When It Comes To Raising Children, There’s No ‘Easy Age’
In the beginning, besieged by sleeplessness and a tiny being who’s needs can’t always be deciphered, a parent will start to wonder when it gets any easier. They will dream of a day where their child can at least tell them what’s wrong or sit up unassisted so they can play on their own or feed themselves. It seems there are so many things that will make it “easier” but the truth is, there is no easy age. Certain things will get easier, but others will replace them. Parenting is always going to be hard in some capacity, it’s just a matter of how.
During my time as a parent, I’ve fallen prey to this notion many times-that eventually, there would be a phase of parenting that would be easy. Spoiler alert-it isn’t happening. There have been spells that seemed a bit easier than others, but never easy. As the kids have gotten older, parenting has gotten a lot less demanding physically but far more difficult mentally. They are no longer oblivious. They ask a million questions and want detailed explanations for everything. It is harder to fib to them and harder to have an adult conversation in their presence. They are needier but in a different way than when they were toddlers. And no less trying to deal with.
I think being a parent is always hard, no matter what tasks are involved, mostly because of the weight of responsibility for another human being. And how much you love them. Even though I am 33 and 12 years out of my parent’s house, they still worry about me all the time. I know that alone takes it’s toll on a parent. Right now, seeing my son go through a bullying situation at school, I am day-dreaming about how easy the toddler years were in comparison where no one was teasing him and I could always be there for him. In the moment, each phase seems the hardest because it is what you are going through right then. The grass is always greener and all that.
So, while I sat captive nursing my son for 18 months, I wished for him to release me and use a sippy cup. When my daughter went through a horrific phase of mooning her pre-school friends (don’t ask), I thought it couldn’t get any worse. When I had to help them up the ladder to go down the slide, I wished it all away because sitting on a park bench playing with my phone seemed preferable. I guess the moral of my story is to not wish away the tough phases because it doesn’t ever get any easier- just different. What is driving you nuts now might sound like paradise three years from now. All we can do is commiserate with each other and muddle through, doing our best to focus on the good parts. Luckily, there are plenty of those too.
(Image: Rafal Olechowski/Shutterstock)