“When Does It Get Easier?”
After the first month of bringing your brood home you are exhausted from the constant routine of: change diapers, feed, clean up, rest for 20 mins if your lucky and resume. Right now this is your life especially if you have no help. Sleep deprivation has set in and the Adrenalin you have been relying on is depleted. One night around the 3am feeding your mind wonders “When will it get easier?”
Now lets fast forward a year. They are all finally sleeping 11 hours straight at night! They are starting to feed themselves some, so this helps cut your time a little. Now they are engaging you and their surroundings more. They laugh at the smallest things. Their eyes and minds full of wonder. They are also crawling everywhere while you devise new ways to gate off the living room to keep them contained. They are pulling up on the couch while another one is wrapped around their ankle, dragging behind them. It takes 45 mins to get everyone ready to head out the door just to find, as your loading them in the car, someone has pooped. If your a paci mom, you’ll have spares strategically placed all around the house, your diaper bag, in the car, and inevitably you’ll spend at least 10 mins a day in a paci melt-down because one child will have lost theirs.
Onto the 2 year olds! They are feeding themselves now, but you will spend every meal jumping up and down getting more of this or that, helping someone find their spoon, cleaning up the spilled milk from the full cereal bowl someone dumped on the floor “an accident.” The word NO is heard a lot throughout they day, but wouldn’t it be nice if it was coming from your lips instead of all of theirs? Tantrums are in full swing, evening melt-downs, and at one point you seriously think you might be going deaf due to the high volume. They are running everywhere now which is great! Only if you could just get them going all the same direction.
It will get better by 3 years old right? Now they are hungry for knowledge. The stage you have been dreaming of right? Learning how things work, and doing so by taking everything apart. It’s ok, eventually you’ll figure out how to reassemble the xbox. Learning how mom makes the bubbles for bath-time, and where mom keeps the extra towels because the bathtub is overflowing into the hall. Taking ownership. Like how one takes ownership of the toy the other one was playing with, which starts an all out war involving loud screams and toys flying. It would just be nice for someone to take ownership for the beautiful crayon artwork going down the hallway. They are also super observant of what we, the parents, are doing. Learning by our example. It would just be nice if they paid more attention to me cleaning then to me saying “Damn-it!” after stepping on another lego in the doorway of the kitchen.
This pattern will continue their whole lives, even when they grow up, move out, and have families of their own.
I hear a lot of parents ask, especially multiple moms “When will it get easier?” I am guilty just like everyone else but what I learned is this: It never “gets easier” but the challenges change. You could not pay me enough to live through those first 7 months of complete sleep deprivation again, but it was less challenging in other ways because they could not fight or tear up the house as efficiently. Every stage will have aspects you love and ones that you wish would disappear into oblivion. As they get older, they will outgrow old “challenges” and stumble into new ones.
So the short answer “It NEVER gets easier, it just changes.”
Try and enjoy each age, frustrations and all, because eventually the thing that is riding your nerve now will resolve and be replaced with another. Childhood goes by so very quickly, even those times where time seems to stand still in a horror moment. Before you blink your eyes they will be off to school, then driving, then college, and then moving across the country for their dream job. So revel in all of it, the good and bad. If there is something they are doing today that is driving you past your breaking point, just smile because in 6 months this will be a thing of the past and they will have moved on to something much more exciting to turn your hair even grayer 🙂