Parents of babies and toddlers - THIS is what you can look forward to

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied 

Right now you might be in the trenches with babies and toddlers and although I can't say it gets easier, it does change for the better in a number ways.

While I still long for the days I could hold my babies in my arms and rock them to sleep, I don't miss the isolation, the relentlessness of crying babies, the demands of 'threenagers' and the endless nappy changes.

It's really hands-on work in the early years and, in that regard, life does change for the better. As your kids older, you're faced with a whole new set of challenges, but you do get a little more freedom.

Here are 10 things to look forward to when your kids get older:

1. They can put their own seatbelts on

You can say goodbye to taking half an hour just getting everyone in the car. They can now walk to the car (which also means no prams) and travel without a car seat, making daily life a whole lot easier. And if you go on a holiday you don't have to lug car seats and prams through the airport.

2. They can go to the toilet alone (and so can you)

Imagine no more nappy changes and no more toilet training. Your child will simply go to the toilet when they need to. They will also stop following you into the loo when you go to do your business.

You can also kiss goodbye to bath time. Your kids will take showers alone and dry themselves. It's a revelation. You might have to scream at them to do so, but they will… eventually.

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3. They sleep through the night

I write this hesitantly because while most of the time they will go to bed when you ask and sleep soundly, there will be nights they still toss and turn and end up in your bed. But, mostly, they will go to bed without too much hassle and you won't need to rock them to sleep, or get up fifteen times during the night. You won't feel like a zombie anymore and you might even get the occasional sleep-in.

4. They can get their own food

This doesn't mean they will always make the best choices, but they can make a sandwich or get a drink or get up in the morning and pour themselves cereal. If you're lucky, they'll even make you a cup of tea. Believe me, that's a great moment in your parenting journey.

5.  They can help with the cleaning

You might have to bribe them or give them cash, but they will help with the cleaning. Dishes, rooms, washing and shopping – all boring household chores that your kids will finally help you with so you don't have to do it all on your own.

6. They understand when you've had a hard day

One of the hardest parts about parenting little babies and toddlers is they don't understand when you're sad or you've had a crappy day. Older kids will ask how you are and they'll step-up when you need it most. They'll also give great hugs when you need them.

7. They can express their emotions (and opinions)

Toddlers can be really frustrating because without knowing the words or without understanding emotions, they just scream at you and throw themselves on the floor having tantrums. Older kids will actually tell you what's on their mind and you can work through problems together. They'll also give their opinions on all of the things, which is both insightful and at times a little annoying.

8. They don't have tantrums in the supermarket

They might scream at you or ignore you or slam their door, but they won't roll around the floor at the supermarket screeching. They aren't that interested in getting everything and will listen to reason if you won't buy them a chocolate bar. You also won't have to deal with judgey looks of other shoppers again.

9. They can tell you what's wrong

When they're sick they can tell what's going on. You no longer have to cry out of guilt when your baby is unwell and you feel like a bad parent because you don't know how to help. Older kids can tell you immediately where it hurts, when it started hurting and how serious it feels. It makes it all a little less scary.

10. They are amazing company

While toddlers and babies are adorable in every way, when your kids get older they become great company. You don't feel so isolated and alone as a parent. You feel surrounded by people who genuinely love you. They make you laugh, challenge you and look out for you. It's awesome.