Parenthood – does it ever get easier?

Young Mother overwhelmed by her kids

I write this off the back of a morning of crying into my coffee. I love being a mum. But at other times, I probably hate it just as much. I’m going through a particularly tricksy time with my 2 year old and feel so frustrated by the fact that all I want to do is enjoy being a mum to her, and to enjoy parenthood, but then feeling like I’d just like to find that eject button while she is busy pressing all my other ones. I’m trying not to take this personally, but sometimes it does feel like they are trying to sabotage this parenthood gig! I know, ridiculous that I even just wrote that.

Of course, the solution is probably just to have realistic expectations of it all – something which many of us have learnt that hard way that we have not been geared up very well to do in our society. But what I want to know is…does being a parent get better? I remember when my little girl was a baby – and we had a shocker – and everyone kept telling me it would get easier with each year. And now she is a toddler, people love to tell you it does get easier…when they go to school. And so on and so forth….

But I want to enjoy now, especially because I don’t know if I’ll ever get another shot at this. Not wish the years away in the hope they will get better or easier, only to find that you  are swapping one set of parental problems for another – which is my sneaky suspicion.

A quick trawl on the internet sees as many people saying it does get better, as those saying they would be lying through their teeth if they said it did! And so I wanted to ask you, my trusted readers, here and now in a quick poll, with no lies or bullshit….does it get better? Or is that just the biggest lie out? Please leave an honest comment so we can be real about this and finally know the answer….

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  1. I don’t know we’re knee deep in the terrible twos and I just hope its gets better! Sometimes he’s such a sweetheart and then sometimes, like last night he’s insane! He went bat Sh** crazy because I wanted to put a nappy on him. Then when I gave up and said ok no nappy, he had an even bigger melt down and flung himself on the floor sobbing. #effitfriday

  2. Well so far, two was harder than one and three is harder than two (age not kids lol!) so it’s anybody’s guess but not looking good so far…. I have a lovely image of me and the girls, grown up, on a shopping and lunch day. That’s my goal! 😉 x MMT

  3. No, I think when people say things like that they are mostly meaningless platitudes, actually, because they are a massive over simplification. You can’t really condense the complexities of childhood and parenthood into ‘easy’ and ‘hard’ times. All children are different, all parents are different, all circumstances are different. Every age has its positives and negatives. & the personality of the child and the parents will determine which particular negatives and ages you find most troublesome. I think actually the key is dropping expectations that children or parenthood should be a certain way. Is it supposed to be easier? No, it just is what it is. I think you just have to drop expectations and comparisons, and try to focus on the positive things. And I think you have to bear in mind that what you see of others’ experiences is often what they want you to see, and is not necessarily the whole story. And, yes, some children may be objectively less difficult in terms of their behaviour than your child, but remember that, however well behaved they seem to be, they have one big flaw: they’re not YOUR child.

    However, none of this is to say I think that there won’t come a time that you classify as better. I think it is mostly a personality thing that some people find the challenges of certain age groups easier than others. Some people find toddlers’ behaviour hard to handle but can deal with teenage challenges, others are the reverse. So I’m sure there will be periods that are better for you. But I don’t think anyone can claim there is a universal easier time.

  4. I wouldn’t say it gets easy, but the issues change. They lull you into a false sense of security between the ages of 5-10 then the hormones kick in.
    I can’t say I miss the the sleepless nights and eyes in the back of the head needed as a mum of a mini toddler. Having said that I do miss the cuddles and feeling needed.
    It’s okay to have a wobble every now and then it means your human x

  5. Hmmm I don’t think it gets easier.. Or better.. Just different. Put it this way, I would gladly swap the challenges that come with my eldest two who are 16 and 17 with the terrible twos any day! I realise now that they weren’t that terrible after all! Ha!

  6. I’m not a parent so this is more guess work than actual experience, but I think I would prefer dealing with sleepless nights and toddler tantrums to hormones and teenage tantrums! #effitfriday

  7. Hmmm … these comments are not giving me much hope. Thanks for sharing an often unspoken concern of many of us. And looking forward to reading the comments by the superstars who have it all figured out, further down the road. I hope. Maybe. #effitfriday

  8. Well my youngest has just turned one and I’m currently doing a happy dance around the kitchen that I can get actual cow’s milk out of the fridge, put it in a beaker straight from the cupboard (not sterilised or anything!!??), and give him it to happily guzzle with his own little paws! For me right now this is winning at life!

    My eldest is about to turn three and I am therefore fully braced for the onslaught of tantrums and “why” and potty training and other such shenanigans that are lurking around the corner. For today though…. Happy dance. In fact there may even need to be a celebratory hobnob.

    That’s about all I can offer, but great question, and I’ll be keen to read the answers as they come through… :0)

    • I think it’s definitely all about celebrating the small wins rather than lamenting in the fails and falls..though that’s easier said than done it seems! Lots more answers this is fascinating but there is definitely a trend developing here…

  9. This is a hard one for me, and I’m not sure I’m fully equipped to answer this question as BattleKid is only 20 months old. In some ways things have gotten easier but in others they’re harder. Easier once he started sleeping through but only to be replaced with harder things during the day!

    When he started walking I didn’t need to carry him around the house everywhereeverywhere so it became a little easier but the strops and tantrums I now get when he wants up while I’m cooking for example are monumental!
    Talking is another area that’s split between easier and harder. He can communicate some things through words and sign language but there are times he can’t, and both he and I get frustrated with each other.

