Joy or “Just Wait”?

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As I wait in line at Target, I notice a young couple with a stroller behind me. The stroller, brand new, appears to be on its maiden voyage. I peer at the tiny sleeping newborn, his fingers curled up near his ruddy face.

“You guys do good work!” I comment. The parents beam with pride, but the weariness in their eyes lets me know that they are all still in the process of getting to know each other. The lady behind the couple glances at the stroller as well, and asks. “Is this your first?” They nod proudly.  ”Just wait…” she snorts, and then follows with a comment about unruly teenagers.

Inwardly, I wince. We seem to live in a country overrun by a great lot of negative naysayers when it comes to parenting. I remember hearing comments like that when I was a new (and overwhelmed!) mom.  It seemed that many parents were suffering from a chronic case of disappointment and dissatisfaction called ”Just-Wait-itis,” characterized by the inflammation of impending doom in parenthood…. I felt trapped in a swirl of know-it-alls who were warning me that the worst was yet to come.

Of course, now that my kids are teenagers, I know the truth. Parenting is complicated; it’s wonderful and challenging; exhausting and gut wrenching; heartwarming and heart breaking.

And, at the outset, parenting can be utterly daunting. It just doesn’t help when others douse young parents with stories leading to doubt and despair.

Instead, we seasoned moms could infuse joy into our “just waits…”. As I regard this weary pair, I think of so many things I could say…

Just wait until your preschool son sees you in the hallway at pick up time and covertly grins and waves to you. (It’s the best flirting in the world.)

Just wait until you watch your kindergartener jump off the bus after that first day, triumphant and tired, melting into your arms.

First day of Kindergarten

Just wait until your son is up to bat, and strikes out, holding it together despite disappointment. And just wait until the crack of the bat meeting the ball surprises him and he races to first base…safe.

Just wait until your daughter stands up for a classmate who is struggling, and her peers, humbled, apologize.

Just wait until your child, painfully tethered to tubes and machines in the hospital, whispers, “I just want my mommy.” (And you are suddenly aware that your presence is more powerful than any prescription.)

Just wait until your son gets his very first summer job and he is, unmistakably, walking taller and more confidently as a result.

Just wait until your child’s quick sense of humor makes you double over with laughter.

Just wait until you hear your son invite a friend to church.

Just wait until your daughter receives her first college acceptance and you find yourself overcome with tears…not because she’s leaving, but because she’s ready.

The baby in the stroller whimpers, breaking my reverie.

I smile at the couple and look them straight in the eye.

“You have so much joy ahead of you…” I remark.

“Just wait.”

Ready for college


QUESTION: What would you add to this list of beautiful experiences awaiting new parents? What have been some of your most precious memories with your own children?

CHALLENGE: Whenever you have the opportunity to give advice to a new parent, make a conscious effort to focus on the positive.  Help others to see that, in spite of the difficulties that lie ahead, raising children is meaningful, incredible work.

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Some images provided by Katie Wetherbee.

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Graphics by Julie Finlayson.

For more great stories, check out Katie Wetherbees’s blog- Diving for Pearls


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  1. Kristen says

    Thank you. I’m a stepmom with two adult skids, expecting my first biological child in August. Still people want to tell me about the “just waits”. I WANT to focus on the Just Wait For the Joy moments. Don’t scare me about pregnancy symptoms, labor, never sleeping, teen-age drama moments. I’ve been trying to find others in my life who parent and see things as a gift..not just the negative just waits. I’m going to keep your list of Just Wait for the Joy moments.

  2. Jen says

    This is beautiful! Thanks for sharing! I think we all can choose how we respond to the challenges of motherhood- we can focus (and gripe!) about the negative or find the joy in most experiences. It isn’t always easy, but it can be joyful!!

  3. says

    What a beautiful post, it made me cry! I went into motherhood young (21) and single. I definitely received my fair share of snide comments and looks but you’re right, it has been such an amazing path! I now have an amazing man beside me and we’re expecting #2! There truly always is so much joy every single day despite the hardship :)

  4. Kimberly says

    It’s so easy to let the negative creep in. I wouldn’t give up my joy moments with my six boys for anything.

  5. says

    Thank you so much for posting (I’m going to share a link to it on Facebook in honor of Mother’s Day). As a mom of three (18, 16 and 9) I can definitely relate to your “just waits”…we need to promote all the blessings of intentional parenting. So good!

    • Rhonda says

      I will as well,i think this is a wonderful idea to pass on,so next time i see new parents anywhere while I’m out I’ll tell them what a blessing it is to be a new parent. I think if the parents have start out thinking and knowing it’s a blessing then the child will grow up to be a happy secure child and what more could one ask for?

      Thank you!!

  6. Diane says

    Truly loved this post. We are always so quick to give the stories of toughness or dread instead of really focusing on the good stuff. And do you think young/new parents want that negativity – NO! As parents, it does us no good to constantly tell other new parents to “just wait” … I’ll remember to say it more … “just wait … for the joy”.

    Thanks for this post!!

  7. corrie says

    Loved this post too! Walking around with 4 little ones and a pregnant belly it’s easy to attract attention and people giving me advice and comments about my family! But I always remember the nice comments and I bet those parents will remember your sweet words:)

  8. Carol says

    What a beautiful essay. Of course there are difficult times, but the good is so much better! What a blessing it is to have children. Thank you for helping me remember this today.

