Why “It Gets Easier” is the Biggest Parenting Lie Ever Told

Nothing in life fully prepares you for being a parent. Sure, there are things that can help the process along and make you more equipped to handle the little bundles of joy when they arrive; but until they get here, you just are not prepared for what follows. Honestly, I’m not sure we ever become fully prepared for the strains and joys of parenting…or anything in life for that matter. At times, it just all feels like one big crap shoot.

In the beginning, many people offer words of encouragement and advice, some appreciated, some not. Among the most common I’ve heard are three little words, “It gets easier.” I think I have even offered these words up a time or two myself.

Everybody knows how to raise children, except the people who have them. – P.J. O’Rourke

The thing about this little lie encouragement, is that it simply is not true. In fact, I’m starting to believe it’s quite possibly one of the biggest parenting lies ever told!

Whoever said this must not have had kids, got amnesia, or simply observed as someone else did all the work. And again, I have been the offerer of such falsehood and for that, I apologize. I’m not sure what I was really thinking when I said that.

It gets easier!???

Parenting is one big bowl of chaotic emotions. Every single feeling, all thrown into one heaping pile of opposition. You are likely to feel 1,000 different things, all within the first 10 minutes of a day. Fear, joy, pain, elation, pride, disappointment, anger, happiness, love, disgust, exhaustion, energy, confidence, doubt; the list goes on. Usually a second after one emotion hits, it’s direct opposite counterpart follows. I have felt things in the last 2 1/2 years of motherhood that I never knew existed; or if I did, I didn’t know it existed to that level.

There really are places in the heart you don’t even know exist until you love a child. – Anne Lamott

Now yes, there have been things that have become easier as time has gone on. But guess what happens? You trade those things for some new difficult thing you didn’t expect or prepare for.

We spend the first 12 months of our children’s lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next 12 months teaching them to sit down and shut up. – Phyllis Diller

As soon as I start thinking I’m getting this motherhood thing down pretty good, here comes a kink.

Now, I know those of you with older children are thinking, “Oh darling, you have NO IDEA!” And, I know. You’re right. I have no idea! Every day I realize how little of an idea I really have, and it’s just downright scary!

No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behavior, and I’m not talking about the kids. Their behavior is always normal. – Bill Cosby

It’s a good thing when babies first come out they are small, immobile, and the only noises they can make are cries and coos. If they entered the world as 2 year olds, the population would die out rapidly. Now don’t get me wrong. Motherhood is the number one greatest gift I’ve ever been given, and I am truly grateful every single day. My boys are my breath and my life. The older they get; however, I am starting to understand why people with older children or grown children would look at me like a hog looking at a wrist watch when I had twin 18 month olds and a newborn and smiled saying, “I’m not sure if I’m done. I’d like more but we’ll see how it goes.”

Slow down there horsefly!!!

What part of this growing children thing people say gets easier, I’m unsure. The older they get, the more work they are. They cost more money, they take more time, they speak more, they argue back, they start to have thoughts of their own, and they become more independent while still being dependent on you. While all of this is amazing, it comes with some difficulties and challenges that in my opinion, are much harder than the sleep deprived early days of motherhood.

Two and a half years in and I am still sleep deprived, so that hasn’t gotten easier. If the boys aren’t keeping me awake for some reason, I am. I can’t turn my brain off and the only time I can accomplish anything outside of the boys is between the hours of midnight and 6 am.

When your babies are babies, you look upon them with wonder and awe of the tiny angel you hold in your arms. As they get older, those moments are still very frequent; however, accompanying them are moments where you look upon them with wonder and awe, but this time in a brand new sort of way. It’s more fear-based and derived from confusion and perplexity of the things happening to your innocent little baby that you do not understand.

Remember when you couldn’t wait until they started speaking? Remember how hard you tried to teach them words? Remember how excited you were the first time you heard them say “mama?”

Yeah me too!

I still feel that way!..most of the time.

But some days when I’m trying to take a bath for the first time in 4 days and all 3 boys are piled in the bathroom with me because no one would nap and I had no other choice; they’re fighting over toys, pushing each other over, trying to wear (or eat) my clothes, one is grabbing at my boob with one hand while wiping all the shampoo and body wash onto the floor with the other, everyone is either screaming or crying, there’s been 3 timeouts within the last hour, I’m running on 4 hours of sleep for the 3rd day in a row, and I’ve had no minutes without someone needing something, touching me or back talking two year old style, I become overwhelmed and understand why people say, “Oh just wait!”

The strangest thing about this motherhood gig, is that even in those moments, I feel grateful. Even in those moments, I know I will miss these days. And in those moments of being so completely exhausted and overwhelmed and feeling like a fraud as a mother; I am simultaneously so filled with love I feel like I might explode.

Nothing about motherhood is easy.

Beautiful, yes. Easy, no. And I don’t think that changes as they get older.

I’m 29 today, and I know that everything from the 26 hours of labor to the 29 years that have followed, I’ve caused my parents some heartache. I know for sure that though some things may have gotten easier, many things got much harder. I’m still a lot of work and stress for my parents at almost 30 years old.

You’re never not a parent. No matter how old your babies get, they’ll always be your babies. While they grow, so will your fear. While they mature, so will your heart. While they distance themselves from you, your heart will still be in their hands. While they become adults, you will still see your baby. As you conquer one stage and move into the next; new fears, new problems, and new worries will arise. But so will new joys, new beauty, and new life.

