motherhood,  survival,  Sweet, Serious, & Sincere Parenting Reflections

When Does Parenting Get Easier? If It Doesn’t, Please Keep It To Yourself…

Sharing is caring!

I recently read an article that really stuck with me. It was focused on the question, “When does parenting get easier?” and the author’s premise was to stop waiting for that day because…  that day day is never coming. Parenting never does get any easier. Different, yes, but not easier.

Pshhhhhhhhhhhh. That’s the sound of me completely deflating, or at least, that’s how I felt when I first read it. As someone who feels like she is drowning more often than not, the idea that parenting doesn’t get easier is not good news. In fact, clinging to the idea that parenting will get easier and less exhausting is one of the driving forces getting me through each day in this current, insane stage of motherhood.

However, I’m not sure that author is correct…

When does parenting get easier pin image
Pin Me!

There’s some difficulty — and some comparative ease — in every stage of parenting.

It’s undoubtedly true that parenting never gets easy. Each stage is fraught with challenges and the stakes get higher as your children age.

Sure, you worried about their safety as babies (what mother hasn’t neurotically stared at her sleeping infant to check for breathing?), but teenagers are potentially one bad decision away from life-ruination at all times. I imagine that has to be a stress like I cannot yet imagine.

However, I also think that determining which is the hardest stage of parenting depends highly on the individual parent (and children). Neither a night owl nor a morning dove, I’ve always been more of a “10-10” girl, best suited for facing the day between 10 AM to 10 PM.

To say that the sleep deprivation of parenthood has been difficult is quite the understatement. There have been weeks, even months (upon months) where I have not felt human. After three large babies and difficult pregnancies, my body is a wreck; breastfeeding was a horror show; six years straight of minimal sleep is the cherry on a sundae I don’t necessarily relish eating.

When parenting gets more manageable really depends on your personality

I’m a Type-A person, particular about my things, my schedule, and my time. Type-A tendencies and parenthood are like water and electricity: mixing the two produces a spectacularly dangerous show. Raising tiny humans who destroy everything in their wake and have no respect for another person’s plans or desires has grated on my sanity.

To be clear, I love my kids with my every fiber. I would rip my heart from my chest if one of my kids needed it, but love and sanity are not the same. While I am overflowing with the former, the latter has most certainly been stretched very thin during the baby years.

Teenagers, however, are my jam. I teach high school. I’ve coached the soccer team. I’ve sponsored student government. I just love so much about teens– their enthusiasm, their sense of humor, the knowledge that the whole world is before them–a lot like toddlers, only they can use the bathroom entirely on their own.

While I can undoubtedly get high from the smell of a newborn or the squeeze of a chubby baby foot, for most of my life, I have been geared more towards teens. Still, it seems to be mostly reports of doom-and-gloom coming downhill from the parents of the older kids.

If you’re currently struggling, well “Ha! Just you wait…” (Insert Eye-roll)

I can already hear the naysayers, “Just you wait…” so I’d like to issue a disclaimer: I’m speaking in generalities here. Of course, there are some unique teenage situations (unexpected pregnancies, drug addictions, mental health struggles, to name just a few) that are undoubtedly harder than the baby years. There are always exceptions, so let’s just try to compare apples to apples.

On the rare occasion that I do hear someone speak positively of the teen years, I cling to it like a life raft in a churning sea. I know that phase won’t be all sunshine and rainbows, but I do think it will be a very different pace and style of parenting.

I look forward to watching my children navigate friendships, even though this often involves hurt and hard lessons. I look forward to watching my children master things independently, even though the path to independence is often frustrating. I look forward to helping my children grow in their convictions, even though this growth can be scary and uncertain.

In these early years of tantrums, endless demands, and physically intensive 24-7 parenting, I am looking forward to these future stages that are a bit more “in my lane.”

Even if every stage isn’t easy, there’s still magic in every stage of parenthood.

I know they say not to wish away time with your children, and I’m not. My heart will break as we leave the baby stage behind for good, whenever that is. Furthermore, if you gave me a choice between raising babies forever and my children growing up and leaving the nest, I would choose babies forever (and also likely die of exhaustion, but whatever).