  9. says

    So beautiful and SO true!
    I tell new parents to hang on tight and keep their eyes wide open… you don’t want to miss a single second. Even the hard ones!

  10. Renae says

    ugh…have you been lurking on me?? I am that mother. I need to turn that around. Thank you…kids can be a joy!! Would it have anything to do with the fact that all four are teenagers right now??? : )

  11. says

    I absolutely loved this post. Thank you so much for this. I like to think that I give positive thoughts about being a mom to people, because honestly, I do feel so blessed. The blips that we have in our house are just that – and for the most part, my kids are great, happy, and most importantly healthy. I love your very eloquent saying though, and feel like I am going to say that quite often going forward. THANK YOU!

  12. Tammy says

    I was bombarded by the “just waits” as soon as my pregnancy nausea started…I hated it but I loved being a mom more. I was a peds nurse, so its not like I was totally ignorant to some of the downsides of parenting. I had only seen sick & bandaged children with IV / breathing tubes for a LONG time before I ever saw a healthy child in a pretty bed, but I was at a friends house ans asked to see her sleeping baby…I came out of the room saying “she is so…beautiful”.

    I think the important points will all be made here so I want to add a seldom mentioned aspect of parenting….the nosy-noids in line at Target…they dont really understand the sacred ground they are stepping on when they start asking and telling. I care for women who are pregnant with babies who wont live past deliver. That pregnant lady you are engaging in conversation might be planning her baby’s funeral…so please tread VERY carefully. And if one of them gets in a feisty mood with someones doom-and-gloom griping about parenting, they may offer up a very powerful and sobering mini-lecture about thankfulness for your children being well enough to cause trouble in the first place

  13. Ashley says

    Love this! There have been so many times that I, as a new mother, would be shot down for enjoying myself as much as I was. It always brought me down a bit wondering what they knew that they didn’t. Thank you for this much needed article!

  14. says

    Loveeee it! So true – just wait. I’m a first time mom and the balance can be hard. It isn’t all giggles and hugs all the time but by that same wavelength, it also isn’t all crying and screaming either. Sometimes I think people are so negative because they don’t hear anything about parenthood except how wonderful it is – then they have a kid and it isn’t easy and instead of realizing how to balance both emotions, they go to the extreme of – ughhh this is so hard. What people need to realize is that it’s both! And I love the reminder that there’s a lot of awesome stuff to wait for too. I’m glad you were the right balance for the new parents right in the midst of some negativity.

  15. Amanda Farner says

    I love this!! Thank you!! There are too many people out there that can’t wait for their kids to grow up/move on/get out of their hair. I love my kids and I love being with them, sure sometimes they are a pain in the butt, but I couldnt live without them.

  16. Patricia says

    the same can be said of those people who INSIST on telling newly pregnant women how TERRIBLE their labour was. Really? I think they should just keep it to themselves – the terror of the unknown is strong enough in a first time mom, let alone hearing all of these stories as well. With regards to the Just Wait? EVERY age my children were and still are (23 and 18) is a joy and a challenge, and one that I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on.

  17. multitaskmom says

    Oh so perfect. Well done! Because though parenting trial and heartache will definitely come for that small family, the joy will outshine it.

  18. Dee says

    Thank you so much! We are expecting our first child after the heartache of several failed pregnancies. When people pull the just waits on me, it breaks my heart, because we want this baby so badly. I know that being a mother is difficult, will require many sleepless nights, that your child may hate you at times, but there isn’t any real way to prepare for those moments. We are just so grateful that we are going to have a baby that those just waits from them turn into I can’t waits from me.

  19. Redfizz says

    Words are so powerful. You can bless or curse a person with those words. In fact, my mom used to tell me, “I cannot wait until you have kids of your own so that they can put you through what I went through.” I decided at that moment that I will never have children. That’s how powerful words can be.

  20. says

    Thank you so much for this post! I am a mom of two little ones and it feels so hard some days and when all I hear is that I am in the easy days and just wait, it will be so much harder, I want to just stop now because I will I make it. Thanks for reminding us of some of the joys we will get to experience in the future and remind us to look for those joys at each stage! I love this blog, I have followed various blogs since becoming a SAHM but none of them consistently felt like where I am like powerofmoms does. Thanks for all you ladies do to remind us to be intentional with our kids.

  21. Koni Smith says

    As the mom of 6 kids (4 months up to 15 years), I have to say that there are SO many “Just wait – for the joy and the stress.” There are so many great moments and so many hard moments – it’s funny how you remember both, but I wouldn’t trade either – that is what life is, isn’t it? The hard AND the good. That is how we learn! Thanks so much for writing this article, Katie!!

  22. StephJ says

    Thank you so much for this post. It inspired me to refute a “just wait” yesterday when I was at dinner and the waiter told me that he had an 11-month old. He said people with “lots of kids” kept telling HIM to “just wait”. I admitted that we were out because it was sometimes hard to have an adult conversation, but when he said that people kept telling him “just wait” I told him how much easier it is for us with an 18MO, a 4YO and a 6YO. I don’t have to watch my 18MO constantly for her own safety, I can get my 6YO to do it and they all play together, which is in a way easier than it was when I only had one and only my own eyes and ears. I didn’t even mention the joy I feel when I see the relationships my kids have with each other. That is one of my FAVOURITE things about being a mom, and if I had only had one I would never have experienced it.
    Thanks for helping me to change my perspective, and hopefully I left that waiter feeling a bit more optimistic about his future!

