I read a Facebook comment thread about a week ago that stunned me. The comments were related to a link to an article that said that parenting doesn’t get any easier, rather, that it only gets worse as your kids get older. The vast majority of the comments in the thread seemed to reiterate this perception of parenting. Many moms seemed unhappy as I read their comments. Some of the moms even seemed angry and regretful of becoming a parent. As I read through the comments, I became pretty sad and disheartened, but more confused.
I may not have much experience being a mom, but I do have nearly 5 years. My oldest girl is almost 5 and my youngest is almost 2. Sure, when they were babies it was a challenge to learn about them, their personalities, their likes and dislikes, their routines, etc. But that’s to be expected-you have to learn who your kid is first. It gets harder as they get older, though? I don’t like thinking of parenting in that way. When we focus on something that is hard and constantly view it as hard, then yeah, it’ll be hard.
I don’t think parenting is hard at all. It is certainly challenging, which is the way I like to look at it. I enjoy a good challenge; it’s always been a significant part of my personality. When I face a challenge head on, it changes me and the way I think and do things. So, I look at parenting as frequent challenges that both parent and child can learn from. If I always told myself that being a parent is too hard or that it will only get worse, then I don’t feel that I would be as optimistic as I am now. Challenges elicit optimism whereas viewing aspects of life as so hard that they will only get even more difficult is pessimistic, and pessimistic people tend to not put forth much effort or have much hope in what they view as negative. Therefore, if I were to say that being a parent is hard and that it only gets worse, I would feel defeated and not optimistic about the future.
Parenting is challenging, but I love it. In fact, I love every moment my children give me, even the bad ones because I learn something new about them which then causes me to adjust my parenting techniques.
In my personal experience, which is all I have to go off of, parenting doesn’t get harder-it just gets different. It changes. And actually, in many ways, it DOES get easier.
I remember my perception of parenting before I had kids. I would look at moms and would think they had it all together, that they knew their child well and how to handle him or her. Well, since I became a parent, I learned that this is not true at all. We learn something new every day with our kids and so our parenting changes as they age. As parents, we don’t ever or always have it all together; we just learn more about our children and we adapt. But it doesn’t seem hard to me.
Since my kids have gotten older, life and parenting HAS become easier, actually. I don’t get it when people say it gets harder, some even say much harder. I can, however, say that when my kids were babies, life was hard. Everything was hard. We had to make sure they napped, that they ate every two hours, that they were changed, that they were comfortable, and what made it even more difficult was the fact that they couldn’t tell us a word about how they felt or what they wanted or needed. That is what was hard.
Now? My kids can talk. Well, my 4 year old can talk; my two year old can say several words clearly while other words sound like they’re from a different language (“wee-tah” for Mickey, for example). Still trying to figure out how the hell she thinks that means Mickey. But I still understand what she wants/needs from her communication. She also sleeps through the night, every night. She takes naps when it’s nap time. Most babies don’t sleep through the night until they’re several months old. Most babies don’t get into a solid nap routine until they’re a few months old. I had no idea what the hell my baby wanted for the first few weeks when she’d cry. THAT was hard!
But now? My kids can walk; they can play together, and for the most part, they can play without me picking them up and plopping them somewhere, being their main source of entertainment. My little Anna (my almost 2 year old) still needs assistance and careful watching, but she is a daredevil and wants to do everything on her own. More power to her and more relaxation for me.
They also don’t really like to be held. No problem with that one; I don’t like holding babies/toddlers longer than 5 minutes.
My 4 year old is also becoming a better listener. We’ve had several challenges with her, particularly during the God awful challenging 3 year old stage, but we got over that hump. I always look at the “hard” part of parenting as temporary and that they are things that can be fixed with time, effort, and determination.
Anna is such a damn sweetheart that she mostly DOES listen. I don’t know where we went right with her, but that kid is so caring, thoughtful, and helpful. She is also such a goof, can’t you tell?
Not only does the listening and communicating improve, but when they get older, you can actually do more with them. You can finally go on vacations without stressing out over naps, diaper changes, frequent stops for stretching, etc. I am anxiously looking forward to when both of my kids are past the nap and diaper stage because then I know we can enjoy life more because we can simply do more. I cannot wait to take them on long road trips, to fly to Florida, or to take day trips and have the time of our lives, enjoying eachother’s company rather than changing a poopy diaper or dealing with tempter tantrums.
So, I don’t think parenting gets harder, granted, I haven’t hit the middle school/teen years yet, but I just cannot agree with the negative parenting perception that “it only gets worse”. Perhaps we just need to change how we view being a parent. I can admit that there are moments where I have a negative perception, but then I quickly remind myself that those little kids came from us, that they hold some of our personality characteristics and some of our genetic qualities. Being a parent is AWESOME and simply incredible! Maybe our mindsets need a shift. Of course parenting isn’t always easy, but it shouldn’t always be hard. It is an amazing journey that we got blessed with, nothing less!