It seems that whenever I voice a concern about my kids, there is almost always someone who feels the need to weigh in with the following response:
“Oh, just wait. That is NOTHING… Just wait until she hits (fill in whatever age their kid is), because that’s way worse!”
I hate that.
Here’s an example:
Right now, I‘m so over little Lovey pooping in her diaper. She is going to be 3 years old soon and she still doesn’t tell me when she needs to go. I would think she’d want to tell me but no, she is quite content walking around with a rump full of dump. Not only that, but when I approach her about the VERY obvious poop in her pants, she simply replies: ‘It’s OK, mommy!’ …Really? It’s OK? Please tell me how it’s OK that you are walking around with a giant POOP IN YOUR PANTS?”
As a parent to a little one, I feel like the complaint above is valid, and relevant. I’m looking for someone or something to help me. I’m not looking for this:
“Just wait…Oh, just wait…I have a 17 year old who brought a hooker to my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah and he does bong hits at the dinner table.”
I’m sorry, but did I ask to hear about your 17 year old train wreck of a kid? No, I did not. I’m not interested in your horror and “whore” stories. Not only was your response totally irrelevant, but it was also completely unsupportive. Hit the bricks, Debbie Downer. Go clean your kid’s bong.
I have noticed that it’s a natural and knee-jerk reaction for the ”Been There, Done That” parents to use the “Just Wait” scare tactic. It’s like they’ve earned it or something. (And in many ways, they have). But it’s not really helpful. I can see how, if you’re on the receiving end of my “poopie rant,” you might want to call another “Been There, Done That” parent as you’re walking away—and I can see how you guys might share a good laugh at my expense: “OMG, Robyn thinks a diaper that smells like four day old Indian food is bad—I can’t wait until Lovey gets older and she and a friend pull into the garage in Robyn’s car, AND LOVEY IS THE ONE DRIVING… AND SHE’S FOURTEEN!” (And then they laugh, laugh, laugh it up).
I totally understand that the “Just Wait” responses are all about perspective, but please understand–everything is relative. If you’re talking to someone who hasn’t been a parent as long as you have, someone who has a valid complaint about what is currently going on with their kid, I can tell you with a great deal of confidence that perspective is not what they’re looking for.
Most parents (especially new ones) are beat up and worn out. For the most part, all we want is someone to listen when we have a concern, and if you’re offering an effective solution, we’ll gladly take it. (Come on, don’t hog the parental knowledge because you want us to suffer like you did.) We want help. We want support. What we don’t want is: “You think it’s bad now, JUST WAIT.”
Still, there are times when our friends are also good for a swift kick in the butt.
Sometimes, as parents, we get caught up in Standard Operating Procedure and we forget that it’s our job to push our kids. Early on, I was great about pushing my kids. (Really, I was quite awesome). Somewhere along the line though, I got too comfortable. In other words: If it’s not negatively impacting MY life in some way—it can wait. As a result, I have one kid who will be 5 years old next month and she’ll probably be wearing nighttime pull-ups on her honeymoon, and my other one will likely go on her first date with a crap in her pants.
In addition to that, there are other things, things I didn’t even consider, things that I didn’t even know I was ignoring:
For example: Little Lovey and I were at my friend “Caren’s” house the other day. I love Caren. When Lovey and I were leaving, Caren saw me lift Lovey and place her into her car seat. She cringed: “You are going to mess up your back so bad lifting her in and out like that!” Uh…GOING TO?? My back is already such a mess. If pain pills didn’t have the same effect on my body as matzoh does, I’d be on them all the time. (If you’re a “Jew Jew” you know what I’m talking about. If you’re not, Happy Easter).
Caren was right though. Why wasn’t I pushing Lovey to get in and out of the car seat by herself?
Because I had a bad case of “The Lazies.”
I was stuck in Standard Operating Procedure and pushing my kid to get in and out of that seat by herself didn’t even occur to me. I just assumed she couldn’t do it because she wasn’t doing it.
This scenario could have very easily turned into a “Just Wait” scenario if I was standing there complaining, but Caren helped me with my problem right then and there—before I even knew it was a problem—before I complained about in front of someone else who would have, in all probability, hit me with a “Just Wait…” response. No thanks.
Good lookin’ out, Caren.
I dodged a bullet and here’s the best part: Lovey is now getting in and out of her car seat all by herself. (She gets one M&M every time she does it and she is very happy about that. Yes, I could give more than one M&M, but we like to keep the bar real low in our family).
Raising kids is like any other part of life. Most everything happens in phases and we have to ride each one out. We suit up and bear down through the rough phases while we wish, in vain, that the fun phases would last forever.
As parents, when we complain about parenting issues—we’re really just asking for help. Complaining is our way of putting it out there. Of course, that is not always the case; sometimes we just need to vent and we’re not looking for anything but an ear. For the most part though, when we put it out there—we’re looking for a little support, a little help and sometimes a little push.
But if you choose to respond to our pleas with “Just Wait…” well, that’s totally fine. But I think YOU should “Just Wait”…and I think you should do it over there.