Since the moment you get pregnant, all you hear is, “Don’t worry, it gets easier when…” It will get easier once you reach the second trimester (it didn’t). It will get easier when you reach the third trimester (it didn’t). For some, that may have been the case, but for me, each trimester brought on a new host of issues and concerns. Nothing “got easier.”
Once I had my first child, I made it my mission to tell my story of pregnancy so that moms were not under the false impression that “it just gets easier!” Look, I am not complaining or whining. I had a rough go of it through pregnancy and especially labor and birth, but I ended up with the most amazing little person on Earth! The second pregnancy was not any easier but luckily I did not have to endure a long (40+ hour labor again) to finally meet my little angel!
I have always prided myself on being honest, maybe even to a fault. I was filled with amazing stories about beautiful pregnancies and quick deliveries (“oh, my baby practically fell out.”). I was seriously set up for failure. For all you moms who LOVE being pregnant, I admire and respect that, I truly do, but that was definitely not my experience! I think it is important for women to know every side of pregnancy so they are not blindsided like I was when I painfully endured labor for 2 days resulting in practically begging for a C-section!
So now your little angel is finally here! You are up all night, haven’t showered in days and can’t remember the last real meal you ate, but of course, what do you hear? “It will get easier when…” It will get easier when they sleep through the night. Okay, I will give you that one, but by the time that happens, you are so used to no sleep that returning to a normal sleep pattern is almost impossible.
It gets easier when they crawl. Every mom cannot wait until their little one crawls, but trust me it does not make it “easier.” I remember washing the floor daily so afraid of them getting sick or putting something in their mouth. You also have to watch every step, corner and, of course, the family pet! This is when the infamous tail pulling stage usually starts.
Now they are crawling! You have lost 5 pounds from cleaning the floors and chasing him around the house. Wait, that’s awesome, never mind! But now you are told again, “It gets easier when…” We all believe that it gets “easier” when they start walking, but most moms will tell you that once he walks, nothing is ever the same. You long for the days when they played in the play yard or entertained themselves during tummy time. You no longer have to clean the floor 10 times a day, but you better make sure that gate is up by the stairs and each corner has a guard on it!
Walking, I believe, is one the most exciting but scary moments in a mother’s parenting life. This is when our children become more curious, independent and fun. It is when their personality starts to shine! It’s also when we, as moms, lose our babies and gain a toddler. We no longer have a child hanging off our boob or spitting up on our shoulder daily. We now have a real little person. A child that watches our every move. A child that looks up to us and expects us to provide direction, love, safety and security. They long for structure while also testing it every chance they get. But don’t worry, “It gets easier when…”
It gets “easier” when they go to school. My one friend was very honest with me. She said that when they go to school, if you are a full-time working mom, it does not get easier. Your heart breaks each time you drop them off at day care and they give you that “how could you leave me?” face. Then you get even more upset when you don’t get that face because that means they have adjusted to spending the day without you.
Kindergarten!!! We won’t even go into the emotions that surface when you realize your baby is now in Kindergarten. What I can say is that it does not get easier. If your child gets lunch at school, then it may be a little easier, but if you have to make lunch each day, then good luck! I have to say one of the things I hate most is making lunch and snack each day. I do, however, make it the night before to make life a little easier. If you have a picky eater, this can be a very stressful situation for you. For one of my friends, her kids would only eat homemade hot meals so she had to make fresh meals each morning and put it in a thermos. My advice, get your kids to love sandwiches!
As school progresses, some say it will get easier when they get older. Although your kids are more independent, this is the time they really need you. Parents need to make it a priority to review their child’s homework every night and help them study for tests. This task gets increasingly more difficult as the work gets so hard that we can’t even understand it. (Don’t even get me started on Common Core!) It is just as important to have open and honest conversations about school so you know what is going on in your child’s life.
Then there are the sports and after school activities. You have to make sure you are at every game and every event. If you have more than one child, this becomes tricky and a logistical nightmare at times! I really admire parents who have more than 2 kids because at that point you are outnumbered. Getting to every game, meet, concert or awards ceremony is nearly impossible! Seeing their face when they hit the ball for the first time or score their first goal, however, makes it all worth it!
Now, I don’t think anyone, anywhere has ever said that it gets easier when they are teenagers. If they have, then they are lying! Teenagers are amazing but… well you remember what the teenage years were like. One day they are your best friend, the next day they hate you. They test you every day. My advice, always hold your ground. I know you want to be their friend, but it is more important to be their parent. Provide structure, consistency, support and love!
It gets easier when they graduate high school! Is that true? Now, my kids are only 4 and 6 so obviously I am a long way off from that. Based on my experience with my own parents, although the level of responsibility changes, the anxiety can actually rise. You pray that you have taught them all the skills needed to make wise and healthy choices. You let them spread their wings while also keeping a watchful eye on them. It is a very delicate balance.
As our kids grow, mature and evolve, we have the privilege of being a part of this amazing experience. Although it may not “get easier” we need to treasure every moment. We also learn to grow and evolve ourselves as we will never be the same person we were before we became parents.
I would be lying if I said every parenting moment has been magical. Let’s be real, getting peed on is not exactly fun and neither are nights up with a stomach virus. But, you know what? I still would not trade those moments for anything in the world. Parenting does not get easier, but I wouldn’t want it any other way!
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