Ever had that experience where you’re talking to another parent with older children and as they’re watching you with you’re younger child, they tell you “It’ll get better.” Later in the conversation, they somehow also manage to tell you how much they miss their own kids being the age of your kid. Confusing, right? If it’s gotten better, why in the world would you miss anything about a past stage? The truth is that parenthood and raising children doesn’t get better, it’s you as the parent that gets better.
There are some that say that every mother has intuition. In some ways, this may be true but to a large degree, intuition comes from knowing your child and constantly being alert to their needs and cues. The more days you spend as a parent the more you’ll find these skills being tested and as a result, the more intuitive you will become. The more in tune you become with your child and their needs, the better you become as a parent.
Being a parent brings out your resourcefulness. In many ways, after a few months in your role as a mom, you’ll start to feel like the mom version of MacGuyver. Whereas in the early days, an unplanned illness or sleep regression may have derailed you, as your child grows older and you’re faced with more and more of the uncertain moments that are a part of parenting, you’ll find that you become much faster on your feet and solve problems that come up with ease. This ability to think and act more quickly will make you better as a parent.
You will better learn what you can feasibly accomplish in a day and lower your standards accordingly. You will realize that lowering your standards doesn’t make you a worse mother, just a more practical one. This will make you better at prioritizing things and being comfortable with certain things falling through the cracks. The pressure that is taken off of your shoulders when this happens is huge and will only make parenting more fun and enjoyable.
You will stop second-guessing yourself eventually and you’ll stop googling everything parenting-related the more comfortable you become in your own decision making as a parent. You will never know everything and you will be faced with constant changes as your children grow and evolve into new people each day but you will feel confident because you’ve conquered changes in the past and you’ll know that you can do it in the future.
Until the day you take your last breath you will worry about your children. Even when they are grown and have started families of your own and don’t think of you on a daily basis, you will still think of them and their safety. Although you will always worry about your children, as they grow older and more independent you will learn to manage your worries and find that with each passing day, you get better at checking your worries. The more kids you have, you’ll find that you worry a little less with each child. Even though the worrying never goes away, the decrease in your worries will help your role as a parent become easier.
Each stage of parenthood offers its own set of pros and cons and depending on your child and your personal preferences, you may find one stage to be easier than another or not mind a certain stage as much as someone else. When parents with older kids comment about missing a past stage, it's not double talk, but rather them being able to see your situation in hindsight after becoming better and as a result being able to appreciate that stage more than when they were in it. No matter what though, being a parent brings about challenges that you could have never known you would ever face or prepare for before children and just like with any other job, the more experience you get, the better you get at your job.