  23. says

    i couldn’t get through this post the first time because the words got all blurry through my choked-back tears. i prefer a glass half full and this positively brims over the top with a healthy message for all parents.

  24. irene says

    Love this! I always give new parents positive advice. It’s so nice to hear that the not so good times are always overshadowed by the great times!!

  25. Michele Gaskill says

    I find every phase of child raising to have its joys and concerns. The best thing I ever heard was from a 96 year old woman who said. “Take it one day at a time and know you are doing a great job.”

  26. Heather Bowes says

    Oh my word – I am tearing up right now. My oldest is in that pre-teen moody rollar coaster stage and the last few weeks have been so gut wrenchingly difficult. But reading this I felt something – like this isn’t the end of the world. Thank you

  27. says

    I love this. I have a 9-month old and I have had so many people – people of newborns and people of older kids – just go on and on about how hard it is and never talk about how wonderful it is. I can honestly say that I have cherished every second of my daughter’s life so far, from conception to nine months. I would go back and do every second again. Even through the hardest days (and there are many hard days!) when she smiles at me, or snuggles into me, or even when she cries her way into a sweaty sleep, I can’t help but marvel over the fact that she is mine, that she loves me, and that she is a miracle of life. When my daughter was first born, I almost felt I had to apologize when I told people about how much I was enjoying her, despite the sleepless nights and the trouble nursing and everything else that’s hard about having a newborn. Now I know I have no need to apologize, and I hope that my delight in her inspires other moms to focus on the beauty and not on the difficulty! Because it’s the little beautiful things that get you through the hard stuff.

  28. Terri Easterday says

    This is the first time I’ve seen your newsletter. My children are all grown now and I am thankful for all of them. I am thankful for being able to homeschool for 21 years and spend all that time together. Was it always joyous? (LOL) No, but I would never trade that time for anything. I loved being at home with my kids. I did my best to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. My one prayer for them was that they would love the Lord with their whole heart and serve Him in what ever way the Lord led them. God has been so good to me and answered my prayer. Love your children, teach them the Word of God, spend time with them, and be real. It is worth it and it is joyous!!

  29. leslie says

    I absolutely get your point. There is too much negativity. However, my friend and I were talking the other day about how everyone
    Pretends having a newborn is so easy and every second is amazing. I think what you said is great and true, but it’s also important to acknowledge it’s NOT all easy and you aren’t a freak if you don’t feel joyous for a while. Most people aren’t in instant bliss with no isssues and it would have helped me to know that.

  30. Stacie says

    This is wonderful I started young I was 18 when I had my daughter. People tell me of all the things I have missed out on but when I tell them I have not missed out on anything they roll thier eyes and say Yeah ok. I always tell them they will see when they have a baby. My daughter is two and I am a single mother. I have seen the dissaproving looks but I always smile and think being a mother is the best gift that any woman can get. Even though you dont think you are not ready, God does.

  31. Jodie says

    This is wonderful, made me cry (not that it takes much effort these days, 3 weeks before I hold my 2nd baby for the first time)

    I told my best friend, who’s baby girl is starting to talk and does those “mummummumum” type talk, to just wait til she can say Mummy for the first time perfectly, your heart will melt.

  32. says

    This post totally made me cry. Someone shared it on Facebook and I clicked over. I loved it. I couldn’t agree more. I felt the same way when I was getting married. Everyone had something negative to say about that as well.

  33. Rachel Dillin says

    Thank you so much. Today is my oldest’s 7th birthday, and I have had a day of reflecting on momhood. This was a nice ending to the day.

  34. says

    Thank you for this! I have a 3 month old (our first) and people really do this all the time! I was tearing up as I read YOUR list of just waits. These are the moments we should be focusing on.

  35. Lucille Weinke says

    When all is said and done, motherhood is the most wonderful job in the world. You learn, through the testing, to have patience, understanding, and love, sweet love! Then when your job as mom is done, you get to watch and do the same with your grand babies, ( mine are 21 and 18 ) and see that they too, are ready to take on the world. They may not seem ready to you, because they are still you grand BABIES, but they KNOW they are ready, as the family will always be behind them, no matter what! Love them and leave them is the theme: love them enough to guide them into adulthood, then, leave them grow into their new life day by day, with the love that does not end.

  36. Beth says

    As childless married person I am often very cynical of those people with kids. This is a very touching article! We mostly hear about all the bad things that go with having children but we never get to hear about the good ones. From a cynic, thanks!

  37. colleen says

    thank you for that!!! ive had so many oh you just waits!! i love every second with my baby girl even if shes having an off day…i hate when others try to put a negative spin on it…

  38. Mary Ann Phillips says

    Sixteen years ago, at 36 and a disable woman, I had my one and only daughter. She is and has been the joy of my live. Yes, she learned to be independent at a young age but she has not skipped a beat. Children are wonderful at any sge. Her friends are great too.

