I remember not too long ago when I said goodbye to naps with my youngest. It was so sad to have that quiet “me” time taken away. It’s hard to let go of those things that remind us of our little babies. There are so many things that are so fun with having babies and toddlers, but I’m at a stage where, after having little kids for so long, I welcome the older stage with open arms. We think of mood swings, attitude and back talk when it comes to teens…well, honestly, I’ve been dealing with those things since my oldest was two!
Teens get a bad rap, but I am here to tell you that we have it all wrong. There are so many benefits to having older kids! Here’s what I’ve found:
1. They can take care of themselves.
Isn’t it nice to not have to wipe their bums anymore? Or tell them it’s time to go to bed, and they go upstairs and get ready for bed…alone! It’s such an amazing feeling of freedom when you aren’t constantly doing everything for them like you once did.
2. They clean up after themselves.
They have learned about responsibility and accountability, so it’s nice to see them be aware of the mess they’ve made and then take care of it. Yes, I do have to remind them occasionally, but it sure helps in keeping the house clean!
3. They can babysit!
I love this the most. I remember the first time I left my oldest in charge to run to the grocery store. I felt like I was sneaking out of my parents’ house to meet up with friends — I was so giddy. Even now, I still get that surge of excitement when I run errands or if the hubs and I go out on a date.
4. We save money.
This one is tied to above. Since we have a built-in babysitter, we no longer have to pay big bucks to have someone watch our kids so we can go out.
5. They are fun to be around.
I’ve become more ME around my older kids and I’m more relaxed. I have fun conversations with them; we play games or share jokes. They watch more interesting movies. My relationship with my kids has grown from them growing up.
6. They can make their own food.
Not only do they clean up, but they also do other things like prepare their own food in the morning or make dinner for the family. I’ve always tried to have them help make dinner when they were younger, so now it’s second nature for them to make dinner for the whole family.
7. They are an example.
I love watching my oldest bunch interact with the younger crew. It’s such a treat when I find them being loving, compassionate, patient and kind to their younger siblings. They will give them attention. They will play games or read books with them, and as they do, their younger siblings are watching and soaking it in. It’s an amazing feeling as a mother to see those relationships strengthen through love.