My kids are five years apart, which can make for some very good experiences, like having time with the baby while the older one is in school. But it can also make for some unpleasant experiences, like having to start over again, knee high in diapers and late night feedings, once you have finally exited the baby stage with your older child. With my youngest just reaching the teen years, I am now experiencing a multitude of newfound freedom.
Take it from someone who has been down deep in the trenches just where you might be right now, frantic from non-stop crying, sweaty, exhausted and depleted. Rest assured, there will come a day when all the things you are going through right now will cease (and dare I say you may even miss it!).
I won’t lie. The freedom I have now is amazing. I can barely remember the days when I couldn’t shower, sleep at night, watch my favorite show, or even read a book whenever I wanted. At the time, I thought those long, busy days would never end. You will get here, and until you do, keep these five things in mind, because they will go away (I promise!):
1. Being awakened at a godforsaken hour each weekend.
Whether you are now accustomed to being awakened by a harrowing squeal from a screaming toddler or you have a calmer start to the day from the scrappy footsteps rummaging the kitchen for Frosted Flakes, there will actually come a day when you will wake up on your own before your child does. And just like that, it will be closely followed by your preteen or teen sleeping in and you will be the one waking them up (after you relish that newfound morning silence).
2. The ability to be at a party or family gathering and not have to constantly watch where your child is at every moment.
I can remember the first time my husband and I attended a party and I didn’t have to run after a curious toddler. I actually had conversations, sat down and chatted at length with friends while my daughter happily and safely entertained herself close by. I had never even known this was something I would have given up for those baby and toddler years. I also didn’t quite realize how sweet it would be until I was able to hang up my safety hat around the time my last child reached school age.
3. Having to take your child everywhere.
Gotta run to the grocery store, visit a friend, or (gasp) go to a movie? You won’t always have to take your child with you or preplan and hire a babysitter. There will come a time when your child will be able to stay home alone. And I know it seems like right now when you are bogged down in diapers and spit-up, that you might not see it, but it will happen, and likely before you are ready for it to happen.
4. Having a scared child crawl into your bed.
It may be after a nightmare, or every night depending on the personality and sensitivity of the child. You think that may never ever sleep with your partner alone again but trust me, it will happen. (And with three children with different sensibilities who are five years apart, I can happily assure you it will.)
5. Having to hassle about homework and studying.
With enough effort in the early years, by the time a child gets a few years of school under their belt, there is really no need to micromanage their school life. Not only is it up to them to do their work, metaphorically and literally, but also if they learned good school habits early on, it is already instilled in them. So all those homework sessions, countless study reminders and oral quizzes the night before a test will eventually fade away.