  39. says

    Love It!! My children are 11 and 8. Both are boys. I have to wonder if those “just wait” people did just that with their children. Waited for them to grow up by putting very little effort into enjoying them and raising them when their children were young. I stand with the mothers that cherish time with their children. My youngest dosen’t have much time at all, so I definitely not waiting.

  40. Alicia says

    What a wonderful reminder, thank you! Even as a mother of three little boys, I find myself in a warning mode of just waits… but I need to remember there is so much joy to look forward to as well! Thanks again!

  41. maria says

    All that and more. Just wait and see. Smile and joys, tears and heartbreaks, it’s not one or the other all the time…it is just how life is., wow miss out. Be a parent, even it not one of your own. Adopt!

  42. says

    Why can’t we live in a world where you get both sides of the story? As a new stepmom to a tween and thinking about having her own biological child, I like to get both sides of parenting. The good and the not so good.

    Because that’s reality.

    I can take both sides and know that those are others experiences. I’ll hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.

    Well written though. And I like the idea that it represents. Lovely.

  43. Susan says

    My 4 kids are 23, 19, 16 and 8 (including two adopted, one adopted as a teenager!) The joyful moments have far outweighed the difficult ones, there is really no comparison. I will soon be a grandmother–and I cannot wait! Lovely post, thanks :)

  44. Samantha says

    This is awesome and thank you for it. My little one is almost 4 months old. I had a great pregnancy, great labour and deliver.. and our little guy 95% of the time is a happy baby.. and to be honest, people dont want to hear about it.. cause to most people my experience isnt the norm.. as soon as i start chatting about my experience others go, yeah yeah and stop listening, even though i just listened to their story.. i feel guilty sharing my experience.. LOVE BEING A MOMMY! such an amazing experience.. yes we have all our days and moments.. but i love every second of it

  45. says

    I’m past that baby stage and into the “Oh, no, here it comes!” stage. Thank you for the reminder to enJOY the present and cherish the memories.

  46. says

    Well written article. Great thoughts on positive parenting. Time goes by way too fast – this is a great (and important) reminder to stop and enjoy the time with your child, the little or big things they do.

  47. Amy says

    Each stage has its challenges but the rewards and sweetness are worth much more. I can’t wait to have #5 and remember the innocence of a newborn.

  48. Carol says

    I am a new young mom to be I am only 9 weeks along and I am already hearing about this. They doubt that I will be a good mom because I am young. The thing that I am thankful for is the father is my soon to be hubby next may. We are expecting In December of this year. This made me happy to hear this less worried and more excited.

  49. Evie says

    oh my gosh! Perfect. Very very well said. Thank you so much. I have a 14 year old who brings EVERYTHING you describe, but OH so much JOY! I also have 6,5,4,3, and 2 year olds. More joy in the making. Thanks you

  50. says

    Thank you :) Not a mom yet, but I love the sweet energy. I feel the same way about teaching…such an invigorating career; you can grouch about the negatives, or embrace the reasons that you get up every day, and joined the profession in the first place–and there are many.

    With motherhood, I imagine, even more so :)…

  51. says

    Jumped over from Ashley’s blog.

    I LOVE THIS!!!! I was always a negative person until I had a child, and it honestly changed my worldview. Now I am positive and encouraging to other mamas and it’s not fake at all. Of course being a parent is hard, but it is so much MORE wonderful than it is hard, and it being hard is just part of the whole miraculous experience I feel so lucky to have.

    Thanks so much for sharing this story and for being encouraging to that young couple.

  52. says

    I sit here reading this with my 6 month old son in my lap and tears in my eyes. Thank you! I’m so sick of the negative input.

  53. Molly says

    This is so true! I am agonizing about getting pregnant with our first right now because people seem to relish telling me all about the trappings of new motherhood. It’s hard not to believe that the first year is NOT going to be a living hell based on all the “Just Wait”s!

  54. says

    What do I think the blog post ask. I think I am reminded why I wanted to be a patent and why parenting is a responsibility to be a patent comes with ups and downs, rewards and cost, and ultimately the best payoff off of any investment. Thanks for sharing. Thanks for brining me to tears and putting a smile on my face. Oh and btw I am a dad.

  55. Steph says

    Love your post. I waited for 9 years trying to conceive. I am a high school teacher so I know how teenagers can be. Every day I look at him and realize the miracle that he is and am so proud of every milestone he reaches.

  56. rara says

    awesome…its so true.wait till u see they grow up in a blink.sometime i asked myself did i miss something??

  57. Crystal Seifordc says

    So beautifully said. I remember being pregnant and people would say “oh just wait until you never sleep again” ” all those dirty diapers” ” just wait until he’s a toddler”. And I said why do you act like I’m embarking on this awful adventure. Isn’t having a child beautiful, hard yes, but beautiful. People stopped after that. But being a parent I hard but it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. Thank you for this beautiful post.

  58. Joanne Jacobs says

    This is so true. I’ve always been the voice among women telling pregnancy horror stories to first timers, saying that it isn’t always horrible and sometimes can go pretty smoothly. And parenting is what you make it. Sure it is hard but if one must recognize the joy that outweighs and often creeps in unexpectedly. I have friends who only have boys and younger than my children and they say they are so glad they don’t have girls. They don’t know what they’re missing. I’m glad I got a mix and am thankful for the unique individuals they are.

