Hey, you—parents of kids five and under. As sweet as your little ones are, and as happy as you are being a parent…life isn’t easy. Parenting is still intensely physical, sleep isn’t always happening so you’re a 24/7 zombie, and you’ve watched enough PAW Patrol to know things you really shouldn’t—like that Mayor Goodway’s “purse chicken” once walked out onto the wing of a plane and lived to tell the tale.
But your friends with older kids—say, nine years old and up? They’re looking pretty relaxed, huh? That’s because their lives are way, way easier than yours.
Now, don’t be jealous. Your day is coming. And when it does, your friends’ kids will be smelly, hormonal, door-slamming teenagers.
But here are 12 reasons why your friends with older kids are happier than you are (for now).
1. Their kids put themselves to bed. Yes, they have to remind them a million times to start the process, but still. They don’t have to brush their teeth, or get their pajamas on for them, or wipe their bum.
The benefits of having a big kid bedtime routine
2. They can leave the house with their kids carrying only their purse. That’s right: just a small purse. No snacks, toys, change of clothes, nursing cover, pacifier, bottles, diapers, wipes… Leaving the house at a moment’s notice with nothing more than the clothes on everyone’s backs is highly underrated.
3. They can binge-watch Netflix together. Before you get all smug and think, Pfft, we do that already, you should know that Doc McStuffins does not count.
4. They can take a nap while their kids are awake. And not worry about them burning down the house while they sleep. To be honest, all parents pretty much sleep with one eye open until their kids move out…but it’s better than not sleeping at all.
5. Nobody bothers them when they’re on the toilet. At a certain age, kids don’t really want to see you on the toilet any more than you want to have a deep conversation about the state of the world while sitting there, so they wait until you’re done. (Mostly).
6. They travel without stressing about how their kids will do on the flight. Imagine stepping on a flight with your kids and not worrying that they’ll cry from the pressure in their ears, or that they will run up and down the aisle like a crazed animal, taking out a flight attendant or two. You’ll know you’ve made it to the parenting sweet spot when you can simply tell your kids to bring whatever interests them onto the plane, and they will amuse themselves. The whole time.
7. They only pack their own suitcase. I swear I pack for literally everyone in my house, including the dogs. So I’m pretty jealous of my friends whose kids can follow a list—or even better, be relied on to pick the right amount of clothes and pajamas for a weeks’ vacay.
8. They don’t pack lunches every morning. Nor do they unpack the nasty, smelly lunch bag at the end of each day. Their kids do all this themselves.
9. They get to watch grown-up movies at the theatre. Your friends with older kids have fully embraced the new world of PG and (gasp!) PG-13. That said, they also have to experience the awkwardness that comes when a prolonged kissing scene appears on the screen. Nothing prepares you for that.
10. They get to have sophisticated conversations. Imagine being able to carry on a complex conversation with your kids about something other than their favourite Disney princess?
11. Their kids do their own laundry. Well, they at least put the folded stuff away. Either way, how good does that sound?
12. They get to sleep alllllll night long, seven days a week. If you’re the parent of a little kid, you might have long forgotten what a full night’s sleep actually feels like, so here’s a reminder: It’s heaven. And it’s coming your way. Soon.