Different, Not Easier

Countless times over the past 4 years I have desperately thought to myself, “being a mom will get easier when —— happens.” And I’ve hoped that the people who told me that it gets easier at —— weeks, or —— months, or —— years were right.

Now my oldest is 4.5 years and my youngest is 1.5 years. And honestly, I’m still waiting for it to get easier.

“When my baby sleeps through the night, I won’t be so tired. It will get easier then.”
Did it get easier than that soul-crushing exhaustion I experienced when my first born woke 10-14 times each night (no exaggeration, we counted)? Of course. But 4.5 years later, I’m still tired. Not the same kind of tired, but I’m weary all the time. I try to get 8 hours of sleep each night, but that doesn’t always happen. I either stay up because I’m tired of not having personal time, or my son calls me into his room at 1 in the morning because he needs to pee, or my daughter cries out in her sleep and wakes me up (while she is still blissfully asleep), or so forth.

“When my toddler can communicate verbally, things will get easier.”
Yes and no. It’s great to fully understand my child and the needs that they have. Unfortunately, I can also understand all the whining, arguing, and begging. Oh, the whining. I really feel sorry for my mom and dad now.

“When I get used to having two kids, this will get easier.”

Well, I’m used to having two kids. I’m no longer surprised that we’re a family of 4. But compared with the early days when my daughter was a sleepy infant, is it easier now? No. Not a bit. Now I am dealing with two very opinionated children. Regardless of how well-behaved they are, it still feels like a marathon to take both of them anywhere. I come home from errands physically (and mentally) exhausted. Going to the zoo alone sounds like one of my worst nightmares. The grocery store where you bag your own items makes me want to cry. So yes, I’m used to two kids, but it’s not easier.

“When I don’t have to nurse all the time, things will get easier.”
Sure, other people can now feed my kids. Including my kids. So tiny Lego pieces can get shoved into mouths, along with rocks, flowers, dirt, sand, or anything else that probably shouldn’t go in there. Plus, when they are older they start having opinions (It’s like they are people!) on what food they want to eat. Or preferences on how they want to eat it (“Those pancake pieces are too small!”).

“When the baby is older, I won’t have to keep reminding my older son to not poke her eye out. It will be easier then.”
Frankly, I still have to tell my son not to poke his sister’s eye out. And now instead of the baby just accepting his “playing,” half the time he makes her furious, and she lets us know how mad she is with a super fun tantrum. So while I no longer have to worry that my preschooler will squish our infant, I have a preschooler and toddler who wrestle and fight over toys. On many levels, that makes it much harder.

I do think some kids are more easygoing than others. Maybe those kids really do get easier. But my kids are still the same people they were as infants, and while some of my early challenges have faded away, they have merely been replaced by other challenges.

So while I’m starting to accept that things won’t really get easier (just different), a teensy part of me is still hoping that maybe, just MAYBE, things will get easier next year…