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Kelli Nelson

Motherhood Doesn’t Get Easier, You Just Grow Stronger

Motherhood. Parenting. It doesn’t get easier as the years pass, but the good news is you do grow stronger as each goes by. At the same time, it doesn’t get harder either. It becomes filled with variations of the same.

It seems there’s quite a mom-debate brewing out there on this very subject and I find it rather silly to argue about when motherhood is easier or more difficult. As a general rule, I don’t get involved in this type of discussion, but since I’ve been asked numerous times recently to weigh in, here’s my take based on my own personal experience.

Raising my 4 year-old and recently graduated 17 year-old at the same time provides me with the advantage of real time comparisons. I can honestly tell you the difficult-to-answer questions don’t stop coming when your children get older nor do the hard-hitting problems cease to arise. Anxiety and frustration remain. And yes, the loss of sleep for many parents often lingers as well. Your concerns do not lessen — they just change a bit.

Just when you think you’ve conquered sleeping through the night with your toddler, night terrors and unplanned trips to the potty begin for your preschooler.

When you think you’ve conquered sleeping through the night once again, noisy pre-teens that refuse to sleep when you’d like them to happen. As do their I-forgot-it’s-due-tomorrow science projects. Then puberty arrives. And bullying issues surface.

Wait until your children become licensed teenage drivers. Until they come home from an evening out with friends, the house is just too quiet for sleep. Then, the what-if-momster takes advantage of the situation and rears her ugly head. What if he gets into a car accident? What if he drinks and drives? What if he’s getting a girl knocked up right at this moment?

With teens, you can count on daily arguments about everything just as you could count on your toddler’s insistence on requiring explanations for the gazillion “why’s” asked each day.

Back in early May, Holly Pavlika wrote on Momentum.com in her post titled I have been rejected from “motherhood” for the age of my kids:

The teenage years are challenging years for moms with drugs, alcohol, sex, and bullying and just plain growing up questions. Motherhood doesn’t get easier as the children grow up. Motherhood evolves and is just different.

Moms that don’t have teenagers yet frequently feel compelled to tell every other sleep-deprived mom they encounter that it will get easier. Hey, I get it. I’ve been there. I gave that same advice but now I know it was just wishful thinking. Believe me, in several years, these same moms, if being honest with themselves, will likely amend their pep talk just as I did.

Today I explained to my daughter where babies come from and yesterday I talked to my son about being involved responsibly with girls. See? A variation of the same. However, I must say, it is easier to put a 4 year-old in timeout for 4 minutes than it is to spend 40 minutes in an attempt to convince a 6’4” 17 year-old to hand over the car keys and go to his room.

I feel a bit guilty when I think back to my son’s early years and recall my complaining about the difficulties of having a younger child to friends with older children. Now I understand the secret eye-rolls I’d sometimes catch when seeking their sympathy.

Motherhood doesn’t get easier, but fortunately as our children grow, we grow stronger.

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Kelli Nelson is a writer and single mom living in the Midwest with her two children and their cavalier King Charles spaniel. She advocates for underprivileged children and women’s issues and is an active member of the Global Team of 200. Kelli has been named one of 10 Most Influential Mompreneurs of 2013 by VoiceBoks, The Voice of ...

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