Does it really get better?
I used to wonder if things would ever get better while I was knee deep in all that comes with raising three kids, three and under. The tl;dr version: yes it does.
As my kids, now nine, seven and six, scamper off to play overpriced video games, I look around at the flashing neon lights and hear the clings, clangs, pops and bells in what can only be described as a baby casino, also known as the arcade. I take a seat a nearby booth and think, “What do I do now?” Since I don’t have to chase anyone, I realize I could sit here until they run out of money if I wanted.
Even though I’ve been in this stage for a little while now, it finally hits me.
This is the sweet spot.
I am at the stage where my kids still like me and are still interested in me, but they don’t depend on me for every little thing.
This summer has been the easiest summer of my work-at-home career. I have been able to sleep until 8:30am most days. My kids still wake up at the crack of dawn. These days though, they can get their own breakfast and exist without burning the place down or trying to kill each other.
Getting around is easier, too. When we go places, I don’t have to buckle or unbuckle anyone. I make sure they are properly secured, but the clickity clack of the car seat straps is a sound I do not miss.
I now have time in the evenings to relax without having to wait for everyone to fall asleep. Bath time consists of turning on the shower then making sure their hair is fully rinsed (it never is).
My kids can entertain themselves for several hours at a time, inside or out, with or without electronics. They also help with housework. They have always been responsible for picking up their toys, but now, they can help in more meaningful ways. My kids can load and unload the dishwasher, fold towels, polish furniture and sweep the floors!
Even their entertainment choices are appealing now! Gone are the days of cartoons like Caillou, Little Einstein’s, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Bubble Guppies. Today, we watch shows and movies I actually enjoy such as Jumanji and Ready Player One. While I didn’t hate the toddler shows (except Caillou of course), I wouldn’t exactly choose them. Now, I watch a lot of shows my kids like even if they aren’t around!
People used to see me disheveled and in disarray and gently remind me to hang in there because “it gets better.” To be honest, I had trouble believing them. I felt like things would never change. I couldn’t fathom a day where my babies would pour their own milk or put away the dishes, but they do! Of course we still have challenges, but right now, I am in the better. I am about to go play some video games with my kids because I want to, not because they need my help or supervision.
If you are overwhelmed by tantrums, diapers, potty training, teething or night wakings, I’m here to remind you…