Parenting. It doesn't get easier, it just gets different | Parenting | Kylie Purtell - Capturing Life

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Parenting. It doesn't get easier, it just gets different | Parenting

I was at a baby shower on the weekend and I was chatting to a friend who had her first baby less than a week before I had Zee. I was asking her how the first year had been, what she'd enjoyed, what she hadn't enjoyed. After talking about some of the harder things, she said something along the lines of, it must be so much harder with two, and that I must think having one child is easy in comparison.

I had to politely disagree with her.

Because here's the thing...



Parenting is all relative.

When you have two (or more) children, having one child seems easy. When you only have one to look after for whatever reason, of course you find it easier. You'll also look back on your time as a parent with only one child and think how much simpler it was to only look after one baby than it was to look after two.

It's not technically true though.

Of course now that you have the experience that a few years of parenting brings, and the experience of parenting more than one child, it's normal to look back and think how much easier you had it with only one.

When you're a new Mum however, and you have no prior experience in looking after a baby or child, it's hard. Some days it's really hard. You have no idea what you're doing. These little poo machines don't come with instruction manuals, sadly.

When I look back on life as a new Mum with Punky, I remember how hard I found it. I didn't have any experience to compare to or draw from. It's only with time and knowledge that things seem to get easier, and even then, it's not so much that it gets easier,

it just gets different. 


The things that are hard with a baby become easy with a toddler, but then new challenges arise and present themselves. And so it is with parenting one child as opposed to two or more. Right now, when I think about only looking after one of my girls, it seems like such a walk in the park. Only having one to deal with is easy.

Now.

Because of this, when I talk to a new Mum these days, I try really hard to remember what it was like in that first year with Punky. I'm conscious of not saying things like "Having one is easy, wait till you have two", or "Wait until they're 3 or 10 or 16".

It's time and the experiences you have every day that prepare you for dealing with things later on. Each stage of baby & childhood gives you new skills and knowledge to prepare you for the next one. So on the occasions when I find myself thinking "You don't know how easy you have it" towards somebody else, I remind myself that the only reason why I am able to think it's easy now is because I went through it all before.

Hindsight is a beautiful thing, especially when it comes to parenting. If only we could get the hindsight delivered to us with the baby!

23 comments:

  1. I think that's exactly right. Each parenting stage has it's challenges, some are harder than others and of course it depends on the temperament of each child. So yes it is all different, good and bad. I must say I do enjoy each step a little more. Seeing our littlies grow into strong and independent girls we can be proud of is fantastic.

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  2. It's a tough one as I do think life was WAY easier with two than it is with three, just physically less children to deal with, change nappies, shoes, feed etc - but I get your point that things just get different. I do wish I had the wisdom I have now when I was a first time mum, my life would have been way less stressful than what it was! Great post x

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  3. I think it's a good idea to think of things as 'just being different' - that may mean harder at times, but it also may mean easier at times. I think one of the main things is that we don't judge each other or somehow compete in the 'hardest' stakes.

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  4. I think it is challenging in different ways. My two girls are polar opposites on most things and I feel like I am a new mother learning everything for the first time again with my second child. I think the more children you have the more exhausting it is, but the more joy you have too

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  5. Well for me, 5 is harder then 1,2 or 3. Esp as they get older and we try and juggle after school activities and play dates. Also more washing, cleaning, uniforms to find, lunches to make. But because it happens gradually, you just adapt and are more equipped knowledge and experience wise that you really don't suddenly notice how different things are. #teamIBOT

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  6. I like your outlook on the situation. And agree it doesn't get easier at all. I did a little post on it myself last week (http://gen-y-mum.blogspot.com.au/2014/10/the-truth-about-having-two-children.html)


    Also echoing most of the other mothers here who say each stage has its various forms of difficulty all depends on the children as they're so unpredictable and as you say don't come with instruction manuals. I look back to the new born + toddler stage and use to think it was so hard back then but it's so hard now with an infant + toddler.

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  7. My parenting catchphrase is "0-3 sucks" so that should give you some idea. I really don't like the baby and toddler stages, I find it suffocating and exhausting. I like it when they can communicate properly, wipe their own bum and start to be independent with things like getting dressed. I'm sure that all stages have their challenges, but I struggle with the over-dependence stage.

