I’ve spent some time reflecting on the journey of motherhood, thinking about all the different seasons that transpire as our kids grow older. From the moment we find out we are moms, everything changes. It’s a wild ride full of big hills and hard turns, speeding highways and bumpy terrain. Being a mom takes sacrifice and strength, and a whole lotta stamina too.
Parenting leads us all through unpredictable and unique pathways, but there is also a universality to much of what we go through.
I’d like to present to you, the non-medical, non-verifiable, but oh so recognizable seasons all moms experience as we manage the various ages and stages in raising our kids…
Seven Seasons of Motherhood
When we first find out we are pregnant, we are awakened to the incredible knowledge that we are growing a human being inside our bodies. This profound realization brings excitement and anticipation for delivering our precious babes into the world! This stage is full of planning and dreaming, as we endure the many changes in our bodies.
This season is filled with endless ideas about how we will care for and raise our little miracle as we hobble through the door of motherhood, filled with hormones and hope.
At last, the baby has arrived! We have been through the most magnificent and maddening experience of our lives, and once we hold our precious babes in our trembling arms we know it was worth the pain of childbirth! Now we immediately shift to survival mode, as we endure sleep deprivation and overwhelming emotions.
Our brains are stripped of all intellectual capacity and are instead consumed with blurry exhaustion and the sheer will to follow through with the immense responsibility of caring for this tiny fragile life we made. Most of this season will not be remembered, but somehow, we manage to keep our babies fed and bathed.
As our children become little people, between the ages of 2 and 6, we are forced to come out of our brain fog and enter into a season of full-on functioning mode. We are B.U.S.Y. helping our little ones develop important life skills like eating and speaking and listening and understanding the basic rules of the human race. We are constantly caring for all the needs of our growing kids at all hours of the day and night while introducing them to many new experiences.
It’s a non-stop existence that requires keeping our kids safe and happy, active and healthy. We are officially submerged in the often tedious task of watching our kids develop and instructing them on the intricate details of day-to-day living.
Now that our kids can do most basic living skills, we are called to active duty. When our kids are around 7-12 years old, they are growing at a rapid rate and we are racing to keep up with them. These are the active years, full of challenges at school and participation in various activities that both nourish their brains and build new skills.
We field questions about every little thing our kids ask as their world expands and their curiosity abounds. We are constantly teaching them about rules and responsibilities while helping them understand the principles we practice and the values we hold dear. There’s so much to do to help our maturing kids develop their interests and cultivate their personalities, that we never stop teaching, training, guiding and modeling.
Now that our kids are entering the teen years, the season abruptly changes as we enter the high alert mode. We must be attentive to their mysterious nuances, their ever-changing moods, and their questionable behaviors. Constant vigilance is required so that we can tend to their growing pains with careful study and cautious intervention.
We tiptoe through this tumultuous terrain with our teens, treading the landscape with diligence and intention, because our kids are nearing the cusp of adulthood and there is so much more we need to do to prepare them for the launch. We are scared and excited, and we are “ALL hands-on deck” for these profound final years of building our kids up to live a productive and fulfilling life.
Now that our kids have been launched into the world, the season shifts into a restless worry mode. Are our babies safe out in the world? Will they be able to manage all the complicated challenges life presents? Did we prepare them to make it on their own? When will they call? What if they get sick or injured? What if they are sad and alone? Do they have trusted friends?
Why aren’t they calling? How are they really doing? WHAT are they actually doing? Did they eat today? Are they getting enough sleep? Are they making good choices? Who is this special person they met? When will they call?
Wondering and Wonderment
By the time our kids have made a life for themselves, perhaps starting a family or an exciting career, we enter the season of wondering. We think often about our grown kids, wondering if they are really doing what makes them happy and fulfilled.
We wonder if they’re safe and healthy and making wise decisions. We wonder if they are enjoying their new jobs or if they like where they live. We wonder if their marriage is thriving or how the grandbabies are doing. We wonder when they’ll come for a visit or call to catch up.
But this season also brings with it, a hard-earned glorious state of wonderment in this incredible gift of motherhood we’ve been given and that we’ve worked so hard at through the years. We reflect back upon each season and we celebrate the incredible road we traveled while raising these beautiful people who are now full grown.
This particular season of motherhood lasts for the rest of our lives.
You’ll Also Love Reading:
Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults – best-selling guide for parents of teens!