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  • Writer's pictureRachel Chin

The number one thing parents of littles need to hear

I was a new mom to a cranky infant that refused to sleep at night unless I was cradling him tight and pacing the floor with him. I couldn’t put him down in the crib. He wouldn’t last two seconds in the swing. I couldn’t even slow my stride to the point where I could slip into a standing/rocking position without him wailing angrily at me. No. I had to walk, and walk quickly. Nothing else would do. So I paced back and forth in my bedroom with him every night for weeks.


I was exhausted physically, emotionally, and mentally, and it felt never-ending.


A coworker overheard me lamenting my lack of sleep, and offered up this sage comment to add to my misery, “My kids are 4 and 6 years old, and I’m still up all night with them.”


Over the years, I heard dozens of variations of this comment from parents of older kids.


“Oh, you think it’s bad now? Just wait until they’re four / 10 / 18 [whatever age their kid is], it gets worse!”

Why do parents of older kids have this sadistic need to try to one-up the exhausted parents of littles?


Listen to me, all you wonderful, sleep-deprived, trying-your-hardest, forever second-guessing-yourself new mamas and new papas out there. The one true thing you need to hear is this:


“It gets better.”


Did you hear me?


It gets better. I promise you, it gets better.


The baby will one day sleep through the night, and you will too.


The infant you are fretting over will become the toddler you giggle with, the school kid you go trick-or-treating with, the pre-teen you argue with, the teenager you watch grown-up movies with.


Babies are hard. They’re around-the-clock incredibly demanding, and sleep deprivation adds a special extra torture for the parent. When you’re in the thick of it, please remind yourself, it will get better.


Every age feels like the hardest age to deal with because that’s the one you’re currently dealing with. I think that’s why parents of older kids make those crazy comments to parents of littles. They’re tainted by their current place in parenthood.

When you newbies hear their skewed opinions, try not to judge too harshly. Just remember it when you become them, and make sure your message to parents of littles is actually what they need to hear: “It gets better.”


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