Let’s face it–us parents get a lot of advice. Some advice is welcome and some advice is asked for. I have a trusted group of mommy friends, all raising kids around the same age that I am, that I gladly ask for advice–because these trusted friends have some important things in common: they are intelligent, they are learning the ropes of mommyhood at the same time I am, and they never judge.
I would argue, however, that most advice is unsolicited and unwelcome.
I’ve heard many gems from perfect strangers: “Hey, do you really think you should be wiping your toddler’s face with that baby wipe? Their skin is really sensitive, you know.” Clearly, next time I go to wipe the chunky green snot off my toddler’s nose, I should ensure that the wipe I use complies with the strict guidance of complete strangers around me. Because, if the wipe I have is not good enough, I better just leave that snot-pile on my kid’s face.
There’s also advice from well-meaning relatives. Like, that time I was totally disheveled and about to come completely undone due to my firstborn’s bout of colic, but had finally managed to get her to sleep one day. I politely asked the visitors at the time to keep quiet until I was sure she was down, and received the following gem advice from a relative: “Oh, you don’t want to train them to sleep in complete quiet. I trained mine to fall asleep with noise in the background. They need to get used to your schedule.” Why yes, why didn’t I think of that during the last 14 hours of wailing, sleep-deprivation, and near-insanity? Clearly, I should have come to you for sleep-training advice first.
I could go on and on…but let’s face it. Us mommies have all been there. We’ve heard some of the most ridiculous comments imaginable in our moments of simply trying to do our best.
But, within the verbiage of all the advice-givers is one phrase that annoys the shit out of me: “Oh, Just You Wait.”
We’ve all heard this one.
I think back to my pre-kid days, when having conversations with those who had kids before my husband and I did. If either one of us accidently said the wrong thing to the wrong people, we ran the risk of getting hammered with the Oh Just You Wait talk.
Person Who Had Kids Before I Did: “So, how have you been doing lately? It’s been a while.”
Me: “Pretty good, just keeping really busy with work, and looking at potentially joining a yoga studio.”
Person Who Had Kids Before I Did: “Oh, Just You Wait until you have kids…you think you know busy now? HA. You have no idea. And you’ll never have time for yoga again when you do have kids.”
So….regardless of whether my statement was coming from a good place (hint: innocent, matter-of-fact, not one iota of a complaint, etc.), somehow, it invited one-upmanship from someone who felt the need to belittle my idea of busy. Yes, life gets busier with kids. Yes, your priorities become different. Most people with or without kids understand that. Why people feel the need to point that out in condescension is beyond me.
Here’s another one.
Me: Announces my first pregnancy.
Person Who Had Kids Before I did: “Oh, Just You Wait….life is about to turn upside down for you. You’ll never sleep again!”
I would put money on the fact that we’ve all heard this at one point of another. It got to the point where I heard so many Oh Just You Wait statements, that I started to question my own intelligence. Like, do people not think I’ve thought of all these things? Are they trying to scare me? Seriously?
The funny thing is….once we did have our firstborn, and once we spent a few months learning the ropes of new parenthood, we were overjoyed. Though parenting is far from easy, and we are far from perfect parents, we found the rewards significantly outweighed the negative expectations set by the Oh Just You Wait advice-givers. Like, these people led us to believe that we were entering a complete shitshow of a life decision, that we would most certainly come to regret. Yet, our experience could not be any more different from what we were told. I look back on all the Oh Just You Wait advice we received, and I think…really?
Neighbours of ours are expecting their firstborn in the fall, and clearly they’ve fallen victim to the Oh Just You Wait-ers as well. It seems that it’s gotten so extreme for them, that they felt the need to ask us if it was all true. “Everyone just keeps telling us ‘Oh Just You Wait’…like, every time we turn around, we hear about the horrors of becoming parents…is it true?'” To which I replied: “Yeah, we got that too….and we’re still waiting for all the negative things to happen to us that were promised.”
By no means am I suggesting that parenting has been a perfect, easy-breezy fairytale–but I am saying that to start a sentence with Oh Just You Wait signifies a couple of things: 1. That you inherently know exactly what someone else’s experience will be like, and 2. That you assume the person you’re making the statement to, hasn’t considered the change about to happen in their lives. And that’s just condescending.
At this point, I’m about a week away from giving birth to our second child. Surely, people know we have our shit together by this point, right?
Me: Announces Second Pregnancy
Person Who Had Multiple Children Before I Did: “Oh, Just You Wait. You think parenting is hard with just one? You think you’re busy now? You don’t even know the meaning of busy until you have a second child.”
Me: Gives Stern Fuck-You Face.
I’ve thought of this already. Although I don’t know exactly what to expect once Baby #2 arrives, I have a pretty good idea that our hands are about to be insanely full. I’m pretty sure that it won’t be easy. And I’m pretty sure, Oh Just You Wait-er, that since I’ve thought of all of this already, there is simply no need for you to point any of this out. I’ve also thought that somehow, this crazy adventure will be all worth it.
I’ve come to realize a couple of things from this. 1. The Mommy Wars will never stop. No matter what the circumstances, no matter how hard we try, and no matter how positive our intentions are. There will always be people who want to make you doubt yourself and your choices. And, 2. Perhaps taking into consideration #1, maybe I need to start ignoring this shit. But then, I would have nothing to blog about.