The 13 Stages of Parenting

From the moment you pee on a stick and see that little plus sign your roller coaster ride begins. Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

Parenting is a roller coaster of emotions. You will pull your hair out, cry and love so hard you'll forget about the first two. Buckle up and prepare for the 13 stages of parenting.


It’s a girl!

Stage #1: Elation

Woo Hoo! You are having a kid! Could this be? You a parent! You are on cloud nine. You are consumed with baby thoughts. What will you call her? What will she wear? What will her room look like? You make a list of things you need that you didn’t even know existed a few weeks ago.

Stage #2: Panic

They are going to let you take it home. They are wheeling you out of the hospital and just dumping you on the curb. When do you feed her? Was it 8 ounces, 2 ounces, was it ounces at all? Should you chart her eating, her sleeping? Did they stuff an instruction manual in your hospital goody bag? Maybe you can fake a complication and stay a few more days.

Stage #3: Exhaustion

Kill me now. Honestly, you can’t go another week living like this. How do people do it? You can’t string a sentence together. Your world seems a bit fuzzy. How much sleep did you get – two hours, maybe three? You dream of four hours of uninterrupted sleep. You call it a good night if you can sleep from midnight to 4am. Seriously, no one told you it was this bad.

It’s a toddler!


Stage #4: Premature celebration

Oh, thank god! Finally a light at the end of the dark, gloomy, sleep deprived tunnel. Your little cutie is starting to grow up. You have your boobs back. You have some of your sleep back. Things just might get back to normal. You do a happy dance!

Stage #5: Jackal and Hyde

Your emotions are having an identity crisis. One minute your heart oozes pure love and enjoyment for your sweet little girl and the next minute you are locking yourself in the bathroom, for her safety. How can such a cute little thing wreak so much havoc in your life?

Stage #6: Celebration

She just learned to go potty! She can say her ABCs. You celebrate – Every. Single. Milestone. You are a proud mama. Your little person is growing up. You wish you could go back and soak it up all over again (obviously, you suffer from mommy amnesia).

It’s a kid!

Stage #7: Patience

You help her with her homework (well Google does). You help her tie her shoes. You help her learn how to socialize. You help her learn to clean up. You help her learn how to handle her feelings. You help her ride a bike. She helps you develop patience.

Stage #8: Doubts

Doubt starts to wiggle its way in. Are you giving her a good childhood? Is she signed up for enough stuff? Is she given lots of opportunities? Are you holding her back? You list the ways you are failing her. She has moments where she helps you add to your list. What if you messed her up for good?

Stage #9: Deep love

Your little person is not so little anymore. She has new rules for you now. No kissing her in public. No hugs either. She wants to do things herself. You should be celebrating this new independence, but you want to smother her with love.

It’s a teen!

Stage #10: Fear

Gulp! Hormones have invaded your home and your life. You flower has grown thorns. How long will this last? How bad does it get? She growls in your direction. She’s half beast, half girl.

Stage #11: Fear

You feel more like a warden than a mom. You rapid spitfire your questions. Where are you going? Who are you going with? When will you be back? Will parents be there? She answers your questions with the skill of a politician. Evading your questions and speaking in circles until your head spins. Would it be wrong to permanently hook her up to a lie detector?

Stage #12: Fear

The countdown to adulthood has begun. In six months your baby is going to be able to legally vote and live in a dorm. Is she prepared? Can she fly on her own? Will she come back and live at home until she is thirty? Her nerves are palatable (so are yours).

It’s a grown up!

Stage #13: Love

You’ve raised your best friend. She is your confidant and you are her biggest fan. You are her go-to person and she is yours. You plan her wedding. You help her buy her first home. She lives in marital bliss. She pees on a stick. A faint plus sign appears. “Buckle up,” you tell her. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Do these stages sound familiar? What stage are you in? What was your favorite stage?

Do you know someone who could use a preview of all the stages they’ll go through? Share this article with them!

If you liked this article, you might like:

Here’s Your Motherhood. Would you Like a Side of Guilt with That?