Monday, August 3, 2015

Parenthood: Week 112 – Easier With Age?

“Parenting gets easier as kids get older, right?”

Hope is important in parenting. It’s what gets us through the tough moments, the sleepless nights and the feeling of “I have no idea what I’m doing.” In the past two years I have found myself seeking reassurance from parents of older children that things do in fact get easier. The crazy thing now is that I’m finding parents of kids younger than Ollie looking to me for this affirmation. For so long, Ollie seemed like one of the younger souls on this planet and now there are all these babies younger than him. This is something my mind still has trouble grasping.

When you have an infant, you get this reassurance all of the time. People tell you how your baby will learn to sleep, will be easier to understand and will in general, be easier to parent. Than as toddlerhood appears over the horizon, the portrayal of the your future as a parent becomes ominous with sayings like “the terrible 2’s.”

First off I completely reject the notion that an age or stage of life, infant, two years olds or teenage years should be generalized as being a “good” or “bad” age. This sets our expectations in an negative way and closes us off to the full potential of children of these ages. Teenagers know how much people talk down kids their age and it can’t possibly have a positive effect when people in our culture associate the age of two years old with the word “terrible.”

Back to the main point . . .

While I understand and appreciate the idea of parenting becoming easier, the notion itself is flawed. All parents have different ages that they really click with. Some parents really love the teenage years, while others flourish in the toddler times. It’s not that these parents aren’t great parents in these other years; it’s just that something about that age really clicks with a parent’s style.

Including the factor of “life itself” parenting isn’t a direct trajectory. It goes in waves. With each new stage, there are new things to learn. While the day to day care of Ollie hasn’t necessarily gotten easier, it’s easier to deal with each new stage because you know in the back of my mind that I handled these changes in the past and mastered the new challenges.

The act of parenting doesn’t become easier with time but taking on role of being a parent does. It never stops being a roller coaster but eventually, you learn how to brace yourself for the turns and the loops, and enjoy the ride.

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