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  8. There are ups and downs in the parenting journey - just when you think you have all your bases covered a child blows it apart. The only way it becomes easier is that they are not literally attached to you 24/7 - you do get a little space although never in the toilet!

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  9. Oh my goodness. Is it ever! I learn something new every day and I'm only 18 months in. Who knows what's ahead. It's hard at times for sure, but it's kind of all part of the fun too.

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  10. I totally agree. I always say that I you have the third (or second) baby first parenting would be a breeze! It's all down to experience though just as you say. I've also found that all of mine are so different that some things have been easy with one and a nightmare with another. I'm still just rolling with it (and vacuuming up rice bubbles every day) xx

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  11. LOVE this post! And completely agree with you. My two are 13 and 9, so I'm well and truly out of the sleep deprived baby/toddler phase, but parenting isn't really any easier - just different!

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  12. Awesome timing for this article Kylie - something my close friends and I have been talking about a lot. This is really reassuring/encouraging - thanks :)

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  13. Every damn time is different, no matter how many you have! I hope I've never been the person who says "Try having 3!"

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  14. I really, really love this. You've challenged me to not say 'wait until they're' because that must sound condescending. It's hard all the time. It really is. There's about one year, I reckon, when it's smooth sailing, and then it's hard again. But that's only my experience, and like you said, it's all relative.

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  15. I really think this is true. Each stage and even child has their own challenges and rewards. As y Mum is fond of telling me, parenting is a very humbling experience! That said, although I'm busier and more tired, I am finding being a Mum of 3 "easier" than I found parenting before, but that comes down to having changed my expectations of myself and, as you said, time and experience. Great post!

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  16. Great post! It is all relative and I agree with all of what you said and for me its also a case of just taking it as it comes. You have to with 3 under 3. Ill have 10 babies any day over toddlers though!!! Yikes..At the moment having 3 has its challenges at times, definitely harder but I wouldn't have it any other way because the good always outweighs the bad.

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  17. I completely agree - I get that old chestnut 'five kids, I don't know how you do it!' all the time, and honestly, five is not harder than four, or three or two. It's just different. Some things are harder because you're completely outnumbered, other things are easy because you have more experience and you know what you're doing.

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  18. Exactly right Kylie, although I must admit that I am enjoying the teenage years more than when they were younger.. I am finding it definitely easier, but then my girls are pretty good. Ask another person who is struggling with their teens and they probably wouldn't say the same thing.

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  19. You're spot on. It's just different. Each child is different too. What wasn't an issue with one is an issue with the other. I found the first three months with my first daughter hard. She was colicky and I was a new mum and we were living with my parents. Not cool. Now, I'm finding the temper tantrums of my two year old pretty full on. My first daughter doesn't have anything on her sister.

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  20. I have found parenting has definitely presented different difficulties over the years. The stage that I found the hardest was before Dyl could talk. We were both so frustrated all of the time because he was trying to communicate and I just didn't understand what he was saying so much of the time.

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  21. I'm not quite sure yet as I still only have one but I've had a lot of people tell me this and I completely get it. Although I do worry lots and lots about how I'll cope with a second, it's these things that you discuss that make me worry less. Especially considering with my son I had PND and really struggled, I think what I've learnt from that and my ability to manage it will help me so much more next time.

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  22. I look back now and think, wowee what did I do with all my time when I just had one?? Why wasn't I sleeping more during the day??? It really was easier in hindsight but the adjustment of learning the ropes of parenthood was overwhelming and exhausting. I do agree that when one stage finishes another starts. Each stage has it's own challenges and you have to discover these, work with them and find you're groove. It's all hard. I don't think there is any "getting easier", just different as you so rightly pointed out x

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  23. So true! There are pros at cons at every different age and stage. I only have one, but already compare and reflect on things that were easier when she was younger (ie sleep in the pram), or harder (crying for no reason!) I worry too that it will be harder if we have another one, but many friends say it's easier in some ways because they have each other to play with :)

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