I never knew what people meant when they said “This is just a season” until I had kids. For many of us, before having kids seasons seemed everlasting. High school and college drug on, and after that, if you found yourself stuck in a job you don’t love, time seemed to stand still.
Then you have children and everything changes. Little people have a way of not only turning your world upside down but also giving you perspective on your current and past seasons.
When my husband and I got married, we were saving to open our first chiropractic clinic and lived in a small rental home on Clipper Street in a neighborhood we didn’t love. Because we were trying to save every dollar we could and didn’t have much for excess or entertainment, we stayed home and watched HGTV or rented dollar movies from Redbox. We turned our spare bedroom into a den/office with my husband’s old bachelor pad couch, and he would watch sports while I sat with my feet on him eating Red Vines and reading Us Weekly magazines to catch up on celebrity gossip. We often talked about our dreams and goals and one day moving out of the Clipper Street house.
Fast-forward several years, and today we find ourselves managing two clinics, refereeing fights between a 3- and 5-year-old and juggling the maintenance of our larger home, which always seems to have a to-do list attached to it. We now jokingly discuss the good old days on Clipper Street.
When I was a new mom, everything freaked me out. I was overwhelmed with taking care of a tiny human, and I wanted to make sure I did everything right. As soon as I felt I had “mastered” something with my young son, things changed, and I found myself panicking and trying to figure things out all over again. While seasons before kids can seem so much longer, like in our Clipper Street house when we wished we could just move on to the next big thing, seasons with children tend to move at lightning speed.
I’ve learned that there is something good that comes out of every season, even the difficult ones. Sometimes we are so quick to want to jump to the next milestone (the baby sleeping through the night, leaving behind nursing and bottles or getting past potty training) that we miss the beauty or lesson in our current season. I look at photos of my boys from six months ago and get teary-eyed thinking of how fast they’ve grown, how different they’ve become in such a short window of time.
My current season is crazy town. I mean two kids fighting in the backseat over a stale chicken nugget they found crazy town. Tantrums in target crazy town. I brushed my teeth but didn’t have time to wash my face crazy town. I let you eat chips for dinner because I had no more energy to reason with you crazy town. I can’t go to the bathroom alone crazy town. I step on Legos or other sharp objects in the messy playroom crazy town. I let my 3-year-old wear Hulk pajamas under his school uniform to avoid a meltdown crazy town. I give my 5-year-old his tablet more than I should crazy town (and I swore when I had kids that they would not have any screen time!).
There have been days when I have cried because I’m so overwhelmed. Days when nothing gets done and I’m embarrassed by my dirty house. Days when I give the boys screen time so I can clean up, only for them to tell me they want me to come sit with them and hold them while they are watching their favorite show. I’ve learned the mess will still be there, and so will the dirty clothes that continue to pile up if I miss even one day of laundry.
However, I think about how fast they are growing, how one day they won’t ask me to sit with them while they watch something, and I remember this is just a season. So instead of hurrying it and looking forward to the next one, day-by-day I’m trying to make sure I soak it all in.
I remember hearing this quote from Andy Stanley:
“Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but someone you raise.”
I have it on a card and keep it where I can see it every day. It has changed my way of thinking about some of the difficult seasons of mothering because it reminds me that even in the challenges, I’m helping to shape them into who they will one day be. And when that day comes, I know I will look back and miss this current season even more than I miss that little house on Clipper Street.