While being a parent to young school aged kids can be anything but predictable, it still can be a sweet reward for parents, who did their time on Maple Drive during the baby years.
For this reason and more, there are times where I am honestly overjoyed to be past the baby and toddler parenting phases, especially when I am in the presence of a parent with their screaming baby.
Seriously, I hear a wailing baby and I am totally transported back to a time, when all I heard in our home was a colicky, cranky baby fussing for hours on end and totally cured of ever wanting to have another baby if I can help it.
No offense, but I have tried to forget and even block out that first year for both my kids, as it was most definitely fraught with all sorts of not so fun moments for this mama.
Let’s face it, parenting during your baby’s first year or so truly holds many parenting land mines that are very easily unavoidable for even the most trained and calm moms.
For all these baby pitfalls, there are some amazing sweet parenting rewards just waiting for us parents around the corner once they join the young kid ranks, such as:
1. Getting back to sleeping through the night again finally, even if your kid does call out for you during the night from a bad dream, another glass of water or more. I mean just because they can sleep all night long doesn’t mean they will, because Murphy’s Law just doesn’t hold true here. Better yet now, they actually have a vast vocabulary to share why they are indeed sleeping instead of just screaming and crying about it. Seriously just stop talking and go to bed, mom needs her beauty sleep!
2. No more diapers and gone are the potty training days, even if meals out get interrupted by taking countless bathroom breaks. No joke, kids truly have a way of finding the most inopportune moments to need to use the bathroom, such as a night out to dinner that finds mom visiting the bathroom more than any other area in the actual restaurant. Or when you are running late and only asked 10 times before leaving your home if they needed to go. Of course, they didn’t then. But now with about 10 minutes left, it is now or never for their tiny bladders, which is not having any of this by having whining rule for the whole entire final portion of your car ride. Even better is when you reach your destination and they actually make it to the bathroom to be told they no longer have to go. One of the many WTF moments, young kids’ parents can and will have for sure!
3. No more cranky, baby teething. Yet now after all those screaming, miserable teeth cutting nights, the Tooth fairy will be costing you more than chump change. Who came up with paying young kids with cold hard cash for each and every tooth they lose? I mean in reality, kids lose around 20 baby teeth. If for arguments sake, you pay your kid $5 a lost tooth for a total of $100, then even having been a math teacher I can clearly tell you this is seriously just a bad deal and a pretty bad common core math word problem, too. Just saying!
4. No more monthly doctor checkups, instead I find myself gracing the sick waiting area for all sorts of ailments that plague my kids, because of all the sickness inbreeding that takes place in school. See young kids never seem to remember to cover their mouthes when they sneeze, cough or possibly spread their germs daily to each other even after only being sick last week. It is like they catch illness amnesia once they start feel better. Can we say short memory, anyone!
5. Gone are the days of trying to coax the illusive burp out of your baby, but now we get told in no uncertain terms that they have just burped (in case we couldn’t hear it), as well as farts, for good measure. Nothing is sacred and young kids truly have no shame and truly find the humor in all sorts of bodily functions, such as being told, “I farted. Do you smell it? Do you want to smell it?” Yup, that gem is from my youngest, who actually takes sweet pleasure in giggling each and every time she tell me this. Again, young kids’ parents just couldn’t make this up, if we tried!
So remind me again, why finally making it past the baby years is the sweet spot of parenting??
This post was written for the One Word Blog Linkup that is hosted by Lisa of The Golden Spoons (who is off this week on vacation), Marcia of Blogitudes and yours truly, too.
The words for this week are: Sweet or Soon; Please feel free to linkup and join us this week.
[inlinkz_linkup id=528490 mode=1]
*A version of this article appeared with permission on The Huffington Post.
I don’t think I will ever consistently sleep through the night again BUT I’m so happy to have two 6 year-olds who will be in “full time” first grade come September. I absolutely love this age for so many reasons and I love the interaction that happens organically – even if it involves poop, fart and penis jokes 🙂
Allie, I am so with you on all levels, but still needed to find the humor here, too 😉
The running joke inour house was once our daughter could open the fridge and get a juice box by herself, we were finally over the baby hump! I was a much better mom to a toddler than a baby. The baby phase was stressful for me. But I do miss all those snuggles!
Melanie, I totally remember both my girls when the could first open the fridge and you are right a big symbol that the baby years are behind us indeed! 😉
Melanie Loveday Madamba says
Not sure if I’m there yet. I vote for self-sufficiency!
