mum, I’m quite sure I trotted that line out verbatim to other new mums, as if I was some sort of expert, when in fact I hadn’t a clue about babies at all. I didn't mean any harm by those words, I think I probably just didn't know what else to say!
It got me thinking though about the person I was pre-kids, compared to the person I am now. I’ve blogged before about feeling a complete loss of identity when I gave birth, and slowly over this past year, I’ve begun to find myself again. And although I am a totally different person, I somehow feel more like myself again. However, until you become a mum and you’re literally thrown into the deep end of motherhood with no clue of how to swim, it’s only then that you realise how bloody tough it can be.
From the outside looking in, pre-kids, I hadn’t a clue at just what it takes to be a stay at home mum (SAHM). It’s honestly the most challenging thing I have ever done. I looked at other mums and had no idea of the hours spent rocking their children to sleep, the soothing, teaching, laughing, crying, loving, arguing, rushing, the tiredness, the panic, the joy and the sheer patience that even the most serene of saints wouldn’t have.
I had no idea the level of sacrifice parents put in on a daily basis for their kids, the personal sacrifices, the financial, the emotional sacrifices and the mental sacrifices and the most incredible part of it all? Is that it’s all done willingly. That all-encompassing love for our kids drives us to keep going even when we feel at our lowest ebb. I’ve blogged before about how it took me a while to develop a deep connection to my baby boy, but by God when that bond kicked in, I suddenly realised what everyone had been talking about- an all-consuming love like nothing on this earth.
But that said, when he kicks off over something as silly as wanting to eat a piece of the dogs food and I’m left dealing with yet another temper tantrum because I won't let him, I still don’t want to hear the words –
It’s just a phase!
It's the equivalent of 'oh that's nice'.
It's not helpful, so let's all please stop saying it.