When the girls were newborns, I used to wish away time. I was so burnt out I was holding onto the idea of the ever increasing independence that they got with each passing month. But now, as I’m confronted with tantrums, foot stomps and defiance, the newborn phase feels like a cakewalk. Does it really get easier as our kids get older? Or do we just keep moving the goalposts?
Take Little Man for example. He didn’t have Terrible Two’s. He had the I Have No Idea WTF Is Happening Three’s. Followed by the OMG You Are The Devil Child Fours, and well, we’re hoping it doesn’t continue into the FML Five’s!
The point is, we were so desperate for him to “grow out of it”, like everyone with older children gave us hope for, that we, once again, wished away time. Now, he’s calmer, more reasonable and usually a pleasure to be around. I find myself thinking about before the girls came along, when it was just me and him in the car. We’d sing along to the radio, get excited when we’d see a fire engine and just chat. Him and I, and I miss those days. I’m nostalgic about them. In my mind, I’ve already kind of skipped past the tantrum, wall kicking stage we found ourselves in last year.
Enjoy it, it goes too quick”.
I find people say this to me A LOT! But what is the reality for people who wistfully recount their own parental stories of their young children? Is it all rose-tinted, because I certainly feel like I’m starting to get that way!
When I’m in the thick of it, it can feel like an uphill struggle. I’m good with MY kids, and I love my friends babies like they’re my own, but I’m also under no illusion that I’ll probably enjoy the teenage years more. A psychologist once told me the most amazing thing and that was along the lines of “not all parents are good with babies, and not all parents are good with older kids. We all have our strengths and what we enjoy is individual”.
Permission to confide that I wasn’t enjoying the twin baby stage. Acceptance that I probably will be a more patient mum to my children when they’re teenagers. Relief that I no longer felt like I had to keep any of that to myself.
IT DOESN’T GET EASIER AS OUR KIDS GET OLDER
But, I’m still thinking that this parenting gig actually doesn’t get easier as the kids get older. I think the workload becomes less, or maybe it becomes different and more manageable. I don’t think it’ll ever “get easier” because your child raises such strong emotions in you. You love them fiercely, you want the best for them and to be all that they might need regardless of what phase you think you might enjoy the most.
The all-encompassing responsibility might be overwhelming because it lasts a lifetime. I don’t think it’d sound weird to say it could take some years to get used to that fact. No one gives you a handbook with your baby, and you won’t get one as they age either! You can research as many strategies as you want to try and get a good night sleep but you’ll still get woken. Maybe you’re sleeping through right now, you lucky thing, but you will again for the simple reason that you’ll be wanted once more. And maybe that’s exactly why it doesn’t get easier – because your child will always need you, for the good times and the bad. But I don’t think there is anything greater than that.
Having a child is absolutely life changing and if it was easy then us parents would have nothing to talk about. Not just talk – laugh, cry, moan, whinge, long for more little people or to do it all over again with the same ones. No one ever said the job stops when our kids are adults, for the simple fact that they’ll always be our baby.