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.

CeliaLytton Fri 03-Jan-14 20:52:45

Sorry, that oneupmanship comment was not appropriate for your situation, where the woman is obviously feeling a bit lost and is possibly remembering through rosé tinted specs.

I may have been swayed by e amount of people over the years who have been negative in an 'I know what you've got coming and you don't smug know it all kind of way.

I spend an awful lot of time telling people with newborns that it does get better and more enjoyable and easier in lots of ways, why would you want to be told 'you think this is bad? Wait til they're crawling/teething/etc'? Not exactly comforting, is it?

"Taking turns to still have hobbies".

IamInvisible Fri 03-Jan-14 20:54:59

Babyhood isn't the only good bit at all. It's all good. As they grow, you grow with them.

Mine are 19&17 now. If I could freeze time, it would probably be round about now. They are great fun, they are intelligent and caring.

CeliaLytton, how wise you are.

vestandknickers Fri 03-Jan-14 21:12:47

I wasn't that fussed on the baby stage to be honest.

My oldest is 10 and I honestly think each stage just gets better and better as they get older. They are still loving and sweet but also interesting and hilariously funny.

I haven't experienced the teenage stage though yet!

bbboo Fri 03-Jan-14 21:55:26

Mine are 16 and 12 . I wasn't madly keen on the early baby stages - never really understood them at this age - but truly feel that every stage since then has been their best stage.
Totally agree with vest - it just gets better and better. Not to say it is skip-through-the-meadows - hand -in-hand better every day - but they become more interesting, you have fantastic (and sometimes infuriating!) conversations, they make you laugh, they surprise you, impress you , infuriate you - and become 'proper people'.
Look forward to it - just like now, they will constantly surprise and amaze you -make you laugh and make you feel proud. Lots to look forward to!

Thesimplethings Fri 03-Jan-14 21:56:35

I don't know.

Mine are 3 and 2. 16 month age gap. I miss the baby stage at the moment. The pride in pushing two adorable babies in a double pram, the compliments etc. A 16 month old and a newborn was an absolute doddle compared to a contrary three year old and a terrible two year old. The three year old is in nursery and having to drag us all out of the house for 8.30 is a grind. They will sleep til 8/8.30 at least if not woken.

I miss the days of pleasing ourselves, I find it strange and sad to attend toddlers with just one.

They are growing up too quick and that makes me sad. But I'm looking forward to many more firsts.

HesterShaw Fri 03-Jan-14 21:59:04

She sounds just like my mother. The reason I didn't have children in my 20s was because I was given the impression parenthood was such a thankless, tedious chore.

Thankfully my friends who made the leap have shown me that's not true.

Don't believe her. Surely a lot of it is to do with a person's own attitude.

Bluestocking Fri 03-Jan-14 22:03:35

Poor woman, how sad that she only enjoyed the baby stage. DS is nine and every stage so far has been my favourite! At the moment, I'm really enjoying seeing him becoming more independent and turning into such a lovely, considerate, thoughtful, funny, intelligent little chap.

SashaOfSiberia Fri 03-Jan-14 22:04:12

If all their children live that far away, it's probably quite devastating. Maybe it even feels like rejection and I imagine they imagined growing old close to their children. I don't know how often you visit but if you imagine your DS growing up and you only seeing him a few times a year when he is the thing you love most in the world, even though he isn't a baby any more, I'd think that very hard emotionally, the fact that he's someone to be proud of probably make it harder. I suspect her comments are more about that than the baby stage being wonderful.

mumthetaxidriver Fri 03-Jan-14 22:14:47

How sad that your friend has such negativa views of her family. Our oldest son is 16 today - I remember the "terrible twos" as the hardest - we now all laugh about what a stroppy toddler he was but life is now pretty good.! So try and enjoy the younger years but look forward to the future - there is a lot of fun to be had as they get older!

Lifeisaboxofchocs Fri 03-Jan-14 22:18:11

Mine are 10 months and 3 years, and quite honestly I think that every month is flipping amazing. We are having such a good time. Oh we have our downtimes, but sometimes I look at them both and I think I might just burst with love for them. So i channel that into a frenzied attack of kisses. It just keeps getting better and better.

elQuintoConyo Fri 03-Jan-14 22:30:52

0-18mo was ok for me, but 18-24 has been exhausting.I'm sure it is all swings and roundabouts. Never a dull moment and all that.

Both my dsis and I live abroad, I'm in EU she's in Australia - speaks volumes about our relationship with our parents. Hopefully ds will live in our converted garage. Forever grin <-- evil

ToodlesMcToodles Fri 03-Jan-14 22:35:50

I feel a bit sorry for the lady tbh. Doesn't mean I agree with what she said though.

Different kids, different parents will remember different ages with fondness depending on their preference or circumstances at the time.

Growing your bond and relationship with your child is the important thing and enjoying what they are like at all ages.

I am lucky with both a teen and a pre schooler so I get actual proper conversation / have a laugh with DD / burst with pride at what an amazing young woman she is becoming. 4yr old DS gives me cuddles and kisses and I savour every minute he is growing up. DD can be incredibly thoughtful and frustrating in equal measure. DS can be incredibly loving and a bit frustrating.

If they stay at home near by that'd be great, if they move away because they want life fulfilment then so be it, that's love isn't it, nurturing something and allowing them freedom to follow their own path.

Don't worry about what anyone else thinks OP, take each day and enjoy watching your child grow. No one can take away precious memories.

rabbitlady Fri 03-Jan-14 22:49:58

my daughter is delightful and is completely grown up at 31, with a husband and baby of her own.
its wonderful to be a mummy, at all the stages, and its amazing to be a grandma, too.

