We all know how difficult babies can be. As absolutely gorgeous as they are and while we wouldn't trade them for anything, it's no secret that they are demanding, relentless and steal away our sleep for a good 12 months at least.
We are always told that the first three months, six months, 12 months are the hardest and then it gets easier. Well, while that is true in some ways, one thing I have realised now that my children are five and three is that in many, many ways, rather than getting easier, this parenting gig is getting harder and more complex.
Here are 6 ways I have found parenting older children is harder than parenting babies:
- They still don't necessarily sleep through the night consistently and when they wake, they can now come out of their beds and into your room. Plus, the reasons for their night waking are much more complex. There are anxieties, fears and real concerns at play now and these are much harder to overcome.
- Outside influences enter their world. You may be lucky enough to keep your precious child in a secure little bubble for the first five or six years of their life. You have almost complete control over what they hear, see and read and set them up with what you believe are the most appropriate behaviours and world views. Then, BAM, one day your little angel will come home from the school yard and tell you that XX told them that Santa isn't real or that girls can't play soccer or that girls can only marry boys and vice versa.
- They are smart. Too smart. Older children learn very quickly what your weaknesses are and how to use them to their advantage
- They have so many interests and such busy minds and bodies. Gone are the days when you could decide to stay home all morning and then perhaps go for a stroll with your little baby in the pram. Now, if you are at home all day with them, they want to do craft and bake and play intricate role playing games and they want YOU to join in on all of it.
- They have opinions. This is generally pretty wonderful I know but the older they get the less likely they are to want to listen to you and take everything you say as gospel. They start to question everything and demand explanations and evidence to back up any claim you make.
- On the plus side, they can feed themselves. Unfortunately they no longer like any food that you make them. This can vary greatly each week and comes without any warning. Last night they happily gobbled down 3 corn cobs, today corn is the vilest thing they could imagine.
I adore my children and I am in no rush to go back to the baby stage because I haven't forgotten how utterly exhausting and challenging that was! Im still tired though and from what I hear that never goes away but I am looking forward to the next phase...and more coffee!