I type this after a hellacious morning of child 1 and child 3 fighting, whining and basically making me question my motherhood abilities while getting ready for school. Despite my 5 year old whining almost all morning because she wanted to wear the red ladybug underwear that she wore yesterday – no, I am sorry, I did not do the laundry in the 1 free hour I had last night – and my 8 year old dramatically saying, ‘Moooooom!!!’ as I try to pin back her overgrown bangs, I still have the strength to say, YES, motherhood does get easier. The adage you hear when you are engrossed in the lack of sleep world of dirty diapers, spit up and unsolicited advice, IS true!

YES, Motherhood DOES Get Easier... Sort of

I did not believe it for years. I scoffed at moms with older kids and called them big fat fibbers in my mind. There was nothing about mothering three young children that was easy. There were many days where I fell into bed, tears streaming down my face, because I could not see the light at the end of the constant demand on my physical being and time tunnel. It seemed that it was stagnant, the battle of motherhood versus three children. But now that life has settled down and my children are a little more self-sufficient, I can say that it does get easier.

At least when it comes to those specific challenges.

The stresses in motherhood have changed for me as my children have grown. I no longer have to get up 10 times a night to deal with one child or another and I don’t have the annoyance of changing a diaper and buttoning up a onsie just to have baby girl blow it out again before we leave the changing table. I don’t have the equipment and baby items that I had to haul everywhere. I don’t have to baby proof every single room they are in or worry that they are going to want to flush my cell phone down the toilet anymore.

Now I have three very independent, head strong little girls who will make amazing women, but are driving me crazy! I am raising them to be this way, I know that, and one day, I will be glad that they will be strong enough to stand up for what they want and what is right. In the meantime, I have to deal with the sometimes stubborn, belligerent, we are still learning our limits and respect for our mommy, attitudes.

The things I have to deal with now are not tangible. I can not manually show my 6 year old how to deal with hurt feelings when she says a kid laughed at her because she walked past her classroom door in error at school. I can not take my 8 year old through the steps of emotional  frustration when she can’t get a little girl who used to be a friend be nice to her again. I can not hold my 5 year old’s hand and lead her to the right decision when she is angry because a kid in class won’t stop pulling on her backpack. They have to learn how to deal with these things internally. All I can do it talk to them, love them and answer any questions they may have. But there are no concrete ‘steps’ as there were when they were potty training or learning to read.

Replacing the irritation of telling them 50 times not to throw their food on the floor is the desire to teach them how to make good decisions when I am not around. I have to somehow teach them that when people are trying to hold them down, they should hold themselves up. That it is OK to hurt and cry and also OK to be proud and successful. That having personal strength is more important than the strength we tend to desire from others.

I can teach them math, I can help them fall in love with reading. I can even teach them how to put on make up and dress to look their best. I can do all of these by visual example. But the only way I can help build their character and their ability to deal with the hurts in the world is to listen, give advice and maybe even live the words I say.

So motherhood gets easier. The physical demands slow down. The tangible care of an infant and small child eases as they age. But the knowledge of how to deal with their emotional growth and mental strength has become my stress. The things I can’t see or mold with an instruction manual have become the things I worry about, the things that keep me up at night and the one thing I will never be done dealing with.

I sometimes wonder if it is easier to be the mom of small babies or the mom of little girls or the mom of teenagers. I suspect every stage comes with it’s immense challenges. That as one phase ends and a new begins, our experience at being these kids mom can only help us make the next stage a little easier. However, I don’t know that any of it can really be classified as ‘easy’.

So while I can honestly tell the stressed out moms of tiny little ones that, in truth, it does get easier, I can also honestly share with the moms of little girls that the stress just changes. But as long as we stick with our love for our kids and our desire to want them to be better adults, we will all be OK.

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