“It gets easier…”

These are words that every parent who has a child older than yours will assure you with. Heck, I’ve said it to new parents. We’ve been told it gets easier at 3 months, 4 months, 6 months, 8 months, one year, and three years. And while he does improve with time, e.g. he doesn’t cry all day long like he did as a newborn, I’m not sure if it’s gotten wildly easier, and life has definitely not returned to the normal I’ve been used to.

Let me begin with ways that it’s gotten easier. In the first few weeks, there was no way I would be on the computer typing away, or reading a book, or running errands. He’s also playful now, with people, his books and toys, and even by himself. He takes a bottle, which he didn’t do the first three weeks (couple that with feedings every 1.5 to 2 hours, I pretty much felt like a cow on constant tap). And of course, he’s sleeping loads better than he did the first few months. As in, he can sleep for 6 and sometimes 8 hour stretches.

But I guess this is where they say the job of parenting is never easy, no matter what age. Because despite all those milestones and so much more that has made life smoother, life still isn’t that much easier than when it was just me and my husband. He still demands a lot of our time putting him to sleep. We still feed him every 3 hours during the day. We can’t just tell him to please wait patiently while mommy or daddy finishes a chore.

We’ve become masters of thinking three steps ahead and of eliminating things we don’t have to do. For instance, when I get ready the nights before I have to go in to the office, I run through my head: 1) Do I have my lunch packed in the fridge? 2) Do I have my pump and bottles ready to go? 3) Do I have my clothes out in the living room because I can’t disturb him sleeping in our room in the early hours? 4) Do I have my shower and sleeping clothes ready for tonight because I need to shower once I finish feeding him and again can’t disturb him once he’s asleep? 5) Do we have his diaper bag packed and ready to go?

We’ve also acquiesced that some former necessities are no longer on the priority list. Prior to him, his dad and I had a weekly chore list that included vacuuming, sweeping and mopping, cleaning the bathtub and shower stall, and other dusting and wiping that kept our apartment nice and clean. Now chores are done when the dust has gotten on our nerves and when the hard water is getting too thick on the shower stall. We also used to recycle every week; now it’s whenever there’s space to put recyclables in. And gone are the days when our grocery list would feature one recipe a night and perhaps a little treat to bake in the oven. Now I aim for at least 4 recipes a week, with the remaining days a mixture of delivery, take-out, and whatever-you-can-find-in-the-kitchen meals.

Yet we’ve also been forewarned to enjoy him as he is now: a non-crawling baby who still wants his mommy and daddy and hasn’t learned about tantrums yet. So when does it get easier? I’m sure when he’s older and able to communicate, it’ll get easier. And when he doesn’t need to eat or nap as frequently, and when we can incorporate him into our daily activities, it’ll get easier. But right now it’s just a waiting game as to when we’ll start to have some semblance of normalcy. In the meantime, we’ll just have to believe everyone when they say “It gets easier.”

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6 thoughts on ““It gets easier…”

  1. Children are definitely challenging at all age brackets…Not sure really when the “easy” part starts or ends. I’m sure some parents say..”My baby was so easy!”, then have a second child and it’s the complete opposite! Definitely a different case for each parent and/or child, for that matter! 🙂

    • I have definitely heard of those cases where one child is easy or difficult, and the second one is the complete opposite. How sad for the parents who have both difficult babies! It’s all luck of the draw it seems.

  2. definitely all kids are different…and when we say things will get easier, I guess in looking back what we really mean is that they will get past a certain stage that they’re in. BUT they will start a new phase with its own new challenges.

    Ryan is learning how to throw some good tantrums now and that is our new challenge. Although it doesn’t take nearly as long, Susan and I still fight over who’s turn it is to put him to bed. We never had the heart to just let him cry it out.

    Good luck

  3. I think “it get’s easier” means “you get used to it.” In all honesty, it never gets easy and I’ve started to realize that life with kids will never be what it used to be without ’em. I don’t know if I should say it’s something I’m necessarily realizing or if it’s actually just how it’s seeming to me now — now that Kyla is already almost 3 and a half and I don’t see the old concept of “normalcy” anywhere in the near future. Every stage is different, each with it’s own challenges.

    To this point, for Shannon and I, I think the biggest milestone has been potty-training. She finally just started being consistent at this (as in getting herself out of bed in the middle of the night to use the potty) about two months ago. The next I foresee is her willingly going to bed on her own when it’s bedtime, which we are only now finally closing in on. In spite of these positive changes, her independence has also come with it’s trials. I think it’s funny that when she was one or two all we wanted was to hear her talk. Now she won’t stop — all I want to do is hear what I’m watching on tv or even hear myself think! You know how it is being a parent — it’s great but damn, it ain’t easy.

    It’ll be interesting to see how life with our second baby will be. I’m going into it basically bracing myself to be challenged all over again just as we were with the first — I didn’t know how we would get through it but we did and all things considered, I wouldn’t trade my experiences with Kyla for anything. I hear having two is harder but giving the first child a sibling (for some) is equally as rewarding. I can’t see it being much harder with two since with one I already don’t have a life outside of the routine of responsibilities taking care of the family. I think the toughest thing for a first time parent is the transition that you’re going through now from non-parenthood. How much harder could it get… right? We’ll see. I’ll keep you posted.

    Anyway, I like this blog Nina. The “crib” notes are interesting to read — they provide me with sanity helping me realize that the stress isn’t just particular to me. Hopefully what you’re hearing isn’t discouraging. Good luck with everything and hang in there. Think babysteps. At least you’re sleeping better now :). Hopefully we’ll see you soon!

    • It sounds to me like Rocky and Susan are doing what Shannon and I do — every night at bedtime we read her books until she is sleeping or at least drowsy (and like them, sometimes there’s a small seemingly unnecessary quarrel about whose turn it is to do it beforehand). No, we don’t have to rock her to sleep anymore — thank God! Only over the past 3-4 weeks have we been trying to say goodnight to her while she is still awake and let her fall asleep on her own. I’ll tell her that I’m going to read her two books and then say goodnight so she’s prepared for it. We didn’t have the heart to let her cry it out when she was younger either but I wish we did. Kyla’s a sensitive girl as is and still occasionally doesn’t sleep through the entire night. Because she has been so used to us being with her during every moment of being awake, when she wakes up in the middle of the night, until recently we would have to get up and comfort her until she fell asleep again. Now that we are really focusing on having her sleep on her own, it’s been a tough transition for her because its a 3 year pattern that we’re trying to break. I definitely recommend teaching Ian to be comfortable sleeping by himself at an early age. I know of a lot of kids that are able to who are a lot younger than she is (though probably not quite as sensitive as Kyla is). If the guilt of hearing him cry for you starts to feel unbearable, know that it is good for him to learn this independence and find that sense of security within himself. Co-sleeping is great in my opinion for an infant but I think it’s important to know when the baby’s ready to learn to sleep alone at night. I think we overdid it with Kyla. Kyla’s now at the point where I’ll hear her wake up sometimes and start to cry but within minutes she usually stops. When her crying gets to the point that it sounds like she may actually be becoming traumatized, one of us will get up just to give her a little encouragement and then leave her again. These nighttime trials definitely rank as one of the more difficult things we’ve experienced as parents. If you can nip that one in the bud, things will definitely be easier.

      I told you I like those “What to Expect” books. I feel like I’m writing a book report :). We’ll definitely be around for Easter — see you guys then!

  4. Pingback: Struggles of a new mom | Sleeping Should Be Easy

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