To hope that babyhood isn't the only good part of parenting?

(63 Posts)
Zara1984 Fri 03-Jan-14 20:32:34

Stayed at the family home of some friends the past few days, with 14 month old DS in tow. Our friend's mother enjoyed having DS there, liked asking me all about him and the things he does etc.

Anyway it seems this lady is having a hard time dealing with the fact that her son (our friend) lives overseas and is married to a woman from that country (ie he's settled there). But she kept going on at me about how it's only "this time" (ie when children are little) that is the best or enjoyable part of parenthood, and it gets much harder and not enjoyable. She said I might be lucky and have reason to be happy/enjoy motherhood when DS is grown up, but probably I would find that it was only most enjoyable when they were little babies.

AIBU to hope that she is wrong?! I'm looking forward to all parts of parenthood, including when DS is a grown up! I can't wait to see what kind of man he becomes and what he does with his life! I am steeling myself for the idea he could live far away from us as a grown up - it's what DH and have done, so he'll probably be the same. So I'm not deluding myself that he will definitely live in the same place as us and come round for a roast dinner ever Sunday etc.

But I just found this woman's viewpoint to be so utterly depressing. Please tell me she is wrong. I love DS to bits and every day it seems to get better and more fun.

Zara1984 Fri 03-Jan-14 20:33:53

I tried to shrug off her comments as being bitter about her own situation/unfulfilled expectations, but her words are resting heavily on my mind sad

Liara Fri 03-Jan-14 20:35:54

Well, mine aren't grown up yet, but so far every year has been better than the previous.

I actually found the first couple of years pretty tough, and was glad to see the back of them, tbh.

arethereanyleftatall Fri 03-Jan-14 20:36:27

My favourite ages so far have been 2 and 5. But eldest is only 5 so I don't know further.

bunnymother Fri 03-Jan-14 20:37:00

My eldest is 4.5 - she is and always has been great. It's hard as I have younger children, too, but I find my time w her even better than when she was a baby. Not crazy about toddler tantrums, but I like being able to talk to my children and show them things. Ignore the old sour puss...

CPtart Fri 03-Jan-14 20:37:27

IMO babyhood is so far the worst part of parenting (although have not yet hit the teenage years!) 4-8 years are just fab.

SashaOfSiberia Fri 03-Jan-14 20:37:38

She is wrong. I hate babyhood, in my idea it is the worst years of parenting. Ok it is the time when they solely depend on you and I think some mothers relish being needed in such a way but personally I hated nearly all of it.

It gets much better, one day you will be able to have an actual conversation with your DS, and not about Skylanders or his latest poo, but a normal conversation. I much prefer them once they grow up a bit. I love the teenage years, I'm now a Nanny and I love that my DS1 is an adult, with a personality and decent social skills rather than a crying, vomming, eating non sleeping machine that can only communicate through dirty protests.

janey68 Fri 03-Jan-14 20:38:21

Gets better and better I'd say. Tbh although it goes without saying I loved my children to bits from the word go, there is quite a bit about the day to day looking after a baby which isn't half as interesting as when they get older and you can have proper conversations and do activities together

NearTheWindmill Fri 03-Jan-14 20:39:10

Well mine are 19 and 15. I think it's more rewarding - I look at them sometimes and wonder how they have grown up so wonderful and so lovely.

Highlights - confiding about a girlfriend.
First concerts
GCSE and IB results
Planning futures
Being amazed that dd has made it to the West End and back on her own
Goals and sports and school mags
Realising they are grown up and happy and finding themselves

And you can laugh about their shaved hairs in the bath, their attempts to hide the fact they have used your credit card, that they have come home a teensy bit drunk and tried so hard to hide it from you.

And they tell you how Christmas must never ever be changed because how you do it is Christmas.

Take no notice.

FantasticDay Fri 03-Jan-14 20:40:45

Mine are 5 and 7. I thought babyhood was the hardest bit tbh. I think they're more and more interesting every day. I've lived abroad, but I spoke to mt mum every week - and I call every day now.

GlitteryShitandDanglyBaubles Fri 03-Jan-14 20:42:04

Babyhood is definitely the hardest part for me, and I had it pretty easy! blush

dd is 7 and great fun to be with. Also she is fully toilet trained and sleeps all night, neither of which she did as a baby...

<please don't hate me>

BertieBowtiesAreCool Fri 03-Jan-14 20:42:29

It does get harder as they get older, but then it gets interesting and easier in other ways too. DS is 5 now and I'm starting to find it easier after struggling with thre preschool years (but loving the toddler stage which a lot of people find hard) - which nicely illustrates the other point I wanted to make which is that what is easy or enjoyable for one person isn't necessarily for another and it's definitely true for parenting.

Joules68 Fri 03-Jan-14 20:43:28

I didn't rate baby/toddler years either.... My eldest is now 19 and I've enjoyed the teen years with all mine (mostly)

AllDirections Fri 03-Jan-14 20:45:06

I much prefer my children as teenagers. I obviously loved them when they were younger but it was all soooo hard.

