Parenting Doesn’t Get Easier, But You Get Better

Parenting Doesn't Get Easier, But You Get Better | Denver Metro Moms Blog

I remember when my boys were 3 and 2, or was it 2 and 1? I don’t know, it’s all a bit of a blur. But somewhere back in the day when they were itty bitty {they’re 6 and 5 now}, parenting the two of them felt so hard. You know, the ‘I don’t know if I have it in me to do this,’ kind of hard. I remember asking other moms with older kids, “does it ever get easier?”

At the time, their responses were quite disheartening. “It doesn’t really,” “nope,” or “yes, it does, but then other challenges arise so it still feels hard” were a handful of the answers I received. Then of course there were those, “it goes so fast, enjoy every moment” responses that I simply shrug off because of their sheer ridiculousness. Tell me, who actually enjoys wiping poop from the walls after their toddler has slung his diaper too and fro down the hall? No one, I say. Nope, not gonna enjoy that moment. The tough and the wonderful, the joy and the pain of parenting, they’re all woven together.

So, “carpe what you can,” that’s my motto.

And as my boys have grown, I’ve come to find those other parents were telling the truth. Some things have gotten easier. What was hard then no longer feels challenging anymore, or at least not as challenging. My older kids now dress themselves, carry their own plates from the table, and play together for hours at a time. But that’s not all that’s changed. I’ve changed, too. Motherhood has stretched me, literally and figuratively – stretched my mind, my heart, and definitely my body. Thanks to said stretching, I now have a greater capacity to handle the things I once thought impossible. And even as different aspects of parenting have posed new challenges, my confidence in my ability to handle them has grown.

In other words, mamas, parenting doesn’t get easier, but you get better.

Now make no mistake, before we get better, able to aptly handle that which comes our way, we must endure the stretching first. And well, that’s never fun. You know when you buy that new pair of jeans and you attempt to squeeze yourself into them slide them on, they feel stiff and tight and downright UNCOMFORTABLE? That’s how parenting works. Each new season you encounter feels stiff and tight and uncomfortable at first. Sometimes it even feels so overwhelming that you fear everything is going to bust out of the seams. And then, like the jeans, you walk around in the season for a while and there’s some give, things get stretched out. After some time, the season begins to feel like it fits and you discover you’re in a parenting sweet spot.

I recently went through one of those stretching periods of parenting. We added another baby to the mix, which is uber-stretching in and of itself. On top of the new baby thing, we had a sick middle child. And by sick, I mean for weeks, with somewhat scary, unusual symptoms, multiple doctors visits, radiology testing, forays to the ER, and countless sleepless nights {as though that wasn’t already happening with the newborn}. I remember one particular night during this season when after a terribly, awful, no-good day {ya know the ones where the hits keep coming?}, all I wanted to do was cross the day’s finish line so I could collapse onto the couch with a glass of wine and lose myself in some episodes of This Is Us. While putting my baby girl to sleep, I heard my sick son in the next room crying hysterically. My husband, who he usually prefers over me, was trying to help him calm down. But because my husband had been the one to make him take his disgusting-tasting medicine that evening, my son wanted only me. The minute my daughter fell asleep, I tried to make a break for my son’s room. Just as I laid down with him, my daughter started to cry. It went back and forth like that for over an hour. When laying with him, she was crying. When I was with her, he was crying. And my poor husband felt helpless, comforting the only one he could, our poor oldest child who couldn’t fall asleep because…all the crying.

I felt as though I might lose my mind. The feeling of a million weights crashing down upon my chest, ones that scream, “this is too much. It’s too hard. You can’t do this.”

And as I laid there beneath the weight, I recalled a night six years ago, when I felt the exact same way, at time when I struggled to get my ONE and ONLY baby to stop crying. Though I only had one child then, it was a stretching time for me. And now, here I find myself again {and there have been countless times in between}, being stretched like a new, stiff pair of jeans. It feels foreign, full, and uncomfortable, like one of these days it all might burst at the seams.

As I passed my husband in the hallway, moving from room to room, we exchanged a glance that spoke volumes, “this is so freaking hard, but we’re doing it. We figured it out with one kid, then with two, and we’ll figure it out with three.” And as I lay there rubbing my son’s back, I felt the hope rising – that newborn phase, it doesn’t feel so hard anymore. It stretched me and I’m better for it. My capacity to handle a newborn grew – and just like that I knew, this wild new season in which we’re officially outnumbered with three kiddos, it will stretch me too.

And I will just keep walking around in it until it fits me comfortably like my favorite pair of broken-in jeans.

So, to all you new mamas out there, parenting doesn’t get easier, but you get better. So, hold on, let it stretch you, and “carpe what you can.”

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