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Parenting, Does It Get Any Easier

Sitting with one of my long time friends, she began talking about parenting and her two little ones.  She has a two and a half-year old and a ten month old. “Does it get easier?” she asked.  She asked this and I reflected back to the time my first child was placed in my arms.  It was so foreign to me and the years seemed like they would never pass.  Becoming a parent was a change to me and so was my life.  There are some that it seems motherhood and parenting comes natural, for me, it was a bit different.  Perhaps, because I never paused to think about my life with kiddos?  I am not sure. Though as I thought about it in those brief moments as my friend was waiting for an answer and I saw my eight and a half-year old playing for the most part independently and being okay doing that, my answer to her was yes, it does get easier in some ways.  As children start growing you see their inclination to want to grow up and it’s a proud moment and a sad one too.  Dependence of children when they are young can be so very draining on a parent.  I have three children, each about three years apart, so I never encountered children that are really close together in age.  I can see how that could be a bit more challenging.  Some days as parents we feel as if we are being pulled in so many directions. Fatigue and tiredness set in and any kind of break is welcome and needed.  It especially becomes a little more difficult when there is a lack of family support or limited help around. Not that having some else take care of your kids is what you are looking for, just a break, a moment to breathe, to regroup is a great gift.  As a parent of young children, from ages 0-5, some of the things I found to be helpful during those “Does it get any easier” days:

  1. Get your kid or kids outside (summer is great for this of course but winter works too!  Kids love the snow!)
  2. Read books for ideas on how to communicate with your little one. A couple of my favorite books are, Happiest Toddler on the Block and Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp
  3. Get the craft materials out.  Kids love to get messy.
  4. Bubbles, kids love bubbles
  5. Have fun with them and give them structure. Visit my Build ME Blocks website for ideas.

What do you think?  Does parenting get any easier as kids get older or does it just change?

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To Reminisce, to Dream, to Remember Childhood

Jack’s Five and Ten, Grape and Orange Popsicles and 1 cent fortune gum—the best gum—memories of the past but history of the future. Instead of sitting in traffic on the Kennedy Expressway, we decide to take Cumberland to get us into the city. We hit the city and the neighborhood, streets and areas become familiar. 2543 N. Kilbourn, we are by the first house I remember as a kid. It’s actually and apartment. My parent’s help manage it and took care of the tenants. It is where my sister and I ate our neighbor’s fundraiser Tootsie roll tubes. They looked so inviting in those tubes with the slots at top. Mom was not impressed. “I am going to have to pay for all of those.” Her words still clear nearly 30 years later. I thought to myself, we ate almost all of them. “Oh no!” The backyard comes into view and I remember my childhood play: “I knew a senorita with diamonds in her hair,” my favorite black shoes, the tons of stairs that led down into the back common yard. The garage, the ally. We continue on, “that is the high school you would have gone to if we didn’t move.” Mom says. Kelvyn Park we come upon next. Sprinklers, Metal swing horses—not sure if they were trying to eliminate kids because these swings though fun were deadly! 2825 N. Kenneth, my favorite house. My Mom loved this house. Creativity would sneak in on cold days—tape recording my favorite songs of my favorite station B96. Snowy days Barbies would visit Alaska right out the window of my bedroom. Down the street childhood memories return like the sun on a bright day: neighbors, tragedies, kids and kid stuff. At the stop sign we turn left, Barry Elementary, the grammar school I attended until 6th grade. “Look,” I say to my kids—“that is my grammar school.” “That looks creepy,” they say. I laugh, “you should see the inside.” Past the ally my mom would walk me through when I called home from the office, sick for the 5th time that week. I am lucky she did not follow the “Boy who cried wolf” fable. Teacher problems, I wasn’t really sick. Being a kid seems like a different world as my mind travels back to my childhood. Looking back that different world was forming much of who I am today. Life lessons were learned, fears faced—conquered and not, consequences paid, milestones met. “Mom, I have to pee,” my three-year old bursts out as we are driving. Where will we stop, the neighborhood has changed so much since my childhood, we found a restaurant behind my grammar school. I had not walked near that school in years. A zap, the memories. My kids, our kids, they are in the midst of their childhood. Inventions, technology has increased the speed of life. That is my philosophy anyway. Kids, they are so eager to grow up faster. I am old school I suppose, I say be a kid, cherish your childhood, it only lasts just a short while and “the little years pass so fast.” These are famous words, I hear them all the time. I have no rebuke. I am seeing my kids grow before my eyes.

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My heart and prayers go out to those kids whose childhood is less than a childhood in any way. I know that in certain circumstances…childhood can be less than optimal.