I know, that headline speaks of genius, doesn’t it? Before I was a mom, I heard all of the parenting cliches, most of them centering around one main tenet: “Parenting is the hardest job you’ll ever have.”
So when my baby arrived, I was ready for the tough job. But once the baby was here, the sage philosophies of other parents changed. I started hearing “Just you wait. It gets harder.”
I scoffed at these well-meaning (or not-so-well-meaning?) souls. Harder? Harder than a week in the NICU when all I wanted was for my baby to get the okay to come home? Harder than feeding a baby every hour or two around the clock? Harder than the sleepless nights? Ha! No way! It can’t get harder!
And then, for a minute or two it gets easier. BEFORE IT GETS HARDER AGAIN.
Around six months, parenting got slightly easier. Hurray for a baby who can sit up on her own! Hurray for a major decrease in spit-up! Hurray for poop that doesn’t shoot across the room! Hurray for improved sleep! All major improvements designed to make a parent’s life easier. Briefly.
Babies. They’re tricky little creatures. Right when you think you have it all figured out, they go and change on you. That baby who was just sitting up is now inching her way across the room. What does she want? Oh, probably the fire burning in the fireplace. The baby who had no hand-eye coordination is now ripping your glasses off your face. The baby who was eating only breastmilk or formula is now eating solids…and making meal time a war, with Battle Get the Bib On, Battle Get Baby in the High Chair, and Battle Clean Up Messy Face on the agenda. The baby who didn’t mind diaper changes outgrew the changing table overnight—literally one day she fit on it, the next she was too big. The baby who loved getting baths now really loves baths and wants to flip over and splash and splash and splash, making baths a monumental wrestling match.
So while some aspects of baby-care get easier, the challenges pop up in different places. Not to mention that it’s physically more demanding wrangling an increasingly stronger and opinionated kiddo. It’s definitely the job that never gets boring. And the job that pays the least. But it’s the best job I’ve ever had (and I have a pretty awesome job).
What about you moms? Did you find that the challenges moved around that first year like a slippery little fish? Give me the scoop! —Erin