One of the struggles I'm facing as my kids get older is to be empathetic to people who have younger kids than mine. I know it's hard, I remember that it was hard, but NOW also has its challenges, and they often feel just as overwhelming as those early years. It can be tempting, at times, to go, 'you thought that was bad - wait until they're 13'.
Which is not actually true in my case. And is immensely annoying to hear when you are sleep deprived with tiny kids (so I don't say it). I actually much prefer 13 to the psycho toddler years when complete irrationality reigned at every point. It's just that there are always aspects of the 'now' that are stressful and scary too.
Such as. 'How should I get them to settle back to sleep at night after a feed?' My response, 'Give them to your husband'. 'What should I do about little Johnny not doing his homework?' My response, 'Don't worry about it, homework in infants school is such a joke, just let them jump on the trampoline'. Or, 'Little Mary never gets invited to parties'. My response, 'But aren't you glad that you get quiet weekends at home?' I know, I know - terrible.
The one question I've recently decided that I have to be more careful about answering is the, 'Is your school a good one? Are you happy there? Should I send my child there?' Which is really them asking, 'If you're happy, then I'll feel OK about sending my child there'. Which is all cool, until they get into the school, hate it and then you feel bad that you ever recommended it to them.
So now I have to articulate more clearly my philosophy about school choice (well, truthfully, kind of create a philosophy because I've only discovered that I'm meant to have one of those after many years of having kids at school. With our first I just plopped him in the nearest school. Poor darling, having a mother with no philosophy of schooling).
'Sure', I say, 'we're happy with the school. But we're not that fussy. We're actually quite lazy. We like to send our kids to the closest school, because we want to walk there and we want to get to know families who live close to us. And I figure, hey all the teachers went to uni, so how bad can it be?'
To which most people kind of laugh at me nervously, smile and go and find someone more sensible. Works quite well.