This is What You Need to Know About Life Right After the Baby Years

Lindsay Tennant

I absolutely LOVE watching my children grow up. I am one of those parents who looks back on the baby and toddler years and breathes a sigh of relief that they are now days past. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE BABIES!, but I really, really love watching my children get older.

I am writing this now from a soft play center. I am sitting here at the table with a nice cup of tea, and I know that my children will leave me in peace for the next 1.5 hours, until the place closes. They will run over and check in or ask for a drink, but then they will run off and play again. I see other parents with much younger children who have to follow their tiny toddlers around wherever they go, and I think to myself, “I AM SO GLAD THAT IS NOT ME.” Haha; the caps ARE necessary, because really—I am that happy about it.

My children are now six and eight. I feel like I have hit the holy grail of parenting here. They are both now able to have conversations with me about interesting topics, and this is just amazing for me. I mean, I always talked with my children; but now there is actual dialogue instead of me just nodding along to whatever they were babbling on about. I also LOVE that they can both read and write now. This makes everything so much easier, as when we go places they can entertain themselves by reading whatever they can get their hands on. This also leads to more interesting conversations, because we can discuss what they are reading (secondary school English teacher here!).

I think because I am a single mom with no real outside help, this independence is vital to my sanity. They are helpful now, because they can get themselves dressed, get me things I need, make simple food for themselves, and occasionally (very occasionally) help tidy up after themselves. Also, now that they are older they finally sleep all night in their own beds, which is just quite possibly the most important parenting milestone we have hit! It took my daughter five years to get to this point, and it has been so helpful for my health, both physically and mentally.

I was pretty attached to my children when they were babies, and I mean that literally. My son breastfed until he was three and my daughter until she was three and a half. I co-slept and I wore them both in a sling well into their toddler years. I do look back on that time of our lives fondly, but I embrace this space while they are growing up. We can connect in other ways now, and I don’t feel the immense pressure I did when they were small, to be with them all the time. This has allowed me to do things that are just for me, and to find myself as a person again—and not just as a mom.