Friday, February 3, 2012

The Hardest Stage of Parenting

The hardest stage of parenthood is when your children are newborns. All they do is eat and poop and cry and they can't do anything for themselves. You are certain you will never sleep again.

The hardest stage of parenthood is when your children are toddlers. They're into everything and eating everything, including everything they're not supposed to eat, and no surface is safe from their grubby, grabby hands.

The hardest stage of parenthood is when your children are preschoolers. Their motto is I CAN DO IT and sometimes they can't, but tell them so and risk unleashing a monster. They are equal parts charm and insanity, and there is no reasoning with them.

The hardest stage of parenthood is when your children are in elementary school. They're trying hard to sit still when all they really want to do is play. They struggle (and you do, too) with independence. Don't dare call them a little kid, even when they're crawling into your lap to snuggle.

The hardest stage of parenthood is when your children are in middle school. Hormones make a tween a crazy person. They have the body of a young adult and the decision making skills of a 4 year old. They will make you beam with pride, until you discover the boogers they've wiped on the wall.

The hardest stage of parenthood is when your children are teenagers. All they want to do is get away, and, sometimes, you wish they would get away. You try to reconcile their increasing freedoms with your own overwhelming fear. You are tempted to kick them out the door, then scramble to pull them back in and never let go.

The hardest stage of parenthood is when your children are grown. When you stop being number one on their speed dial, and days go by when you don't even know what they're doing. When they talk about their 'family' to other people, and you realize they're not talking about you.

The hardest stage of parenting is the one you're in right now.

The good news is, it's also the easiest.

23 comments:

  1. Ok, I loved everything about this post.

    ReplyDelete
  2. After devoting a huge chunk of your life to raising them, and then having them gone, and it be the easiest, no. The emptiness is devastating. At least I have a good dog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Boston. That broke my heart a little.

      Delete
  3. This is perfect and true and wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love this so much. It gets right up in my craw when people say things like "Just wait until they're [insert age here]." I also think the hardest parenting is the parenting that we do, not all that slacking off that everyone else is doing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Other parents always know something you don't, don't they?

      Delete
  5. -squirm-
    You need to update your copyright, bytheway. [RUDE AND ABRUPT SUBJECT CHANGE]
    -Motaki, Record-Keeper and Aspiring Falconer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for keeping on top of things around here, Motaki!

      Delete
  6. I've told the story over at 4Hens... one of my favorite moments was being at the Giant grocery store in Philly.. kids were acting like kids.. I was acting like a stressed out mom. The cashier looked at me and said "honey, there's nothing wrong with your kids right now that soap and water can't cure". How right she was. I pride myself in relishing IN the moment with the girls because you just never know what the next stage will bring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. It's hard to recognize how good you've got it, when you've got it.

      Delete
  7. This one is going on my favorites list...so very true! Love you.....Mom

    ReplyDelete
  8. One of the best things about parenting that I've ever read. Brava!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Amen. It's all the worst and all the best, all the time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All the time. But boy, today at least, I want them to stay little for a little while longer.

      Delete
  10. Hi, me again. This is tho post that I've being talking about

    ReplyDelete