While being a parent to young school-aged kids can be anything but predictable, it still can be a sweet reward for us parents who did our time during the baby years.
There are times when I am honestly overjoyed to be past the baby and toddler parenting phases -- especially when I am in the presence of a current parent with their screaming baby.
Don't get me wrong; I am sympathetic to their plight, as I have been there and done that. But I am still glad that is no longer me. Let's face it, though -- parenting during your baby's first year or so is tough.
For all these baby pitfalls, there are some amazing sweet parenting rewards just waiting for us parents around the corner once our children get a bit older.
The Five 'Sweet' Spots for Parents of Young Kids
1. No more all-nighters with an hysterical baby. Getting back to sleeping through the night again -- even if your kid does call out for you during the night because of a bad dream or asking for another glass of water, etc. -- is a big deal. I mean, just because they can sleep all night long doesn't mean they will. But now, they actually have a vast vocabulary to share why they are not sleeping instead of just screaming and crying about it.
2. The diaper and potty training days are long gone. They have been replaced with meals out getting interrupted by taking countless bathroom breaks. Young 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. Even better is when you reach your destination and they actually make it to the bathroom, only to tell you they no longer have to go. One of the many WTF moments young kids' parents can and will have, for sure!
3. Teething is a thing of the past. Yet, now, with all those screaming, miserable teeth-cutting nights in the past, the Tooth Fairy will be costing you more than chump change. Who came up with the idea of paying young kids in cold, hard cash for each and every tooth they lose? I mean in reality, kids lose around 20 baby teeth. If, for the sake of argument, you pay your kid $5 a lost tooth for a grand total of $100, then even having been a math teacher, I can clearly tell you this is seriously just a bad deal.
4. The days of monthly well checkups are over. No more monthly doctor check-ups. Instead, I find myself gracing the sick waiting area for all sorts of ailments that plague my kids because of all the germ-sharing that takes place in school. See, young kids never seem to remember to cover their mouthes when they sneeze or cough. Joy.
5. Gassy babies are finally comfortably numb.Gone are the days of trying to coax the illusive burp out of your baby. Now, we get told in no uncertain terms that they have just burped (in case we couldn't hear it) -- and farts are announced too, for good measure. Nothing is sacred, and young kids have no shame in finding the humor in all sorts of bodily functions. I've actually been 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. Just couldn't make this up if I tried!
So, remind me again why finally making it past the baby years is the sweet spot of parenting?
A version of this article was originally published on Confessions of A Mommyaholic.