THE QUESTION: Does parenting (or life with kids) ever get easier?
If so, when?
If not . . . well, maybe I don’t want to know right now! But you can tell me anyway.
A few weeks ago I was contemplating #3*. Yesterday I could barely handle 2. And my #2 was (is) definitely the major challenge right now. 4 is actually a delightful age, thus far. Toddlers however are no joke. They want what they want when they want it (now!), what they want is often insane, and there is no way to reason or explain — they just aren’t developmentally ready to get it. Last night, Cameron had the most amazing realization (to him) that hey — no one was making him go to bed! So it was optional. And he just wasn’t in the mood, so he didn’t.
For about 2 hours.**
It absolutely could have been worse. It may get much worse, in fact. I am not saying that things are overall miserable — they are not. There are so many great moments. He is so cute . . . but he is hard right now. As a result, even though I am excited for a summer filled with activities and adventures with the kids, I do become envious when I see how carefree parents of older kids seem in comparison. Relaxing family dinners out! No diaper bag (and no diaper contents to deal with!). Kids that are not attempting to run into the street/pool/etc at any moment.
I will admit it gives me hope to think about how things were harder 2 years ago. Annabel was Cameron’s age, and instead of a 4 year old, I had . . . Cameron. So we had one toddler, and one infant, and I remember looking at parents of 2+4 year olds on the playground and thinking . . . “Wow, they can just sit there and let both of their kids play? Unbelievable.” And now I’m there, and they do! (And it is great.)
SO: parents of older kids***, I would love your input. Thoughts? Was there a ‘tipping point’ when things become easier for you? Are there others (like me) who suspect they may be better at dealing with big-kid problems than toddler drama? I know, there are school projects and tests, playground politics, and responsibility/values to teach, all of which have got to be stressful. But it’s different.
And maybe . . . easier?
* And I still go back and forth whenever the wind changes. Or my hormones. Or both.
** No long nap or clear reason why this was the case. Hopefully it was an anomaly . . .
*** I’m not really talking about adolescence here. That is an entirely different realm that sounds equal parts exciting and terrifying to me.