Sunday, July 23, 2017

Dear Parents of Little Ones

Dear Parents of Little Ones,

I had heard about parents being able to sleep in until 8:00 AM but never imagined our energetic and loud early risers would ever let us. Let me tell you, we are here now and it is amazing! You are probably happy if you get four hours in a row, or maybe being able to sleep until 6 AM, but let me tell you, your time will come.

Siblings walking in Sooke

Having kids ages 5-11 is such a sweet spot. They still spend a lot of time at home with us as they can't get to their friends houses easily, have limited sports involvement and no jobs. However, other than larger meals and more laundry, there isn't a lot of of  physical work involved. No more listening for "Mom! I pooped, wipe my bum!" or "I can't turn on the tap" or "Can you get me a snack?" They can do it themselves. They can shower themselves (although you may want to do a smell check to make sure they actually washed their hair and body. Ahem). You start to forget just how much work it was to potty train.

No longer do we leave the house and do the mental checklist of diapers, wipes, bottles and spare clothes. No diapers bag are needed in this home. We have certain things in our van at all times like Benadryl, wipes, sunscreen and snacks, but other than that, what do we actually need?

If someone sends us a party or BBQ invitation we don't have to let the thought cross our minds about whether it's during nap time and how we can swing it. We don't have to worry about leaving by 6 PM so that we can start our bedtime routine and get the kids to bed by 7 PM. There is this wonderful stage of FLEXIBILITY.

On weekends we can lay in bed in the morning and sleep in while the kids watch TV quietly, get their cereal, and magically have decent behaviour with one another until we emerge from our bedroom. It helps that one of our kids enjoys sleeping in as well. Yes, one or more of your kids may enjoy staying in bed past 6 AM!

We can walk long distances and don't have to worry about carriers or strollers. On those walks we can have real talks other than "My third favourite colour is..."; we discuss friendships and character and future plans. Don't get me wrong, they still go on and on about what they are passionate about but it's starting to get a lot more interesting than all of the different My Little Ponies and Pokemon characters. 

We can ask them for their input on a lot of our decisions from where they would like to eat to where they would like to travel to next. They are still cool with travelling with their family (I was "too cool" when I was 12) and can put in longer distances. Oh, talking about travel, did I mention that YOU WILL BE ABLE TO SIT AND READ A BOOK AND DRINK A HOT COFFEE. I'm serious. You can read. A book. 

Now, don't get me wrong. Parenting is not a breeze at this point. Concerns for their well-being shift from "Are they pooping enough? Do they have manners? Are they sleeping enough?" to "Are they kind? Who are the major influences in their lives? Do they exhibit self-control?" We still have to put in quite a bit of work with self-regulation and I'm sure hormones are going to bring a lot of "interesting" things to deal with but it's nice to be able to focus on something different with each stage.

So to those of you that are in a stage that seems never-ending, do not fear, it does end and you move on to the next one; remember that every child's needs and abilities are different so it won't all happen at the same time. They will wear underwear. They will shower themselves. They will get their own snacks. You will sleep in – that one is my favourite.

What do you love about your kids becoming more independent?


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  1. Oh man! You hit the nail on the head...wake ups at 5:30 am, mental check-lists of things to pack when we leave the house, planning life around naps/bedtimes and not enough reading time....I am glad this will eventually pass! I am a little bit jealous of you right now:)

    1. Oh Mandeep! You've got this!! Your time will come and it will be sooooo lovely. Hope you are doing well. I miss you.

  2. Haha, I loved reading this! We are in the thick of it.. lots of mental checklists and being concerned about poop :)

    1. I'll be honest, I still do a poop "check in" once in a while to make sure no ones constipated ;)

  3. Olivia is turning 2 next month and I'm already noticing a huge difference in our day-to-day life. Our first day of summer break I actually sat and read my book for 30 minutes while they all played! That was the first time I had been able to do that for as long as I can remember, and it was wonderful. I look forward to the next few years as they all get more independent!

    1. Yahoo! That is awesome. Your oldest are pretty responsible right? That really helps!

  4. SO well said! OUr kids have generally slept well since age 2 but still - life with littles is HARD WORK! We are in the sweet spot of parenting where they listen/obey and respect/love us but are so capable and independent. IT IS THE BEST. Everyone tells me preteens/teens are awesome too, so I'm hopeful ;)