There are three words moms say to other moms that make me cringe. You generally hear more seasoned moms saying this to newer moms. And, full disclosure, it's something I've caught myself saying in the past. But I've made a real effort to rein it in because I think it's dismissive, unhelpful and kind of holier than thou. All things I don't want to be to other moms. The offending phrase: "Just wait until…"
Just. Wait. Until. These words are often said in response to something you might tell another mom about your parenting experience. And rather than acknowledge your statement or commiserate or offer a helpful tip, a "just wait until…" flies out of her mouth. It may not be intentional (I'm sure it's often not) but, to me, it comes off as one-upping, flippant, condescending. Or, worse, like saying whatever it is that you're enjoying or struggling with or sharing isn't all that important because it's not as good/bad/exciting/meaningful as something the other person has already experienced. Because she's past your stage. She's been there and done that. And maybe, in some subconscious way, she wants you to know it. Examples:
If you're complaining that you're uncomfortable while pregnant: "Just wait until you're nine months!"
If you mention that you can't sleep well while pregnant: "Just wait until you have a newborn-ha!"
If you're commenting on the volume and skill-level required for your kindergartner's homework: "Just wait until he's in fourth grade!"
If you're saying how great it is that your baby will sit on her playmat and chew her toys while you get some stuff done: "Just wait until she starts crawling, you'll never sit again!"
If you vent about your two children potentially sending you to the nuthouse: "Just wait until you have three!" (this is my least favorite du jour)
If you say how much you love when your baby smiles at you: "Just wait until she laughs, it's even better!"
If you say you get misty when she blows you a kiss at school drop off: "Just wait until she won't even look at you around her friends."
OK, I know when mothers say this it is (presumably) not meant to be harmful or hurtful. And that there are far worse things moms say to each other. And--yes!--this is a first world problem. But it does bother me. It smacks of mompetition (you think you have it bad, well I have it worse) and undermines whatever moment in time that particular mother is sharing. Part of the reason I'm so aware of this now is that my younger sister just had a baby. She hears stuff like this a lot (my older sister and I have definitely been guilty of saying it a few times!) and she says it makes her feel like there's some club that she's just not a part of yet. Despite being a mother. Or that whatever she's feeling (and new moms feel a lot) isn't completely valid because it will pass quickly. I'm also in a book club with a lot of moms, all at different stages. Because my kids are among the oldest, I do have experience with a lot of kid stuff but I never want to come off like some want-to-be mom sage. So if I'm asked my opinion, I'm careful with what I say or, more importantly, how I say it. And I try to avoid "just wait until..." at all costs. For one, I think all moms are still figuring it out on a daily basis (I know I am) and for two, it's just not fair to take away from whatever joy/frustration/milestone others are experiencing. No matter how much better/worse/more rewarding you think it will get.
So, is anyone else bothered by this phrase? Any good examples? Do you ever find yourself saying it to other, newer moms? Think you'll stop? I, for one, am on a mission to rid these three words from my mom vocabulary.