Confessions of A Mommyaholic says
I second that vote!!! 😉
Lisa @ The Golden Spoons says
Ha! Well, I now have an almost teenager, a 10 year old, and a 7 year old. Girl, the hormones in this house are something to contend with!! However, I would NEVER trade them in to go back to diapers, teething, and breastfeeding! 🙂
Lisa, not looking forward to all the hormones, but still I am with you and never want to go back as much as I loved my girls as babies, I still wouldn’t go back for anything! 😉
Robin (Masshole Mommy) says
My boys are 7 & 10, soon to be 8 & 11 and there is NO WAY I would ever want to start again. I am happy not having a baby.
I am with you 110% on this!!!
Jennifer Weedon Palazzo says
All very true. Thugh I’ve given up on the elusive burp.
Confessions of A Mommyaholic says
Me too, Jennifer!! 😉
Meredith Spidel says
Still searching my sweet spot–love this post!
Confessions of A Mommyaholic says
I know totally still in the search mode, too!! Thanks Meredith <3
This is so true! Definitely sweet parts post-baby stage! And I’m thankful for them all the time!
Thank you again Meredith and definitely trying to be thankful for all I can, too now 🙂
Diane Roark says
You crack me up!! I love how you related all the things we do not enjoy with babies to the how it can get worse. As they get to be teens, it gets even more difficult. You will continue to have a lot to right about for years.
Diane, I am so glad I am made you smile on this and again definitely not ready for the teen years yet here!! 😉
Jeannette Bellesfield says
My sweet spot is far off in a distant land but considering my baby is almost 3, it can stay there 😉
Confessions of A Mommyaholic says
I hear you on that, Jeannette!!! 😉
Confessions of A Mommyaholic says
Jeannine, then I am almost there, too 😉
Seana Turner says
I always felt that the elementary years were the sweet spot: my girls still had problems I could actually help with, they enjoyed family activities and there wasn’t conflict with friend social activity, and we got up and went to bed and fairly normal hours. Plus, my girls were in similar life stages, which made the household feel a bit “in order.” I also liked the clothing and school events at this age – adorable and fun!
Seana, I think you are onto something and am trying to enjoy all of these types of moments with my girls now, too 😉
Katherines Corner says
I have been an empty nest for so long, this post brought back some happy memories for me. Fortunately my daughter’s first year was a healthy one and filled with wonderful milestones. It was year two that was difficult. We lived in Puerto Rico and although she was healthy and happy, she had white hair and fair skin so everyone who saw her wanted to touch her head for luck. This became an internal panic every time. Germs, stranger danger, etc. When we moved to California she was mt little beach bunny. I was truly fortunate that she was such a healthy child.
Your girls are beauties just like their Mother, strong and happy xo
Aw, Katie I am glad you made it through that second year and still loved hearing about your daughter’s early childhood memories you have held onto. Thank you so much my sweet friend for sharing and for your kind words about my girls and me, too 😉 xoxo
Katherines Corner says
oops empty nester not empty nest LOL
Aw, Katie I adore you xoxo 😉
My big kid has lost eight baby teeth and four adult ones have grown in so far. He complained a lot with the last two coming in, but at least he had words to tell me what was bothering him. He also rarely sleeps soundly/well through the night. My toddler sleeps better (even when she was a newborn) than he does. Enjoyed your post and thank you for hosting today!
Angie, so happy to host again and I am truly glad you could also relate on some level with your kids, too 😉
Sarah Coulter-Gremley says
I’m (sorta) patiently waiting for this to happen! Lol
I understand. I loved the experience of parenting but honestly, Janine, I don’t miss it at all. LOL Have a great Wednesday, dear friend.
I hear you Bill and have a wonderful Wednesday, too now!!
James Oliver, Jr. (@jamesoliverjr) says
Our twins are now getting interested in potty training. I am looking forward to when they can just go to the bathroom on their own.
