Are you struggling with not getting enough sleep at night? You might have a baby.
Are you 10 seconds away from buzzing your head and pulling a full-on Brittany? You definitely have a toddler. Or both.
But what stage of life is harder for parents?
My daughter was born a perfect quiet, little angel. She was the perfect little sleeper, and it was great. Life was great. She was happy and loved being around people (still does).
That’s how she was born- yes, however, as the days go on and on, she’s starting to show her personality. And it’s beautiful to see, but it can also be frustrating. Her favorite word is “nuh-uh” (meaning no) and I think she says it around 80 times a day.
She LOVES to refuse food and starve herself- you know how they say “They’ll eat when their hungry?” Well, if that’s the case then my daughter is never hungry (although I will admit that she has gotten much better about eating, Phew!).
In my opinion, I think that the toddler stage is hard, yes. VERY HARD. However, I think when my daughter was an infant, I thought that that stage was hard at the time. So, I believe that each year and every stage just gets harder and harder.
Think about the teens in your life- they can be so mean and judgmental. That has to be so tough on a parent.
I was given the opportunity to interview some mothers AND fathers on this matter. I would like to share their responses with you, with the hopes of all of us finally coming to a conclusion.
According to Kiela S., a mom of 3 little ones, infancy can be tough because of “sleepless nights” and “guessing games,” however, she also mentioned that the toddler stage is tough all around; age 3 to be exact. “You know what nobody warns you about?” Kiela said, “The treacherous three’s.” But what makes age 3 so bad? According to Kiela, at this age they’re “old enough to know better” and “why they shouldn’t do something, but they choose to do it anyway.” And boy, I’ve never been more scared in my life, as I sit here cringing at my ALMOST two year old’s constant whining. When I mentioned to Kiela that my daughter hasn’t even reached two yet and I’m already struggling, she basically said that I was in some serious trouble. And I believe her.
I think it’s safe to say Toddlers 1, Babies 0.
Melissa B., a mother who has had her fair share of baby AND toddler moments, shared with me her opinion on the subject. She stated that “each [stage] has their challenges.” And I couldn’t agree more. While Melissa explained that with newborns you might (keyword might) be able to keep them happy as long as you know what they want/need, toddlers can get what they want and still be upset.
All in all, she did happen to tell me that she thinks newborns are easier. Therefore, another win for the toddlers.
An awesome supporter over at bottomless_momosa (sweet name, amiright? definitely check it out on Instagram) and a mother of two, explained why she thought BOTH stages were hard. For her first child, she thought the newborn stage was the toughest, and she had a good reason why. “Everything is so new. You’re sleep deprived and you don’t know what to do when they cry and you’re just trying to figure it all out.” And if that isn’t the truest thing I’ve ever heard. However, for her second child, it was a different story. “[Toddlers] are into everything and you need to watch their every move. Everything needs to have a child safety on it.” Tell me about it! “My son learned how to climb on the couch, but didn’t realize you could fall off. Lucky for us, we grabbed him before he went head first off the couch!” Close call, mama! Meanwhile, my daughter literally fell off the couch today and I was NOT able to catch her! *sad, crying face* (I promise she didn’t get hurt).
I think we can call this one a DRAW.
Lyss B., who is a mother to a 6 year old, opened up to me about her struggles with the toddler stage. “Specifically, terrible two’s,” she said, “She was a great baby, slept well, barely cried, and smiled even when sick.” That does sound like a great baby! Lyss started to explain her toddler troubles, “From 1.5 to 3.5 she had inconsolable tantrums almost daily. It was very frustrating for me because I couldn’t do anything other than let them run their course and I was always on edge when taking her out in public.” I feel you, mama! These tantrums are so unpredictable, we don’t even know if it’s safe to take them to the grocery store with us.
I know, as well as you know, that this is a major win for our toddlers.
Joe B., a father of three, had a very descriptive response when I asked him which stage he thought was harder. He started out by saying the newborn/infant stage wasn’t so difficult as long as they were on some type of schedule. Then, he continued by saying 2 year olds weren’t that difficult, either (again, as long as they were on a set schedule). However, he did say, as soon as kids reached the point where they started to “discover their own thoughts, become curious of everything, and try to establish some independence,” which according to Joe is around age 3, that’s when parenting starts getting difficult. Joe also said that at this age, kids are becoming curious about almost everything, starting their phase of back talking and saying no, and they “start questioning your role as the parent.”
We’re starting to remember just how perfect our tiny babies were, aren’t we now? I’m going to go ahead and give another win to toddlers.
Stacy S., who is a working mom, let me in on her thoughts. She explained how her oldest son (almost 3) is an awesome child and super well behaved! Yay! However, ever since Stacy and her husband brought home their newest edition (who is almost 1), her toddler has been trying to soak in as much attention from his parents as possible. She said “We literally can’t have a single conversation in the same room without him interrupting and yelling for us to pay attention to him.” Aww, hang in there Mama and Dada! She also mentioned that she has two jobs (you go girl!), and her husband, who works from home AND is a stay at home Dad, is super patient with their needy toddler (go Dad!!). Stacy also thinks her husband “deserves a darn medal for not losing his mind.” I agree because that right there is TOUGH.
Let’s not pretend to be confused by who won this one: Todds
Elizabeth P., a mother of two, was another one who thought both phases were tough. Her children, 3 and 1, are, as she called it, “complete opposite” of each other. With her first born, she has had some troubles with the toddler stage. However, her second child, gave her difficulties in the infant stage. She said, “The youngest is more dependent in all areas as she just wants to have that human contact. [She] has been harder to sleep train and keep to a schedule.” She did mention that her youngest is starting to pick up on her big sister’s habits, so hopefully she picks up on her sleep schedule, too! Good luck, mama!
Last but not least, BABIES have a win! Finally.
So, there ya go. Final score: Toddlers: 6 Babies: 2. The majority thinks that the toddler stage is the toughest for parents.
Don’t agree? Comment below! I love hearing from other parents!