    As someone said parenthood is hard, the hardest job we do but can also be the most rewarding. Each hard thing we encounter becomes easier as they, and you as a parent, grow but only to be replaced by different challenges. It’s a minefield!

  10. Love this! I’m going to run with ignorance is bliss. Last year I was in Thortons and the tot was in a bit of a grump. The lady in the shop was trying to give him chocolate but he was still pouting. I made some comment about it being one of those days and she said she would do anything to have those days back. ‘Doesn’t it get easier, when they’re independent and doing their own thing?’ I asked. She laughed. ‘Toddlers can be handful’, she said, ‘but teenagers, they f**k with your mind.’

  11. Does it shite! I have a 6 year old and a 9 year old. ..tantrums have been swapped for answering back, dirty nappies for dirty bedrooms, soaking wet bath room floors for two little soap dodgers…The battle lines for the teenage years are already being drawn by my 9 year old who seems to have mastered the art of ‘not enjoying’ any days out, trips away or fun activities I plan. The 6 year old makes living with Mussolini seem appealing…. it’s all lies!

  12. Personally I found 4 – 6 has been easier in some respects as she can be more independent and I don’t have to watch her 24/7 but tricky in different ways as she really knows her own mind now! And the fact she can read and tell the time means that I can’t pull the wool over her eyes about certain things… My son is 16 months old and I have generally found him much easier as I’ve done it before, wheras every new stage with my daughter is new to me. Sorry that doesn’t really help does it?! X

    • So far it’s not looking good! On balance I still think 2s are not so terrible but then I had a shocker before hand but I can’t say it feels better, just different struggles. So far the research is not looking positive. Think I’ll need to write a follow up post on this!

  13. Wow, hard question. Could probably write a whole post on this myself. Short answer: it depends on you and your child. No one can really tell you what parenthood is because everyone’s experience is different. What are your expectations? They are most likely different to mine.
    I think some elements are easier e.g. I am not so exhausted and sleep deprived, I have more time to myself. My worries are different now too. I think I worry less but my worries feel bigger.
    I think we can make it easier for each other too by supporting and not judging each other or painting a picture of perfection on our social status.

  14. I’m not sure I’m best placed to respond…i’ve had A BAD DAY and my son is just two so can’t comment on the older years. What i would say though is that a parent can only respond to what is happening now. In the beginning i found it sooo hard and longed for this time. On the odd day (like today) i can’t believe what I found so tricky, but i’m a different person now feeling different things. I also notice I have bad days if my son is tired (obviously) or if I’m down in the dumps or distracted. So, again, not helpful. I guess we are all so different, our children are different and we expect and enjoy different things about them to each other. ToddlerCalm has definitely helped me though…just having some understanding of the tantrums/power struggles etc and how the tantrums might be making my son feel is helpful to me coping! I find I can be more patient if i think about his brain and neurons etc. I so should have been a scientist!

    I hope you’ve had a good day today and if you are still crying that you are crying into something stronger than coffee now xx

  15. P.S. My mother always said that her strategies for dealing with my sister and I as teenagers were the same (or more likely similar) to her strategies for dealing with us as toddlers. Hmm doesn’t bode well I’d say!

  16. Well, my oldest is the same age as yours so I can’t talk from experience of an older one but I can say (for now at least) that second time around, it’s easier so far! Don’t get me wrong, it’s exhausting and a constant, stressy juggle but you are more relaxed and less overly-anxious with your second. I’m only 4 months in – ask me again in another 2 and I’ll be crying into my coffee. I don’t even drink coffee. They go to school soon though, all is not lost ha ha! Mim x

  17. Oh Talya sweetie it DOES get easier. Obviously children have their own personality and I’m so blessed to have kids with really easy personalities (so why the hell do I shout so much and rag on them all the time?!). I’ll admit I have friends with kids same age as mine whose temperaments and personalities are so tricky, I wonder how they’ve made it this far without locking them in a cupboard and throwing away the key. ButI mean little things like not having to carry every single bag because they get old enough to carry their own stuff, being able to shower themselves, make their beds etc. I don’t miss the early years because they were hard. I do miss the early years because I’ll never get them back. My eldest will have left home by the time she’s double the age she is now. But I won’t tell you to enjoy because that’s no help when you’re crying into your coffee. Thanks for linking to #effitfriday.

    • I think that’s it – it’s all about the temperament hon. I was on the train just now and some man was remarking on how bright and therefore frustrated she seems – she is the total opposite of a laid back character, very antsy… I keep telling myself that’s what it is and hopefully it will get easier as she becomes more independent and therefore less frustrated. Thanks for the pep talk Prabs! x

  18. Every age throws up its own set of complications, doesn’t it! My daughter just turned three and is a brilliant communicator – which definitely makes things a bit easier – but now wants to get her own way all the time! She has some whiny days that’s for sure. Just try and enjoy the journey as much as possible because when they are all grown up and at school we’ll miss them like crazy #bestandworst xx

  19. I don’t think it gets better. I think each age comes with new and different challenges. And all you can do is just do it, go to sleep, wake up the next day and do it again. Ugh…I need a glass of wine.

  20. It’s not that it gets easier of itself. It just changes as they change. However what makes it easier are the changes we, as parents, are willing to go through – changing from reacting to responding, having realistic expectations, finding ways to deal with frustration, and irritation, and exhaustion that don’t make matters worse. That’s been my experience anyway. I’d say ‘calmer’ describes it more than ‘easier’.

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