The “Just You Wait” Threat

Ever since I became a parent, there has been a crowd of people saying “just you wait”. They would suggest that no matter how much intentional thought we had invested into our decisions or how content we were with them, we shouldn’t expect that to last. What we were experiencing was a combination of age and luck, not because we were committed to our children; their needs and our connection.

I want to believe people are trying to be helpful but honestly, it’s kind of insulting, no? Have you had this too?

When we were happily co-sleeping and breastfeeding they would say “just you wait… ”

When our household embodied shared contribution, collaboration and co-operation, no force required they would say “just you wait…”

When we would live alongside children without punishment or shame, instead learning and growing through conflict and mistakes together they would say “just you wait…”

When we decided to forgo school and were extremely excited about the prospect they would say “just you wait”…

No matter what it was we were doing and experiencing in reality, they would focus on this preconceived notion of what parenting should be and how we would soon come to that realisation too.

For them parenting was inevitably a struggle and children were inevitably the cause of such and all we had to do was wait for that truth to present itself to us too.

They may have felt they were being kind, preparing us for what they thought was inescapable but really what they were saying is one day, your ideals will fall short and I wasn’t the one who needed to hear that, they were. The validation of their own choices was dependent on the failure of mine. Yeah, lovely.

They needed to know that the battles they had with their children, the punishment they enforced, the time they spent apart for education and all of their other decisions were the only option and not simply the one that they choose. If we were living a different truth? That becomes almost impossible to continue to believe. If our truth fails, they no longer need to confront the conflicting information.

Instead of considering that perhaps we had a valid and valuable way of living with children, they are waiting. Waiting for a sign that we do not.

Well they can spend their days waiting, I’m not interested in doing the same. Life is brilliant, right here, right now and nobody else’s failure is required.

I’m not interested in competing with anyone, I hope we all make it. — Erica Cook

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  1. I’ve run into this lately, and it’s been very jarring. It’s only happened a few times, but the implication has been that everything is going to suddenly go south no matter what you do. Apparently it did for them, and they seem to want someone to share in their experience with them. It’s a bizarre habit, and one I’m thankful I don’t run into too too often.

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