Stop Saying "Just Wait"

Originally published Tuesday, 16 July 2013.

It was a hot summer morning, and I desperately needed to get out of the house. The kids were wild with boredom, and I longed for a little grown-up interaction, so I spent all morning trying to make a morning playdate while battling temper-tantrums, lost shoes, and lunch packing. I herded the kids like cats until they finally all piled into the van. When we all unloaded and descended on the playground, I felt like I’d run a marathon and someone should put a medal around my neck.

Swollen and pregnant, I waddled toward the other moms gathering under a shaded pavilion. Noticing my apparent look of weary exasperation, a mom with much older kids approached me and jokingly asked how I was doing. I rambled off a list of the morning’s mishaps, noting my weariness.

That’s when it happened—she breathed the one phrase that enslaves moms in any season: “Just wait.” The words seemed to come out in slow-motion, growling their fearful warning.

Her curt words were followed by more frankness: “You’re pregnant; it will only get harder once the baby comes. I had four. Just wait. Small kids, small problems. Big kids, big problems.” Her ominous words seemed to trail off, as I panicked in a fictional world of fears.

Puzzled by her insensitivity, I mentally checked out for the remainder of the “fun” playdate. What was I supposed to do with her words?

Maybe she was trying to relate, to empathize with my struggles. But compassion wasn’t what I heard. Instead, I heard, ”It’s only going to get worse from here. You’d better give up now, because there’s no way you can handle what’s coming.”

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