“It’s just a stage, he’ll grow out of it.” Every mama has heard it, and probably said it, in a time of utter frustration. But it could just as easily be said wistfully because, after all, there are some awesome things about every stage of childhood. It’s just sometimes hard to see those magical times in the heat of an exasperating moment.
So I asked a few mamas what their favorite things were of each stage of childhood. Maybe you’ll recognize some of them—or find yourself looking forward to the next stage.
“I miss that stage in babyhood, about 9 or 10 months, when they are the perfect weight and size to hold in one arm while you go about your daily chores with your free hand. That heft that's solid, yet light enough to not be a burden. They've grown less fragile—sturdy enough to enjoy the holding instead of worrying over proper neck support. They're still reliant but with a burgeoning sense of independence just budding into existence. I wish I could go back and tell myself to hold on a little longer—plus they're so dang cute!” – Kim
“Babies are exhausting. But I loved the quiet moments, the times when I had to slow down because of this little human being I was caring for who needed to be fed or rocked to sleep or comforted. Those quiet, slow moments are everything.” – Lynn
“I love watching her becoming more independent. I love seeing how proud she is of herself when she figures out something new. It's the absolute best part for me. High fives, happy dances, and my kid beaming with self pride—can't get much better then that!” – Lauren
“Everything is new and exciting to a toddler. Rain! Awesome! A butterfly! The best! They feel so strongly about everything! Seeing the world through eyes not already jaded was the best feeling. I found myself getting excited over the little things, too.” – Kasey
I always loved my kids, but I started to really like them around four years old.
“I loved how my girls just adored me like I adored them... they listened, were so helpful, cuddly. I remember my aunt would say, ‘Right now they're stepping on your toes, but wait till they step on your heart’.” – Lisa
“My daughter is in a transitional phase (she’ll be 7 in two weeks). I completely underestimated the changes that would come with this past year! I think my favorite part so far is seeing what she is choosing to take with her to her next phase and how that evolves with her as she grows. It's scary, beautiful, sometimes awkward, and absolutely phenomenal!” – Lauren
“I love preschoolers. Kids who are just starting to get verbal and use logic, and I can start to talk to them about consequences and choices, and we can work out solutions together. I always loved my kids, but I started to really like them around four years old.” – Kay
“Hanging out with my tween daughter is a joy! I get to see the world through the eyes of a young person who is discovering what it feels like to have a crush, successfully conquer fears about math and who writes song lyrics about wild horses. 10 is my favorite age so far.” – Emily
“Seeing a more fully developed person emerge. I feel like with my 9-year-old, I'm getting a real sense of who she will be as she grows up. We have intense and deep conversations about everything. She has the most passionate and intense imagination.” – Kay
“Best part of teen years is the influx of all their friends. I've had as many as four guys and six girls crashing here… and though they feed like locusts, it's amazing to watch them forming into fully-realized adults. I truly love them all and would always rather be at the house where they hang out. “ – Erica
“I was so proud at the emergence of my teenage daughters' social conscience—how much they cared about the world they were entering and the people in it. Of course they were also selfish little shits, but it was balanced by an increasingly generous worldview.” – Sonja
“I loved the teen years. They were grown enough to do a lot of things and always had interesting perspectives.” – Rhonda