That’s a fairly common question among many new parents. And in most cases, this question often says something parents don’t verbalize, which is: “I am exhausted!”
The truth is, taking care of kids is anything but an easy task, especially when they are in the infant/toddler stage.
In fact, parenting is a full-time job from which none of us ever get to retire, at least not until our children become adults.
That said, constantly keeping an eye on your toddler, changing diapers, or calming tantrums is on an entirely different level of “exhausting” than counseling your teenager. In other words, parenting actually does get easier.
But exactly when does parenting get less exhausting?
Unfortunately, there is no definite answer to this question. Parenting doesn’t necessarily get easier when kids grow older.
Don’t lose hope, though.
You will definitely get more shuteye time and worry less about your kids as they grow older, but each development stage has its unique challenges and will require a different parenting approach.
Here’s everything you should know about how tasking parenting can be at different stages of your child’s development.
Babies are 100% dependent on parents and have high needs, so brace up!
Every single activity for a newborn, from feeding to cleaning, depends entirely on you. Yes, newborns are a bundle of joy, but you will hardly get enough shuteye for an entire year!
The newborn stage can be particularly exhausting for parents and easily lead to frustration. Thankfully, infancy doesn’t last for too long.
“Stop running around!” You’re probably going to repeat that phrase a zillion times if you have a toddler. And that’s natural.
You’re not just worried about your toddler breaking your expensive vase, but you’re also concerned that the young child may hurt themself. This is something your energetic toddler gives little thought to, so you have to do all that thinking for your child.
However, running all over the place isn’t the only thing you have to deal with during toddlerhood as a parent.
Kids at this stage start to develop fine motor skills, and that’s both a blessing and a curse in some sense.
On the one hand, toddlers will start to paint, build things with toys, and generally become more creative. On the other hand, you will have more mess to clean up. You are caught between appreciating their creative abilities and preventing them from turning your home into a madhouse!
In other words, while parenting at this stage gives you more time to sleep and less baby-care work (feeding them, changing diapers, and more), you will have to deal with plenty of activities relating to your toddler’s high level of curiosity.
Primary school-age kids are self-sufficient to some extent because they are older kids. That means you no longer have to spend all day shuffling between dressing them up, wiping their bum, changing diapers, and doing countless activities required for babies and toddlers.
Surely you can breathe easy when your kids go to school, right? Well, not quite!
But if dealing with older kids of primary school age is still hard, exactly when does parenting get less exhausting?
Many parents consider ages 5 to 6 as the magical years where kids reach independence. Although this may be true for many parents, there is no specific age where things magically change.
School-age kids are smart and understand the rules, although abiding by them may be a different story altogether. The most notable challenge at this stage is their response to hormones.
Temper tantrums in kids from age 6 and above are worse, deep-seated, and last longer than toddlers. This is when your child frequently uses words like “I hate you” (even if they don’t really mean it).
Parenting at this stage will leave you weary most nights because you will likely go to bed with lots of self-recrimination. “She’s just a kid! Why wasn’t I more understanding?”
Constantly blaming yourself and doubting your parenting style can take a toll on your self-confidence and self-esteem.
You may be relieved to know that school-age kids are somewhat easier to handle than toddlers and even teenagers.
That’s because it is less physically exhausting to cater to the needs of primary-school-age kids, and they are not too emotionally draining as teenagers.
For many parents, the teenage stage is one of the most difficult to deal with. Of course, your teen is practically independent, so you get the much-needed respite from all the seemingly never-ending needs of the baby/toddler and school-age stage.
However, as the logistical weight is lifted off your shoulder, you get an entirely different kind of burden that can feel very heavy!
Emotional problems start to show up when your kid hits the teenage years. This is normal because children start to form strong opinions, develop belief systems, and make their own choices.
These may conflict with your values and what you are trying to get your teen to understand. The result is usually constant tension between you and your teenager.
The good news is that the teenage years allow you to have more meaningful conversations with your child – something that’s usually not possible with a toddler or school-age kid.
Besides, if you raise your child well, ensuring to equip them with empowering skills from an early age, the teenage years shouldn’t be too difficult to deal with.
It is still fair to say that parenting can get a bit easier during the teenage stage, at least from a practical perspective. You get to spend plenty of me-time without checking in on your child every now and then.
When does parenting get easier? Here’s the truth; it doesn’t get easier. Instead, it gets hard in several different ways.
Many parents have realized, life hardly returns to “normal” after your first child. Thankfully, children have different stages of development, and parenting is harder or easier depending on your child’s stage.
If your child is still in the baby/toddler stage, you may still have to wait a few more years to get a little bit of respite. It might seem like forever, but that day will eventually come.