A few weeks ago my grandma was here. She was watching my 55 year old father, her son, ride an ATV with no helmet and she stood there holding her breath as she said fearfully, “And he hasn’t even got his helmet on!”

The worry never stops.

Things don’t get easier. They become different, but not easier.

The strength of a mother’s love simply does not allow anything about it to be easy. In fact, motherhood, while absolutely beautiful, is quite possibly one of the most devastatingly painful experiences in existence.

“Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.”

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16 thoughts on “Why “It Gets Easier” is the Biggest Parenting Lie Ever Told

    • Oh thank you!!! Its amazing how on the bad days, I instantly feel guilty for being exhausted by it, and even on those days, there are so many amazingly beautiful moments, so I try hard to hold into those. I’m human though and I do get tired and moody haha. But I’ve just realized that as we get older, the world gets bigger and with that comes a lot of uncharted territory and scary, difficult things. But, living it all in the moment, one day at a time, with God in control, it can still be beautiful while it’s scary!

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  1. I struggled with PPD after my sons were born (not after my daughter), and I just in general struggled greatly with that ultra-exhausting newborn stage! Of course you are exhausted – you have 3 kids 2 and under!! But I always tell new moms, “It will get easier”, because it’s true! You’re just not there yet! My kids are 6, 4, and 3 now, and it does get harder in different ways (like having to be increasingly careful what you say around them, answering tough questions, etc), but physically it gets easier because they can start to do things for themselves (hallelujah!) and they should at some point all sleep through the night… 🙂 When I tell a new mom, “It will get easier”, that’s what I mean and that awful PPD and newborn stage is where I’m coming from. 🙂

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    • I’m sorry you struggled with ppd, that’s awful. I agree with you that it does get easier and I think when I’ve said it I mean it the same way. So many things are very much easier now especially with my twins. I actually love this stage most days. But if course, we all have our moments. I think I more mean emotionally it doesn’t get easier… physically I think it might, and has…but emotionally I believe many things get harder. Its all amazing in its own way and each stage has its own set of good things and bad things… but parenting is tough all around. Although it’s the most beautiful and amazing thing in existence. Thanks for your feedback and encouragement!

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  2. 1. I always want to ask those who say it gets easier, “define easier.” Well, there are things that better. Not everything is a choking hazard. You don’t have to babyproof everything. But the tantrums change. They go from screams to slammed doors.

    2. You can definitely take an emotional ride as a parent. I’ve tried to keep that in check, but once your kids regard you as emotional, it’s tough to shake the rep. I don’t mind, though. Yes, I have emotions that rise and fall. it makes me human, and the kids bring it out in me.

    3. Consider the kinks that you discover as your kids get older like levels opened in a video game. Oh, got that world down pat? Here’s a new one. With new pitfalls. You go from diapers to bad words to social media to driver’s ed to drinks at a college mixer that taste just like juice.

    There’s always a peril – and always an opportunity to do right.

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    • Love this Eli! Thank you! Number 3 is a Perfect way to describe it. Although my boys are all close in age, having two 2 1/2 year olds and a 10 month old I am able to see what has gotten easier since the baby stages, but then what is still hard with both, and the new things we enter each day. I truly love it all, even when it stretches me beyond anything I though possible. I think I’ll have an emotional reputation, but as you said, I’m ok with it because it makes me real and hopefully will teach my boys it’s ok to feel.
      Thank you so much! I loved your post and always appreciate your support and wisdom!

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  3. This is such a great post! It’s true, it doesn’t get easier. It changes all the time. So maybe better advice would be, “You’ll adjust. And when the time comes, you’ll adjust again.” Ha! Not the most encouraging…

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    • Haha…I agree.,that’s a much better way to put it! So true! Its all amazing in its own right and each stage has its beauty and flaws, but it is just a lifelong journey if adjusting and learning as we go! Thanks for your comment! ☺

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  4. Hi, Rachel – came over from Eli’s. What a great post – so true! I will never forget the first day I dropped my baby daughter at daycare when I returned to work. As I passed through the door crying my eyes out, another mom said “It gets easier.” She lied. It never did. We’re all fine and well-adjusted and all, but gosh I could keep her next to me all day every day if it were practical! (Of course, when I DO have the all-day for several days, we drive each other crazy and can’t wait for school to start again! LOL. It’s all part of the cycle, I guess.
    I think certain things do get easier – like not having to get up in the middle of the night to change diapers is easier. But on the flip side of that, eventually you end up awake all night wondering if they’re safe off at college or whatever. It’s all relative.
    Loved the post – look forward to reading more!

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    • Thank you so much Lisa, and I’m so glad you found me through Eli. I completely agree…it’s all relative. Such a good way to put it. We trade in the pain of dropping them,off at day care for the pain of dropping them at college…changing diapers to changing schools, growing out of tantrums and into teenage mood swings. Its all a growing and learning experience for them and for us, but I agree…easier is not the word to describe it. I look forward to reading some of your stuff as well… Thanks again for the encouragement and beautiful comment.

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  5. I agree that every new age brings a new challenge. In my husband’s family, there’s a saying: the bigger the child, the bigger the problems. I do find, though, that around 4 or 5 things calm down somewhat. My daughter (who’s 5) is more dramatic, but I can deal with the emotional exhaustion more easily than the physical exhaustion my 1-year-old doles out. I’m sure when she hits 12 it will be another story!

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    • Haha yes I agree… I do think there are so many things that definitely get easier…but emotionally and financially it’s harder haha. But still, all amazing in its own right and each stage has its own set of beauty and ugly. Gotta love it all because it strengthens and grows us all along the way!

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