This is one of those posts that floats around in my head all the time, but that I have always hesitated to write. It seems, well, mean. You know how when you have babies, everyone tells you it gets easier? At what point did you realize they were lying to you? I'm not sure when I realized the jig was up. I mean, intellectually, I know that it must have been rough for me. I had four kids in less than 3 1/2 years. So, Therese was not yet 3 1/2 when I had the twins. Between Therese and two newborns, I had a 16 month-old. That's a lot. I didn't have much help. My mom came over once a week. That's it. I didn't know that it was supposed to be nearly impossible, so I just did it (and, yes, I nursed the babies). I knew that it would get easier because someday I would sleep again. Someday I would be able to take migraine medicine again. (That, I do remember - calling my doctor almost every day begging for something for my headaches. He would always ask if I was still nursing and then try to prescribe anything that was safe for the babies that might work for a migraine. Nothing did, but God bless him for trying!)
In so many ways, having four almost all the same age *was* easy. They all played together, slept at the same time (eventually), did school together, etc. Let me just tell you, though, it has not gotten easier. Easy was being able to corral them in front of the TV for PBS Kids. Easy was being able to make chicken nuggets and no one complaining that they didn't like chicken nuggets (they weren't allowed to do that, so they didn't - can you even imagine?). Easy was all of them going to bed *before* Henry and me every night so we could have some time together. Easy was back when a toddler's "no" was the epitome of talking back. How I wish.
So, it does not get easier -- at least it doesn't get easier on your heart. Logistically, things do get easier. It is easier when kids can dress themselves, feed themselves, take care of their own bodily functions, etc. But those are just logistics. It's not easy when four teenagers tell you you're doing things wrong. When they ignore simple requests from you. When they know far more than you (obviously!). When four former best friends fight and squabble like there's no tomorrow. When they seem to have forgotten everything you ever taught them about the importance of siblings - to say nothing of the importance of respecting their parents. When they were little I would check on them to make sure they were covered and that their noses weren't obstructed so they could breathe. Now I check on them just to look at them when their faces aren't angry - just to look at them for the short time they have left at home.
It's not to say that my kids are bad kids - my kids are exceptionally good kids, but they aren't easier than when they were toddlers. I'm willing to bet no one's are. I'm going to stop telling parents it gets easier when they get older. I'm going to start saying it gets easier when they're potty trained.