New moms in the trenches often ask, “Does it get easier?”
It should be a simple answer, a yes or a no. Unfortunately, like everything else in parenting, it is more complicated and nuanced than a black and white response.
Yes, one day your baby will sleep through the night. One day they will no longer crawl into your bed, stabbing you with tiny elbows and feet. One day they will sleep in, and you will sleep in too.
But now they will stay out late and you won’t sleep until they are safe at home. Now you have to trust in their good judgment.
Yes, one day your toddler will dress on their own. One day they will tie their shoes and zip their coats.
But now they will need uniforms and sports shoes and dance leotards, and they will need to be washed before their next event.
Now they want specific styles and brands. You may argue about style and appropriate attire. Now they can’t find their shoes, or backpack, or water bottle on the way out the door.
Yes, one day your child will be able to help with chores. One day they will be able to put away dishes and hang up their coats. One day they will be able to put away their own clothes and the toys on the floor.
But now they will roll their eyes and complain if you ask for their help. Now they will need to learn these skills before they go out into the world on their own.
Yes, one day they will be off to school. One day they will spend hours away from your home, no longer creating messes with meals, and crafts, and toys. The house will finally be quiet, the floor will be clean.
But now they will need help with math you long forgot. Now they will navigate the middle school halls and lunchrooms and social situations we all struggled with.
Yes, one day they will feed themselves. One day they will be able to cut their own food and make their own snacks.
But now they will eat all day long. Now they resist the healthy choices you worked hard to establish. Now they are too busy to eat family dinners.
Yes, one day you may find you have more time for yourself. You will go out for dinner with other adults and have adult conversations. You will have time to sit and read while they are away with friends.
But now you will find you miss them when they are gone. You will wonder what they are doing and if they’re OK.
Yes, one day the hard things will be easier. But now you’ll find the once easy things are harder.
One day, it will all feel easier because you have learned and grown as a parent. It will feel easier because your love has grown with each milestone they reached. It will feel easier because one day you will look back and see how far you have come together.
So yes, it will get easier, and yes, it will get harder.
And when you look back years from now, you’ll wonder why you ever worried at all.