I’ve heard these words countless times from friends, co-workers, family, and on social media. And each time I heard them, I grimaced, biting my tongue as the sarcastic rebuttals were screaming to come out.
“It gets easier!” they all would say when I posted about the terrible two’s. “It gets easier, I promise”, they encouraged when baby number two came and I desperately needed nothing more than a good night’s sleep.
But how in the world could it possibly get easier? When does this parenting carousal ever stop spinning?
Two girls constantly needing supervision. Car seats and potty training, diapers, and baths, the never ending laundry and house tasks. Having them two and a half years apart seemed like it was a good age separation, but I had a tough time managing both babies in the beginning. I have no clue how my mother-in-law had four kids in six years!
Last night though, I caught myself thinking something I never imagined possible, “Wow, this is getting easier.”
With my husband out of town, and a fractured hand, our seven year old unloaded nearly all the groceries from the car, and our four year old helped me put away most of the food. Then they both helped make their own pizzas, and poured their own milk. Sure there was a little spill, but I was so surprised with their effort and was relieved to have them lighten the load.
Who knew a broken limb would be the push they needed to start truly helping? Or me actually asking for help.
Then today, I noticed a few more things that have changed since the turn of the year. Both girls have been playing on the swing set and slide in our backyard without needing me. I still have to help push our little one who hasn’t figured out how to pump her legs and swing alone yet, but I was able to just sit and watch them. Listen to their laughter, watch them chase each other, and enact their favorite movies. I felt the glorious sun on my skin, and felt relaxed, happy, and so grateful to have these girls in our lives.
We are also finally done potty training, and the need for pull-ups and wipes has diminished, so I’ve been using a real life purse instead of a diaper bag! And the best part of all? They can now both wipe themselves, and buckle their own car seats. Seriously, it’s like winning the lottery.
I know these things may seem trivial to some, but for us, it’s a rite of passage. It’s like we’re moving into a new phase I never knew existed. One where our babies grow into little girls, who are more independent, and so eager to help. Sure I had a good cry when I realized, we are officially not parents of babies anymore. I still mourn the fact that I can’t physically carry another child, but mostly, I’m relieved and excited to watch this second act unfold. Observe them growing into who they want to be, and develop different yet meaningful relationships with these new little people.
They aren’t just babies and toddlers anymore, they are girls who now have friends. Sisters who share secrets beneath blanketed tents. And daughters who now read to me.
So if you’re a new mom struggling to figure out what your newborn’s cries mean, I promise, in just a few weeks you’ll get the hang of it. Trying burping, or changing her, or maybe you’ll finally figure out how to use that baby wrap. And if you’ve just added baby number two, or three, or four to your brood, I know the first six weeks you may feel like a zombie. You might cry with sleep deprivation and at some point think, “Did we do the right thing?” Yes, you did.
And I’m shocked to be the one telling you, it does indeed get easier.