Kids are a lot of work. Let’s not sugar coat it. I’m sure most of us parents had no idea what we were really in for before we had our first babies.
I was completely unprepared for the neediness of my first baby. I’m sure you’ve heard the term “mombie” – that was me. No sleep, baby constantly attached to my boob, and she wouldn’t fall asleep unless she was nursing. Oh – and then you couldn’t set her down once she’d fallen asleep because she would wake up instantly. It was not fun for me.
Looking back, I’ve blocked out a lot of that no-sleep, never showering, alone at home with a baby attached to my boob time. I remember sweet baby smells, tiny clothing, and sitting for hours with my baby in my arms. Rose-tinted glasses anyone?
But all that is in the past now! My youngest is now 6 and we are so done with babies. I may regret saying this later, but I’m so glad my kids are older!
Don’t get me wrong, cuddling other people’s babies is super swell. I do still love tiny babies (and mid-sized ones too) but I don’t want to own one again.
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Pros of having kids who are older:
This is the first summer that Rose can join Emma at summer day camps. Being 6 means that we can ship her out to all sorts of fun activities along with her sister. Gone are the days of Rose to daycare, and Emma to something more fun and stimulating. Now we can drop them both off at the same place (thank goodness!)
As a working mom (with a working husband) having these older children finally feels manageable. No one goes to bed at 6:30pm any more so dinner doesn’t have to be so rushed. The kids can help carry things (ie their OWN things) to and from the car. We can have a give and take discussion about what we’re doing this weekend. And I feel amazingly comfortable with them going outside to play, just the two of them.
We are constantly increasing the girls’ responsibilities. Load and empty the dishwasher, bring the laundry in from the clothesline, tidy up your stuff, pack and empty your lunch pails and backpacks, and make sure I can walk from the door of your bedroom to your bed without stepping on anything! It works some of the time.
What is even more amazing is how easily we just decide, and then go and do, something. We took a 4-hours-notice overnight trip to Toronto recently. Just booked a hotel and went. Our main attraction was a day at Canada’s Wonderland, and guess what? The girls (okay Rose) were only too short for 2 rides we thought they’d enjoy. Only 2! So we did all the other stuff we wanted to and we didn’t lose anyone, or get too tired of walking or any of those “toddler” complaints! It went so much better than I had imagined it would.
A few cons (that I thought may have passed by now):
Emma is still quite a picky eater. She’s 8 now, and while she has expanded her palette, as soon as she’s tired or, well, tired, she stands her ground and flat out refuses to try things. Luckily we know this now, and she understands more about healthy eating and what she should be having at a meal, so there are many less battles. Partly because at the end of the day I don’t want to fight over supper either, so I try to have a healthy option I know she will eat. I swear that kid is made of carrot sticks.
Rose also still has many over-tired meltdowns, usually about watching a few more minutes of tv because “I’m not tired!” and then fighting about brushing teeth or putting on pjs because “I’m too tired!” With her you just let her have a short fit, distract her, and then do whatever it was she didn’t want to do. She’s more of an intense-for-a-short-period fit thrower. Her sister will hold on to her emotions for hours.
I find Emma’s fits so much more exhausting (the long, drawn out, I’ll cry for 20 minutes and still not talk to you about whatever happened that caused me to cry fits.) Sometimes I don’t even know what to say or how to approach little miss “I’ve had 8 years of being a grump” experience. We usually get it sorted out, but not without me asking 1000 questions and her answering them all with “I don’t know!” I think this kid is going to be a fun teenager. *eye roll*
How old are your kids? And are you a working parent too? I’d love to hear the pros and cons of your stage of parenting. Go ahead and leave me a comment, and if you’d like to keep in touch, join my email list. Be sure to reply to the questions that land in your inbox (don’t forget to check that pesky spam folder, just in case!) so I can send you the content I think you’ll be interested in!
I look forward to learning more about you and your family!
PS – I’m already feeling the regret of saying “I’m so glad my kids are older!” – I know the teenage years will bring tons of tears and strife to my household. But for now I am trying to stay in-the-moment and enjoy this stage as much as I can!