  59. Steve says

    Happened to see a link to this and, as a proud dad of three I couldn’t agree more. If only people would take the time to see the joy that is in front of them!

  60. Penelope says

    This post makes me feel so badly. I didn’t mean to be that person several years ago now, but I’m afraid I was back then. I friend of mine was going through infertility. I, on the other hand, was up to my eyeballs in babies and toddlers, the youngest being collicky. I had no family close by and my husband was working an insane number of hours each week. While my children did bring me much joy, I was exhausted, lonely and burned out. And oddly, at the same time, I was grieving the passing of time – that my babies were growing up and that I would not be having any more. Which means that I must have found joy in them and in mothering them, or I wouldn’t have been grieving the passing of time. In addition, I was grieving the extended illness and eventual death of my mother-in-law. Just a sad and challenging time of life for me.

    So… rather than keeping my mouth shut as I should have, I tried to encourage this friend to enjoy the time she had with her husband (because quite honestly, I really really missed spending time with my husband). And I talked honestly about the challenges of parenthood and the grief that can go along with it. It was simply where I was at in my life. I do realize now, that I should have been silent.

    Anyway, at a women’s retreat at which both this friend and I were present, this friend was newly pregnant. She announced to the group that she couldn’t believe how negative everyone was about being a mom – that she only had one friend who was always joyful about being a mom. Obviously this one friend wasn’t me! (And the friend she was talking about lived a few hours away and had only been a mom for a few months.) That comment cut so deeply into my soft, vulnerable heart at that time. And truthfully, it still hurts when I think about it. I told her how much that comment hurt me since I was her friend and all, and she told me that she thought I had over-reacted. Since then, the two of us have never been close, and I feel like she has spent the last several years proving to me just how joyful she is as a mom. Perhaps my imagination. Perhaps just the guilt that I feel for opening my dumb mouth. Perhaps grief or the nagging feeling that somehow I should have found more joy in it all while my kids were little. You know, if only I had opened my eyes as Steve has suggested previously and done a better job of seeing the joy that was in front of me.

    Do you have any thoughts for me?

    • says

      I am collecting stories of motherhood (and trying to make a book out of them). I would love to hear more of your story. You can e-mail me at charlamajeranatgmaildotcom

  61. Jerebeth says

    Thanks for this, it’s just what the very pregnant girl needed! Of course I cried, but I’ve been getting a lot of the negative “just wait”s lately. Love this!

  62. Jennifer Corrick says

    This brought me to tears, because 9 months ago(June 18,2012)I had the fight of my life when I suffered a major stroke while driving home with my kids in the car. Most people I know/or have met don’t even belief I suffered a major stroke, and my kids are 9 and 2, and watched this unfold in front of them. They are my breaths, heart beats, blood, sweat, and tears…they told me in the stroke center that I may not ever walk again or talk. Me, a mother, who was playing freeze tag the day before at the park. I have always loved being a mommy, and I face struggles everyday… I know first hand about being in the trenches, but I knew I could never quit/ give up for my baby angels needed me.Thank you for saying what you did, and doing what you do. This world is ate up with negativity, just turn on the news. It is absolutely the greatest gift, journey, adventure, love story, drama, action and scary moments all wrapped in one:) The most expensive book, movie, and play ever…but DEFINITELY ALL WORTH EVERYTHING!

  63. Stephanie says

    Thank you for your words! You have written what I’ve been trying to say for the past year. My daughter is almost 5 months old and since we found out I was pregnant with her, we have heard the phrase ‘just wait’ about a million times. Every time I hear it I just want to say something ugly, but I’ve been able to hold back my Irish temper so far. It kills me when parents say things like ‘just wait until she’s a teenager’ or ‘just wait until she starts teething’ or ‘just wait until you change a dirty diaper after a big meal of solid food’. Even though this parenting thing is difficult and complicated, it is still one of the greatest joys I’ve ever experienced and is now my life’s work (as I have recently become a stay at home mom). Changing nasty diapers might be gross, but she is so sweet when I sing to hear as I change it. I might not have had a full nights sleep in almost half a year, but I can’t imagine not seeing her precious morning smiles when she wakes up each day. I wouldn’t miss it for the world! So when you say, “you have so much joy ahead of you” my heart soars and I’m so glad there is an experienced mom out there who says it’s not all as bad as everyone else says it is! I’m glad there is a mom who has walked the road of parenting before me and says, “you have so much to look forward to.”

  64. Debi says

    My favaorite line to expecting parents is, “You will never beleive you could love another human being THAT much!”

  65. Sarah says

    That was beautifully written – thank you! My husband of 7 months and I have lamented the same kinds of comments from married couples. Older couples will see my husband kiss me on the cheek and make comments like “Oh, you must be newlyweds … THAT’S gonna wear off fast!” We ARE a culture of killjoys – why do we feel the need to squash the new joys of the people around us?! It would be so nice to hear a couple encourage us and tell us to keep it up, not warn us that it’s soon to come to a crashing halt!

