The Ebb and Flow of Parenting


After living a very full and memorable 5 years in Seattle, WA we moved back to Phoenix to experience the hottest August on record last year. Most days, I miss that green, wet, angsty, environmentally friendly, granola city and  the  community of friends we were fortunate to have  that changed our lives. Most other days I am thankful for the family we have here, the sun, being outside every single day, cheaper cost of living, and a community that we are beginning to love and be loved in return. And so, I live in this tension that ebbs and flows between waves of sadness for what we have left, and a gratitude for what we have here.

I don’t know about you, but I feel like parenting is often this way. We are in a gigantic sea that ebbs and flows daily, hourly, even minute-to-minute. Having a 2 year old who has only slept through the night a dozen times and a 4 week old, I long for nights when I can sleep. I long for days when I don’t have a toddler or baby attached to my body at all times. I long to be free of being needed, demanded of, whined at every waking (and night time) minute. I long to grocery shop and not have to put on a musical to entertain my child while picking out bananas. Yet, those moments when my baby or toddler is sleeping in my arms or next to me are some of the most sweetest moments on this planet. And those cuddles and big hugs that are given make the hours of bouncing that colicky, sleepless baby worth it. And watching my toddler master new steps in dance class or get excited about a drawing she has done are pure delight to this mama’s heart. Some of us (I include myself) easily remember, and greatly miss, life before kids. We miss the freedom, the flexibility, the sleep, the dates, the nice dinners, our spouses, our careers, our friends. And others of us find ourselves living in a state of waiting till our children are old enough to…

I know that my daily mood, slightly skewed from pregnancy hormones, often feels directly connected to how my children are doing and how much sleep I’ve gotten. I try to remind myself often to take a step back and see the larger picture too. I try to remember, what a women at the grocery store said years ago to my friend, “the days drag on, but the years will fly by.” My oldest is not even 2 ½, and yet, I already feel this to be true. It is comforting to know and remind myself that I am not alone. Millions of women around the world today, and every day, are also experiencing this ebb and flow of mothering. This daunting, hard, tiresome, life long task of loving our children and helping them become who they are made to become, coupled with the moments and seasons of pure joy and bliss that we as mothers have the privilege of experiencing with our children.

Today, I hope you and I can find peace in the tension of the ebb and flow of mothering.

Previous article10 Day Challenge: Say No to Frumps!
Next articleTake a Look- It’s in a Book
Elisa is a native Arizonan by birth and a Seattleite by heart. She is a wise, spirited woman who loves feeling the sun on her face, but also enjoys cold rainy days, complete with a cup of coffee and a good book or conversation. After graduating with a Masters in Counseling Psychology and seeing clients for a time, she took a hiatus to love on, play with, and offer copious amounts of hugs to our little girls, Malia and Jayden. She is now back working at Socorro Counseling and Consulting in Downtown Phoenix. Unafraid to laugh at herself and able to see the beauty in others, she makes everyone feel at ease, making her a genuine friend, therapist, and wife. Give her a cute pattern and a sewing machine or some spray paint and a piece of furniture and they are surely to be transformed into some warm piece of art that brightens our living space. She also finds creativity in cooking, making household cleaners, and anything Pinterest. In short, Elisa is stylish, wise, thoughtful, creative woman who makes everyone around her a better person, including her husband (who wrote this bio).


  1. Oh Elisa! This is such an honest-from-the-heart picture of life as a mother…those longings for a wee bit of freedom do indeed sit in tension with the beauty that is simply being present with your children in all their various needs. My experience has been that when I was able to surrender to the ever-present need, I find I can access at least a little peace. But, oh how hard it is to surrender! Blessings for snippets of sleep to restore your body and soul!

    And..almost forgot! Reading your first paragraph about life in Seattle vs life in Phoenix, I have to say ‘ditto’. We’re also leaving the introspective beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and heading to our former home in Weed, CA to resume life with a fresh perspective, borne out of our rich time in Seattle. We’ve just made this decision while here, and are already deeply grieving the relationships that have nurtured our lives for six years. We’ll make the trek back in a large Budget truck about Aug 1st. (Kelsey, however, will be staying…another hard reality of parenting – they grow up, and no longer cling to your body – sometimes I miss it!) The ebb and flow of parenting (morphs) and continues…

    • Thanks for your words Donna. You are a mother to be admired!!
      What a decision you have made. Blessings to you as you say good bye to a very good place and head to a place of memory and hope. Good luck packing up and moving. I hope it goes smoothly. I don’t imagine it is easy to leave behind Kelsey, who by the way is a dynamic, beautiful, strong young lady. I’m sure she will flourish!

  2. The joy you feel when you get to sit and watch them sleeping is nothing compared to the joy they feel when they wake up and get to see you! Never forget that you and Caleb are the best thing in your children’s lives! There is nothing they love, cherish, or desire more than you! One of the greatest gifts you are given is the ability to express your love to your children; to teach them through your love that life can be abundant with happiness, joy, comfort, and safety!

    May the love in your heart and theirs fill your muscles with energy to make each day an appropriate response to the wonderful miracles you’ve received!

    You don’t have to be a mother to recognize the amazing job you’re doing with your family!

  3. Elisa,

    I feel like you and I have lived the same life, I was raised in AZ and have lived in the Seattle area for the last 4 years and we are picking up this next week and are heading back to AZ, a land of family, friends and community…and a whole lot of sunshine! We are raising two girls, a 3 year old and a 4 month old and I can relate on so many levels with you about the ebb and flow of motherhood and parenting. Thank you for putting your thoughts out here, they were an encouragement to me today!

    • Lisa,
      What a coincidence. Thanks for leaving a comment. I hope your goodbyes go well, as you close the door on this chapter in the Pacific Northwest, and start another one in AZ. I am sorry that you are moving during this hot time of year. Good luck on the move. If you are moving back to the Phoenix area, please be in touch. It would be great to meet you. We have play dates a few times a month (check the calendar), and we’d love to have you there.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here