Thursday, January 5, 2012

Which Is Harder? Raising Babies or Raising Teenagers?

I remember when my kid were babies. It was a demanding job, raising little ones -- breastfeeding, diaper changes, sleepless nights, teething, making sure the house was child-proofed and the diaper bag was packed at all times. We had our four kids fairly close together, so there were times that we had more than one in diapers and more than one in a car seat. Heck, there was even a very short time that we had two in diapers and one in Pull-Ups. But, all in all, when I think back to that stage of our lives, I just don't recall it as being hard. We were blessed with good babies. They all took to nursing very easily (although three of them wouldn't take a bottle for anything), they didn't have any particular bouts of colic or fussiness that was out of the ordinary. They were healthy and happy. By the time we got to our third and fourth kids, we pretty much had things figured out. I must confess that sometimes when I would see parents who had only one or two babies complaining about how hard it was, I just had to laugh.

Now, we have teenagers (and a pre-teen). They are ages 18, 15, 13, and 11. While things are certainly a lot easier in the actual physical care we have to provide for them, there are many aspects that seem so much more difficult. Having them grow up and start to go out into the world on their own is way more scary to me than a bad case of diaper rash or a crying baby. Teaching them to drive and then sending them out in a car without you is terrifying. Seeing boys ogle your teenage daughter will probably piss you off. Watching your high school graduate feel lost and confused as he tries to decide a path for his future will tear you up inside. Letting them make mistakes that they can learn from is heart-wrenching , but sometimes necessary.

And, there's another aspect of difficulty in raising teenagers. Sometimes, they might sass you or defy you, or even say mean, ugly things to you. They might hurt your feelings so bad that you will be convinced that you don't like them anymore. Thankfully, in our house at least, these kind of things are few and far between and forgiveness is given easily.

So, I guess the point I'm making is that raising children is just plain hard, no matter what age or stage. But, it's also a source of tremendous joy and a blessing that I wouldn't want to be without. I consider giving birth to and raising four children my greatest life accomplishment. I may not always be good at it or always do the right thing, but we are a part of each other and I'm grateful to be their mom.



Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

I swear their teenage heartaches hurt me more than my own did at that age. It is a rough gig, but they're totally worth it!

Clairity said...

So true. Raising mine have taught me so many things I didn't know before. It's not always easy with teens but it's something I wouldn't miss for the world. Great post!

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