Try as you might, you can’t fight the fact that things change constantly as a parent. Schedules change, challenges change, likes/dislikes change…learn to adapt to change.
Parenting can be exhausting.
Should we say “can be”? Maybe we should just go with “is.”
Parenting is exhausting.
Rewarding? Absolutely. But exhausting all the same.
One of the hardest things about parenting is figuring out all of the changes that come your way as a parent.
In Parenting, the Only Constant is Change
The final chapter in The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems is titled “Just When You Think You’ve Got It…Everything Changes!”
Isn’t that so true in parenting?
“After all, this is the only job on earth in which not only do the requirements keep changing, but so does the “the product” “(page 366)
Oh, this is so true. From the very beginning, one of the most difficult things to pinpoint in your schedule is waketime length.
Waketime length changes constantly with those little newborns. By the time you figure it out, it is different tomorrow!
As babies get older, it does settle down and stay consistent for longer periods. But in doing my weekly summaries with McKenna, I have noticed it does change little by little over time.
I guess you just get better at recognizing their individual sleep cues and don’t even think so much about exact waketime length as they get older.
How about sleeping? You spend several months working on sleeping skills, and around 3 or so months, things seem to really click for most babies.
Then the rolling starts. Then the sitting up, the crawling, the talking…these disruptions bring along with them complete havoc to all you have worked for!
Or your baby finally starts to sleep through the night and you go on vacations, your baby gets sick, or she gets some new teeth in…setting you back several weeks.
And swaddling? Forget swaddling. You finally get the swaddle down perfectly and either A) the weather changes requiring a new blanket or B)your baby grows ten times stronger and breaks out of it with ease.
How about dressing your baby? You get just the right balance of clothing on him and the seasons change.
Introducing solids adds additional time to feedings. You had probably gotten a really great schedule down before you started solids, then you added all the time of feeding solids to hte mix.
Then as soon as you both get in a groove, she starts blowing raspberries at meals.
You then have this sweet little thing who will sit and play on her own, perfectly content. Then she learns how to crawl and wants to explore the whole house and is no longer content to just sit.
The toddler years are a roller coaster with food. As soon as you tell your friend what a great eater you have, she will go on a hunger strike. Did you think corn was her favorite vegetable? Surely you were mistaken. She HATES corn.
But you get that all worked out. You move on into the preschool years. Just when your life settles down, your preschooler gets a new mission. He must define all boundaries all over again. What can he get away with? How good are his negotiating skills?
You get my point.
Parenting is Like Climbing a Mountain
Hogg points out that parenting is like climbing a mountain. You work really hard up steep portions.
Then you get to plateaus that are relatively easy (this is the moment you will think, “man, I am a good parent. Things are so easy!).
But you will soon come to another steep portion–and this part will be much harder to climb. If you want to make it to the top, you must press forward and keep going.
This idea is so true. Babies are hard, yes. But your only worries are eating and sleeping. You don’t have to worry about teaching letters, numbers, manners, and morals! Older children bring along eating and sleeping worries…and just add many more things to the list for you to worry about.
Then come the even older kids with friend dynamics, social troubles, activity overload, grades….
Please Be Encouraged
With this post, I don’t want to discourage you. I am hoping you read this in good humor. Let’s laugh at ourselves and our situations.
It is inevitable; the difficult moments will come. I have always been one to say that during difficult times you can either laugh or cry. Laughing is more fun–and it makes the whole thing more bearable.
I hope that as you read this you will see that difficult times are normal. Perfectly normal. I hope that encourages you that your challenges are not a problem, but a real part of life.
You will experience sleep difficulties.
You will have food issues.
You will have discipline problems.
Your child will sass you.
You just will. Over and over. It is part of the package. Expect and accept it.
These things don’t mean you are a bad parent or your child is a bad child. It just means you are moving ahead. It means your child is a child.
Parenting is Dynamic
I wanted to take a little moment to remind everyone that caring for your baby is a dynamic situation.
By that I mean that you always need to be on the lookout for changing things–like when they are ready to stop swaddling or ready to be awake longer.
You can’t reach a certain point and kick back and say, “my work is done!” You need to be analyzing the situation and adapting and adjusting the schedule for your baby’s current needs.
Sometimes you will have to do trial and error again. Don’t feel bad when you have to spend time figuring out the quirks–all of us have to do it, and it is new with each child. My two children have been very different.
Don’t get discouraged by the idea of a dynamic situation–I have found it gets easier to troubleshoot as they get older.
There is always something with parenting.
Why is my baby waking early from naps? Why is my 18 month old suddenly so disobedient? Why is my 2 year old throwing tantrums? Just be ready to work on it.
The view from the top is beautiful, and you will have a much healthier (though worn out) heart and body when you get there.
Keep trudging! You can do it!