We all have that one older relative who says, “savor every minute because it goes so fast.” If you are like me, you may have wanted to offer up your brood to this relative for an extended weekend so they could get a healthy dose reality since they have obviously forgotten. I am right there in the trenches with you: two young kids, full time job, house to manage, a life too busy to really “savor.” Then recently I read an article about the “golden age of parenting”.
I thought, um . . . does such an age exist? Being the curious sort, I read on and it described this magical golden age as the years between when all of your kids have exited diapers, and before they are dating or driving. I stopped to think for a moment, is this it? My youngest is about to turn 3, and has been potty trained for some time. My oldest is 6, and pretty self sufficient. Am I actually in this magical “Golden Age” where parenting is FINALLY getting easier?
Okay, let’s review:
• Do I need a diaper bag to leave the house? No
• Can we eat in a restaurant (without being asked to leave)? Yes
• Am I concerned about them ingesting poison? No
• Are they likely to jump out of a moving vehicle? No
• Can they manage basic life skills solo? Yes
• Do I have to stress about hormones and mood swings? No
• Do I have to stress about vehicular issues? No
• Do I have to manage a curfew? No
• Are they fairly rational and coherent? Most of the time
Yep, seems to check out.
I have to admit, life has gotten markedly easier in the last few months or so. We can actually leave the house on time. They can put on their shoes, buckle their seat belts, manage their bathroom habits, get themselves a snack, wash themselves in the shower, and get themselves dressed. I can host a party at my house without needing to be on top of two kid’s whereabouts every second. I can decorate for the holidays without worrying that everything will get broken. They aren’t really moody or sassy, and haven’t yet developed their eye rolling skills.
Do we still have meltdowns to navigate? Sure, but less frequently. Am I still responsible for 90% of their daily needs? Absolutely, but I do get to shower and sleep now and then, which is awesome!
What I am realizing even more is that they are finally fun! All of those things I have been doing for the last 6 years hoping that they were having a good time, while secretly dreading every second of, are now actually something my husband and I look forward to (no one actually likes pumpkin picking, parade watching, or Christmas light viewing with two screaming toddlers in tow). My little ones are truly enjoying things that we have been putting so much effort into doing for years, and making all the hassle worth it. The best part is that their little personalities are really emerging, and we love the little people they are becoming.
That’s not to say that we don’t have our trying days, but for the most part I think we have turned the corner into the easier years with our kids before all the high school angst and chaos begins. While I thoroughly enjoyed the baby days and toddler years, where we are at right now really is the good stuff. Magic is real, nothing is impossible, everything is new to them, and the difficult realities of life haven’t’ made them jaded. I am so glad that I was able to recognize it before I missed it because this just might be the perfect age!