Oh, parenting. Those first few weeks are a mix of adrenaline, joy, and terror. When those emotions wear off and you start to find your parenting feet, I think it's normal end up shocked when you realize there's more to this whole parenting thing than just swaddling, feeding, changing, and shushing. It's even more normal to ask yourself, probably in the middle of the night when you're exhausted, "When does parenting get easier?" because, well, that day seems inexplicably if not viciously far away
Reddit user arkroyal2223 recently asked that very same, very understandable question, and the overwhelming responses prove once and for all that "easier" is a relative term, and the day you feel like things are finally getting manageable is the day something else will, inevitably, pop up. The commenting parents, while from different backgrounds with different kids and different life circumstances, all seemed to agree that parenting becomes easier right before it becomes infinitely harder again. Just when you think you're getting the hang of your babe, they throw you a curve ball.
When I was a very new parent, I expected parenting to have a certain upward trajectory. I imagined that the learning curve would be pretty straight forward, always moving upward, and I would gradually (and easily) learn as I went. Turns out, parenting does not just get easier infinitely, and I vividly remember the moment I realized that parenting was a rollercoaster rather than an uphill climb. I won't lie, it was a little crushing. Each step forward felt like significantly progress, but each step backward felt like I was starting to free fall into the abyss of "I don't know what the hell I'm doing."
Let's see what other parents had to say when they were asked when, if ever, parenting gets easier.. It certainly will make you feel less alone, because it turns out, it kind of doesn't.
When It Doesn't
Moving the goal line is such an apt description of how it feels to realize it's not going to get easier every single day in some kind of smooth, easy, chronologically kind order. It's a two steps forward, three steps back, one step ahead kind of dance.
When It Depends On The Kid
Yes, progressively more tired when you think it should be going the other direction. Will you ever sleep again? (Honestly, you don't want to know the answer to that question.)
When You're Feeling Completely Hopeless
I agree, the smiling helps! Definitely focus on the smiling and the little milestones to get you through.
When You Hit That "Special" Stage
They're so tricky, those babies. They know to ease off the difficult pedal just enough to let you think you're figuring everything out. Then again, it might be a kindness. After all, if they continually exhausted us to the point of no return, with no reprieve, I'm not sure us parents would make it.
When You're At The Top Of The Roller Coaster
The key is to not get too down or think you're failing when that roller coaster is dipping low. Enjoying the highs as much as possible, for as long as possible, also helps.
When You Locate A Problem You Can Actually Fix
Ooh, watch out for that reflux. Sometimes it can sneak up when you think you're already in the clear. The best part (read: only good part) about it, though, is that once you identify the problem you can fix it, or at least work towards fixing it. Sometimes knowing truly is half the battle.
When You Hit Six Weeks...
For. Real. Those babies wake up and cannot figure out how to get back to sleep, but it tends to subside. You know, just before they hit another sleep regression and you get to do it all over again.
...Or When You Hit Nine Months
Anyone else jealous of this mama? Thankfully, she's right. Turns out, babies do get a lot more fun when they're 9 months old. So, you know, mark that ninth month on your calendar and hold on until it arrives.
When Your Kid Sleeps In Their Own Room
Freedom! Isn't it so sweet? That little reprieve when they start to sleep on their own is such a nice break.
When You Find Your Routine
I don't know, sometimes I really miss that "boring" phase when you didn't have to make sure they weren't going to hurt themselves trying to climb into and over every little thing. Then again, there truly is something to be said about having a routine you can, somewhat, rely on.
No, parenting is never "easy," and "easier" will change depending on your child and the developmental stage they're currently in. At the end of the day, the best you can do is enjoy every single moment for what it is: beautifully difficult, wonderfully challenging, and arguably the reason why motherhood is so damn awesome.