However, I do think God made babies and toddlers uniquely precious and adorable for good reason: this stage of parenting is just so unrelenting, parents need to cling to that cuteness.

So… Does parenting get easier? When does parenting get less exhausting?

If you are a mom knee-deep in the diaper years, wondering, “When does parenting get easier?”– I can’t say for certain that it will, but I can say that I join you in hoping and praying that it does.

And if you’re a mom of an older kid, and it’s overwhelmingly difficult, can you do a favor for those of us behind you? Please don’t tell us about it until all our kids are consistently sleeping through the night and toilet-trained. (Potentially false) Hope is the only thing getting us through the day. Thanks!

Looking for more encouragement from the trenches of parenthood? You may also like:

I Won’t Miss All This, But I Will Miss All of Them

Everyone’s Entitled to a Hard Day–Except Moms, Who Should Shut Up & Be Grateful

To the Mom Whose Tank Empties Too Quickly

I’m Done Justifying What I Do All Day as a Stay at Home Mom

mom struggling with child wondering when does parenting get easier
Pin Me!

{A version of this post originally appeared on Her View From Home.}

Sharing is caring!

30 Comments

  • Beth

    I just have the one and we’re still in the diaper phase. I’m very type A as well and it’s hard to stay sane when a little one is clinging to you non-stop and you’re trying to get something done. In those moments, I take a deep breath and realize that I will so miss him wanting to be close to me all the time. Even though personal space will be nice in the future! 🙂

    • Charissa @ The Wild, Wild West

      Hi Beth,

      You’re right, those days when the baby is clingy can be so hard! Even if you “just have the one,” having that one is a huge adjustment from pre-mom life when you controlled your time and most anything in it. Having more than one is hard in a different way, but I definitely think caring for a baby (at least for me) got easier each time because you are just so much more used to it. Being a first-time mom is a huge change and it’s definitely hard learning to do everything (and facing every new stage) for the first time.

      Hang in there!
      Charissa

  • [email protected]

    There are things I like and dislike about every stage, but I try to be grateful for the things I like about each stage. I know that someday I’ll miss the times when all my kids lived with me (even if they were fighting) and when I had kids who played with toys (even if they were all over the floor every night). Everyone has bad days as a parent, but it’s all about keeping things in perspective!

    • Charissa @ The Wild, Wild West

      Hi Val,

      You’re– perspective is so important! Some stages of parenting are easier than others, but the fact is, every stage of parenting has easy and hard, bad and good. Perspective will help keep you from losing your mind with a difficult baby, whiney toddler, petulant teenager, etc.

      Charissa

  • Leah

    I’m in the “middle” years of parenting. Those elementary school days, where a full night’s sleep is the norm but no teenage hormones yet. I have to say, I’m enjoying it so far! So maybe there is a quiet little rest in the middle of parenting?

    • Charissa @ The Wild, Wild West

      Hi Leah,

      Oooooh that stage of parenting sounds promisng! Our oldest child is in second grade, and while his attitude is already rivaling that of a teen, the rest of parenting him has gotten significantly easier (the same is true for our Kindergartner). In fact, with the youngest being almost three, we’re in a stage of parenting where it’s still crazy, but not *as* difficult as it was. I originally wrote this post a year ago and it’s kind of wild to realize how much easier parenting is in our house now than it was then.

      Of course, there’s a new baby coming in three months, so we’re guaranteed to hit new levels of insanity around here!

      Charissa

  • Stephanie

    Ugh so much this. I’m in the middle of the littles stage and I keep having moms say “just you wait….” and I’m like noooooooo it’s supposed to get better! But I think it will- I’m wired more for a little older of kids, I think, so I’m hoping it’ll be a little more doable soon.

    • Charissa @ The Wild, Wild West

      Hi Stephanie,

      I totally understand what you mean about being wired for older kids — because that’s me too. Plus, can we all just agree that “just you wait” is pretty much a jerk thing to say to any parent?! Does parenting get easier? Maybe, maybe not. But does it help *anything* to tell tales of doom and gloom to the people behind you? Definitely not!