DoTheStrand Fri 03-Jan-14 22:57:53

I have 2 DSs aged 2 and 4.5. At each stage I think the good bits can't be bettered, but then at the next stage they are. There are always difficult bits of course, eg when DS1 was 3-4 we had some terrible behaviour (all his friends - girls and boys - were pretty awful at that stage too but apparently boys have a testosterone spurt at that age which can make them a bit of a nightmare). But he was so bright and funny and interesting the rest of the time that it made it all worth it (he's a lot better now he's at school).

I've also got two DSSs at university who I've known since they were 7 and 9, and I've always really liked having them around. Even the teenage years were generally ok - and the look of gratitude on a 17 year old's face when they emerge from their pit at lunchtime and you hand them a cup of tea and a fried egg sandwich makes up for a lot of teenage grumpiness. (Your house will permanently smell of Lynx at that stage though).

1944girl Fri 03-Jan-14 23:25:31

1ME the baby years were the best.

I am not going to say anymore except that I am now a grandmother.

WestieMamma Fri 03-Jan-14 23:29:30

I found the part where mine was old enough to move out rather enjoyable. Unfortunately she came back a few months later and appears to have developed the skills of a limpet.

BertieBowtiesAreCool Fri 03-Jan-14 23:40:34

See, I liked 0-3 months, 3-18 hard, 18-36 wonderful, 3-4 years hell (suspect would be far easier if there had been a sibling to play with, although of course this doesn't work so well with the first), 5 years is improving, still difficult, but I'm finding it easier to enjoy spending time with DS and I can only see this getting better as he gets older and his interests are less child centred and he's more able to articulate and also relate back to others rather than being so completely self centred as all small children are.

I think it depends on your personality. Some people as said above love the whole dependency thing with babies and some people get really hung up on their children being their whole identity and struggle with them being independent adults. Some prefer them being cute etc. I think it's pretty unusual to only have liked one particular part, though. Most people I have spoken to who found things hard at some point came through that stage and found the good again even if they struggled to see it at the time.

ashtrayheart Fri 03-Jan-14 23:47:18

I have difficult teens and a 3 and 4 yo. I have enjoyed having little ones again and want them to stay little but they are all different!

NoComet Fri 03-Jan-14 23:59:20

DDs are 12&15

Babies are hard work (DD1 was an exhausting 2-3year old because she messed with or climbed everything. You couldn't finish an adult conversation without having to chase after her. Also I was PG with DD2)

Apart from that parenthood is fine and parenthood now DD2 is happy to spend the odd hour or two at home on her own is bliss. We live in the middle of nowhere and no longer having to stress about complex crossing over school runs and drama rehearsals etc. makes life so much easier.

ViviPru Sat 04-Jan-14 00:02:47

NearTheWindmill you sound like a great Mum to have

lade Sat 04-Jan-14 00:33:06

I have to say that I found the baby years the worst.

Whilst I enjoyed them at the time (and thought I would really miss them when they had gone) but since then, I haven't missed them at all. The thought of going back to those years makes me feel nothing but horror, just because they were the hardest.

I have two DDs now, aged 10 and 7, and I have to say, I've enjoyed all the years. In many ways it becomes more enjoyable as they become more independent, but it's all good.

BertieBowtiesAreCool Sat 04-Jan-14 00:33:36

Also, this may not have been what she meant personally, but for me at least I find being the parent of a single baby to be a totally different experience than being the parent of an older child or children. Once they start having opinions and really developing their personalities everything goes out of the window and you're screwed if you had a plan for the way you wanted things to go or even the kind of parent you want to be. With babies, pretty much, they want feeding, sleep and to be with you and they don't care what schedule you do it on or whether you use a sling, buggy or rolls Royce, breast or bottle etc, some are more picky than others but, generally, you have that control.

Once they get to about 3 or for some people the clash comes at about the toddler stage, but it happens to everyone (except certain lucky, rare, irritatingly smug parents, you will come across them if you haven't already) they start reacting to things in a totally different way to how you want or expect most of the time rather than just a little bit of the time, and you quickly have to adapt, which can be very hard especially if you had a very predefined idea of how things would play out. Don't be fooled by thinking it's easier if you accept from very early on that your child will have their own personality, even if you are excited and eager to see their personality coming out, it's still quite a shock when it does, in my experience the hardest part being their particular personality traits they get from YOU!

In addition to this they have more and more outside influences as they get older which are harder for you to control. And no matter how you feel about your baby now, the need for space from them does increase mainly because babies sleep a lot, and you can do a lot of fairly "normal" things with them like watch adults TV, visit non child friendly places (with them in a buggy or distracted) that you can't do with a toddler or primary aged child. And then with the teenage graduation towards more adult interests and their own wanting space you also get the attitude and (negative for some!) the increased need for their own space.

I think it definitely gets harder. But that's not to say it's all doom and gloom, I enjoy the challenge even though it has reduced me to tears on occasion - this evening being one (attempting to wash an utterly terrified 5yo's hair) - sounds totally wanky but I think it makes me a better person in general. And I'm definitely enjoying other parts of him growing up - I tend to think if you want something that's cute and will love you unconditionally and you can do whatever you want with and won't express any troublesome opinions then you want a dog, not a child!

bragmatic Sat 04-Jan-14 00:36:19

It gets better, but I can see why, as a grandparent, she's upset about missing so much of babyhood. You can't blow raspberries on a 10 year old's tummy.

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