When I moan about coping with young children I'm occasionally warned by older, wiser mothers to stop. They say my children will grow up so fast I'll soon be mourning these early years.
Rubbish! Young children bring much joy and love but let's be honest about their day-to-day management. The grinding monotony, constant supervision, logistics, attention and sacrifices, and so on. I regularly find myself wishing my four and six year old daughters would just get on with it, hurry up and grow up.
Yes, I'm aware that the challenges won't stop when they become "tweens" and teenagers. But it's right now that I'm whingeing about. Navigating the daily requirements and quirks unique to pre-school and young children can cause endless frustration.
I look forward to my children growing up and becoming wonderful individuals. But in the meantime I have a long list of things I can't wait to say good riddance to as they get older, like:
1. When they no longer need car seats. Because these torturous contraptions take forever for a child to get into, and then sit still long enough for you to do their seat belts. I'm sure I've watched paint dry faster.
2. When they can put on their own seat belts.
3. When they actually can drive themselves.
4. When the car floor no longer resembles an upended bucket of rotten food.
5. When you can remove all the sing-a-long CDs from your car stereo.
6. When you can stay up really late without the anxiety of having to get up really early the next morning.
7. When your children sleep in to 10am.
8. When you don't have to structure your day around nap times, feeding times or bed time.
9. When you don't have to listen to Dora or Princess Sofia's excruciatingly painful, nasal voices anymore.
10. When you can walk across the living room floor without stepping on lego or discovering fresh stains on the carpet caused by felt tip pens without lids.
11. When they can make their own breakfast without spilling the milk.
12. When you don't have to escort them to the toilet. Or ask them every hour if they need to go.
13. When you can trust they've wiped their bums properly and you don't need to check. Or find incriminating skids later.
14. When you don't have to check your toilet every second hour to make sure they haven't left floaters that need flushing. Or pee on the rim.
15. When you no longer need to keep a bucket full of stain-removing wash in your laundry for the daily paint, dirt, food and grass stains.
16. When you can say farewell to "whinge o'clock": that is dinner/grizzling, bath time/grizzling, reading/grizzling, bedtime/grizzling.
17. When they can blow their own noses; and stop eating their bogeys in public.
18. When your child can buy you a coffee and a meal.
19. When you no longer have to ask for the children's menu at a restaurant.
20. When you don't have to sit in an indoor playground which smells like wee and makes really bad coffee.
21. When your child stops shouting inappropriate and embarrassing comments in public: "I need to do a big poo!" "That man's got a really fat tummy! "Why does that big girl have chickenpox all over her face?"
22. When they stop asking you 45 rapid-fire questions in a row, most of which you have absolutely no answers for.
23. When you can trust they can cross the road without your assistance.
24. Whey they can swim without your assistance or constant supervision.
25. When the word "routine" is long but forgotten.