Parenting: It Doesn’t Get Harder – It Just Gets Different

Parenting: It Doesn’t Get Harder – It Just Gets Different

Advice.  It comes from all sources.  From your mum to your next door neighbour, well meaning friends and family to the random old lady in Boots tutting that your baby has no socks on.   It seems that the second you get pregnant you, your bump and your resultant baby are hot property for little gems of advice.  Sleeping.  Eating.  Too many cuddles.  Not enough cuddles.  Pram.  Baby wear.  Everyone has something to say.  “It just get’s harder” was the advice given to Katy from Hot Pink Wellingtons when she had her baby.  A new mum, 6 weeks in, “it just gets harder.”  Katy’s response was brilliant, and then it got me thinking about that one little sentence.

It just gets harder.

Now, there is no denying that parenting is hard.  Parenting is tough.  Parenting isn’t always a walk in the park.  But alongside the tough days, the tough hours, minutes and seconds, there are the joyous times.  The first smiles, giggles, words.  The first crawling, walking, running.  The jumping, skipping and hopping.

dance in the rain

The sleepless nights, the long days.  Creeping in at night to marvel at your baby sleeping.  Or nap time.

Sleeping Baby

The crying.  Then watching as only you can make everything alright again.  As only you have the magic touch to soothe your troubled child.

Yes parenting is hard.  Each day is hard.  But to say it gets harder as time goes on?  No.

It doesn’t get harder, it just gets different

The newborn days.  Those all consuming days where, sometimes, even lifting your head off the pillow feels like too much.  Days where a small person seems to be sucking the life out of you, sometimes quite literally if you are breastfeeding.  This tiny, mewling, human who has quite literally changed your entire life is utterly dependent on you.  For everything.  To eat.  To sleep.  To poo even.  For entertainment.  For comfort.  All consuming.  Hard.

Newborn

The days pass by, some days you are nailing it, some days you aren’t.  Some days you get out of the house, both dressed, make up on, smiling.  Some days you sit on the couch and sob.  Most days I ate cake.  And drank coffee.  A lot of coffee.  Before you know it, the newborn days are over.  You are hurtling towards first smiles, routine and more interaction.  You are heading towards people thinking that you should be back to being you, not realising that your life has changed forever, that you will never be the you before children again.  Life starts to speed past at a rate of knots.  You start to get yourself into a routine, then question the routine.  Are they sleeping enough?  Too much?  Through the night?  Why aren’t they sleeping through the night yet?  Hard.  But a different type of hard, a different type of challenge to the newborn days.  Not necessarily harder, just different.

A baby on the move.  Sitting up, crawling, getting into everything.  Frantic dash to babyproof and your baby proving that no matter what you do they can still find a way around your babyproofing to hurt themselves.  Finding out that a mobile baby is very different to a newborn baby, or even the baby you had just a few short weeks ago that was desperate to be propped up to watch the world around them.  Hard.  But a different type of hard, a different type of challenge to the early days.  Not necessarily harder, just different.

A teething baby.  Angry red cheeks, bulging gums, snotty noses and utter misery.  Attempts to placate with Calpol, with Ashton & Parsons, with frozen flannels and teething toys, with amber necklaces, with distraction.  Feeling like you want to sob alongside them, their angry little face willing you to make everything better, questioning as to why you can’t.  You questioning why you can’t.  Hard.  But a different type of hard, a different type of challenge to the baby on the move days.  Not necessarily harder, just different.

baby toothy grin

Learning to walk.  Learning to talk.  Asserting their independence, pushing every boundary you could ever set.  And then some.  Tantrums over shoes.  Tantrums over dinner.  Tantrums.  Tantrums.  Tantrums.  Carrying your stiff as a board child through the shops, tucked under one arm, still wailing because you said no to a kinder egg.  Holding your head high as the tears threaten to spill.  Hard.  But a different type of hard, a different type of challenge to the teething baby days.  Not necessarily harder, just different.

Introducing a sibling, pregnancy hormones running wild, then maybe a dramatic birth to add to the mix.  Changing dynamics, routines.  Mixing in the newborn days with the tantrumming toddler days.  Then the early days with a child testing boundaries.  Going forward.  Growing.  Learning.  Knowing you’ve survived it all once, and will do again, whilst realising that all babies are different throwing different challenges your way.  Hard.  But a different type of hard, a different type of challenge.  Not necessarily harder, just different.

brothers meeting

Days passing by.  Challenges changing, depending on the child, on the baby, on the stage.  Each challenge different.  Each challenge unique, not only to the stage of development, but the child.  Surviving each day, thriving through some, clinging onto your wits through others.  Some days a breeze.  Some days hard.  Some days harder.  Each day unique.