Don’t hate me for saying that even when they can they will still want and need you for this 😉
I feel like I’m in the sweet spot, and have been for awhile. Teenagers get a bad rap and it’s fun to joke, but they are on the whole much easier than babies. They won’t let me sniff their heads anymore though…
I think you are definitely in a sweet spot, but oh the tiny baby head smelling – you did bring me back on that one!! 🙂
Marcia @ Blogitudes says
I love that you mentioned the fascination kids have with public restrooms. 🙂 I wish I’d totaled up how many restrooms my sister’s youngest son visited when he was really young. LOL Never ever ever did we go anywhere with him that he didn’t want to go to the restroom there. As you said, this was despite 10 times (at least) of asking him if he needed to go before we left home. Nope. Soon as we’d get a meal in a restaurant or a movie would start or we’d be in the middle of shopping, he had to go. I think he’s seen nearly every public bathroom in our hometown. It’s funny to look back on now. Thanks very much for reminding me. 🙂
Love that I reminded you of this and you are so right Marcia, I think kids just love and need to visit any and all new bathrooms 😉
Now that I am many years past the baby stage, I can say that the baby years is a physically demanding time while the years I’m in now with 2 teens and 1 preteen, are emotionally demanding. It’s true what they say, “little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems.” However, it’s a different kind of exhaustion now — it’s still all good!
Emily, definitely find it interesting that at each stage it truly does bring its own set of issues, but still like you it is all good no matter how you slice and dice it at the end of the day.
Kelly L McKenzie says
Yup, right there with you. I love hanging out with my 14 month-old grand nephew. Handing him over to his mom or dad when he’s cranky, tired and beyond it? Priceless.
Kelly, I know and as awful as it sounds I am so glad that I can hand over any crying baby nowadays back to mom or dad as I got enough whining and crying that I can handle with the 4 year old right now, who seems to like to throw tantrums anytime she doesn’t get her way now!
Aunt Gloria says
I guess every phase of growing up has its good and bad moments! Eventually you’ll look back and the good memories will be the prevalent ones. The girls are at a very cute age and I know you are enjoying it. Love to all…..xxxxxooooo
Totally agree, Aunt Gloria and trying hard to hold onto all the good moments always!! xoxo 😉
Liz Mays says
When you break it all down, there really are some big changes after the first year. Loads more freedom!!!
Most definitely and does have its perks with all the freedom that comes with it!
Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom says
Ha! Yes! There’s always something, isn’t there?! I try to relish all the moments, even the not so good ones. I love my sleep though… that’s one side of parenting that drives me bonkers. Seven hours of uninterrupted sleep would be oh so divine!
Thanks for sharing.
I couldn’t agree more and would even be happy with six!!! Xoxo 😉
Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom says
This was so funny and relatable, I will be sharing it in tomorrow’s newsletter.
Thanks for sharing Janine! I hope you have a lovely weekend.
Aw, thank you and seriously cannot say that enough as I truly appreciate you sharing for me once again!! Have a wonderful weekend, too now 🙂
Chris Carter says
You nailed it girl!!! Now that the kids are done with school, this speaks to me even more!! There is NO sweet spot. None. Nada. Zilch. 😉
BUT- thank GOD parenting has more yummy goodness to fill in those new challenges in every season!
Chris, I love the way you put it though, too and couldn’t agree with you more! 😉
lisacng @ expandng.com says
I agree with it all! I especially won’t miss middle of the night feedings/wake-ups, them not being able to talk, and not having to carry around diapers/wipes anymore! I also love the post-baby years because at least they can watch TV for 30 min while I get something done!!
Lisa, I would love to watch 30 minutes of TV uninterrupted while not falling asleep either!
catherine gacad says
i know i should be treasuring each moment with my baby, but I cannot wait to get to the point where he is sleeping through the night! mama needs sleep!
I know exactly what you mean and I am so with you on sleep!!
Well hurray! I can certainly feel you here my friend. I used to dread public bathrooms.. good thing though that we never really had a terrible problem when Reiko was teething. It seemed like he handled it all too well. I can remember he only got feverish once and that’s it. Good little boy.
Aw, now I am jealous, because Emma was most definitely a bad teether. Lily was a bit better, but still teething was teething no fun here for any of us!!
Nicole Johnson says
I so agree about the tooth fairy, that really needs to calm down. I swear my kids yank teeth just to get money!
I seriously wouldn’t doubt it and sounds like something my kids would totally do, too!!
Jamie Douglas says
When they move out .
April G says
Butterfly is SO ready to be potty trained. I can’t wait until summer. I’m hoping it’ll be a short trip. By far, the most interested, the most often. I just want my sleep back. When I sleep enough I can make it through the rest.
