It started when my first born was a baby,”It gets easier,” they would say to me. I heard it all the time, and I kept waiting for it. When Turbo was 11 months old, I found out that I was pregnant with the Toolman, and I kept hearing it from other moms; I trusted them. They lied.
By the time the Toolman was born, I had gone from delightful fantasies of siblings who would play together and grow up with a best friend just across the bedroom, to terror imagining that my boys would be exactly the same and I wouldn’t be able to cope with motherhood. You see, Turbo tested me constantly; he tried to run into traffic regularly, climbed anything that could crush him with the confidence of a trained rock-climbing champion, and even escaped Sunday school 3 times in one Sunday.
I knew I couldn’t parent two kids like that at once. They would have me outnumbered, outgunned, and I would go down in flames. I trusted God, though, and I kept hearing that it would get easier. The horrible pregnancy pains wouldn’t last forever, nursing would be easier the second time around, second births are easier, we would have everything we needed for a second child because we still had baby stuff at home. Everything was going to be easier, amazing, like waking up to a hot cup of coffee from Dutch Bros, a sparkling clean house that I didn’t have to clean, and a brand new wardrobe that wasn’t covered in spit up and stretched out from breastfeeding.
Yeah. That didn’t happen.
Instead, I had to learn how to grocery shop with two kids 2 and under, how to pull a climbing toddler off the back of the sofa with one hand while holding the baby in the other arm because he wanted to breastfeed. I learned how to push a double stroller with one hand through Costco, perfectly balanced with groceries, two boxes of bulk diapers, wipes, and a little boy who wanted to have every sample in sight and who would scream when he didn’t get his way. It wasn’t his fault; every two year old I’ve ever met is prone to this type of thing. It wasn’t easier, though.
Then, I started hearing that it would get easier when my oldest was 5. Like God made 5 “the” number that would make everything better. 5 came and went, and I had another baby, our sweet girl. When she was two or three weeks old, my youngest boy decided to potty train. Cue butt wiping and all day visits to the bathroom while nursing an infant and trying to keep my eyes open. Even the number 5 couldn’t tackle that mess.
It never got easier, it just changed. I’ve gotten better at some things, and I still suck at some things. I still get frazzled when I pull an all-day shopping trip with my four kids and at least one or two people say something that makes me want to snap…but I don’t. (I used to always say that was so un-Christian of me. Now, I think that it is actually the little bit of the Holy Spirit that lives somewhere in me that keeps me from snapping. We all think things, get stressed, or dislike people…it’s how we respond that matters. ) I can make a mean biscuit, teach a child how to read, and clean almost anything out of carpet; those things are easier.
I want people to stop saying that it gets easier. I don’t think God ever intended for our lives to be cushy. Our whole existence is not to be based on chasing comfort. Whatever he has planned for me, I’m pretty sure it’s not to be un-challenged, comfy, getting everything handed to me like I’m the queen of all the land. And it doesn’t get easier. Carrying a baby all day actually gets harder over time because they get bigger. Feeding 4 kids is harder than feeding 1 kid because my money does not grow on trees in my backyard. Doctor’s visits, shopping, schooling, vacations, everything gets more complex as your kids grow in size and in number.
I’ve finally let go of the fantasy that I will wake up and it will be easier. It won’t be. It will just be different. I’m okay with that; I like a challenge, and I love my kids with everything I’ve got. I wouldn’t change a moment of the hard stuff, but you know what I’d rather hear?
You’ve got this. God has got this. It is hard, but it is worth it. Never give up trying to do what is right, good, and true because it is worth it.
Can I help you?
**This post originally appeared on BlogHer in May 2015.**