Sound familiar? Of course it does. It’s the little pearl of wisdom which those whose children have grown and flow, like to impart at the least appropriate times.
Times when you are likely to hear this.
This is simple really. You will hear this priceless advice at the moment you least need to hear it. Just a few examples:
1. One child’s nappy has just exploded creating a God almighty pooh gate style mess all over the shopping trolley (obvs you will have forgotten the changing bag that day for the first time in months). As you were looking at nappy child, another of your children has just swiped a pile of yoghurts onto the floor causing them to explode, and is now screaming in a purple faced rage on the floor because you had the audacity to tell them off. This is the moment a well meaning face will enter your sight line and say something totally unhelpful like ‘Oh dear, looks like someone’s not very happy here. I hate to tell you, but it doesn’t get any easier as they get older!’
2. You are in the supermarket fruit aisle (I know, always a danger zone). Having grabbed a bag of apples you turn to see that one child is bowling oranges at oncoming shoppers, but before you can stop them, you realise that another is taking a bit out of each plum one at a time before replacing it in the plum box. That is the moment that someone will stop you from remedying the plum or orange thing before the staff notice, by cooing at your little darlings then telling you that it doesn’t get any easier as they get older.
3. You made the mistake of thinking you could take the little darlings on a nature walk without a pram. Half a mile from home, one falls cutting hands, knee and nose. Within seconds, of course, another of the little darlings will declare they need a wee, then say something like oh no, I couldn’t wait. This results in at least 2 screaming kids. As you begin the unenviable task of trying to get you pee sodden, blood, mud and snot soaked infants home howling all the way, you can be sure that someone will nod their head knowingly at your predicament before imparting their wise words, informing you that it doesn’t get any easier as they get older.
4. That relative is visiting (you know the one, we all have one, the one who already thinks your kids are little shits and you are a candidate for a failing mother of the year award). The kids will see a large muddy puddle in the park, leap in it regardless of your instructions to the contrary. Someone will have inadvertently pushed someone else and in the resulting scuffle all the kids will land in the middle of the puddle, probably wearing the new jumpers brought to them by that relative. As you are tucking the screaming mud sodden infants under your arm while muttering something about how they have never done anything like this before, your do gooder will appear. They will say something helpful like ‘Oh, it’s you again. At least there’s a bit less blood and mud than last week. I hate to tell you, it doesn’t get any easier as they get older!’
Why I don’t believe it.
I am Irish. Despite what you might think, we are actually exceptionally polite. While we do have admittedly short tempers, we are, generally even more polite than the English. We do not, contrary to popular belief, go round saying feck a lot, tell people exactly what we think, and drink too much. Ok, maybe we drink a bit too much. Ok, we sometimes say feck. Anyway,what I am trying to explain is that all those thoughts that go through your head at the moment you receive the do gooders advice, always remain in my head. I nod and smile politely, moving on as quickly as I can.
I know that the next 18 or so years are likely to be pretty tough, given that my kids are only 6, 3, 2 and 2. What I also know, but have so far managed to avoid saying is:
1. I sincerely doubt that going forwards, my kids will have poogate style episodes in the supermarket. Thank you for your concern.
2. I expect my kids to understand that you don’t go round the supermarket eating whatever fruit you see, or using it for ball games. However, the lessons are still being learnt, twins are particularly difficult to tame, and plums are still being eaten. Donations for my fruit bill gratefully accepted.
3. I am optimistic that in the next few months my kids will fall over with less frequency, and I will not have to carry home muddy piddly snotty twins one under each arm. In the meantime, if you would like to give me a hand instead of laughing at my predicament, that would be much appreciated.
4. I am under no illusion that the kids will continue to fight, but I am hoping that as the days and months go by, they will have less of the whole muddy puddle fascination. Anyway, mud washes off, so what do you care.
5. Your kids are all grown up with their own families now? Well if your kids never got any better than this, and are still shitting themselves in the supermarket, you must have been really feckin bad parents!
I have never said any of the above, only thought them (gold star!). Yes, I know there will be a huge number of challenges ahead, not least the ability to continue to smile politely rather than saying something like…well, you have all been there. I don’t need to say it for you. I know these people mean well, and it is great that they stop to chat. Just remember, when you see someone at the height of a personal struggle, don’t tell them it only gets harder!