Does Parenting Get Easier as Children Age?

My answer to that question is a BIG, FAT NO!

The thing that I find so difficult about parenting is the unexpected and new situations that get thrown your way.

When kids are babies, toddlers, and preschoolers … you know, the young ones, it’s the constant attention and demands that wear you down.  Many parents who are already past that stage like to say, “Oh, it will get easier!”

That’s not 100 percent true.  Some aspects of parenting may SEEM easier. 

Kids sleep at night. You no longer have to carry the kitchen sink when you travel. Kids can get their own glass of water, and perhaps they can even play a few hours alone, and you may not even know they are in the house.

That is easier!  That’s the good stuff. But parenting itself doesn’t get easier.  It’s still as challenging as ever because you constantly have new situations thrown at you.

Since I have a child in elementary school now, the afterschool hours to bedtime are more challenging than ever.  I’m juggling dinner, afterschool homework, and afterschool activities.  In fact, 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. is the most stressful time of day.

And then there are times when something like the following situation happens that leave you shaking your head and thinking, “Am I failing as a parent?”

We had our final conference with my son’s teacher on Tuesday.  He got a great report.  We could be nothing but proud when we left there.  And then by Friday, my son’s teacher was waiting on me in carpool line.

Unfortunately, I was the last car.  Her wait was long.

It’s quite unusual that his teacher was in carpool.  My son is crying as he gets in the car. Perhaps he got hurt or had some type of accident.

I roll down the window! It’s all kind of a blur now because I think I was in shock as the story unfolded.

It was something like he got a card flip for passing notes in class that morning, but he never flipped his behavior card from blue to yellow as the day went on.  He tried to walk out of class with a perfect blue, but his teacher remembered like most good teachers do.  She took his notebook and wrote a note as to why he was receiving yellow.  As she tried to give him back his notebook, IT HAPPENED. 

And with it, I mean a full-out crying tantrum that was so out of character for him at school that she was shocked, too.  He screamed no.  He cried.  He stomped on his backpack, which made his water bottle burst.  Water was protruding from the backpack as quickly as tears streamed down his face. Basically, it went from bad to worse with every action that he took. 

We think it’s all because he didn’t want us to know he got a yellow.  And for the record, there are at least four more colors worse than yellow.   Yellow is not perfect, but it’s not the end of the color behavior train, either.

Overall, he behaves well at school.  We are proud of him.  This would have been his third yellow during the school year, but the second one in two weeks.

Is he that scared of us? Did I mumble under my breath last time that if he got another yellow that he wouldn’t be able to watch TV or use the computer for a month?  I know I can be dramatic, but I don’t think I said that. 

This is where parenting just gets hard. It’s not just about caregiving like when he was a baby.  It may have been daunting, but that was the easy part now that I look back.  As parents, we have to think smarter every day.

What he did at school was unacceptable. 

And it’s my job to make sure it doesn’t happen again.  That, my friends, is why I don’t think parenting gets easier as kids age.

What do you think?