In a former life, I was an enterprise software saleswoman for a startup in Silicon Valley (yes, the HBO show is largely accurate!). It was and still is a darling of a company—loved by investors, customers and employees. I had two children while employed there and managed to “balance” that with a pretty successful career. Part of the reason I was able to balance my life so well was the incredible support and empathy I had from senior leadership. Our Head of HR, Tech, Legal, Finance, and Communications teams were all women and all moms to young kids.
Being in Silicon Valley, we would gather in the mornings, not around the water cooler but the organic blueberries and cold brew coffee, and share stories and helpful laughter about raising kids. One morning, the VP of Finance and I were in the kitchen, and she asked how things were going. At that time, our 10-month-old had to throw his food on the floor to announce he was done eating, and our 2-year-old could not take a bath without screaming. I can still see the smile, the cock of her head, and hear her sigh, “It’s just a phase. It’s always just a phase.” I briefly thought back to my own phases: Blink 182, Wu-Tang Clan, Tom Petty (and that was only my junior year of high school) and decided she was right.
It is always a phase—the good, the bad, the grand tantrums, the snuggly kisses. It’s all just a phase. If I can actively remember this in “those” moments, it helps my patience and sanity last a bit longer.
My 10-month-old is now 3 years old and mostly keeps his food on his plate, and my daughter, at 5 years old, just passed the water safety test at the Bay Club Redwood Shores.
Now, there are new phases. As of two weeks ago, my 3-year-old woke up before the sun. Last Wednesday, my older child lumbered into my room around 6:00 AM muttering something about having to go potty. With my one-eyed pirate morning face, I asked what was wrong with her potty?
“Brother’s making a mess.”
Dang. Those words got me up quick.
Our little guy had taken all of the paper off the toilet paper roll, stuffed it in the sink and put the water on full blast. The man-child then took soap and tried to make a bubble bath in the flood. “Mess” was an understatement.
My 5-year-old went back to bed and waited for her clock to turn green at 7:00 AM signaling time to get up, and my 3-year-old “helped” me clean up.
True to form, this Monday he slept in until 7:25 am, and Tuesday he stayed in bed until his clock turned green. As much as I love not getting up before the sun, I’m not getting too excited. After all, it’s just a phase!
Editor’s note: This article originally published on September 20, 2017, and was slightly edited prior to republication.