Despite having four kids and knowing what to expect during those first few weeks, the first year was always the hardest. In fact, if I am honest, the first 3 years were rough because I had non-sleepers so I was in a constant state of exhaustion with all of my four children. My youngest is now 18 months and while she still isn’t really sleeping, it is getting easier, for these reasons.
- They are able to now play together. They can all go outside and kick a ball or swim together or build Lego as a team. It does provide some much needed quiet time for me and rare moments when I do not have a child needing something from me. /
- They can go to the toilet on their own. While I still have one in nappies, the rest are able to attend to their toilet needs on their own without my help. This makes life a whole lot easier.
- They can communicate. This is one of the main reasons why I battle with small babies, the communication is mainly a series of cries. Once they can talk, they are better able to communicate their needs, making it easier to meet those needs.
- They can make their own breakfast. The minute they can reach the kitchen counter they are able to make themselves some cereal, meaning you can lie in for a bit on a Saturday morning. My 12 year old can now make himself a variety of things for breakfast, meaning I have one less person to worry about for breakfast.
- They start sleeping better. Generally children do start sleeping better as they get older which means you no longer walk around in that exhausted haze of sleep deprivation.
- They are at school. If you are a stay at home mom then those hours they are at school are sanity savers. You get to reclaim some time for yourself and are no longer at their beck and call for hours on end, usually until bed time.
- They are more independent. When they realise they can do more on their own, they want to do more. They enjoy dressing themselves, packing their own bags or even playing on their own.
- It is easier to leave them, making more time for you and your partner. It is not always easy to leave young babies with family or a sitter but when they get older and are easier to feed, bath and get into bed, you can leave them easier. This means that date nights are easier to arrange, giving you and your partner time together.
- Getting out and about is easier. When they are older, there is less baggage that you have to carry around, literally. There are no baby bags, changes of clothes, bottles and all the other things that come with babies which make going out to restaurants or on holiday a lot less hassle free.
- They become a lot more fun. Playing with my toddler is fun but there are only so many pretend tea parties one can attend. When they are older they develop a sense of humour and start figuring out the world, talking to them about the world in general can be so much fun.
- You have more me time. I remember when my kids were new-borns I would wait for nap time and then run around like a crazy person doing things. This only really works though if your baby sleeps for longer than 20 minutes at a time, which mine initially didn’t. This does change, for all of the above reasons, your me time increases and you can start doing things purely for you.
Those new-born days feel like they are going to last forever, you become convinced that you will never sleep again, never eat a hot meal and never again be able to go to the toilet in peace. It does change though, they grow up, and get more independent and you do finally get some sleep.