Spoiler alert: Parenting doesn't get easier, but some things do get easier in time for new and challenging phases.
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Parenting can be one of the most gratifying and joyful experiences of a person's life.

It's also hard. Really hard. And when you're new at it, you may wonder, when does it get easier? Will I ever enjoy vacation again? Forget that—will I ever sleep again?

It doesn't help when people start with the whole "just wait" thing. You know, because there's misery lurking around every corner. While that's not necessarily the case, it's understandable that parents would want to know if there's relief lurking around at least one corner. One parent of two young children had some feelings. They took to Reddit to ask: When does parenting become less difficult?

"I know… it never becomes easy," began u/GreenTea58 in the Parenting subreddit. "But at what age did you find it became a little less difficult?"

The original poster (OP) went on to say their kids were 1 and 3 years old.

"I spend all day changing diapers, making food, cleaning messes, washing bottles and sippy cups, co-regulating emotions, stopping fighting, rocking to sleep, waking up two times in the night…it's seriously exhausting," the OP said.

Their feelings are valid. The early childhood years are rough. But is there a light at the end of the tunnel, and if so, when will the OP reach it? Nearly 500 Redditors chimed in, and the top commenter truly earned the honor.

"There are stages," the person said. Then, they listed them.

"It gets easier when they sleep through the night because you finally get to sleep again. Then, it gets harder when they begin walking and talking because they explore things and begin to challenge you," the person said.

The commenter went on to say that milestones like potty training and caring for themselves free up time for caregivers, making things "easier." At the same time, all of those pickups, extracurriculars, and puberty changes present new challenges.

It's even bittersweet when they can start driving themselves to their activities. "Whether they are with you or not, you worry. Then, it gets harder again when they try to break away from you—by disagreeing with everything you say or think just because they are trying to prove their independence," the person said, before finishing with, "Then, it gets perpetually easier as they actually do break away and become their own person."

The all-important caveat? "Results may vary," the commenter noted. "Parenting is just a roller coaster of hard things being replaced by other hard things, but you slowly work yourself out of the job. It certainly gets so much easier physically. At least this has been our experience."

Many Redditors applauded this commenter and echoed similar sentiments.

"The answer is never. It just changes with the age," wrote one.

And others gave some ages.

"I have a 5 and 3-year-old, and it's easier now—far easier," someone said.

"Around 4 to 10 or 11 seems to be [the] easiest time. After 11, it is a mixed bag. Teens strive for independence. Be careful after 11 [years] of age to help them learn that independence and not control it and the teen years will be better," another advised.

For what it's worth, parents said eight was the toughest year to parent in a 2020 poll. 8-year-olds may be stubborn and defiant as they try to flex their independence, making door slamming and eye-rolling common in many situations.

Of course, each stage will have its ups and downs. Wherever you're at, make sure you're hanging in there and practicing real self-care (which is more than pooping with the door closed).