I used to think parenting was the hardest when my kids were babies. The no sleep thing, the constant not knowing what on earth is going on with a little person that can’t communicate, the groundhog days of nursing / diapers/ “WHY WON’T THIS BABY STOP CRYING!!. Or maybe it is the toddler years with the tantrums, picky eating, and constant clinging.
I will admit to the mamas who haven’t gotten there yet that there is a small reprieve. A window of time when parenting is at its easiest in my humble opinion. They years between 7 and 10 seem to be a glorious time where things are smooth and lovely. Your kids still think you are awesome but can tie their own shoes, wipe their own bums and even make a sandwich.
I am not one of be all chicken little about the tween and teenage years. The sky is not falling, your kids will not hate you, the world will not end. But parenting is hard in a totally different way. Rather than the sheer physical exhaustion of babyhood, there is the emotional exhaustion of dealing with complex problems and feelings. You aren’t dealing with kids who can’t wipe their bums, but you are teaching about changing bodies and hormones and hygiene. And well, the tantrums are still frankly there…..
I spent my life before having kids working with children. Mostly 0-3 but sometimes up to about 8. But that is where my expertise stops. I am flying blind into these years and often times I feel like I am failing miserably.
But I remember that feeling really well. I remember thinking I was messing every thing up when they were babies and toddlers and preschoolers. And yet, here we are. Still standing. Still not in therapy……
I have no idea what I am doing. But I am doing my best. And I know I will mess up and they will mess up and we will fumble through this together. And by the grace of God we will all come out on the other side okay.