The Most Worn-out Parenting Cliche’

This summer is a season of milestones for our family. Randi turned 18 and graduated from high school. Our family vacation was minus one because Kelli had a fabulous internship in St. Louis. But she got a vacation–5,200 miles away on her first overseas mission trip. We celebrated her 21st birthday last week, and next week Randi will be an official college freshman.

How did we get here?

Just yesterday I was zipping up squeaky clean little bodies in footie pajamas, reading bedtime stories, and giving butterfly-puppy dog-Eskimo kisses. Now I go to bed wondering if Kelli is secure in her city house and why I didn’t tell Randi to be home earlier so her dad could go to sleep.

“It goes so fast.”

By the time my girls were toddlers, I’d heard that worn-out cliche’ so many times I promised I would never repeat it to parents with little ones. Because when your mode of operation is exhaustion, and when you’re juggling 27 things at once and someone asks you to juggle 28, and when you’re meeting everyone else’s needs–or failing to in some cases–you feel like it will never end.

Then it does.

And it’s sad.

And wonderful.

Because this is the job. To raise little people into big people who can go into the world and fulfill the purpose they were created for. I feel like God has given us our children on loan, to raise them for Him, and to return them to Him…because He told us He has plans for them and hope and a future. Right now it feels like we’ve reached the end of a path, and it’s time for me to let go of my girls’ hands and nudge them forward. I imagine God placing a finger on the ground and tracing the rest of the journey for them to follow. That makes it easier for me to say, “Here you go, God. You got this.” And I pray my daughters will have obedient hearts.

But I’ll never forget how freshly shampooed hair smelled while I combed out the tangles, or the warmth of a kid sleeping between us because she had a nightmare.

And now when I scroll through Facebook and see all the pictures of adorable babies and funny toddlers and first days of school that my younger mom friends post, you know what I’ll be thinking…

“It goes so fast.”

If you’re a mom still in the midst of juggling, what is one thing you will miss about this phase of momhood? If you’re a mom whose babies are grown, what is something you wish you would have appreciated more when they were little?



  1. Crystal Goodson says:

    I will miss the sweaty kid head smell. Weird, I know. It just reminds me of their innocence and the joy of playing outside and being a kid. Dr. McAdams once mentioned this concept to me about really understanding that his children were Gods, not his, and he had to surrender that authority and care to Him. It has stuck with me and helps me put things in perspective from time to time.

    • Karen Sargent says:

      I agree! There’s something precious about the innocence of playing outside. My perspective changed, too, when I had the epiphany about who my children really belonged to. 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Crystal!

  2. LM says:

    Ahhhh man…so well said and so true. ENJOY all the moments- the good and the bad. It will be over way too soon and then your gonna want it back- well for a little while. Lol

  3. linda wilson says:

    wonderful as usual and I could have told you all this that life goes by so fast but believe it or not your best days are ahead of you, you know them falling in love, getting married, and having children and that my dear is what life is all about so just hang on life is wonderfull and enjoy every single moment of it and yes you were blessed with really good children and I too hope they follow God’s path and love u girl

    • Karen Sargent says:

      That’s such a great perspective, Linda! I’ve certainly loved each new phase as the girls have grown up. So much to look forward to! Thank you! Love you, too!

  4. Sandy Harris Lopez says:

    I wish I had paused more. You know….during those hectic times when my kids were young and we were running in 15 different directions and there were endless tasks and housework and homework and cooking supper and so on. I wish I had paused and appreciated the moments that were so hectic then; those moments that I miss so much now. You blink your eyes and your babies are grown and on their own. And all you can do is pray that you prepared them well for the path God has for them, and that their hearts are receptive to His guidance and direction.

  5. Pat Wahler says:

    Each stage of growing up (yes, even adolescence) has something wonderful. Now my kids are adults and we’re no longer just parent and child. We’re friends.

  6. Mary Ann Featherston says:

    My youngest son use to sit beside me most evenings and run his little fingers through my hair. I really miss that. I miss tucking both of my boys in every night, reading a Bible story and saying prayers. I always knew they were safe. Miss those days.

  7. Renee Cameron says:

    I miss reading bed time stories …. particularly the wacky quacky duck story that was her favorite. Sometimes I’d be so tired I’d catch myself dozing or reading quickly and she would catch me on it! She is now a 7th grader and comes home with her long hair in a bun because her friends do her hair at school. She looks 14 instead of 12! She’ll always be my only child baby girl. My mom always girls become your friends …. she was right.

    • Karen Sargent says:

      Those little ones don’t let us get away with much, do they?😊 Someone told my husband that little boys will hug you for a little while, but little girls will hug you forever. She’ll always be your baby girl. 😊

  8. Mellisa says:

    I miss that little hand in my hand leading me to something that’s real important for me to see. “Come Mommy, look.” I miss being called, “Mommy.”

  9. A-M says:

    My oldest loves to play with my ears. He’s getting so big now, but still he does this little habit of his when he’s tired or needs extra attention. I will miss this when he grows “too cool” for mom.

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