Shouldn’t Parenting Get Easier

Newborns are helpless when you bring them home from the hospital.  We set Juliana in a bouncy sea and stared at her.  Now what? She was dependent on us for everything and we were scared that we would mess up. I didn’t realize that was this easy phase when all that mattered was food, sleep, dry diapers and lots of snuggles. The hard questions hadn’t even started.

She was 8 months old when we put her in a daycare program.  When I dropped her off on the first day she didn’t cry, but I did – all day long. I was aching to see her when work ended for the day and I was relieved to find her smiling and happy. She was happy there for 2 years until we made a decision to pull her out with no warning and move her to a new program where she didn’t know anyone. She didn’t understand why she couldn’t go to her old school and it took a while for her to adjust to the new environment. Being a parent includes making difficult decisions in the best interest of your children.  In this case we definitely made the right choice.

Juliana was 3 when the boys were born and that was a hard year. I knew that it would be a difficult adjustment, but I wasn’t prepared for how mad she would be at me and how long it would go on…sometimes I think she is still getting used to sharing me with her brothers. No matter how hard I work to make sure that she gets one-on-one time and special outings, it’s not enough for her.  Most mornings she asks if she can stay home with me “I need a mommy day” and she promises that she will be quiet so I can work…but I know that quiet for Juliana comes in short spurts followed by lots of chatter and requests and calls for attention. So I drop her off at her summer program and sometimes she is in tears when I leave.  Being a working mom is hard sometimes.

We were so happy the day that Juliana’s number was pulled in the lottery for the charter school we wanted.  That single moment changed a lot for us and I was so relieved.  We love everything about the school.  While touring the school, all I could think was I wish I would have gone to school here.  I think that the environment will allow Juliana to grow and learn and I am confident that it is a good fit. Juliana is less confident – “I don’t want to go to a new school.  I don’t have any friends there”. This concern might have worried me a few months ago, but recently she is easily making friends – in the neighborhood, at Kindergarten screening and at the park.  She is no longer too shy to talk to kids she doesn’t know.  She tells them her name and 2 minutes later they are busy playing.

The biggest remaining issue now is the bus. She tells me that the bus will be scary because she doesn’t have a friend to sit with and that concern is valid. I told her that she might be nervous for the first few days and she will quickly make friends and riding the bus to school will be no big deal.  Me – I am dreading that moment on the first day of school when the bus pulls up to the corner. How am I going to smile, wave and hold back the tears and convince her that everything is going to be allright?  What if I see tears running down her face as the bus pulls away? What if someone is mean to her? Shouldn’t I be there to keep her safe? I know that we are making the right decision, I know that she will thrive in her new school, I know that she is growing up and that means letting go a little bit more, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

9 comments to Shouldn’t Parenting Get Easier

  • Jim Force

    Your writing is so bright and vigorous. When can I expect to see a book from you?


  • 1. What a lovely picture of your lovely daughter.

    2. I don’t know that parenting gets easier, per se, it just changes. Kids become less what I call “chore based” (i.e. less about diapering, feeding, etc.) and more what I’ll call “decision” based. Where and how to school our children is fraught — and being a working mom sometimes utterly sucks, IMO. But maybe things will settle down, and you’ll see how J does, and it’ll be okay. And you will go through the same thing with the boys in a bit. 😉

    just kidding. Like I said, I just think things change, not necessarily get easier. HUGS!

    • Jennifer

      It’s so different with the boys because they always have each other. I didn’t shed a single tear when they started daycare and for each transition I know that they are going through it together.

  • Mom

    But as your Mom, I will be with you after that bus pulls off and let you cry on my shoulder. After all parenting doesn’t get easier, just changes for us all.

    • Jennifer

      But who is going to calm the crying toddlers who are devastated that they can’t get on the bus with her?

  • Your mom’s comment just made me tear up.

    I love Julia’s hair in that picture!

    It hasn’t been getting any easier over hear, either. Seems like I’m seeing previews of a moody teenager already with my 6 1/2 year old. Apparently we never let him do anything he wants to do and that’s just not fair. :-)

    • Jennifer

      I don’t even want to think about the teenage years…she is enough of a drama queen now.

  • I was lucky because the bus picked my kids up at the daycare, so they always had their friends with them. But she’ll do fine. She’ll have friends in a day & will love the bus. Also – that is a beautiful photo.

  • Gr. Grama Julie Oldach

    What a gorgeous picture of my little namesake. Her hair is lovely & so flattering. Jen, she’s growing up so fast, they do though. How quickly the day comes when you’ll be helping her pick out her wedding dress. How well I remember when i went with your mom. It was pretty traumatic. You’ve done such a good job with Juliana, she’s going to be fine, even better than fine. Love, Grama Julie