Does parenting get easier?

When the worry about baby sleeping is keeping you up at night and the toddler is running you ragged during the day you can often begin to wonder if parenting gets easier. As a parent of two school-aged boys, one 10 and one 14, I asked myself this question more times than I can count - "Does parenting get easier?".

Ah parenting...

I was at a family party recently when my cousin, who is mum to a 3 year old and a baby, came up to me and started talking about how hard it was being mum to two young ones. I told her I remembered the days when my boys were little. When BP was a toddler and running into the corner of tables resulting in a trip to A&E, or when LP was a baby who would bum-shuffle around the house trying to follow my every move. It was so hard back then, trying to keep on top of it all as well as keep the boys safe. My cousin, Vicky, told me she'd had a scare recently where she'd popped out of the room for a second leaving her baby on the changing mat on the floor while her toddler was playing nearby. When she returned she saw that the toddler had moved the baby under the coffee table. What did Vicky do? She immediately (well, after sorting out baby of course) googled "can a toddler kill a baby?". And from that moment she said she'd never leave them alone again. 

Does Parenting Get Easier | Watching those toddlers 24/7 can be exhausting!
Such a cute face, an angel right?

It's a difficult time isn't it? When you're a new parent, or even a new parent to two. You're having to learn new rules about when the children can be left alone, you're having to consider all the different complications or dangers in situations, and all when you're not getting much sleep. 

My children are the reason I laugh, smile and want to get up every morning.

Gena Lee Nolin

When you compare that to the teen years, when you're able to sleep all night without interruption and the teens pretty much take care of themselves it's easy to think parenting does get easier. But let's take a look at the stages of parenting

The stages of parenting

Baby / toddler days - exhausting. It really only takes one word to describe them doesn't it? You feel like you'll never sleep properly again. You're running after toddlers all day hoping they don't hurt themselves. And you're trying to make sure you feed them too. Any talking you do is either baby talk or chatting about their favourite TV programmes (Paw Patrol anyone?).

School-aged kids - Getting the kids out of bed, packed lunches to prepare, and school runs every day. As well as having to make sure they have clean uniform, PE kits, and any other equipment they need. There's the constant forms from school to sign and send in, as well as friends complications when your kids fall out with their "best friend". Chatting with your school-aged kids is fun, they share opinions on things but get bored if the topics turn to things like politics or the latest news.

Does Parenting Get Easier? | Kids with friends who always fall out - it's not baby days, but it's stressful all the same.

Tweens - The same as school-aged kids, but with added hormones and attitude. You still have to do the school runs, you still need to prepare packed lunches, but you also have to deal with their hormones. They can go from being really happy to crying their eyes out in an instant. One wrong word from you, or anyone else, and their world crumbles and they're distraught. If they lose at a board game it's the end of the world. Of course, a chocolate bar or an ice-cream can sometimes solve it. Conversations with your tween can be great, not only will they share their thoughts but they can talk about more grown up topics and kind of grasp what you're talking about. 

Teens - They take themselves to school, usually feed themselves at school (or take packed lunches), and like to keep to themselves. While you don't really have to "look after" teens you do still have to parent them. Now instead of changing nappies and chasing toddlers, you're screaming at them to get out of bed in the morning (because they'll be late for school) and telling them to have a shower. There's the girlfriend/boyfriend issues, as well as them learning more about themselves. The worry during this stage is intense - it includes things like influence from social media as well as hoping they don't do something silly while they're out and about with friends. But the chatting with them is brilliant. You can have hour-long conversations about all kinds of things from politics to science and anything in between. And when they share what they're doing in their lives it's a very special moment.

So does parenting get easier?

  • Daily/hourly pressures get easier. You don't have to be there 24/7 to keep your child alive. When your kids get older you don't have to be there to change their nappies or bath them. You're not on hand to spoon feed them or pick them up when they fall. But you do need to be there - whenever they need you. They could fall sick when they're at school and you need to pick them up, or they could have a drama at school that you need to get involved in. You're not needed 24/7 but the worry is still there.

  • Demands on your time ease. As above when you have babies you have to be on hand all the time. Every waking moment is dedicated to your kids and even when you're sleeping (if you get a chance) you're thinking about them. The same with toddlers, you follow them around hoping they don't hurt themselves. As your kids start school you get a little time for yourself. When they're at school you have the day to yourself (kind of) and get on with housework or even use your time for you. 

  • More time for yourself. Like I just said, as your kids start school you get more time for you. You can get the chores done and be left with a little time for yourself, meaning you get to learn who you are after having your kids. You can try out new hobbies, or get back in touch with old ones.
Does Parenting Get Easier? | Enjoy a coffee while the kids are at school!
Enjoy a hot coffee when they're at school!

  • You don't ever stop worrying. Whether you have babies or teens one thing is sure - you never stop worrying about them. Yes, the worry changes, but it never stops. When they're babies you're worrying about their weight gain/loss, whether their poop is the right colour, and if they're on track with their motor functions. When they're teens you're worrying about what they're up to when "out with friends", you worry about how much time they spend on social media or playing games, and you stress about exams more than they do.

Parenting without a sense of humour is like being an accountant who sucks at math.

Amber Dusick

  • New stage, new concerns/challenges. With each stage of parenting comes new concerns and challenges. We are all learning, both our kids and us. We have to raise our kids, we have to teach them how to eat food, how to write with a pen, and how to interact with others. From the moment they're born we're wondering what the next stage will bring and hoping they will do well, but we're learning too. When they're babies we could leave them on the changing mat for a moment and know when we came back they'd still be there. But then the toddler years start and before you know it you're chasing them around the house because they don't want a nappy back on! Of course the challenges change and as your kids reach the teen years the challenges will be fighting rebellion and trying to teach them about being an adult.

Does parenting get easier? The answer is no, it doesn't, but it does change. Your challenges are more about imparting wisdom and less about chasing them around, but the parenting part? That will always be hard.

Does Parenting Get Easier? | When the worry about baby sleeping is keeping you up at night and the toddler is running you ragged...

I'm not sure the worry will ever go away - it will always be there because no matter how old they are they are still our babies. Even when they're 40!

Do you think parenting gets easier?

To help you get organised so you can have more time for you, or for playing with your toddler, why not grab the Organised Mama Pack - it has chores lists, a daily planner, and even a chores list for your kids (for when they're old enough)!