Yes, parenting does get easier. Sometimes it feels natural to share the tough parts of parenting — or rather, those parts just come spilling out in trying moments. But countless things get easier and more enjoyable in parenting as your child ages.
Keep these things in mind when you're deep in the trenches of newborn days or pre-teen hormones.
Things That Get Easier When Your Baby Becomes a Toddler
Breathe a sigh of relief; those hard newborn days are behind you. Though you may miss the sweet baby snuggles, there's so much about toddlerhood that actually makes parenting easier.
You Should Experience Fewer Sleepless Nights
Nothing strengthens you quite like those early newborn days when sleep is an elusive unicorn. As your little bundle of joy reaches their first birthday and toddlerhood, you'll find those sleepless nights are no longer quite as endless as they feel.
You may not ever experience that magic moment when parenting is suddenly easy. Rather, as you look back over time, you'll see how many parts of the journey have decreased in difficulty.
Holidays Become Extra Fun
Having a cuddly little baby around Christmas can be fun. But it can also be overshadowed by constant feedings and utter exhaustion. As your little one's personality blooms in toddlerhood, watching them behold the wonder of every holiday becomes a true gift parents can cherish.
Toddlers Can Communicate Their Needs
Is there anything as anxiety-inducing as a new mom as trying to decipher your newborn's cries? Is she hungry? Is he overtired? Many of those questions start to fade as toddlerhood approaches. Partly because you are a seasoned parent tuned in to each sound your child makes, and partly because your little one can now use some words, hand signals, or gestures to communicate their needs and wants.
Things That Get Easier When Your Child Starts School
Bye-bye terrible twos and three-nagers, it's time for school. Whether you choose a traditional school setting or a home education, you might be surprised by how much of your life you get back when your child starts school.
They'd Rather Play With Friends Than You
When you're dreaming of toddlerland in those early baby days, nothing sounds as relaxing as casual pretend play. But after a few rounds of playing bakery, you realize how exhausting pretend play is for an adult. The good news is that as your child starts school and makes friends, they'll have plenty of friends to play games with.
If you're missing those playful times of toddlerhood, try looking forward to other ways you can spend quality time together, like family game nights or sporting events.
Potty Training Is Behind You
By the time your little one steps through the door into their first day of kindergarten, they'll be confident and practiced when it comes to going potty. All the hard work you put into potty training your toddler, from chasing them around to helping wash their hands, will pay off when you can officially point them to the bathroom and let them, well ... go.
Bye Bye, Feeding Time
Whether you chose to breastfeed or use formula, feeding babies was a full-time job. That transitions into quite a bit of snack-making in the toddler years. But once your child is of school age, you can be much more hands-off during meal times.
At this stage, you'll be in charge of three square meals a day. But you won't have to do the feeding and clean-up will be minimal. Even snack time is easier when they can open the pantry and grab the Gold Fish crackers themselves.
Going Out Is Less Stressful
Once you're past the toddler stage, loading the kids up for an outing is significantly easier. You no longer have to think about diaper bags, car seats, potty stops, or potential blowouts — and we don't mean tires. Your kids can grab their own coats, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.
Keeping the House (Mostly) Clean Is Finally Possible
Between the amount of space sacrificed for baby items and the instant messes toddlers make, it might feel like your home is never clean. Once your kids reach school age, though, cleaning gets a little easier. Not only do you have more time to devote to the task, but your children are more than capable of helping out or keeping your family's rules about being tidy.
As kids get older, they will start to accumulate lots of things, from collections or special toys to sports equipment and art projects. At this age, though, you can try having discussions and working together when deciding what to declutter.
Things That Get Easier When You Have Tweens & Teens
Hello, independence! Seeing your little one grow into a (mostly) self-sufficient teen might bring up some mixed emotions. But you can count on some of your parenting responsibilities easing up as you step into this new season as a family.
You Won't Have to Help With Homework as Often
Sure, your teen may come to you with trigonometry questions from time to time. But the days of spending hours at the dinner table working through a math problem together are typically gone. At this point, your teen can call up a friend or approach a teacher on their own to ask for help with academics.
They Can Do Nearly Everything Themselves
Short of renting a car, your teen can do most things by themselves now. You don't have to make their lunch, wash their clothes, or even drive them to soccer practice. It might be bittersweet, but it's a parenting moment you have more than earned.
Child Care Costs Go Way Down
Want a date night? Well, that works since your teen is already out for the evening. Longing for a weekend away? Your tween will have a blast sleeping over at a friend's house for a few days. Once your kid grows into a mostly self-sufficient teen, your child care costs go way down and eventually disappear altogether.
Driving Benefits You
There's going to be some nervousness — on your part and theirs — when they finally pass their driving test. Sure, this milestone comes with unique stressors like safety concerns, insurance expenses, and finding that perfect first car. But, it's a milestone you greatly benefit from.
Once your teen is driving, you can kick back while they take themselves to school, pick up a few groceries for you, and help with shuttling their siblings to extracurriculars.
Things That Get Easier When Your Teen Becomes an Adult
By now, you've put in the long days and all the hard work. You now have an adult child with their own life and unique contributions to society. These are some of the things that feel easier once you're past the teen years and acting more as a life coach to your adult children.
You Get the Hands-Off Approach
They're grown up, out of the house, and no longer relying on you for every need. It's a rewarding, though difficult, moment for any parent. It might feel strange at first, but this hands-off approach to parenting is going to grow on you.
You'll have days of missing the baby snuggles or the early morning conversations with your pre-schooler. But you'll trade those for moments of sitting back and watching all your hard work pay off in your child's adulthood.
This season also brings moments when your adult child will make some decisions differently than you hoped. Even though it's difficult, try to see this as an opportunity to embrace your child's individuality or to help them learn a tough lesson that will serve them later on in life.
Your Home Is Your Own Again
Empty nest? More like a reason to redecorate! The playroom, the teen hangout, and your son's bathroom that never felt entirely clean make way for the home you've always wanted. Don't worry, your kids will come back to visit and compliment your new style.
You Have So Much to Be Proud Of
You raised a whole human being. That's a pretty big accomplishment. Now that your child is an adult, you get to trade those hard days of discipline and reinforcement for sitting back and basking in the pride of bringing up a wonderful person.
Here Come Grandchildren
They say the best part of having children is getting grandchildren. There's a reason parents seem to morph into entirely different people once their first grandchild comes into the picture: grandchildren change everything. They'll be one of your greatest parenting rewards and help you relive some of those precious moments you shared with your own babies.
Once your child has children of their own, you get to teach them everything you've learned as a parent. Keep in mind tht they may want to do a lot of things differently, though, and that's okay. Try to respect and support their parenting choices even if they're different from yours.
Your Kids Might Become Some of Your Best Friends
There's a whole new dynamic at play when your kids become adults. There's a world of space for parents to recognize some of their parenting mistakes — and kids might see the ways their behavior might have been less-than-desirable as teens. While every parent and adult-child relationship has unique challenges, as you grow closer to your kids, learn who they are becoming as adults, and engage in genuine (sometimes vulnerable) conversations, your adult kids might also become some of your best friends.
Once a Parent, Always a Parent
This parenting gig is never truly over. Our kids won't be kids forever, but we'll be parents for the rest of our lives. Seeing kids grow up might be bittersweet, but make no mistake: your children will always need you.