  66. Brenda says

    Nice, Anytime i see a harreid mom in a store losing patience with her children – I tell her, Enjoy the young years, the noise, the ups and the downs. One day they will be all grown up. As I watched my son leave on a bus in his Marine uniform – I would give anything for those years. Enjoy each day, because someday is not promised. Enjoy the good and the bad. Everyday

  67. says

    Thank you for this! I’m not a parent, but saw this through a friend’s fb post. I think anything worth doing in life, parenting, meaningful work, relationships, good art, anything truly valuable is going to come with intense joy and intense pain. Life is too short to wait for the other shoe to drop with a “just you wait.” Thank you.

  68. says

    Oh my goodness. I cried my way through this. I have LOVED every one of my 10 1/2 years of parenting so far. Each new phase is more wonderful than the last. I firmly believe that if you set a child on the right course at an early age in life, they will stay on it in the years to come.

  69. Christine Schindler says

    Thank you. What a beutiful article. Made me cry and feel deep appreciation for the million small moments filled with such intense joy.

  70. Kelly says

    I love it! I also wanted to add Just wait until the day your child comes form and announce they are engaged or having a baby. Those are very important as well. I loved your Just Waits classy

  71. says

    Great write up, sorry i’m a father on a mothers blog, but as a father, i “Just Wait” every morning for my Daughter to get up so I can see her smiling face. My daughter is 2, so i have a lot of “Just Waits” ahead of me…

  72. Agoraphobic Plumber says

    I suppoose I hadn’t thought about it in this specific context before, but yes, I’ve heard these kinds of “just waits” too much. It seems to me another aspect of a larger problem with our culture, and that is the growth of sarcasm in general. So many people, and particularly the younger folks, seem to feel that sarcasm is the height of sophistication and wit. And it can be funny…but in a sad way, at least to me.

    Far more admirable to me are those who have the courage to be naively positive in their outlook. I like those who don’t cause me to be on my guard because there will be a biting comment coming along presently, those who overtly believe in God despite popular culture’s insistence that you can’t believe in both God and science and therefore you must be stupid and anti-science, those who engage openly and clearly with the young not as inferiors, but as equals who happen to have less experience but are just as smart as we are.

    I have known people like this all my life. They are in the minority, they are sometimes hard to find, they make time spent with them a joy to remember…and I try very hard to be one of them, or at least like them. I don’t succeed very well, but I’ll never quit trying, because I’d be a horrible bore if I didn’t.

  73. Tracy Kroft says

    I didn’t read all the comments (just didn’t have time), but I know I’ve been guilty of the “just waits” a time or two. But I”ve also talked about the joys (and challenges, but mostly joys) that come with each age. It’s now amazing to have my grown children say sensitive and self-reflecting things and tell me they love me … as adults … and ask my advice and tell me I did a good job as a parent.

    Having a baby is the beginning of a lifetime of worry … and joy … and love. I can’t imagine life without being a parent.

  74. Carolyn says

    I often say the same thing about teenagers, “Just you wait” I say if with a slight giggle. And then remind parents that each stage of parenting has challenges, but also delights. For each time I get frustrated with my daughter, I think of a wonderful thing she has done for someone.

  75. Dana says

    So true and touching!!! Juggling the phone and my crying newborn the customer service representative heard the crying and responded with “awww, you have a newborn!” I could hear the smile in her voice as I thought with annoyance, what is so awe inspiring of hearing a child scream? He’s twenty now and now I get the beauty of a newborn’s scream.

    Later after battling with typical teen woes, I was quite rewarded when my son saw my car, turned to a crowd of his football buddies and exclaimed, “I have to go my mom is here” and he was actually proud!!

  76. says

    I love this post! Thanks for sharing the positives. My boys are 11 and 14 and they are enjoyable – really. I LIKE them and spending time with them. They are not perfect – and neither am I -but before I know it, they’ll be gone and I’ll want them to come visit me! :) We can be a source of encouragement or a downer to people. What a great reminder to choose to share joy!

  77. becca says

    I am due to have my first child on May 3. I have already gotten the “just waits” from people. Thank you for sharing this story – it truly made my day. I look forward to parenthood, my husband and I have been together for 10 years now (married for nearly 3) and are sincerely ecstatic about the arrival of our baby boy. Life is full of challenges, but those challenges only help us to see the beauty in the good.

  78. Cathy says

    I think this is the BEST blog post I have read about parenting ever. I remember I was pregnant with my first child and everyone was like “just wait” followed by a 100 negative things or “just wait” followed by eye rolls and “oh boy your life is going to change” with a negative connotation. Well it changed and it changed for the better! Now I am pregnant with my second child and here come the “just waits” and “your life is going to change” again comments. Everyone wants to tell you how miserable and awful parenting is, but the joy that I receive from parenting FAR outweighs the sleepless nights and temper tantrums. This road called parenting can be a difficult journey at times, but the rewards far exceed the difficulties. I would not trade my role as a mom for anything else in the world. The love in your heart for these beautiful miracles can not be explained until you have experienced it for yourself and even then you can’t describe it adequately enough. THANK YOU for a wonderful article!

  79. Amy says

    I always hated hearing about “wait until they’re……..” My reply was “Oh I can wait, I’m going to enjoy them now, and raise them to be enjoyable at any age!” And, now mine are almost 12 & 14 and yes we have our ups and downs, but that’s parenting. They’re still enjoyable and I’m loving every minute of it :) So, I say enjoy every minute and make every moment count. They do grow up too fast, so raise them to be enjoyable :-)

  80. Linda says

    I loved this post. And your children are beautiful. Thanks for bringing some joy and perspective into my day.

