“It gets easier”. We seem to tell the sleepless parents of newborns that all the time. The truth? It does get easier. AND it gets more difficult. It gets different. Yes, for teens you’re not changing their bottoms & feeding them. But you may return to sleepless nights, lying awake worried about them. Babies may be loud, but they don’t talk back. And they certainly aren’t having sex or contemplating drugs and alcohol. You’re not running babies about to lessons or activities or the orthodontist. They are safe in the little bubble you get to create and control.
I want you to be prepared, sohere’s the lesson Mammas,:In many ways it DOESN’T get easier. Why in the world would I tell you that now? Because I want you to know the truth and create realistic expectations. I don’t want you think you’re the only one who’s struggling or the only one who doesn’t have it All Figured Out.
I told myself, “It’ll get easier when she’s no longer a newborn”. Then I said, “It’ll get easier when she’s a toddler”. Then I said, “It’ll get easier once she’s in school”. I didn’t ever wish the time away, but I did look forward to it being “easier”.
Hear me now: it doesn’t get easier.
This is it sister. Yes, eventually you will get to sleep, but then there will be the challenges of picky eating, bickering with siblings, negotiating childhood friendships, school… and I’m not even into the teenage years yet. But I have loads of clients who do have teens. Moms and dads who sit in The Nook and weep over the fear, confusion, terror, and heartbreak that the teen years bring. Each age brings its own challenges and joys. And there are joys – I assure you. Travel and talks and achievements. I feared that I would never love another stage as much as the juicy delight of a four year old, but I have enjoyed the delights of every stage (…but not every single minute of it. That’s called being human.).
Now you know the truth.
It’s time to build a solid foundation that will carry you through the challenegs to come. This strong foundation is built on figuring out systems that will work for you. Systems for laundry, and meal prep, menu planning, and bedtimes. Figure out what you need to focus on and what to let go of. Decide how you and your partner will communicate on little sleep and high stress. You can become adversaries or teammates. Parenting will stretch your own limits and stretch the limits of your relationship. If you can’t figure it out ask for help. Find support.
On those days that you’ve run out of milk and diapers, the baby’s screaming and there may be spit up in your hair… breathe in. Then breathe out. The dog ripped apart the garbage. The car is nearly out of gas. There’s no more coffee…. Breathe in, then breathe out. Repeat.
Arm yourself with a fantastic soundtrack. Look for the joy. And be grateful. Amid the tantrums and sleep deprivation, amid all of the meltdowns and obstinance, try to find a shred of gratitude. No doubt, there are people who would be willing to trade with you. My clients who have lost a child would be MORE than happy to hear the sweet sound of bickering or to be awoken in the night (for the 16th time) by the sound of a baby’s cry.If you are one of the people lucky enough, you WILL get to hear those sounds. If you are lucky, you WILL get to see your child pass through each new stage and bring the new challenges that each development age and stage will present. Press reset & allow yourself to be filled with wonder now, don’t wait for the day it gets easier.