And yes, I know I have hard days ahead, the start of school, the politics, the fact that I am going to have two boys filled with testosterone under my roof with all that entails.  Different challenges.  Hard challenges.

But no, it doesn’t get harder.  Parenting and parenthood is always hard.  You have an element of self doubt.  Your children push your buttons.  You face different challenges in your circumstances.  Parenting is hard, but rewarding.  To say to someone that it gets harder isn’t true.  The challenges just get different.

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11 Comments

  1. July 1, 2016 / 7:36 am

    This is so true. I remember wondering how the hell I’d toilet train my eldest, or how she’d learn her colours but it happened. Now it’s times tables and spellings.
    And another emigration….
    #effitfriday
    Fran Back With a Bump recently posted…Holiday Countdown 4 Weeks To GoMy Profile

  2. July 1, 2016 / 9:03 am

    My latest post today is literally about this, how overwhelming everything can be and yes parenting can be hard but all those tough moments are worth it in the long run, gives us a chance to grow in the process! #effitfriday
    Chantelle Hazelden recently posted…When Parenting Becomes OverwhelmingMy Profile

  3. July 1, 2016 / 9:42 am

    SO many changes, your so right! honestly, it can be exhausting.. The different stages of parenthood are crazy, but none of us would have it any other way. The milestones get fewer as the years go by, but the meltdowns (especially with girls) get so much bigger haha…if the teen has a pmt meltdown the whole house dynamics change, if the preteen stubbs her toe, the Saudi Arabian prince can hear her and is gathering his solider’s ready to attack whoever made that god awful noise lol – its correct what you say though, and different is the key word. 100% agree with everything you say. #effitfriday
    Laughing Mum recently posted…Where Are Your Eyebrows Mum? – My Wedding Day!My Profile

  4. July 1, 2016 / 10:03 am

    Absolutely! A friend of mine told me when O was tiny, that what ever you’re worrying about now, it’ll be something else within three months, and she was right. You don’t stop worrying, pushing, finding it hard. Ever. But I agree, it’s just a different kind of hard. Maybe the person who gave that advice had just had a particularly challenging episode. I think when you’re in situation up to eyeballs, it’s hard to have perspective. #effitfriday
    Lisa Savage recently posted…Finding my blogging niche – and why I won’t be botheringMy Profile

  5. July 1, 2016 / 11:26 am

    I can’t believe someone was tactless enough to say that to Katy. If she was having a bad day and already struggling, that could be enough to push someone over the edge!
    I love this post Laura and I agree. The stages are different, but not necessarily harder or easier.
    Thanks for hosting #effitfriday
    Debbie
    Random Musings recently posted…Thoughts On BrexitMy Profile

  6. July 1, 2016 / 1:32 pm

    Love this Laura. SO very very true. It’s easy to look back through rose tinted glasses at the different stages and forget that they had their challenges too. Either that or we mentally block them out 😉 #effitfriday
    Claire Kirby recently posted…Friday Frolics Linky – 1st JulyMy Profile

  7. July 1, 2016 / 2:28 pm

    “The days pass by, some days you are nailing it, some days you aren’t.” Yep – this totally sums up motherhood for me. Parenting is blummin’ tough at times but do I think it will get harder? Nope. I agree with you, it’s just the challenges that will change – either way, somedays I’ll be nailing it and other days I won’t. 🙂

    x

  8. July 1, 2016 / 2:50 pm

    Laura you’ve hit the nail on the head – and some days, other things are going on in your life that mean your approach is entirely different, sometimes YOU as the mum make it harder for yourself and you feel like you’re trying to chase that even keel. Constantly. I guess parenting is very cyclic yet not always linear, you never reach a point where it’s done, only briefly complete until the next hour, day, week, stage. A philosophical comment from me! Thanks for hosting #effitfriday, love it.
    MouseMooMeToo recently posted…#16: Five Things I Hate About ThreenagersMy Profile

  9. July 1, 2016 / 2:55 pm

    So so so true!! I must admit there are some stages I dread more than others (I cannot fathom how I will survive a house full of teenaged boys!) but every stage is going to have their highs and lows. So bizzare an idea to say something like that to a new mum?! #effitfriday xx
    Hayley McLean recently posted…Me & Mine in JuneMy Profile

  10. July 2, 2016 / 5:46 pm

    This is so beautifully written! Parenting is a great challenge all the way. The different ages mean different challenges. I agree, maybe it’s not getting harder, just different. #effitfriday

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