OHforDUCKScake Fri 03-Jan-14 20:45:18

People enjoy different parts, I dont think theres anything wrong with that.

I found the baby bit boring with DS2 but when he turned 12 months it all switched on and at 2 he is absolutely brilliant fun.

I found the same stage fun with my first but hellish at 3 years old and it didnt start to calm until 5 and at 7 Im beginning to have a real laugh with him again and I know it will be even better at 8 and probably go up poo creek again at 13.

I personally find the 2 year old stage the best. When both my children are at school its the 2 year old stage that I will miss and be 'broody' for. That doesnt mean I dont enjoy my older children though.

So I guess I understand, and to an extent agree with, this woman.

Zara1984 Fri 03-Jan-14 20:45:46

I definitely am looking forward the 4-8 sort of age, based on what's know of friends' children! And even teenagerdom!

Her comments perhaps made me even more anxious because DMIL has Major Ishoos with the fact that all three of her children live overseas (in nearly all our cases, virtually on the opposite side of the planet), and that DS is so far away from her.

I don't understand why my friends' mum (or DMIL) are so negative about being a parent of adult children and seem to idolise the time when they were little. In both cases their children have grown up to be amazing, confident, talented people that they should be so proud of. I'm wondering if I'm being naive to think they are being bitter!? Will I suddenly start feeling forlorn when DS is off living his life?!

I have been lucky, in some ways, my DD's 28, 18 and 16 are good company and we go to concerts, have shopping days etc together.

They are very close to me.

With my eldest the 13-17 were the worrying years, but that exasperated by her dyslexia and finding her feet.

My middle was a nightmare between 13-15, but I am so proud of how she has turned things around.

TBF, I can understand her feelings of loss, it hit me hard when my eldest left home. My middle DD works and stays with her BF and I miss her after three days.

I have heard a lot of Mums of sons that have moved away say similar and I can understand, especially if you lose your DP.

She shouldn't of shared, in a way other than "they grow so fast, cherish every stage, as much as you may think you hate it, you will miss it, one day".

MmeLindor Fri 03-Jan-14 20:46:13

It gets better and better.

You will have to dig in deep and stick to your guns through the tantrums phase. Be strong, respect your kids but don't let them run riot.

Our kids are 11 and 9yrs old and so much fun. They are well-behaved (most of the time), kind and thoughtful.

elliejjtiny Fri 03-Jan-14 20:46:29

She is BVU. My boys are 7, 5, nearly 3 and 6 months. I find the baby and toddler years both wonderful and hard at the same time. I love seeing my older ones get certificates at school and do Christmas plays (DS1 was Alien 1 in Christmas with the Aliens the Christmas before last and I was so proud.)

aquashiv Fri 03-Jan-14 20:48:03

I certainly didn't really revel in their babyhood. I much prefer them now that they are fun to be with(mostly). Some people love all that pushing and feeding babies cutsey helpful stuff I just found it inane.

CeliaLytton Fri 03-Jan-14 20:48:05

Competitive misery, that's what this is. And oneupmanship.

People with toddlers love to tell you about the tantrums, sleep issues and toilet training.

People with primary school age kids love to tell you about friendship issues, nits, becoming pre-teens.

People with teenagers love to tell you about the angst, drinking, bad influences.

People with grown children love to tell you about their son they never see, the daughter who has married a wrongun, the grandchildren who are not being raised right.

The most arrogant thing a parent can say to someone is 'just wait til they're insert next stage,' the implications being that you have no idea and they do because they have been through it with ONE OR TWO INDIVIDUALS out of the whole population!

Everyone's experience is different, some people love the baby stage but many love each year better from the last, after all, the more time you spend with your child, the better you know them, the more there is to love!

Ignore (as you may be able to tell, I do this a lot) and be wary to never give advice when you are an old hand unless asked for it.

Sorry, got ranty and carried away, what was your question? blush

NatashaBee Fri 03-Jan-14 20:49:02

The baby bit is pretty thankless. 18-24 months was tough too. Now DS understands a bit more, can behave himself for a while when we go out and can talk, its my favourite bit so far.

lljkk Fri 03-Jan-14 20:50:48

12yo is a really nice age, ime. So far my favourite. And 6yo is the absolute low point. I didn't find just around 2yo at all bad, either.
3-4yo, though (shudder).

Are they negative, or are they struggling changing a major role?

I am still interested in educational courses and doing new things. I have had negative comments about that, but I think we should grow, change and develop until we die. So change isn't an issue for me.

I know a lot if people who don't like change, though and your children becoming adults brings lots of changes, especially if you have sacrificed your social and working life.

I never did, I don't get a lot of the attitude across MN about stopping going out, or not tak

pointythings Fri 03-Jan-14 20:51:32

I agree with those who are saying it just gets better. Mine are almost 11 and almost 13 now and yes, there are hard times - DD1 is definitely starting the teenage years. But she still tells me she feels she can talk to me about anything and then does, and she still wants to be cuddled. DD2 is blossoming after a really angry phase at 9-10 - she is confident, funny, growing every day. Seeing what DH and I have built from those two little screaming scraps all those years ago is wonderful.

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