I have been told by a friend that things get easier. As the kids get older, things will be easier. Time will be easier, days will be easier. I have awaited this foretold lore with bated breath. I believe I am on the cusp.
I have always relied on the method of corralling when it comes to being the parent of two toddlers. When the kids start acting like a couple of feral cats. When they are running around with reckless abandon. That will, 100% of the time, end in someone needing an ice pack. When they pervade our main level living quarters with the tactical presence of Seal Team 6. Well, that’s when I have no other option. The corralling requires my direct and active participation to tamper the situation.
A table strewn with brand new play doh their little eyes have never seen. The allure of markers is also captivating (some) of the time. A bath, a game, tablets (don’t judge me), cooking, playing in their room, magnatiles, exploring buckets of toys we haven’t looked at in awhile and literally anything else I can think up when we are in the absolute thick of it.
These times of chaos are shifting. In the slightest of ways I see it. It is bittersweet. The need for less and less corralling. I first noticed it a few months ago. My kids were in a room playing, quietly, and I wasn’t in there with them. I wasn’t in the doorway watching. I wasn’t on the floor helping. I was in the other room, sitting on the edge of my seat, eyes wide, mouthing the words “are they playing?!?” to my husband. I didn’t move. Scared that any sound made would elicit a request from the other room. I took it all in.
I’ve been told that I am a “helicopter parent.” I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hurtful. But these kids we have, are only kids for so long. And even though some days are hard. So hard that at the end of the day, when they’ve finally exhausted themselves into a near comatose state; you exhale. And that exhale is so deep with so many levels that you wonder if perhaps you’ve gone the entire day without exhaling all the way out.
Their quiet playing only lasted a few minutes but there it was. The “easier” that I was told about. They didn’t need corralling. They didn’t need me. Right then, in that moment. They had themselves and each other and it was enough. There is going to come a day when they don’t say “momma, come play with me.” When they say instead “I’m going to play with friends.” or *gasps* “I don’t need you right now.” And it seems like I’ll need to start preparing for it now.