Got my fingers crossed for Butterfly and so with you on sleep helping make it through the rest of my day, too!!
I’m starting to think more seriously about having baby #2 and it’s so hard to come to terms with the fact that I’m going to be willingly sleep-deprived all over again! And nursing and pumping, oy. Sometimes I feel like I’m spoiled right now. I have a toddler who sleeps through the night and has for awhile now, and my body is 100% my own. Granted, she’s very much a toddler, but thankfully for her she’s super frigging cute and it mostly makes up for her super toddler moments.
Bev, it is the cuteness that does win out each and every time here, too!!
OMG, your youngest and my oldest would have a blast laughing at fart jokes together! I can’t get past “Do you want to smell it?” Though, I do see a sweet spot to parenting young kids. It’s nice that they can entertain themselves for at least a little bit. And even when my girls start arguing with each other, I’m already saying “go work it out for yourselves”. Perhaps the sweet spot starts closer to 7 or 8…truly independent and not yet into hormonal tween/teens?
Leslie, I couldn’t love you more and gave me hope for 7 and 8 are nearly around the corner here now!! 😉
Charlene @Teacherbytrade-Motherbynature says
It’s true what they say..when you have another baby – you are quickly reminded of what they do when they are young – that itself should be a form of contraception tehehe!! When I had my son last year, I was quickly reminded of all the things you mentioned – especially the sleep…I LOVE MY SLEEP and I miss it…and ONE day I know I will get it back :)…my son is 14 months and I am loving this age – he is such a character, that said – I would love to have ONE more baby 🙂 (crazy?? yes!)
Charlene, that is what I missed the most with sleep, too!!
My children are all adults and I am still parenting…there are seasons and different challenges…but there is not sweet spot….parenting is for life. Thanks for sharing with the Thursday Blog Hop!
Thanks always Pam and happy to join once again!! 😉
My Inner Chick says
I’ve seen your face and name all over the place and had to come visit!!!
you are so popular.
My boys are older, but still haver their issues. For example, I can’t get them off their cell phones!
Kiss from MN.
Aw, thank you for visiting and honestly made me smile after the last few days here have been a bit rough with the end of the school year stress starting to kick up for us. Kisses right back at you!! 😉
hah! Well when you put it that way, maybe we already missed the sweet spot! I would gladly take those constant well-visits over having to take my kids even once or twice to the doctor during the winter. Yuck!
And no lost teeth here, but I may take out a loan to pay for it when it happens.
Tamara, may have to take that loan out with you, too!! 😉
Haha! This is great Janine! I haven’t slept in 13 years, seriously! I don’t know what will happen the first time I do sleep a solid 8 hours. Right now I feel like I could fall asleep on the floor of one of those nasty public bathrooms, I’m so tired!
Jen, I am so with you on this and might want to make some room for me on that floor!!!
this is awesome and so true…seems like we are impatiently waiting and hoping for the next stage our kids will get to thinking it will be easier. Sadly each stage has it’s own issues and dramas to deal with. But it’s nice to look back at the potty training, teething, diapers, night feedings and know they are GONE!!!!!!
Karen, I couldn’t agree more and sometimes just so nice to know that they are indeed, GONE!!!
Ginny Marie says
I love how my kids can make their own breakfast! It makes my morning less hectic.
I cannot wait for my girls to make their own breakfast! You gave me some hope 😉
Jenny @ Unremarkable Files says
Regarding #3: our tooth fairy hasn’t heard of inflation since 1950. Saves us a lot of money, and the kids are just excited to see money under their pillow.
Jenny, I need inflation not to find us either here!! 😉
Great post. My kids are 14 and 10 and I feel like I’ve been in the sweet spot for several years now. However, with the teen, I’m admittedly heading a bit out of that spot! He’s a great kid, but he is definitely doing a bit of pulling away these days, as they are supposed to do. It’s just not easy for mama! I am holding onto my 10-yr. old super tight these days b/c I know that I am on borrowed time for having anyone left in that sweet spot!
Thank you so much Miss Zippy and admit with two girls that I am truly not looking forward to the teen years now at all!
Alayna @AlaynasCreations says
I find myself thinking the same thing when I hear babies crying or toddlers throwing tantrums – I’m glad I’m past that stage! There are so many fun things about tiny babies and little ones, but now that both of mine are in the elementary school ages it’s amazing how much “easier” some things in life have become. The “soccer mom” phase may be busy, but it’s better than hours of colicky screaming for sure
I am totally a soccer mom to my oldest and you are so right, busy for sure, but still wouldn’t trade back to colic for anything!!
