The older my kids get the harder it is to be a parent.
People with small children ask “It gets better, right?” and my answer is always “No. No it doesn’t.” And if they ask that same question about girls my answer is “No, it gets worse.”
Just for clarification, some things do get better. You don’t have to wipe their butts anymore. That part’s way better! If they’re hungry they can get food and feed it to themselves. That gets better. They can bathe themselves, it won’t be done very well and only when you tell them to, but they can, so that’s better. They can pretty much care for themselves. Which is better.
Other than that, not better.
When kids are small it’s a physical game. You are just wiped out. Every. Day. You’re up at the crack of dawn after you’ve stayed up half the night trying to get him to go to, or stay, asleep. There’s never any rest because you’re constantly chasing a toddler to make sure she doesn’t get into anything and try to keep her safe. You’re always feeding someone else then you forget to eat. You’re always taking him to the bathroom for the 5th time in an hour and answering the call to ‘come play outside with me’. And do you really want me to start talking about grocery shopping with three kids under the age of 4?
When those cute little ones turn into teenagers it’s a whole new ball game. It turns into a strategic mental game that will leave you emotionally exhausted for days on end. And they are ruthless. Teenagers don’t back down. They push and push until you back down. Then once you do it, even just that one time, they will never forget and push even harder to get you to back down again. Not to mention that the struggles with teenagers are bigger. Now it’s trying to get her to wear real pants, not leggings. Prying them away from electronic devices so I can remember what their face looks like. Not to mention the boyfriends and girlfriends and every unfortunate thing that goes with that. There’s riding in cars with other teenagers and worrying about road conditions and weather. Attitude and disrespectfulness, anyone? Watching them make decisions that you know aren’t the right ones. And let’s not forget the fact that they know everything and are never wrong.
So no…it doesn’t get better. It just gets different. Harder and different.
I have to admit though…As difficult and draining as it is to be parents of teenagers there are rewarding moments. Like little gems nestled in between the jagged edges of the cliff you want to jump off of on a regular basis. I enjoy having good conversations with them that were impossible when they were small. I look forward to sharing a meal with them every night and hearing about their day. I love going to their ceremonies and celebrating their artistic talents and accomplishments or watching them play sports and celebrate wins with them. I always watch in awe as they build a bow and arrow out of a rubber band, a pencil and shish kabob skewer or design and create an elaborate rubber band bracelet. And my favorites are family movie nights, going to the fair and spending holiday mornings together. Those are all the moments that make it worth it. And keep me from running away.