      I join you in holding out for those easier stages of parenting, or at least, as you said, “more doable” 🙂
      Charissa

  • Adree | The Keele Deal

    Great point of view, I think that parenting at any stage has its challenge. But I think it gets easier in someways because we become more confident as a parent and worry less about doing what others say is right and instead doing what is right for our child in or family’s situation.

    • Charissa @ The Wild, Wild West

      Hi Adree,

      You’re right — no one stage of parenting is easy — but I definitely agree that parenting has gotten easier for me in some ways (and harder in others) as I’ve become more confident in my own parenting choices. When I had my first, I cared about what every book or person said. Now that I’m on my third (with a fourth baby on the way), I just care about what gets us through the day successfully! Haha.

      Charissa

  • Katie Frazier

    My little 7 month old brings me so much joy, but he also brings sleepless nights of teething. I can’t wait to enjoy peaceful sleep.

    • Charissa @ The Wild, Wild West

      Hi Katie,

      Oh man, babies are adorable, but the sleep deprivation is so tough! I feel for you. I had relatively easy babies in general, but they were absolute garbage sleepers and I remember feeling, regularly, like I was barely even conscious inside my body as I went about my day. I think parenting is much easier when you’re well-rested (or at least, somewhat rested!). I hope things get easier and you’re able to get some sleep soon!

      Charissa

  • Jessica

    Ha ha! Your post made me laugh. I have a 13 year old, 10 year old and just turned 4 year old. We are spanning several stages here in this house! It is so true that there is magic to every stage. And for me, parenting hasn’t necessarily gotten harder, just different. I think the key is figuring out how to adapt to those changes. With older kids it becomes more mental and emotional. Trying to figure out the right thing to say to an upset teenager, worrying about their friendships, grades, etc. Not so much the physical exhaustion that comes with the babies/toddlers/preschoolers. So right now I am a little bit exhausted emotionally, mentally, and physically! 😉 It is so all worth it though!

    • Charissa @ The Wild, Wild West Blog

      I’m so glad this post could give you a laugh. My oldest is almost eight and I can totally see how rather than parenting getting easier, per se, it gets more mental/emotional as they age. My youngest is almost three, and I can feel this whole thing getting less physically intense (well, I could, but then I got pregnant with #4 haha). But even as the physical aspect gets easier, the attitude and character-building side of parenting definitely gets tougher!

      Thanks for reading!
      Charissa

  • Lisa

    As a large family mom, I definitely agree there is beauty and magic in each stage. I love the adorable baby stage (and agree that they’re cute for their own protection :D). But my middles and teens are so unique – they have their own little quirks and personalities that really shine through. I didn’t find the teen years nearly as bad as most people claim. My oldest will be 18 soon, and she is a delight. I think a lot of times we become self-fulfilling prophecies and our expectations come to fruition.

    • Charissa @ The Wild, Wild West

      Hi Lisa,

      I think it’s great that you can speak to so many different stages of parenting! I know raising a teen and parenting one is completely different, but I do very much enjoy the quirks and personalities that older kids have. My oldest is only seven and even though the attitude is real, I am definitely finding that the physically intensive stage of parenting is easier with him and his younger brother (5) than it was just a couple years ago. I wouldn’t say we’re in an easy stage, because I doubt parenting is ever easy, but I definitely think things are easier with my kids at 2, 5, and 7 than they were when they were baby, 2, and 4. Of course… we’re crazy and about to add another baby, so we’ll be right back into the crazy hard (physically) of parenting very soon.

      Thanks for reading!
      Charissa

  • Shannah Holt -Mastering Mom Chaos

    Now that all my kids are of teenage years (and older) I can say so far this has been the best time for me! We go shopping together, have weekly family game night, and they are really great teenagers (minus the rolling eyes, touch of sarcasm and knowing EVERYTHING, lol) I’m a mom of 8 and it was chaotic for so many years always with one in diapers while potty training another, while yet there was always at least one keeping me from getting more than 5 hours of sleep. I’m with you I like the 10-10 time too (which is pretty perfectly aligned with teenagers). So yeah things CAN get better!

