You made it through the baby years, which seemed like a never-ending onslaught of late night feedings, teething, diaper blowouts and colic. Then, against all odds, you also managed to usher your kids successfully through toddler tantrums and potty training. Now, you’ve made it to the next level: a house full of school-agers! Congratulations!
Yet when we realize our youngest child is ready for kindergarten (wasn’t she in diapers just yesterday?), we can’t help but feel a twinge of sadness. For many parents, this is the first time there isn’t another little one toddling up the ranks, babbling on our hip, waiting for their turn while we pat them lovingly on the head, saying “one day.”
At some point, you realize you can’t keep making fresh new babies, and with a heavy heart, you say goodbye to the baby phase for good.
But never fear, because there’s lots of great stuff coming! In fact, your life as a Big Kid Parent is about to improve tremendously.
13 reasons to be happy your babies have graduated to big kids:
1) Bedtime stories are better. Finally, all your children are interested in books without cardboard pages! And nobody is asking you to read Goodnight Moon over and over again. There’s actual plot lines that even grown-ups can appreciate!
2) You can give them real chores. Remember when letting your kids “help” meant cleaning up the mess their “help” created, and then secretly redoing all the things they “helped” with? Well good news — they can actually fold their own laundry now! And sweep things into a pile without playing in it! With great age comes great responsibility, and now you can make sure that responsibility includes some of the cleaning you hate to do.
3) They’re slightly more reasonable. I’m not saying everything kids over age 5 do will make sense, but they do understand logic. Usually. It’s nice when all the children can be told to stay right next to you in the parking lot without one of them jetting off into traffic or asking “Why?” 287 times.
4) No one’s napping anymore. That might not sound so great at first, but at least you can stop scheduling your entire day around the fact that someone needs to be tucked in at 2 p.m.
5) Bye-bye bulky backward-facing car seats! Okay, you probably still have a forward-facing seat wedged into the backseat somewhere, but your kids are mostly ready for simpler, streamlined boosters. The end to your daily battles with a 5-point harness are in sight!
6) Caillou is officially dead to you. Ditto: Barney, Dora, The Wiggles, the nightmare that is Yo Gabba Gabba and every other insipid preschool TV show you’ve been waiting to banish from your home since your first child discovered the TV remote.
7) You can spend time with all of them equally now. As cute as babies are, let’s face it — they’re a huge time suck. As if moms don’t have enough guilt, we spend a lot of time apologetically shooing older kids away because we’re feeding the baby, we’re trying to put the baby to sleep, we’re trying to stop the baby from crying and OMG I JUST GOT THE BABY DOWN, GIVE ME SOME SPACE. Now that your youngest is a big kid, you can take some time to bond with your older kids again, or at least make sure they still live there.
8) You can be a morning mom-zombie. Finally you have an excuse to remain only half conscious until you can faceplant into some coffee! With all your kids aged 5+, you’ve hit the sweet spot when they can be (mostly) trusted to make their own breakfast, provided you don’t mind wading through trampled cereal bits to sop a pool of milk off the counter later that day.
9) Date night. You remember leaving the house, don’t you? It’s pretty special that first time you head for the door and none of your little ones are dangling off your ankle in the throes of separation anxiety.
10) You can step up your wardrobe. For starters, you can get rid of all your maternity clothes. Immediately if not sooner. Except for those tank tops, obviously, because those are comfy. And maybe one pair of stretchy jeans to wear on Thanksgiving. Otherwise, feel free to wear dry clean only clothes now since spit-up is a thing of the past and your kids all know better than to wipe their snot on your shoulder. I hope.
11) You can free up some closet space. I know your youngest has been potty trained for a while now, but I also know you’ve been hoarding a few size 6 diapers in the hall closet just in case. Time to reclaim that storage space! Ditto for the baby food machine in the kitchen, the bath toys in the tub and the jumperoo in the playroom. Speaking of the playroom— ever thought about redecorating so you can start calling that the den?
12) They’re better travel buddies. Older kids can entertain themselves on long car trips. They can chew gum on a plane to pop their ears without needing a new piece every 5 minutes because they keep swallowing it. They’re not terrified of the shower in the hotel room, so they might actually get clean while you’re away from home. Also? They totally appreciate an island resort and don’t meltdown in the middle of the day when they miss their nap. Get ready to enjoy vacations again!
13) You might eventually get some you-time. After age 5, their attention span is longer, and they can even entertain themselves for short spurts of time — almost long enough for you to sneak into the bathroom alone. And if not? Hey, at least you’re guaranteed they’ll all be out of the house at school for a few hours a day.
This post was written by Robyn Welling. To read more from Robyn, visit Hollow Tree Ventures.
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