I have to admit from the outset that we are slap bang in the middle of the terrible twos. However, I won’t let this affect my opinion as I remember all too well how difficult it was caring for a newborn baby.
Talking of "terrible", I think the best approach to this is to weigh up the pros and cons of each age. It sounds harsh because of course we adore our little darlings at every stage (even if they do have a devilish streak), but I love a good list. Here are the differences between the terrible twos and newborns being in your life.
To Nap Or Not To Nap
I think "nap" is my favourite word when it comes to parenting. I remember the blissful days when my two sons used to have theirs and I could either take a time out or dive back under the duvet for some more shut-eye. When my eldest stopped napping I took it HARD - how would I cope with 12 hours to fill and no break? Like every other stage, it was a hurdle that I got over and when my youngest dropped his super early (eek!) I was ready and felt more resilient.
Every newborn is different. Although they can cry a lot, in my opinion there’s nothing quite as stressful as dealing with a toddler tantrum. I remember walking around a supermarket with my newborn once and he started crying with tiredness and I was trying to settle in the pram. A lady heard, came over, stuck her head in to look at him and remarked how sweet it was listening to his little whimper. I thought it quite odd at the time, but I do understand that everything a baby does is cute – especially to people that don’t have to try and soothe them.
In comparison, I don’t think anyone would remark that a toddler is cute when they’re mid meltdown (and they certainly wouldn’t come over!). If you want to clear an area fast, then bring over a screaming toddler and people will run in the opposite direction.
Walk It Off
We all know that walks and fresh air are good for our mental health. When you have a newborn, going for a short stroll is a great way to put a pep in your step. In my opinion, if you want to go on a relaxing walk, wait for your toddler to go to bed. Of course, it’s good to get outside with them, and trips to the local park or playground are a great way to break up the day, but it tends not to be a peaceful experience. Eventful? Yes. Peaceful? No.
Credit where credit's due, toddlers are affectionate little creatures. As crazy as they might be sometimes, they can make everything better with a big hug and a kiss. Snuggles with newborns are amazing but they’re limited to simply gazing back at you. It’s wonderful to imagine they’re looking at us with love in their eyes, but it could just be that they’re wondering when their next feed is coming.
Who are we kidding, every stage of parenting is hard and some would argue it never gets easier. If you’re a new parent or a parent-to-be, just know that every day there will be a new challenge, but also a new moment to cherish. Terrible twos vs. newborns - it's a challenge no matter what age your children are.