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The One Parenting Lesson I Have To Learn Over and Over

I sit here typing this after a full night's sleep. It is a day I was convinced would never come. After many sleepless nights with a teething baby I had decided that exhaustion was my new normal. With almost six years of parenting under my belt I am still continually surprised by the temporary nature of my children's routines, temperaments, and preferences. It's all just one phase after another. My grandmother always reminds me that everything is temporary. This truth can be applied, of course, to life in general, but for me parenthood continually drives the concept home.

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Truly grasping the transitory nature of things is challenging, it is something I seem to need to learn over and over again. When things are going swimmingly it is easy to take them for granted. Just when you think you've got everything all dialed in, something shifts and you are forced to adapt. Change is hard, especially when it means no more naps or frequent tantrums and is made all the more difficult if you have convinced yourself that it isn't coming. If you love how things are going, enjoy them with the immense gratitude that comes from knowing they are fleeting, but don't get too comfortable, I assure you it is temporary.

Change is always afoot. In parenting the only constant is change.

Relish the three hour naps, but don't count on them. Enjoy the agreeable toddler, but don't be shocked if they decide to revolt. The next thing may not even be bad, but it will be different and take some getting used to. The trick is to not be so attached to your current routine that any change feels negative.

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The flip side to to all this flux is that tough phases are just that: phases. This can be a very difficult thing to remember, especially when you are in the thick of it. My baby will never sleep through the night, teething is a constant struggle, my toddler will never get dressed without a fight, I will be saying "no" on repeat for the rest of my life; I know I've thought, said, and worst of all, believed all of these things. But it is often at the precise moment when you can no longer bear it that something shifts. This too shall pass. Change is always afoot. In parenting the only constant is change.

Breathe deep and remember, it's all temporary.

Image via Twenty20/SirStevenAlexander

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