Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Got Small Kids? It DOES Get Easier.

Got small kids? It gets easier.

When I had my first baby, I noticed that whenever he appeared to be peaceful, certain people couldn’t WAIT to tell me what awful things I had to come. Not sleeping through? WAIT til the terrible TWOS! Terrible twos? Wait til he’s a threeanger! You think you have problems now, wait til they’re an ACTUAL TEENAGER! BE GRATEFUL.

Actually, this is not very helpful thing to a new mum. Or in fact, ANY mum. You may be greeted with a wan smile if you say this to someone but inside that person will be swearing at you. Because NO one wants to hear that things get worse. Stop it!

I often think about whether or not I actually would have wanted to know how hard I found EVERYTHING from pregnancy onwards. I’ve had many a conversation since with fellow parents starting “no one ever tells you …. *insert awful realisation about parenthood here*…” But would I have REALLY wanted to know?
Would I have wanted to know that:

a) Pregnancy is sometimes not brilliant. Not everyone loves it. Not everyone “blooms”. Sometimes it’s miserable, and hard and horrible. And if it’s your first, you will probably feel terrible guilt because you haven’t enjoyed it. Who can’t even do pregnancy right? *raises hand*

b) Childbirth is sometimes (a lot of times) really traumatic. Not physically. Everyone expects that. But emotionally. And if you have any kind of trauma, you’ll probably feel guilty about that. Who can’t even give birth properly?! *raises hand*

c) Breastfeeding doesn’t “come naturally”! It’s really hard. Everyone finds it hard. Even those who go on to feed their kids until their 12. And if your child doesn’t thrive because you can’t feed him and you have to express and or use formula which will make you feel guilty too. Who can’t even breastfeed? *raises hand*
In fact the ONLY thing I was prepared for was lack of sleep. And that was bearable.

I don’t think I would have wanted to know beforehand. I would have been scared shitless. As I was, when they handed that bundle of cuteness over to me in the hospital and expected me to keep him alive for the next 18 years.

One thing I became obsessed with once I’d had my first, and I mean literally weeks after he was born, was how the HELL do I do it again? I knew I wanted more than one kid. I wanted loads. But I knew realistically I could probably only cope with one more. How though? How do I go through all that again AND have another small child to look after?

THIS is what I want to tell you. You don’t. You don’t go through it all again. You may have another hard pregnancy, but you know it ends. You may have another traumatic birth, but you know that it goes by in a blur. You may even struggle to feed again. But you will NEVER have that terrifying wave of responsibility crushing you when your new baby is handed over. Because you’ve already had it. You’ve accepted your lot. You’ve acclimatised to the feeling of 24/7 parenthood vigilance. And it’s ok.

The only difference in your life will be the amount of time you get to rest. That definitely changes. For a few years all waking hours before 8pm are relentless.

After that though, it SPEEDS away. Suddenly they’re going into primary school years and you have to think about high school and wtf?! They were 3 last week! And it gets SO much easier. Sure kids go through bastard phases, but in general life is CHILL. They’re so much more independent. You don’t spend hours of the day wishing they weren’t crying or screaming because they’re actually just playing with their lego or their mates. And they’re ace company. And you don’t have to wipe their bums, or fetch snacks and drinks every 2 minutes.

You can watch a tv programme do some work because they’re in their rooms doing something for longer than the attention span of a gnat. You can finish a cup of tea. You could have a little nap. They can get up and get themselves breakfast. (this might include arguments but sssssh, don’t spoil it).

 I look back at their toddler years and think, why is it so long ago? It felt like it lasted a million years at the time. When all you did was slave away. But now my babies won’t stop growing! But it’s lush really. And it isn’t harder or worse. It’s MUCH better. It’s what I expected and hoped motherhood would be. And I anticipate that the teens will be a challenge but for now, I am immersing myself in the easy years and relishing every second. The easy years ARE a thing. It DOES get easier. For now.


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