I went to the circus this weekend with my 2 girls. Sydney is 8, soon to be 9, and Jordan is 5. She will start kindergarten in just 3 weeks. Hard to believe, but in a matter of weeks, I will have 2 school-aged children! We had tickets through my job, so we were with a few other families that I didn’t know. Between these three young couples, there were 5 kids. All under the age of 3.
Now, my girls wear me out. They fuss, they sass, they talk back. They are far from perfect. But as I watched these families with these young children, I realized on my worst day with the girls at this point, I’m not nearly as drained as I remember being when they were babes. You chase after them. They can’t communicate with you. They throw temper tantrums and don’t understand your threats. It’s hard! And then one day, it’s not as hard. I don’t even know that you notice it when you make the shift. When they can get dressed themselves, walk alongside your grocery cart, graduate to a booster or no car seat at all, buckle their own seat belt. Their smallest steps towards independence free you up to not be so physically, even if you’re still mentally, fried! So to any of you single moms with toddlers or even babies, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s actually not that far away. Kindergarten and elementary school changes a lot in children.
Then after the circus, we were at Wal-Mart. The girls were doing what they do. And I was doing what I do – Keep your hands to yourself! Stay with me! No you can’t have that! Stop! And a mother and her teenage daughter walked by. It was almost like they were circling our craziness cause I saw them several times, but they were just walking, talking, almost like they were just two friends at Wal-Mart. They gave me hope. Again, I know there will be all kinds of mental or emotional things to manage with my teenagers, but the exhaustion that comes from constantly disciplining and fussing at your kids during those elementary years will likely be a thing of the past.
People always say, “You blink and your kindergartner is off to college.” This is only said by people with older children. Because when they’re young, one day can feel like a week. But I think as you progress through the stages, moving closer to that day when all your hard work gets put to the test and they start their own life, you really do start to feel that way. But when they’re young, sometimes you wish you could blink and be waving goodbye to that college student!I don’t blame you. Just keep looking forward, cause in some ways it really does get easier!