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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.

MatildaWhispers Sat 04-Jan-14 00:47:55

I have had an older woman say a similar thing to me, and I wondered whether maybe it was just that she was slightly mourning the fact that she is herself now older - i.e. it is not just that her baby has grown.

Personally I have found babyhood pretty demanding, especially the babyhood of my second and third children - but that has been mainly due to balancing the needs to the baby with that of the older child(ren). I loved it when my second child was 3-4 years, mainly because my eldest was at school and I wasn't yet pregnant with my third and I loved being able to focus fully on my middle child.

I am now starting to really enjoy my youngest (2 years) as she is starting to chat away to me and her older siblings are both at school so again I get the chance to focus just on her. But I also enjoy spending time with my elder children as well.

Preferthedogtothekids Sat 04-Jan-14 01:35:53

Mine are Dd15 and Ds17. They're fabulous folk and we have a great time together :-) We all get lots of sleep, enjoy spending time together and they generally pick up after themselves.

The baby years were grim in comparison, the kids were cute but I was over-anxious and obsessive about their health, safety and behaviour. I much prefer the teenage years.

member Sat 04-Jan-14 01:42:47

My personal experience is that it the baby/ toddler years are the most physically demanding purely because they are so reliant on you.

I enjoyed the primary school age the best; you get a bit of space from each other; they gain some independence but they still want approval.

We are entering the teenage years & I am finding that mentally hard. The up & down emotions/ their need for privacy & worrying that the secrecy/uncommunicative ness is masking a going-off-the rails. Picking which battles are worth fighting etc. I find it taxing striking a balance all the time & frustrating that dd no longer tries her best blah blah.

I am hoping that those who say things improve again at about 16 are right! And of course, through time, my memories of this stage will fade so the recall won't be accurate!

Thatisall Sat 04-Jan-14 10:52:29

OP my dd is 11. Parenthood is difficult whatever their age but it has been a wonderful and like previous posters have said, every year has been better than the last.
So she isn't cute and small anymore and she doesn't believe in Santa and the tooth fairy now, that's sad. But she is funny and her personality has well and truly shown itself and that's a joy.
I'm sure she is projecting her own feelings into you. Try not to let it worry you

NearTheWindmill Sat 04-Jan-14 11:02:06

I think too, as someone else said it mustt be hard if all of your children decide to live abroad and to make a conscious decision to break a long way a way from theor roots. I couldn't and wopuldn't stop them but it would make me very sad, especially if I were getting older and finding long haul flights more difficult or if I didn't have the money to fly aroound the globe. I can quite see how that would make one sad and to view the past through rose tinted glasses and to sound, unwittingly a bit bitter. I think in those circumstances one would begin to inhabit a parallel universe focusing on thw witnessed past rather than the tangential present and near past.

Our DS leaves today for 5 months for another continent and what he does in the next five months I shall know of second hand at best and I wonder how that will change and colour my feelings. At the moment I am carrying on with a jolly smile and am about to make him a big fry-up but inside I feel as though a little bit of being his mum is about to die so perhaps you might be being a bit hard on this lady.

If this is how I feel about the departure of one for a few months, oi can imagine a little of her inner sadness.

NearTheWindmill Sat 04-Jan-14 11:05:24

Apols for typos - on phone.

MammaTJ Sat 04-Jan-14 11:24:41

Enjoyed most of parenting DD1 and now she is 18 and due to get married this year, I am enjoying spending time with the lovely young woman she has become!

I'm sure I will feel the same about younger DD and DS!

WooWooOwl Sat 04-Jan-14 11:34:38

I can understand the feelings this lady is having, but the baby years are lovely in the same way that all the other bits are lovely.

My youngest has just started secondary, and I've really enjoyed the last few years of motherhood and I feel like I have lots to look forward to as well throughout the teenage years.

I love the conversations I have with my dc now. They have their own thoughts and ideas and they can help plan the things we do together like holidays and days out or even just what we do on lazy weekends. It's so nice seeing them build their own friendships and learning the things they do at school. It's great to be able to share things with them that would have been too much effort when they were small, like theatre that isn't aimed at children and sightseeing when on holiday.

I know it will be hard when they are fully independent adults who may not live nearby, but at the same time I'm looking forward to knowing that they have turned out ok in the end - if they do of course!

DumSpiroSperHoHoHo Sat 04-Jan-14 11:46:46

My DD is 9 - each age brings it's own challenges but overall I think it gets better and better and we are closer now than we've ever been.

Who knows what the future holds but I know plenty of teenagers and young adults with great relationships with their parents so hopefully DD and I will be the same.

Dawndonnaagain Sat 04-Jan-14 11:58:46

29 year old, who once a week comes and cooks, just because.
19 year old at uni, getting firsts, doing brilliantly despite disability and bullying at uni.
17 year old twins. Both doing extremely well and happy.
I enjoy them all, it's fun doing stuff with them, talking to them. It's fabulous when people say what beautiful manners my son has, they're always shocked which has a lot to do with his vividly dyed hair and piercings.
I am proud every time my dd posts on here.
I enjoy listening to dd2 playing guitar and singing.
Ds1's band, I love going to their gigs.
It's different things, but still very enjoyable.

Topaz25 Sat 04-Jan-14 16:30:56

I don't have DC yet but I have always thought the mark of a successful parent is raising their child to be an independent adult who can make their own decisions. It sounds like you will probably enjoy parenting your son when he is an adult because you are prepared for the possibility that he might move away and do his own thing and you don't have set expectations. Personally, I think my relationship with my mother has changed in a positive way now I am an adult and not living at home because we can relate to each other more as friends and equals rather than her having to set the rules and we can enjoy spending time together out of choice rather than necessity.

NearTheWindmill Sat 04-Jan-14 17:52:05

hmm Topaz. I think if the parent doesn't have high expecatations, the child can't have them. I find concept of not having expectations for one's children very alarming indeed.

Topaz25 Sat 04-Jan-14 18:57:26

I think you might have misunderstood me, I meant that the OP will probably have a good relationship with her DS when he is an adult because she doesn't have set expectations like he will always come around for Sunday dinner, she accepts he might move out of the area. Her friend's mother sounds like she might be having trouble with her son moving away because she expected him to stay closer.

I wasn't saying don't expect your children to achieve anything! Of course it's nice to expect that your DC will aim high and do well in whatever path they choose in life, I just find that if people have set expectations of what career their child will follow or what area they will live in for example, it can cause tension when the child is an adult and wants something different.

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