To all those who say "it doesn't get any easier, just different."
I say bollocks. And so does Mr Dreaming Aloud. As do many of our friends.
We say - you forget just how hard little children were.
Or perhaps you truly were lucky enough to have little angels. Or perhaps you just had one. Or perhaps you had lots and lots of child care. Or probably you really were the perfect parent. You never slumped on the sofa halfway through a day wondering how you were going to make it through the rest of it.
But perhaps I'm being a littler harsh, perhaps your teenagers breastfed through the night, waking you 8-10-12 times a night, every night, for 6 years.
Perhaps they lay on the ground in the middle of a shopping mall or car park and kicked and screamed and would not move.
You're right, all ten year olds I know give you stretchmarks all over your body and play havock with your hormones as you gestate, deliver and feed them. All eight year olds are so attached that you lose your body and freedom to their every whim for about two and a half years.
Sure teenage vegetarian phases rival three children under seven each of whom will not eat what the other does, want it cut up in a certain way, and are incapable of feeding themselves so you are morally obliged to provide food otherwise social services will call - even though you know they will not eat it.
If you had a baby or two who slept then bully for you. But we didn't. We don't. And nothing and no one can begin to understand the levels of sleep deprivation under which I and so many other parents live for YEARS.
So the next time you tell parents of very young children that it doesn't get any easier even when they're grown up, just stop. Please, please look into that parent's bleary eyes, make them a cup of tea, and tell them they're doing a wonderful job and that it will get easier... Even if you're lying through your teeth!