Parenting is hard. Full stop. No exceptions. And it is hard that is worthwhile and worthwhile for most and has the potential to be an immense source of joy.
But when parents are in the throws of all the various hard parts, there is absolutely a lingering thought, When does this get easier?!
Honestly, there is no destination of Easy. There is no place you arrive at, and all is well, everyone can use their words, an coexist with patience and generosity.
But there are definitely points in parenting where you are going to notice some significant changes. And with those changes come a sigh. A pause. A chance to reflect and see how far you have come and how much strength and courage you have. AND how you have fostered that same resilience in the small human you have been shepherding along.
Yep, you can keep them alive!
This first sigh comes with the realization that it was not a mistake when the hospital let you leave with an infant, and yes, you can change diapers, feed, and comfort your babe. You can do it!
The year of firsts
It is an incredible waterfall of new skills and feelings, and abilities seem to roll through one after another. This will be a period of rapid growth and rapid adjustments to your world. There will be lots of tiny sighs here: Sleeping longer stretches, rolling over, showing interest in something for many minutes in a row, eating solid foods - all allow for a little bit more space.
The constant terror of falling is over!
When your child learns to navigate stairs consistently and safely, they have usually also gained enough self-awareness and experience with their center of gravity that the rush of panic of them falling off things they inevitably climb up (maybe when you are watching) starts to lessen. It is such a lovely moment to watch your child do a hard thing, like climb up and down stairs, and be apart from them as their cheerleader, and not their stunt team.
There are words, and they are understood!
We are helping our children all the time with language acquisition and development, but when you see your child put together that milk is milk, or chair is chair, or outside is outside. It is glorious. And not just because you want them to know what those things mean. But because it leads to the moment where you can say, Please get your shoes and coat so we can go outside!" AND THEN THEY DO IT.
Getting themselves a snack
When your child learns how to get a snack, this is a magical day. Enjoy this day. This is a huge day. You deserve all the glory on this day.
Unsupervised use of craft supplies
Anyone who has spend time with littles knows their glee of crafting is infectious. However, their ability to control things like, the dispersement of glitter, the ooze of glue, or understand the danger of scissors takes time and much supervision before they become mastered. But oh, when this day comes, you know you have reached a new plateau in your parenting, and that plateau deserves cake!
I don't know if this ever really goes away, but there is a point where this becomes less frequent, and you have done the work to help your small person learn personal responsibility, troubleshooting, and the value of going and looking. This too is a season to celebrate, you have gone from personal assistant to life coach!
The end being a chauffeur
If you are a fan of public transportation or getting a driver's license, when your (not so small) person can start getting to and from their various life activities, it too is a day to take a sign and say, we made it! The work to take and collect your child from academics, friends, activities, and every other thing consumes a lot of time! It is time you are now able to choose how to spend, to keep up with the status quo, or to let them take the wheel - and having that choice is a banner day!