I’m a bit surprised that this is how some people think of parenting. (No offense intended, I’m not saying “my” way is better, just that I think of it very differently.)
I think most people think of the baby and toddler phase as being strenuous because of often not being able to sleep, having to change diapers, etc. etc. And children get more interesting the more they can communicate their thoughts and the more they reveal of your personality. I get that. But to me that’s not what makes parenting hard. In a sense I am glad we start with a baby that is relatively easy to take care of. It’s learning to be a good parent from level 1, and parents level up at the same time as their children do. Just think if you had to learn to change diapers, but your baby could already turn or crawl.
That’s not the hard part for me. Because children tend to copy the behavioral patterns of their parents, I am constantly confronted by my own weaknesses. And to become a better parent, I need to become a better human. So if I react badly repeatedly, oh boy, does it come back to haunt me. Conversely, my daughter sees me and my wife doing sports several times a week and I think that’s likely going to stick, too. That’s why I think parenting is so hard and rewarding for me.
Dealing with a poopy diaper is child’s play by comparison