I have a motto as a mom: It’s just a phase, it will end, and I’ll get through it.
For many months, I’ve been tested on every level known to mom. My eight-year-old son yearns for independence of the college set, wanting to do everything his way with none of that motherly advice thrown in. He pushes my buttons like he’s operating a remote control car and I just try to hang on.
We’ve been butting heads over any issue, big or small. I tell him to stop doing something and it’s like telling a two-year-old he has to take a bath during Barney. I have literally been tiptoeing on eggshells.
Many thoughts have raced through my mind: What is going to set him off next? Is it hormones? At 8? Heaven help me when he’s a teenager. And he’s such a sweet kid. Where did my sweet boy go? Something must be wrong with him. Is this normal?
Just what do you do when you tell him to stop and he says no again and again? By gosh, he’s too heavy for me to carry to his room anymore and he knows it. Yelling makes things so much worse. I tried to stay calm, but that was a big test for me. I screamed inside…and what I said was not very nice. For months, it has been up and down, and I’ve been waiting, knowing my motto has always held true. Is this what my next ten years will be like?
And then, just when I was at my breaking point, the ride ended. At least, I think it did. Do the phases just get longer as kids get older? They certainly get harder. But surely they do end.
Walking through a parking lot the other day, my nearly six-year-old daughter and I held hands like always. Surprisingly, my son grabbed my other and in that instant, life was really good. He said, “I love summer,” and gave my hand a light squeeze.
“Yeah, me too,” I said over the lump in my throat. We kept walking and I thought, “I can make it through any bad day for this tiny moment.” I held on as long as I could. As long as he’d let me.
And just when I started to enjoy the calm and started to relax, my daughter, who has been syrupy sweet all these months, entered a phase. There’s no rest for the weary and it’s time for me to buckle up again. Hopefully it will be a short ride.