  81. Heather says

    I do not think of the negative when I see new parents with their little ones. My daughter is two today and while it hasn’t been a walk in the park it hasn’t been miserable either. I see weary parents and say “Just wait, it only gets better and better!”. I believe it does!

  82. says

    Amazingly accurate. My husband and I recently became parents via gestational carrier (our story – and already have been getting the “just wait-itis” comments. Sometimes I’m ballsy enough to snap right back, and sometimes I just ignore it. If those people only knew what we went through to get our son! I will gladly take all the “teenage horror” years in exchange for the absolute joy and happiness he has brought into our hearts. Thanks for a beautifully true perspective – from one mom to another.

  83. Sheri says

    A friend once told me “It’s not Terrible Two’s, it’s Terrific Two’s”. It gave me a whole new way of looking at things and I was actually able to enjoy the positives of each age instead of the negatives. I always enjoy hearing about the good and positive things about children. They are such a blessing from God! Thank you for sharing this story.

  84. says

    I don’t want to “just wait” because the days pass so quickly- I’m not waiting for a thing! I am loving every moment of motherhood. I am looking FORWARD to our future, but I’m not waiting. I have joy in my life every day because of the most spectacular little person in my life. I know my life will continue to be filled with joy-and heart ache, heart break, tears, fears and so much else- but above all joy and unending LOVE!!

    Thank you for a truly positive perspective on children.It is refreshing to hear and I wish more parents would think this way.

  85. says

    Funny reading this post as I just got back from the hairdresser and she’s pregnant with her first. She was asking questions and I pretty much only told her that everyone is going to have an opinion and to just trust herself. Trust that everyone doesn’t know what they are doing at first, but we learn. Enjoy being pregnant because it goes by quickly. I told her how much I envied her that first baby, those first coo’s, the first quiet moments… I told her I loved every moment and still do… I never try and scare parents cause for every bad moment, there’s a million priceless breathless ones that fill your heart with a love that you cannot even begin to describe.

  86. Reese Lovern-Bishop says

    Just wait until your children have children of their own, making you realize that yes, your heart is overflowing with love & you hear those children call you grandma for the first time. There is no greater joy in this world than children!

  87. says

    Maybe the reason their teens disappoint them is because they expect them to. I wonder if they were expecting happy and well adjusted kids their children would have lived what they learned?

  88. Moureen says

    Love this! I am a mom of three – 23-17-14 (gosh are they really that old already). I don’t like the negative comments people make about teens, girls, boys, etc. Everyone is unique, everyone handles life differently. Negative attitudes breeds negative behaviors. Enjoy each day, love each day, and embrace all your children bring to your life.

  89. Jay says

    I just read this and it made me cry. I’m still early in my pregnancy (and it may be my hormones, lol), but this really touched me. I’ve had people give me these warnings, and even about labor and how awful it is and how painful it is, but then I look at how they are living their lives and realize there is a difference between us. I live my life with complete and total faith in God. We are going to enjoy this pregnancy, and all of the little challenges, because this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You only have your “first pregnancy” one time, and everything is new. And if you plan to have more children, it’s a learning experience to prepare you for the future. When the baby comes, if you build a strong relationship with the baby and your partner, that family bond is something no one can break. And while there may be ups and downs, when your raise your child in the Lord, it will be a wonderful experience. I’m thoroughly excited for my pregnancy and all of the wonderful new challenges parenting throws my way!

  90. Cathy says

    Thank you for the wonderful perspective! I cried reading this myself and again when I read it to my husband. Children are a blessing.

  91. Laurie says

    I love being a mom. There is no GREATER job in the world. The hardest part of being a mom is if you blink there are on their way to college. Sure you are going to have trying times through out life but they are what you make of them use them to grow in yourself and in your child. I would do it again in a heart beat. I have to 2 greatest girls in the world and would trade a minute of the time God has allowed me to be their mom. The greatest job on earth!

  92. says

    Thank you so much for being a force for good in the world today. It’s exactly what we need. I love my kids, and the magical moments always, ALWAYS out-weigh the bad ones.

  93. says

    What a GREAT post!!! There is too much negative associated with parenting, as if it isn’t hard enough. Parents and especially new ones need words of encouragement and joy. Thank you for giving them just that.

  94. k says

    The craziest part is that our children hear us! I grew up with a mother that LOVED lamenting with other mothers over how difficult being a mother was. It’s not empowering to children and it’s damaging for the parent/child relationship. Our children don’t have a voice yet and they can’t speak up for themselves so it’s always strange when we don’t extend the same manners to our children that we expect from them.

  95. Jackie says

    I don’t even have kids and this made me cry!! Some people can be such jerks. Don’t let them steal your joy!! Thanks for sharing this story :)

  96. says

    Amazing post. I spoke a little bit about this on my blog too… while I was pregnant it seemed like everyone talked about how horrible the whole parenting thing was, but not a lot about the joy of it all. There needs to be more talk about how amazing parenting is.

