Moms…let’s get real. It’s like the minute we get pregnant, we become a magnet for unsolicited advice. I don’t know what it is – whether it’s our swelling bellies or the little one on our hip – other mommas feel the need to bestow a little nugget of wisdom they have collected over the days or decades that they have been a mom upon us.
I am very grateful for specific, helpful advice. Say, I’m getting to the solid food stages with my little one and a friend recommends a particular style of sippy cup or feeding spoons that she found really useful. Or I’m planning a trip to the pool for the first time and someone recommends this particular sunscreen/bugspray/sun hat. That’s wonderful. That’s supportive – and it’s helping a fellow mom solve a problem.
However, the unsolicited, ‘oh, just wait until…’ advice? Please. I don’t want to hear it! You know what I’m talking about. You’re in a moment of talking about how wonderful your little one is doing at sleeping/eating/playing/talking and a friend or family member – heck maybe even the cashier at Target – pipes up and ruins it with some know-it-all negative comment. My little girl loves to eat. ‘Oh, just wait until she turns 2 and then she’s not going to want anything!’ I love coming home to my daughter after work each day and spending time with her. ‘Oh, just wait until she’s 16 and wants nothing to do with you.’ Cool. Thanks.
HOW is any of this encouraging? Or supportive? Truly, is this advice or is someone wishing they had these moments again and are trying to ruin ours? Why do they feel that their comment is necessary? Because they have one or ten kids of their own, and have been through this stage of childhood, they feel they are now experts in my life and my family’s?
I don’t know if you’re reading this thinking ‘ohmigosh! Yes! This! It annoys the heck out of me, too!’ Or you’re taking this in as ‘well, shoot…I have done that a time or two’
As a first time mom, every milestone is exciting for me. I keep saying I don’t want my little one to grow up, but each new phase is more fun and engaging than the last. I’m on Pinterest. I understand that by the time 2 or 3 years old happens, boundaries are going to be pushed. Tantrums are going to be had. And there’s a little sass in my daughter that I know will blossom. There are plenty of other moms who have blogged about it. So while she’s young, and still snuggles and it still dependent on me, I’m going to savor every minute of it.
I can’t think of any parents who have wished their children to grow up faster than they already do. So the whole premise of the ‘Just wait….’ isn’t helpful.
We aren’t waiting for them to grow up. We are loving and enjoying every minute we have with them now. Because even the hard times, the times when she was up crying at 3am, were important. At those times, once she finally settled back into sleep, I felt accomplished as a mom. It gave me confidence in what I was doing. It was reassuring that my instincts and techniques were working. I need those hard moments to help me as a mom.
Let’s just take a moment and, the next time we’re talking with an expectant or younger mother, remember where we were at that point of motherhood. Instead of popping that bubble of maternal bliss, or dismissing what is a big milestone for that momma, share in their excitement. Or empathize with whatever setback they are commiserating in with you.
It takes support, it takes a tribe. Whatever you want to call it. We mothers have enough to think about each day and make decisions about. Let’s be there to lift each other up and cheer each other on! All the while, enjoy every milestone, relish every tiny little handhold and breath upon your neck. Because before we know it, it’ll be just a memory.