Kristi Campbell says
HAHA to the “I farted! Do you smell it? Do you want to smell it?” My son does the same thing! Ditto for when he poops. Ugh. Although sometimes I really miss baby-aged Tucker, it is in so many ways much easier and more fun now that he can play and sleep through the night (usually anyway).
Kristi, Tucker and Lily would be best of friends!! 😉
The Pinterested Parent says
I know we have spoken about this many times & I am sure will many times more, but I am right there with you. As you know my daughter was the exact same as an infant. I did not enjoy the infant stage. I literally cried for about 6 months straight & it was not from post pardum. It was just so hard, but there is definitely light at the end of that colicky tunnel. Now, I wish I could freeze it. I love this age & it definitely has its’ beauty. 🙂
I know sometimes, I totally wish I had magic to indeed freeze this time, because there is so much that is to love about it now!! 😉
Stephanie @ Life, Unexpectedly says
Ohhhh, Miss Lily let out a few good farts this evening, and giggled just the same.. Those girls are living, walking fart MACHINES, and Calvin is a FMiT (Fart Machine in Training) 🙂 Are you giving your kids $5 per tooth? Lily’s out of luck and “only” getting €1 per tooth, old school tooth fairy 🙂 Her friend gets real gifts, some of them pretty expensive, and has mentioned that to me. Well, I informed her that none of the tooth fairies ever found me, so she should be glad that there is a tooth fairy around for her, even if it’s only one of the €1 fairies 🙂
Stephanie, once again our Lily’s would get along famously. As for me he tooth fairy, there is no way mine are getting $5 each tooth either!! 😉
This was funny, clever and so much more to read. I totally understand what you are saying as I am in that baby/toddler phase now. For me so far, the baby phase for both of my kids hasn’t been so bad. I guess I’m not the “normal” parent since I do a lot of my own thing and don’t go about things the conventional way. So far, the toddler phase with JR has been the most difficult to deal with. He screams all the time for no apparent reason and he does things constantly right after you tell him not to. Dealing with that and now having a second one can be challenging to say the least. Brielle is a really good baby though. I don’t have too many gripes about her. It was the same with my son in the baby phase. 🙂 Looking forward to reaching the time you are in still though for sure. 🙂
Aw, hope you get here soon and definitely glad that Brielle is a good baby, too!! 😉
Julie S. says
Ha! Right Noe it feels like I will never get a full night’s sleep again. But yea I definitely see there will be challenges with every stage of the child’s development so there really isn’t a sweet spot but all the moments are sweet.
Definitely agree with you, Julie!!! 😉
Janine, I feel like every time I get “into” the sweet spot, another stage appears. Just like that! Just when I think I’ve got it, I’m slapped with the reality that I don’t have a clue. It’s a wicked roller coaster.
Allie, I think you summed up perfectly and couldn’t have said it better myself!!
Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama says
omg! YES! I can identify with ALL of this! The sleep, bad dreams, infinite glasses of water. whew! and the bathroom issues, my little guy is almost potty trained so we are dealing with the back and forth of finding bathrooms and constantly asking him if he needs to go! Fun mommy times lol
So glad it isn’t just me, Nellie!!! 😉
Rabia @TheLiebers says
I totally hear you on the sleep thing! The few occasions that my kids sleep through the night, the stupid cat wakes up up! Argh!!
Rabia, it is a dog here and feel you totally on this!!
haha Yes, the sweet spot of parenting…we always said if we could have a kid go straight from infant to about 5 years old we’d have had a troop, but alas we only had one. We are always telling our friends the best days are ahead, but it is hard to see through those tantrums when all you want to do is have a nice dinner out with your family! 😛
Kate, most definitely hard to see the forest for the trees and couldn’t agree more!! 😉
another jennifer says
I love the age of my boys now – 9 and 6. They are fun and pretty independent. They fight a lot – sibling stuff – but they also still cuddle on the couch together. I wish they would stay this age!
I know and definitely wish we could keep and hold onto this age a bit more, too 😉
Allie G smith says
Janine, Rich and I have done all those dates! How about this one – Naptime!
Allie, after the day I have had, a nap sounds amazing right now!! 😉