It gets better

When I was first pregnant with Molly and had horrible morning all day sickness, people would tell me just wait til your back hurts or your ankles swell. Then those things happened and I wished for pregnancy to be over and people would tell me to enjoy it while I can because my boobs were going to start hurting while I was breastfeeding and on and on. Then Molly came and was colicky and fussy and had difficulty eating and wouldn’t sleep. Ever. I wished for her to be older so it would be easier and I always got the same reply “It doesn’t get easier, just different”. At each stage where there were problems there was an older, wiser mom telling me it was only going to get worse. “Just wait” they would say. And I see it on Facebook now, a mom struggling with a stage their child is in and her status comment box is filled with “just wait” type of replies. I’ll have to admit, I’ve said those things, I’ve replied those things. I didn’t know any different.

Now I do.

I’m here to tell you it does get better. It’s not fair for us “veteran” moms to warn those coming up the road behind us how bad it’s going to be. That doesn’t make what they are going through any better, it just brings on impending doom. I would think “oh God, I can barely handle this, how am I going to handle it when it gets worse?”. Now, I see that look of desperation in my friends’ eyes. They are dealing with sleepless nights and 2 year olds and we say, “just wait til their 3”. What good does that do? We should warn our friends of things they can prepare for: hemorrhoids, sore nipples, constipation, running out of wipes in public when your child has a blow out, tricks so you aren’t losing the pacifier at 4am, or how best to soothe a cough. These are things they can prepare for. These are the things they should be warned about.

I was scared when I was warned that my crawling baby would become a walker. She did and she got faster, but along with her speed also brought independence. I liked independence.

I was worried when I was going to have to start table food because the kids would throw it every where. They did. It made a mess, but I also could eat a few bites of semi-warm food while they entertained themselves with how far a pea can fly across the room.

I was worried when my ever persistent 2 year old became a 3 year old. Really worried. I had a whole year to learn how to deal with temper tantrums and demanding tempers. Things became easier to deal with because with the extra year came extra patience and confidence. Or at least the ability to know that they will survive if I go into another room and leave them to scream by themselves.

So don’t worry new moms, whatever parenthood problem you are struggling with, that problem will get better. Sure new ones will come along, but that’s life and we can deal with life. Each day and month that goes by, you grow confidence and with confidence comes a much better way to deal with what you are going through. Those first nights of teething will seem horrible, but when the molars come in you will dose with ibuprofen and not even think about it. That first tantrum in the store you will sweat and turn red and be mad, but by the 15th and a year later you will walk out of that store with confidence smiling at people as you go by. Or you will walk out and cry in your car instead of the store. Either way, it gets better. And when you just want privacy in the bathroom, well… I can’t help you there, I only assume at some point that too will get better.

From now on, when your less experienced friend has woes and complaints about a trying stage in her child’s life, instead of filling her head of how it’s going to get 10,000 times worse, try lending an ear and taking her hand and putting a glass of wine in it. I’m sure she would much rather hear “I know what you are going through. Drink up” than “just you wait”.

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2 responses »

  1. My boss told me “everything is just a phase” and it really helped me. She told me one day when I was stressing about a sleep issue that I’d get through it and it would get better. She said there will be new challenges down the road but they will end up being phases too. I always try to remember it when I’m in the thick of some new stressful situation, like tantrums about getting in the car seat, that this too will pass.

  2. Thank you for putting this out there! Lately a lot of “more experienced” mothers have felt the need to tell me, “Hate to tell you but it gets worse at 3” when they see my 2 1/2 year old having a rough day. I just remind myself that these are the same people that kept telling me every stage of things were to be followed by a “worse” one when in reality it has been quite the opposite. I just don’t get why veteran parents do this; why tell me something you’d “hate” to tell me? Empathizing is one thing, laughing and going on and on about how “I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with that anymore, and just you wait, it gets worse!” isn’t really helpful.

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