The other day we had a snow day and before it actually started snowing, we all went out to breakfast at local diner. As we were sitting there waiting for our food, a couple with two little boys came in and were seated next to us. The little kids did what all little kids do when out to eat with their overtired and underappreciated parents—they climbed on them and begged for their phones and complained they were hungry and tired. The parents looked absolutely beat.
When we got up to leave the father of the two young boys asked me, “Does it get easier?” I looked him right in the eye and lied to him. “Oh, yeah, it gets easier,” I told him. I wanted the poor guy to have hope. After all, it’s the only thing that kept me going when my kids were younger…the idea that someday this parenting thing would get easier.
Because the truth is, it doesn’t get easier at all, does it? In fact, in some ways, it’s actually harder. You would think that when your kids are teenagers (and adults) you’re going to somehow get a break. And of course, you do. But for every break you get, you get a new problem.
Then: You don’t get any sleep because your kids are up at dawn.
Now: You don’t get any sleep because you’re up till after midnight waiting for them to come home.
Then: They fling themselves on the ground in the toy store if you don’t buy them the toy that they have to have.
Now: They throw a fit in the phone store when you tell them you’re not buying them the latest phone that they have to have.
Then: You fight with them about eating their breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Now: They eat more than a small country at every meal.
Then: You have to arrange playdates for them with moms you already know.
Now: You can’t really trust their friends and you don’t know their families.
Then: You have to drive them to practice, friends’ houses, the mall.
Now: They’re the ones driving.
Then: You have to buy diapers.
Now: You have to buy pads and tampons and explain how to use them.
Then: You have to beg them to shower.
Now: You have to beg them to get out of the shower.
Then: They cover their arms because they colored on themselves with magic marker.
Now: They cover their arms cuz they gave themselves hickeys.
Then: You need to find a babysitter if you want to go out without them.
Now: You don’t want to leave them home alone because they may drink your beer.
Then: They want to be a puppy.
Now: They have NO IDEA what they want to be.
Then: You have to lock up medication and chemicals so they don’t accidentally ingest them.
Now: You have to lock up medication and chemicals so they don’t purposely ingest them.
Then: They want to wear a princess costume to school.
Now: They want to wear a belly shirt and shorts that are wedged up their butt crack to school.
Then: You have to remind them four hundred times to do their homework.
Now: You have to remind them four hundred times to sign up for the SATs.
Then: You realize you can’t help them with third grade math.
Now: You realize you can’t help them with eleventh grade Advanced Chem.
Then: You dread going in their room because you never know what you’re going to find.
Now: You dread going into their room because you never know what you’re going to find.
Then: They don’t want to leave you alone.
Now: They don’t want to be seen with you.
Then: You cringe over the prices of preschools.
Now: You have a heart attack when you see the prices of college.
Then: School calls because they bit someone.
Now: School calls because they were vaping in the bathroom.
Then: They don’t ever stop talking.
Now: You have to play twenty questions to get them to say two words to you.
Then: You have to wait till they go to bed to watch anything good on TV.
Now: What they’re watching shocks you.
Then: They get in a fight with their best friend over a sticker.
Now: They get in a fight with their best friend over a boy.
Then: They splash water all over the bathroom floor and leave the cap off the toothpaste.
Now: They spray body spray all over the bathroom and leave the cap off the toothpaste.
Then: You have to have that uncomfortable “where babies come from talk”.
Now: You have to have that uncomfortable “please use birth control I’m too young to be a grandparent talk”.
Then: You find the remnants of their allowance in the washing machine.
Now: You find the remnants of their paycheck in the washing machine.
Then: It breaks your heart to see them hurt or sad.
Now: It breaks your heart to see them hurt or sad.
Then: They make you proud every day in some small way.
Now: They make you proud every day in some small way.