Baby stage vs. toddler stage – which is easier?
I often get the question, especially from new mums, asking what it is like for me to be a mum compared to the beginning.
Well, to be totally honest, nothing in this world compares to the nightmare you go through at the beginning.
When I became a mum, I could not understand other mums when they said that it is all worth it.
What on earth can be worth this torture? I used to think.
However, today I totally understand.
As I mentioned a million times before, becoming a mum is a shock. Your life changes from one day to another and suddenly you hold in your arms a crying baby who totally depends on you.
It is like as if someone locked you with an elephant in a room and threw the keys away (assuming you have zero knowledge about elephants). I am sure you agree that this would be a massive load for any kind of living being. However, as your baby grows, as your maternal love starts to develop, as your baby starts to make progress, as you bond with them, when they give you their first real smile (not gas :)) … your feelings and priorities start slowly and naturally change as well.
I used to think that I as a mum would need to change my priorities in my head from day one, but don’t worry, this is not how it works. Your priorities change over time naturally and in the background of your love that develops simultaneously. They change with your heart rather than your head. And before you know it, you won’t be able to even imagine your life without your children in it.
The reason you cannot imagine it during the first few weeks is that as a new mother you have minimal to completely no foundation to build on. Of course, you cannot understand some of the comments/statements from more experienced mums. Of course, you cannot understand when they say it is worth the pain. How could you?
However, as time goes by you gradually reveal different layers of experience on which you slowly build a solid foundation for a brand new, magnificent world. To me, early motherhood was the worst nightmare I can only imagine.
Today my boys are two years old and I would die for them. It is not because it is easy. It is because my love for them has now developed and settled. Because we bonded. Because I know them now. Because we have been through so much. Because they make me laugh. Because they teach me new things every single day. Because they show me what really matters in life. And last but not least, because now they sleep through the night ;).
I have recently come across an amazing post written by Angela Jansen that says about life-changing self-care tips for new mums. I know there are plenty of similar posts out there, but this one really speaks from my heart as it highlights the importance of new mothers looking after themselves as well as after their relationship.
Trust me, this is a step on your motherhood journey which is more important than it seems. If you don’t lose yourself in your new life circumstances, your bond and love for your children will just add up to what you already have rather than replace it.
So if someone asks me what it is like to be a mum nowadays compared to the beginning, I cannot give a simple answer. Yes, objectively it might be harder in many things as the boys are heavier, stronger and much more demanding that they were as newborns. It is harder to watch them. It is harder to change their nappy. It is harder to keep them still. It is harder to go out for a walk. It is harder to put them in the car. It is harder to get them dressed.
And yet it is so much easier. Trust me, once motherly love is fully developed, there is nothing in this world you cannot handle. Just remember how you felt when you were in love. As if you had no problems at all. Being a mum, after you fully adapt to the new situation feels just the same. It can be literally compared to the state of being constantly in love.
All of the above brings me to the conclusion that a simple answer to the question if the later stages of motherhood compared to the early stages, does not exist. It is a complexity of many different factors. However, if I had to offer my personal opinion I would probably say it is easier. As even if my kids drive me crazy sometimes, I am happier than I ever was.