Parenting is the toughest job out there. Raising children, while amazingly rewarding, is also very, very hard. But those tiny babies who eat up every single moment of your day (and night) do eventually develop a few life skills. It sure may not seem like it while you have babies, but parenting does get easier!
I am very happy that my girls are now quite self sufficient. Yes, I still have to stand in Rose’s doorway so she will actually get dressed in the morning, but overall life runs fairly smoothly. When I think back to the days of having to hold my babies until they fell asleep, or read 1000 stories at bedtime, that seems like so long ago!
As a mom with a bit of experience under my belt (would you believe Emma will be 10 this year??) I thought I might share some of the wins of parenting older children.
In my own life I am so thankful my girls are growing into responsible little people. I trust them to do things like cross the street safely on their own, make a few healthy choices while packing their lunches, and be courteous and polite with others. And most of the time they do all those things without being reminded.
I also love that they can now compromise, with each other, and with us, and they don’t freak out when they lose sight of us in a busy place. There was a time Rose would just run when she thought she was lost. Now she stops, thinks, and actually looks for us. We haven’t lost her yet!
Bedtimes have had a vast shift. The girls read to themselves after a short bit of reading from me (or some tv time instead of a Mom story.) They turn our their lights when they’re supposed to (mostly) and they get up with their own alarm clocks. Okay, Emma gets up with her alarm clock – Rose is a “just 5 more minutes!” girl, but only on school days. Weekends she’s still up earlier than I’d like – go figure.
Related: Bedtime Routines in our House
I could go on about all the great things that my kids do (or don’t do) now. They brush their own teeth and Emma has independent showers now. I don’t have to wash her hair anymore! They walk long distances and don’t often complain. They understand that wearing flip flops to school is a bad decision, and that if they choose not to wear a sweater (after I “suggested” they should) they better not complain to me that they’re cold! Consequences mean something now, and that’s amazing.
Some of my mom friends and fellow bloggers agree that parenting does get easier:
Sofia from Toronto Fit Chics:
My daughter is 18 months old, and going to the playground with her now as she develops a strong sense of independence is wonderful. She speaks to other children, climbs and goes down the slide on her own, asks me to put her on the swing. She explores like when she was younger except now she tells me about it, “Mommy, tree!” “See, doggy!” I love being able to have a conversation with her at this stage, and can’t wait for her to start asking me questions.
Although each stage comes with its own set of challenges, you can never go back to the little triumphs and joyous moments of the past. The first time they crawled soon becomes the last time they needed to crawl when they start to walk. Cherish every moment and don’t forget to take pictures and videos before the last thing they want to do is sit still!
Margaret from Suburban Tourist:
My son is a few months over 2 years of age, and he’s now a funny one to talk with compared to when he was a baby. I love to see how he thinks about the world and how he thinks things through. Sometimes it cracks me up.
Julie from Fab Working Mom Life:
I love that we can go and do things and the 3 year old can do them with us, rather than sit strapped in something and watch.
Gemma from Seaside Sundays:
My daughters are 2 and 4 and I am SO glad to be out of the baby stage. They both talk which means no more frustration at not being understood and we can now go out for a day (barring naps) and actually have fun as a family instead of someone always being stuck with the baby while the other one went in the splash pad/rode the pony/went ice skating. I love it and feel like we are a true family doing family things together now.
Related: It’s Okay Not To Love The Baby Stage
Beth from Parent Lightly:
Mine are 3 and 6 and I love that they can tell me about their day at school/daycare. When they were babies I never really knew, and that was kind of scary!
Sarah from Digital Motherhood:
Amanda from Real Mom Blog:
I love that we can laugh and joke around now that they’re older and have a pretty good sense of humor. (Her kids are 12, 10 and 7.)
Crystal from The Busy Mom Diary:
Parenting, I don’t parent them anymore. They are mini adults. I just feed them and keep the wifi on. Lol! (Her kiddos are 13 and 15.)
Elizabeth from Guilty Chocoholic Mama:
Honestly, there are so many things I love about having teenagers, I can’t pick a favorite. But maybe the summary is that our little kids love us out of pure unrestrained exuberance. But when our older kids love us, it is love of choice, of intention. And that makes it a gift all its own.
Maria from The Budding Chef Club:
I love that my 17 year old, 6’4 son now deals with all the spiders in the house, and I don’t have to pretend to be brave anymore whilst shuddering internally.
Jennifer from Simple Local Life:
Parenting “adult children” has its challenges, but we have been loving and letting go, little by little. Letting them become the people we have helped nurture and shape for the past 18 years. It doesn’t feel possible…it’s gone by so fast….but we couldn’t be more proud. Read Jennifer’s post So They’re 18…Now What?
Emma from The Toy Hunters:
I love parenting today because spending time with my daughters when they were both younger, has meant that they have grown up to be my best friends. (Her kids are 17 & 21!)
Anna from ABRAZO AND COZE:
I have three kids, 21, almost 4, and 1.5. Each stage of growing up has it’s challenges and rewards. My eldest was pretty intense throughout childhood (I used to say she was born with all the dials set to high), and the tween years when hormones were a rollercoaster were a huge challenge, but after letting her make decisions for herself, including helping her work through any negative consequences (and celebrating the positives), she actually thanked me for being a good parent despite her providing plenty of challenges along the way. She lives in another province now, and so parenting her is easier because she’s so independent.
My middle child at nearly four years old has taught me to celebrate the small successes. While she has worked really hard to reach various milestones, I have worked really hard at learning how best to parent her. Figuring out what works for her has eased the stress of parenting a child with additional needs. And focussing on the positives and successes has made parenting easier now than before those lessons were learned.
My youngest has a strong personality, and it’s fun now to see how she responds to what life throws her way. Watching as she learns her physical limitations (she’s a risk taker and has the bruises to prove it) and as she pushes to expand those limits is sometimes stressful, but rewarding to see her develop that persistence, independence, and desire to improve.
Do you think parenting does get easier? What would you add to this collection?
There are so many things to celebrate as our children grow and mature. I love that in every stage you can find small changes you can appreciate in your child’s growth and development.
Thank you to all the parents who shared views with me. I think parenting is best done as a team sport. I am always game to share my insight (the good, and the bad) so others can learn from both my successes and my mistakes.
Would you like to tag along on my parenting journey? Connect with me through my email list. I share snippets from my real life with my subscribers, and that’s where I turn to first to find these great tidbits for my posts.
I look forward to sharing more of my life with you – and hearing about yours!