Menu

It's an important reminder to note how fast time goes. But not always necessarily in the sad "They're growing up too quickly, how is this happening?" way... it's also important to remind ourselves that things change quickly when raising young children.

The chaos doesn't stay the same.

The exhaustion fluctuates.

The frustrating phases pass.

The things you have time for changes.

The difficult things differ.

The joy remains and grows and the challenges come and go in varying degrees.

As quickly as summer came and as quickly as it's winding down, I'm reminded that hard seasons pass. I find that the timing of summer ending closely aligns with the feeling of things settling a bit in my life. My youngest is almost 11 months and we've, dare I say, gotten into some sort of family of five rhythm that is working pretty well for us.

There are still PLENTY of challenges, of course, but I feel we are out of the initial newborn/figuring out how to manage three children haze (for the most part) and right now things feel strong and happy and fun.

I wouldn't necessarily say 'balanced,' but I think I have come to terms with the fact that my life won't feel balanced for a long, long time. And I actually do think I am okay with that.

My confidence levels have risen and I feel I am able to manage the kids out on adventures better. We just got back from a road trip to NY (just me and my three girls) to visit family and friends and it went really, really well.

A few months ago, I tried this exact same trip and it went really, really poorly. I was at my peak overwhelm at that point and I'm not sure what I was thinking at the time.

Why, exactly, did I think driving about five hours in a car with a 5-month-old, 2-year-old, and a 4-year-old (without another adult) during the week when I had work deadlines to meet would be a sound idea?

I think I just thought, Hey I used to do this when I had two kids… I can manage it.

But I couldn't. And I definitely learned a lesson that I continue to learn and try to reconcile with: Don't bite off more than you can chew—especially in seasons of transition.

Things are FAR from "easy" right now, but they're good. They're feeling real and regular and more manageable. The weight has been lifted off my shoulders a bit, and the wheels continue to turn.

I think we have found our new normal.

And you know what I am realizing at this moment? This is about our hundredth "new normal" as a family.

Since finding out I was pregnant over five years ago, and holding my first baby in my arms four and a half years ago, then swiftly adding two more babies into the mix—we have shifted priorities, changed our mindsets, refocused.

We've lost it, broken it, and pieced it back together. We've grown, we've evolved, we've bettered ourselves.

And we will do it all a hundred more times over the next five years.

The seasons change—we change—and that is part of the beauty of being alive. The warm spring sunshine and bright, colorful flowers wouldn't be as fulfilling without the cold, bitter winter, now would they? (Or is that just because I live in New England?)

In motherhood, the small moments of extreme heart-bursting love experienced between us and our babies, like when my 2-year-old looks up at me—out of nowhere—to tell me I have pretty eyes, or when I watch my 4-year-old teach my 11-month-old how to bark like a dog, or when my daughters run to the door the second they hear their dad's keys jiggle in the lock… they all wouldn't be as satisfying without the lessons after the meltdowns, the chats after the arguments, the tears during the growing pains.

If you're in a tough season right now, please let this be my reminder to you: You will catch a break. You will figure it out. You will find a way.

Time is moving.

The tantrums will tame.

The sass will settle.

The sleep will come.

The crying will calm.

You will continue to rock this.

You're not failing, mama.

It will not be like this forever. ❤️

What kind of season are you in right now?

You might also like:

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

FEATURED VIDEO

The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

My husband and I always talked about starting a family a few years after we were married so we could truly enjoy the “newlywed” phase. But that was over before it started. I was pregnant on our wedding day. Surprise!

Keep reading Show less
Life