  97. Kerry says

    I love this. Being first time parent is hard enough and it is so much kinder to give them encouragement. I love the reminiscing, too. I will try harder to strengthen those new parents I come in contact with because of this. Thank you.

  98. says

    What a wonderful post!

    Just wait… one day you’ll be sitting at a holiday table surrounded by your adult children and you’ll wonder where all the years have gone but your heart will also swell with proud at the amazing adults they have become!

  99. says

    Thank you for that fresh insight!! I have been guilty of saying those negative things and I’ve heard my share of them! I guess it makes people feel wise when they can say “Just wait until the ____ stage” I’m going to start using the positive “just waits” from now on!!

  100. Teresa J says

    Brought tears to my eyes because the author is so correct! Just Wait… so many, many,many joys await you! Just wait until you become a grandparent!!!! It is truly amazing:)

  101. says

    I seriously LOVE being a mom.
    Every year was better than the last, not because of the challenges but in spite of them. In fact, I always found the challenges a great opportunity for both of us to learn and grow in our love an appreciation for each other.

    Yes, joy ahead without a doubt!

  102. Monica says

    Just wait turned into a positive comment for me! thanks I needed to hear something positive like this! ….. Just wait and you will see all the joy that comes from parenting. Yes it’s tough but it’s also the most rewarding feeling in the world when you know your child wants you the most.

  103. Meghan says

    Great post! We do need to hear the positive (which doesn’t mean ignoring the challenges). The relentless negative “just wait until…” drive me mad. Attitude shapes our experience.

  104. Deniece says

    My just wait is “Just wait” till your son or daughter give you the opportunity to see your grandchild born. Or “just wait” till your child tells you you are going to be a grandma. Most amazing just wait ever. Thank you for the story.

  105. Claire says

    For Penelope, if you’re still reading: I myself have a history of unresolved infertility and miscarriages. I don’t think you did anything wrong by encouraging your friend to enjoy her time with her husband. It’s easier said than done to do that when struggling with infertility, but it is important that we enjoy the benefits of whatever situation we’re in, and couple time is one of the benefits of an infertility situation. I admit negativity about motherhood always bothered me when I was struggling to conceive, and it continues to bother me now that I am the mother of a beautiful 5 year old who we adopted as a newborn. That being said, I also fully appreciate the struggles of parenthood, and you have certainly had a challenging situation. I would not expect someone in your situation to be radiating joy about motherhood (I might have before I became a mother, but I would not expect it now). As you say, clearly you did experience joy in your role as mother, which is why you grieved the passing of the early childhood years. I love my son dearly and I also mourn the passing of his early childhood years, and I do have a positive outlook on motherhood. But that doesn’t mean that I enjoy every minute, and I often fail to appreciate my son as much as I should. The flip side of this article (which I loved, by the way), is that many new mothers complain about older mothers encouraging them to love every minute because the years go by so quickly. I have never resented anyone who tells me that. While I don’t think it’s possible to love every minute, I do think we need reminders to enjoy these precious years as much as we can. But that doesn’t mean that you should beat yourself up for being legitimately stressed about a challenging parenting situation.

  106. says

    I have always hated the phrase “just wait”. Well, not always, but since meeting the guy of my dreams at age 29, after being totally single for all of my twenties. So many said, “just wait – you’re in love now – just wait til you know him a little better”. And then when we got engaged, “Oh, just wait until you are married. Then all the romance is gone!” & then when we got married, “Oh, just give it time. The first year is the hardest.” And then after that first year, “the first year isn’t too bad. Just wait!” It drove me NUTS. It angered me. Because we are still “just waiting” for all that bad stuff to happen. We are only 5 years in, but many couples are divorced long before that. We are still madly in love. Very very happy.

    If someone says this when we have a newborn, after dealing with infertility for 2 years (so far – hopefully not much longer!), i am going to punch them in the face! Haha. (Not really – but geez!)

    Thanks for a great post! :) Love your perspective.

  107. KWolff says

    Well said! I have been blessed with four kiddos with the oldest and youngest 12 years apart. I am all too aware of how fast time flies with them. I also cringe when I hear people say how fast time will go with the new one or how my oldest will be off to college before I know it. I make every effort when talking to new parents to NOT impart “words of wisdom”. I try so hard to not talk about my kiddos and how I remember mine at that age. Instead, I tell the new parents they are blessed, their baby is precious (because the all are) and have my walk down memory lane by myself.
    Thank you for the great post!

  108. Renea says

    Oh my gosh! The positive so outweigh the hassles! Mine are 32 and 28 now and I still just love the experience! Sure there are tough times. We are people growing – all of us!

  109. BluEyes says

    Oh my!! Great article of encouragement for new moms! And so well written!

    I so loved being a mom….each age has been a blessing and loads of fun. Yes, there were hard days…but there are hard days no matter what! As a mom who has been there, done that…it is much better to smile and give a thumbs up for all the good memories and stages God takes each child through. So….Embrace each moment…they change very quickly!

    Now they are 30 & 32…still waiting on daughter-in-laws…and I must say this has been the hardest for me:) and also means…no grandchildren! But God reminds me often to “Be still and know that He is God”!

  110. Pamela Spann says

    Just wait until you see that beautiful daughter that is now a bride walk down the isle. Just wait until you hold that first (or any) grandchild. Your heart just want to pop with the love.


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