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April 3, 2011

When Does It Get Easier???

I don’t think I’ll ever forget slipping away for a quick lunch with one of my best friends when the girls were about six weeks old. Over chips and dip and salsa I just cried to her…I was really struggling with breastfeeding, and bottle-feeding, and formula, and rice cereal…I remember feeling so helpless, like no one could give me an answer to help me navigate my way.

She listened intently, nodding her head and telling me she understood my frustration. But she didn’t have any answers for me. Maybe because I was so hopeful she’d at least have some suggestions, her “I know you’ll figure it out,” frankly felt a bit unsympathetic.

She moved on to describe a challenge she was facing, whether to let her then-nine-year old son give a Valentine’s Day card to a girl that said, “I like you.”

Her story made me laugh, and got my mind off of my woes for a few minutes, but I couldn’t help feeling it was insignificant to something so critical as providing sustenance to my children.

Several months later, I revisited that lunchtime conversation in my mind (and later laughed about it with my girlfriend). It occurred to me that she may have been ultimately saying something I’m coming to realize myself…

“It doesn’t get easier; it just gets different.”

The first couple of months after the girls were born were hands down the hardest months of my life.

I was trying so hard to figure out so many things, things I had no experience with…and times two, at that. At the time I didn’t personally know anyone who had twins, so I found myself feeling doubly alone [no pun intended].

Things started to level out a bit when the girls were about three months old and started sleeping through the night. That’s definitely when “things got easier”. I’ve since said a hundred times, I can do ANYTHING on a full night’s sleep!!!

Twenty-seven months in, I can say that often, when something gets easier, a new something rears its head as a challenge.

The girls began to take sippy cups = YEA! But they started to walk (also YEA!), but that meant I had two babies running in different directions.

The girls learned to feed themselves = YEA! But that meant I lost control of the spoon and found myself with much more mess to clean.

The girls are talking more and more = YEA! But they’re also challenging their mama’s authority from time to time.

While many things have gotten easier, it seems the challenges are often more complex…leaving me to occasionally think those newborn diaper blow-outs weren’t so bad!

Yes, it’s always something…and my guess is I’ll feel that way for the rest of the girls’ lives to some degree…

…but that’s what keeps me gainfully employed as a parent, and that’s just what I signed up for!


Amanda said...

Well said Mandi! I think you said it better on your post than I did on mine! Ha... you are so right, it doesn't get easier, it gets different! Now at 3 yrs old, I almost long for the twos when it seemed "easier!" ah... parenthood!

Andrea said...

You always word everything so perfectly! :-) Great post! I love being able to laugh about those first months now, but so remember is not being funny at all then! Life is great Mandy my friend, it really is GREAT!!!

The 'Ssippi Scoop said...

I don't know if I should laugh or cry. I've one-upped you with a child though, so at least this won't be uncharted territory for me. It will just be what I already know is going to happen, times TWO! Which does have me freaking out and a bit depressed, if I'm being totally honest. I'm hoping that I'm dreading those first few months soooo much that it might be a little easier than I have in my mind. But I'm not holding my breath! Great post. Thanks!

Barbara Manatee said...

Great post Mandy!! You're right - each age/stage has its own challenges. I was so grateful that when I had my first two, that I was in a MoMs group - where LOTS of other Twin mommies could provide advice, encouragement and reassurance of my sanity!

I really think - in the big picture - at this age it starts getting easier. My twins were this age when Adam was born and things definitely got easier with them then. Now that Adam is at this age, while we still have our ups and downs and challenges - getting out of the 'baby stage' makes things a lot easier - less to travel with, less "stuff" in general, being able to communicate with them easier, more independence, etc...

Now that Adam is 2 and I remember how much easier it got with the twins at this age, I know that life will get a lot easier in the next year! What a relief!!

April is Autism Awareness Month. I'm dedicating my blog to Autism all month long.

Lauren said...

It's posts like this one that remind me... Yep I am no different :) Others go through what I went through and others have gone through what I will go through... the only question I ask myself is, WILL I BE SANE IN THE END????

Lauren said...

4 is a pretty good year too! imaginations are wild, school looms ahead and personalities pop like never before, the only bad part of 4.. they challenge your authority like never before :(

Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 said...

Yes, you'll always be employed. I answered this question in tomorrow's post...I hope it's not too nutso!

Mandy said...

I couldn't agree more!!

Beth said...

Exactly! Just last week, a woman said, "Oh it must be so much easier now than when they were just babies." I stopped and thought about it for a minute. I'm not sure. There is really something to be said for putting a baby in a swing, going to the bathroom and knowing they will be in the swing when you get out. :-)

Julia said...

When my girls were six weeks old, I was in the same boat, Mandy. So, so, so overwhelmed!

You're right, with each stage comes a new set of challenges, and a new set of joys too :)

Helene said...

This is SO doesn't get easier, it just gets different because every stage has its pros and cons. I remember rushing through my children's babyhoods, waiting for it to get easier. Almost 7 years later, and I'm still well aware that it never really gets easier, per se.

MultipleMum said...

It is hard to believe with your first child/ren that things somehow get better/easier. I love your friend's divergence from your situation - reminds us that we all forget how hard the newborn stage is and get wrapped up in our own challenges. A really meaty post Mandy x

reanbean said...

I've heard that saying before (It doesn't get easier; it just gets different.) along with: The hard parts are still hard but the good parts get even better. I try to take comfort in knowing that we all go through rough patches, and I sometimes find myself holding my breath, so to speak, when things are going really well for a period of time, knowing that a storm in probably brewing on the horizon. Still, I know that taking good care of my kids is exactly what I want for myself right now. So, on the good days, I try to celebrate a little and enjoy the fact that things were so good. And on the tough days, I try not to beat myself up too hard, knowing there's always tomorrow for things to improve.