I was wrong. Wrong times a million.
In my defense, I had no way of knowing. Wellll, some of you DID try to tell me (Hi, Angie & Polly!) but I just wasn’t ready to hear it. It’s amazing what you can convince yourself of to get through the day. Newborn poop smells like fresh pretzels! (Gross.) I feel totally refreshed after five consecutive hours of sleep! (No, that’s actually a recognized torture method.) Breastfeeding while cooking dinner and coloring with my toddler is totally do-able! (Just STOP IT.)
But seriously, now when friends ask how my kids are doing, I say that life with children has never felt easier. Maybe it’s kind of f**ked up to focus on the diminishing effort my kids require than, you know, the fact that they are growing into lovely little people. (Because, my goodness, they really are wonderful.) But having the sleep deprivation, the constant supervision, the intense physicality of carrying them EVERYWHERE in my rearview, is really awesome.
Now I can roll like a 1970’s mom and tell my kids to go play in the backyard. They can use the same toys without the baby risking death by Barbie shoe. They have sufficient language to say “I love you” and just tell me what they want, already. Before my standard-issue moron two year-old does anything truly dangerous, his big sister is there ready to tattle like my own personal alarm system: “MOM-MEEEEE!” We travel without portable cribs or bottles, our scooters get used more often than our strollers, and I can truly cook one meal for the whole family that, if somebody doesn’t like, it’s THEIR problem. Oh, and whatever your feelings about TV, having children who will both sit quietly through an entire movie is game-changing. (PREACH.)
Don’t misunderstand me: they are still kids. There is whining and fighting and night terrors and a lot of cleaning up of other people’s bodily fluids. A hot evening at home with my husband usually involves folding laundry, and there are so.many.dishes.
So I don’t know, maybe our standards have finally been lowered just enough to accept this existence, but life these days feels…manageable. Fun, even. And that “promised land” of potty trained, water-safe, ski school-aged children? I can see it from my house, and it looks SWEET. (That is, unless we decide to blow it all up with a third child, which is a conversation for another day entirely.)
So, tired parents with babies strapped to your chests and toddlers yanking at your dirty ponytails, hang in there, you guys. The sweet spot is going to be there before you know it. Trust.