When they're a little older, I used to tell myself, it will be easier. I won't need to bring a diaper bag with me everywhere I go. I won't need to worry about a hungry baby and schedule everything around feeding and nap times.
When they're a little older, they will be able to use their words. I will be able to explain that it isn't okay to scream in the supermarket or throw a sock out a car window. They will be older, so they will understand.
I used to tell myself that as soon as this phase is over, things will settle down, life will be easier, calmer, more peaceful.
I told myself a heap of lies.
The thing about motherhood that nobody ever tells you is that it never gets easier.
Sure, you might not have to tote a heavy bag full of wipes, powders, lotions, toys, changes of clothes and diapers around with you all of the time, but there will still be stuff. If you saw the third row seat in my car right now, you would know what kind of stuff I am talking about, you most likely have it too.
By the time kids are out of the baby phase, you don't have to tell them not to scream in public . . . much. And if you are still reminding them of this when they are eleven than either they are having a really bad day, or it is time for you to get the number of a good therapist. I kid.
I remember with my daughter, I thought as soon as her colicky phase was over, she'd calm down. I was so wrong. Not only did she not calm down (ever!) her temper only grew. I was left perplexed, thinking that this should be getting easier, that I should be more adept at handling the moods of young people. I mean, I did go through this with her brothers, right? Wrong, this child was a whole new breed, that of a feisty little girl.
I thought that as soon as the boys entered school, things would be easier at home. I imagined myself lounging around after going to yoga class every morning, a cup of tea in hand and Norah Jones on the stereo . . . imagine my surprise when that little fantasy never materialized! Instead of enjoying relaxing mornings at home, I was busy volunteering in classrooms and co-ordinating various other activities for them. I barely would get done doing their laundry before they'd be bouncing in the front door, ready to tell me about their school day.
Never mind that during all of this, I was taking care of their stubborn sister and trying to keep her entertained while I attended to all of my other parental duties.
Soccer practice, taekwondo, baseball, sleepovers, permission slips, band aids, bikes, camps, homework, field trips. It never gets easier. Never ceases to be busy, like I thought it would.
And guess what? I'm okay with that.
Although during my first few years of motherhood the only way of dealing with the incredible changes in my life was to tell myself that one day it would be easier, I'm at that place now where it just doesn't matter anymore. It's a busy job, it's a hard job and it's the single most rewarding thing I will ever do. It's my job.
Sometimes I want to crawl into the closet, turn the light off and tune it all out, but I don't. Sometimes I want to walk out the front door and never come back, but I don't to that either. All I have to do is look at the faces of those children, my children, and see just how important this job, parenting, is.
As the years progress, I expect that things won't get easier. They might get better, they might even get worse, they might even get amazing. I am ready for whatever they will bring, I am done telling myself that it'll get easier, done lying, done pretending that one day a rainbow of unicorns and fairies will swoop down on my life and make it look like something in a movie.
For parenthood isn't easy, isn't a walk in the park, isn't a Johnson & Johnson ad for baby shampoo.
It's a whole lot more.