    • Charissa @ The Wild, Wild West

      Hi Shannah,

      Your comment is music to my ears (which is great because my ears are basically ringing right now after handling the witching hour with an almost-two, four, and six-year-old). I can handle a lot of things but the constant screeching (why do they only have one volume-setting?!) and the lack of sleep is pushing me closer to the loony bin each day. I ask myself, “When does parenting get easier?” at least once/day. Sometimes once/hour. Sometimes more lol. Thanks so much for the encouraging talk of the teen years! (Fist bump!)

      Thanks for reading,
      Charissa

  • Julia

    I hear you. I think it goes up and down and up and down. I don’t love 0-6 months. Toddlers are okay and I just LOVE Preschoolers. The key is finding your good moments and definitely making time for yourself.

    • Charissa @ The Wild, Wild West

      Hi Julia,

      You’re right about that — The answer to “When does parenting get easier?” definitely varies from person to person, and it also probably changes by the minute even for the same person. I loathe breastfeeding, but I actually enjoy the babies when they sit around, do very little, and you can easily transport them like a cute little sack of potatoes!

      Thanks for reading!
      Charissa

  • Rachel

    I’m not a baby person. But love toddlers and preschoolers. Well up to 8. Haha. Then they get weird. Loving that will be tough but I’m hoping that the relationships I have now with my daughters will help to Foster easier teen years. Haha

    • Charissa @ The Wild, Wild West

      Hi Rachel,

      I am (mostly) a baby person, but the combo of almost-two, four, and six is kicking my butt in a major way. Your comment about getting weird made me laugh out loud, because I know what you mean. I’m told that 6-10 are the “easy” years with kids, but I don’t think I’ll like any 6-10 year-olds except my own. I don’t know if parenting will get easier, but I agree with you: I hope we’ve successfully laid the groundwork for the coming years.

      Thanks for reading!
      Charissa

  • Joanna Stephens

    Right now I am going through the toddler defiance stage with my 3 year old daughter. It is by far a lot harder than the sleepless nights of a newborn! That being said, no matter how old my kids get, I will always be one that worries constantly, after all that’s what moms do!! Great article!

    • Charissa @ The Wild, Wild West

      Hi Joanna,

      Oh man, that stage of parenthood can be suuuuuuuper frustrating. My middle didn’t hit the 2s-3s too hard, but my oldest was sassy enough for the both of them. I think each stage of parenting is definitely hard in its own way, but lately, the combination of ages and stages we’ve got going in this house are proving to be serious butt-kickers.

      Thanks for reading!
      Charissa

  • Anna

    I am not a big fan of the baby and toddler stage. I’m just not a baby person. I don’t fawn over babies. I’m not the one eagerly waiting a turn to hold a new little squish. Not surprisingly, I find the baby years the most challenging. Once they get to be 3 or 4 or 5 or so, till 9 or 10… premium parenting phase for me. And the teen years once their hormones have mostly sorted themselves out: also easy parenting. Teens might be frustrating when they flex those independence muscles, but they’re nowhere near as frustrating as a little kid who repeatedly tosses their cup or food to indicate they’re finished eating.

    • Charissa @ The Wild, Wild West

      Hi Anna,

      It’s so funny because I literally JUST wrote to another commenter, before seeing yours, that a lot of people say 6-10ish is the easiest stage of parenthood. Apparently that theory has some legs 🙂
      On the whole, I LOVE babies, but after having three, I am finding that I most appreciate them in the quiet, immobile, cute and easy-to-lug-around phase–basically, before the
      have much personality! I’m glad to hear you say good things about the teen years. I can’t say for sure if or when parenting gets easier, but I DEFINITELY have zero appreciation for the loud screeching, the food-throwing, and the floor-peeing (although, it seems that one persists for decades in men).

      Thanks for reading!
      Charissa

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *