Just Wait

I’m starting to think that empathy is a thing of the past.

 

Why, you ask? Let me break it down for you.

 

Ever since I got pregnant, I’ve been super nervous about stuff: am I eating well enough? Have I read enough books? Is the air I breathe clean enough for my growing fetus? So when I hear a “Congratulations!” from people or they ask how I’m feeling, I welcome it. Its nice to know that others are happy for you and also want to know how you’re handling it. Except, I’m starting to get the feeling that they really don’t. Other people (mainly other mothers, I’ve noticed) like to use others’ pregnancies as a way to complain about their life.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I know we all need to vent. Sometimes I call my sister and I say, “I don’t need you to fix anything, I just need someone to listen and say: ‘That sucks’.” However, many people I’ve talked to don’t seem like they want a “sounding board”, its more like they want to wish their horrible experiences on you.

 

Since I’ve gotten pregnant, there are two words I have grown to loathe more than any other phrase in the English language: “Just wait.”

 

Me: I slept really well last night.

Other Person: Just wait. I got no sleep the first 9 months of my son’s life. You’ll never sleep again. 

 

Me: Oh hi! I just got back from the gym. What are you up to?

Other Person: Just wait, when that baby gets here, you won’t be able to do any of that, you’ll just have to keep that baby weight on. Kiss the elliptical good-bye.

 

Me: I’ve been reading some books and watching how other moms discipline their kids. I hope I’m able to discipline without losing my  head.

Other Person: Just wait. The first time that kid throws a tantrum, you’ll be looking for people to give it to. I can’t tell you how much I wish I could drop this kid off at the grandparents’. 

 

Me: Huff the Hubs and I had a really great date night last night. 

Other Person: Ha! Just wait, date nights are a thing of the past when you’ve got kids. I can’t even tell you the last time my husband and I had dinner together. 

 

How lovely.

 

I equate the “just wait” with the “I can’t wait til you have kids” phrase:

Me: {Sitting quietly and awkwardly as someone else’s kid throws a tantrum}

Other Person: {Angrily} God, I can’t WAIT til you have kids!!

 

What, are you hoping that I will be grumpy (too late), get no sleep, spit resentment to others, and show open bitterness for having children too? Because if so, I know someone like that:

 

"Mother knows best."

“Mother knows best.”

 

I’m sure most people think they’re “helping” or “imparting wisdom” by what they say, but mostly, it’s a complete joy-sucker. Its like seeing a newly married couple, basking in the glow of their new union, only to say: “Just wait a few years. He’ll go bald, she’ll get fat.”

I’m not saying that you have to throw a parade for every pregnant woman you see or even say one word to them. I’m just saying that, for a first-time mom who already has a lot of anxiety about the enormous responsibility she has lying before her, maybe instead of playing the “ I’ve-got-it-worse-than-you-and-I’ll-tell-you-why” game, you could say something actually encouraging:

 

“Motherhood is tough, but just wait, you learn how to do it.”

 

“Having kids is sometimes a challenge, but just wait. You’ll see it’s the best decision you’ve ever made.”

 

Just wait. I know when I hold my daughter, I feel more accomplished than if I was the CEO of Google.”

 

Those are the kinds of things we want to hear. But more importantly, those are the things we need to hear. I know at times it can feel like high school is never over, and for some reason women feel as though they need to go Mean Girls on those around us. But who does that help? Nobody. Mothers, especially those that are going through for the first time, need all the encouragement they can get. Let them know that you are on their side. Next time you see a young mother, tell her she’s doing a good job. Let her know that its tough, but oh-so-rewarding. Let her know that she is a hero. You’ll be surprised at just how happy it makes her. Just wait.

 

4 thoughts on “Just Wait

  1. ::hugs to you::
    As a new mother of my first child (she is 3 and a half months!), I can tell you that this post really resonates with me. In addition to the “just wait” comments, my other favorite was when somebody asked me how I was doing, they would use it as a launching point to tell me about when they were pregnant, even if pregnancy was decades ago. Totally not helpful and I would end up feeling hollow. Why bother asking if you don’t really care to know the answer?
    Take care of yourself and enjoy your pregnancy and soon your little one will be here!

    • Congratulations on your little girl!
      I’m glad you can understand. Its tough sometimes, especially for first-timers. Sometimes I want to just say: “I’m already scared and you telling me to “just wait” is making it worse.” But, I guess all we can do is just smile, nod, and walk away (while mumbling profanities under our breath 😉 )

  2. I just want you to know: I have always gotten decent sleep. From the day my baby was born.

    My mom gave me some of the most gratifying advice of all time: Make your baby adapt to YOUR life, not the other way around. Babies are adaptable. They will adjust. And you will stay sane. I have to say, so far, it’s been working for me. It will work for you too

    Just wait, Things will be hard, and tiring, and scary. But when you look down at Hermione and smell her little head and she puts her little fingers in your mouth, everything else will melt away, and you won’t care if you got enough sleep, or if she was crying a minute before, or if she blew out her diaper, or if other mothers are big B’s. All that will matter is her sparkling, glorious little face.

    Mommy love!

    • Thanks, Katie! 🙂
      My mom has said the same thing. She said, “When you girls slept, I didn’t try to be quiet. There were things I needed to get done (vacuuming, dishes, tap dancing) and you just had to get used to the noise.”
      *Hugs*

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