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.
Related: Raising Girls – The Primary School Years
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:
That we’re “buddies”! She’s so much fun to do things with and we have great conversations. I’m a bit sad she’s growing up so fast but it is fun. (Sarah’s daughter is 7.)
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!
Absolutely, parenting does get easier in a practical sense. Children become more independent and don’t rely on you in the same way. However, sometimes it also gets harder in abstract ways. You can’t acquire new friends for them simply by arranging coffee playdates like you did when they were toddlers. And they absorb so much more from the media, overheard conversations, etc. But, you can’t wrap them in cotton wool so you just roll with the changes and hope you’ve done a good enough job at building confidence, common sense and security. 🙂
I love your description of parenting getting harder in “abstract ways” – I definitely agree. While we never arranged “play dates” I do find navigating the social aspect of school friends can be difficult. And my kids do absorb EVERYTHING they hear – whether we think they’re listening or not!
There is still challenges but once my girls became a little more independent and could do a little more for themselves it became easier x
I know there will always be challenges – I think that’s the lifetime commitment of being a parent! Being able to actually communicate with my girls and have them understand actions and consequences really helps with my internal issues (anxiety and worry) because they can talk to me. I don’t have to guess (as often) what is going on with them. It’s great so far – but I do have the Teen Years looming…
I wouldn’t go back to toddler stage for anything and am grateful for the extra physical independence children gain as they get older. However I find the emotional needs of teens to be much harder than I could have imagined, they have so many pressures we never had and it is really hard to parent through it #mmbc
I am also very glad to leave the baby and toddler stage behind. And we’re not at the teen years yet, so maybe I’m just in that “sweet spot” where my kids are mostly manageable. I fully expect a lot of challenges as we go forward, but I’m enjoying where I’m at right now. Thanks for sharing Lousia!
Such a great post. My daughter is 5 and I agree a lot is easier than it was when she was a baby. I do worry about all that is yet to come but I guess that’s a mama’s job lol
Thanks Melissa! I agree that worry is just our non-stop life from now on. Some days are better than others, but I’m happy where I am right now. Guess I should enjoy it – it sounds like the teen years may change my mind! 😉
I have found it comes in waves. It is not always easy but it is worth it in the end. #alittlebitofeverything
For sure – I can identify with that Tracy. Even when you think you’ve “mastered” a stage, life can throw all sorts of things at you!
Love it Jess… all thought I have like my link up is called “a little bit of everything”… My oldest is 15 and my little is 5 and even thought it gets easier (I totally agree) now I worry about my son going out by himself and my daughter getting to be totally independent … but went they’re home they can’t be together is a fight between 2 toddlers … Mommy mode 24/7 … lol
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Iveth – I am a little dreading the teenaged years, but I’m hopeful that if we raised them right, they will make the right choices in their lives. I guess we just do the best we can, then send them out into the world!
I couldn’t agree more! And in the blink of an eye they seem to grow up too. I’m in an interesting position now where I have a 10yo, 6yo and a 7 month old so I have started the cycle all over again and see the contrast! I’ll share this with my new parent friends who don’t believe me when i tell them it’ll all be okay!! thank you for sharing with #BestBootForward
Thanks Chloe! It is so interesting to look back (or start again) and realize just how much things have changed as far as parenting goes. I hope I can give hope to other parents who are feeling “stuck” in whatever phase they’re currently at!
I completely agree, although I’m still in the midst of baby madness I can see from my 4 year old how quickly it goes. Makes me a bit sad, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for more sleep, so I forget about the sadness.
I remember baby madness well – the sleep and the “doing more themselves” definitely makes up for leaving the baby stage behind!
May I say as a mum of 5 adults, that a lot of the stuff that stressed me out and caused me worry hasn’t caused any lasting effects on my life or the lives of the children. I wish I hadn’t got hung up on so much stuff like keeping their rooms clean and over worrying about what they ate or time they went to bed
Thanks for sharing your insight. It’s so great to hear from other parents further along their journey!