Hang In There! Here’s What You Have to Look Forward to When Your Kids Get Older

I’m pretty much done with night-time feedings and diaper changes. (Well, there are still night-time feedings but I haven’t bought diapers in years.)  But I’m still sympathetic to those grueling early years of raising babies and toddlers. It takes the wind out of you like nothing else. It’s sweet and tiring and rewarding and challenging.

Parents love their babies so much that they feel sad when they think of them getting older. Don’t be sad. You have a lot to look forward to.

Check out my list of all the things you have to look forward to when your kids get older. You’ll see that it’s still sweet and tiring and rewarding and challenging in new ways, after the jump.

  • The Music They Like Gets Cooler 1 of 15
    The Music They Like Gets Cooler
    I'm as big of a fan of the Wiggles as anyone (LiveStrong, Greg!) but The Wheels On The Bus just keep going round and round, which gets old. My kids have iPods and we're all on Spotify so we make playlists for each other and share music. It's basically the bomb.
  • They Become More Interesting and Funny 2 of 15
    They Become More Interesting and Funny
    Little kids are adorable. We love them. But older kids become. . . sort of like. . . real people. It's weird but terribly rewarding to have a meaningful conversation with one of your kids. "That's why I spent hours reading to you every night, you little knucklehead!"
  • They Feed Themselves 3 of 15
    They Feed Themselves
    Perhaps to your dismay, growing children learn to feed and feed and feed themselves. It becomes its own special type of hassle to keep your pantries stocked, but to anyone who has taken a faceful of strained peas I can promise you this: It gets better.
  • They Take Care of Younger Siblings 4 of 15
    They Take Care of Younger Siblings
    If you have younger kids your older kids start to contribute in a meaningful way by taking care of them, which is good because mommy's all used up.
  • They Go to School 5 of 15
    They Go to School
    When kids start school it's a trade off for parents because you gain long stretches of child-free time but you also have to help your kids with their homework. But still, LONG STRETCHES OF CHILD-FREE TIME!
  • They Feel Loyal to Your Family 6 of 15
    They Feel Loyal to Your Family
    After years of holding it together with your blood sweat and tears while babies toppled Christmas trees and melt-downs ruined birthdays, roots take hold and your kids will start to care and even insist on family traditions.
  • They Make You Better Presents 7 of 15
    They Make You Better Presents
    As kids get older the presents they make for you get exponentially better. Seriously, what am I supposed to do with a reindeer with handprints for antlers? I can't wait until my kids start making some real money so they can actually buy me something. It's, like, the least they can do.
  • They Make Passable Food 8 of 15
    They Make Passable Food
    You know how your little kids like to bring you "breakfast in bed" and always make you gross treats that you have to eat because you want to encourage them to be nice to you? Well, that goes on for a while. Then one day they'll offer you a doughnut they made from scratch. WORTH IT.
  • They Leave You Alone 9 of 15
    They Leave You Alone
    Older kids can entertain themselves pretty well. They aren't so needy on a second-to-second basis. After nursing, potty training, and stranger anxiety you may be ready for a little space. You've earned it. Enjoy it. But if things are quiet for too long you might want to just make sure they didn't sneak out.
  • You Can Do Fun Stuff 10 of 15
    You Can Do Fun Stuff
    When everyone can walk and you no longer need a stroller, it's like getting a second wind. A whole new world of outings opens up to you and your family. Of course, you'll still be too tired to do any of it but just think of the possibilities!
  • They Kind of Appreciate You 11 of 15
    They Kind of Appreciate You
    They don't totally appreciate you. I think you have to die for that to happen, but there are glimmers of understanding when you plunge a toilet, show up at their events, or weep silently on the stairs. They are starting to get it and sometimes they even say, "Thank you."
  • They Buckle Themselves 12 of 15
    They Buckle Themselves
    Getting in and out of the car becomes so much easier when you aren't lugging car seats and fussing over your LATCH system. Imagine this: You open the door, get in the car, buckle your own seat belt, and start driving. This dreamy scenario can be yours if you make it through kindergarten.
  • They Put Themselves to Bed 13 of 15
    They Put Themselves to Bed
    I'm not quite there, but I can almost taste it. My older kids simply go to bed. I still remember--though I've blocked some of it--the rocking, the singing, the crawling out army-style with a hope and a prayer that the little night tyrant wouldn't wake up. Hey, babies are cute--but those aren't fond memories.
  • They Will Make You Proud 14 of 15
    They Will Make You Proud
    You pretty much get credit for every worthwhile thing they do. And, YOU SHOULD. Don't be modest about it, ever.
  • You’ll Love Their Friends 15 of 15
    You'll Love Their Friends
    Make sure they get in with a nice group of kids and then sit back and enjoy. I love my kids' friends and I'd rather drop them off at a hundred movies than spend another second having "play dates" with mothers I have nothing in common with other than our apparent disdain for their child.

Article Posted 4 years Ago

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