New parents: just you wait…


just you wait bvt moms blog

As a new parent I get a lot of love, support, knowing glances, hugs and advice (some good, some best forgotten) from family, friends and even strangers. And there’s one more thing I hear frequently:

“Just you wait!”

When I heard these words from a mom in the parking lot at Trader Joe’s, it made me realize just how often I hear this phrase as a first-time parent. I was sliding my fussy baby into a carrier before walking in to do some shopping. She was strapping her toddlers into their car seats, ready to go home. She looked at me knowingly, pointed to her car and said “Just you waitit gets worse.”

My face probably looked like a giant question mark (I cannot for the life of me keep my emotions from shining through my face) before I stammered something like “Oh-haha-yeah-thanks-bye.”

On the one hand, I guess I appreciate the you’re-part-of-the-mom-club-now acknowledgement, but on the other hand, how do I react? Going grocery shopping with more than one kid isn’t something I have a lot of experience with, but I imagine it can be exhausting. So perhaps I caught this mama at a low point, when she felt it was her duty to warn me of the dangerous, horrible, no-good perils to come.

“Just you wait…” is all at once a head nod from parents who have been there before solidarity! But at the same time, it’s a way of separating the new parents from the veterans. A subtle way of saying “Oh, you think you’re in the parent club just because you have a baby? Pfft. You have no idea what’s coming…” Cue the scary music: duhn dun dunnnnnn.

This phrase can be confusing and even anxiety-provoking. It invites new parents to have a seat at the table and learn at least part of the secret handshake of the parent ‘hood. But it also puts up a wall between newbies and the pros.

Sometimes these little words are paired with the oft-quoted and sweet (but sometimes obnoxious), “it goes by so fast, enjoy it!” But it can also be a little more ominous.

“Just wait… until she can talk back.”

“Just wait… until she’s a threenager, or worse, a teenager.”

“Just you wait… until you have another baby, then you’ll see.”

This gets me thinking, when does it end? Just wait … until she’s walking? Driving? Just you wait … until you have two kids? Until you have three? What happens then, if I wait? Do I get a prize, or better yet, the Official Best Number One Handbook on parenthood?

For now I’m trying my best to focus on the now, the moments I have with my daughter just the adorable, amazing, exhausting way she is right now (at nearly 8 months old.) I’m also going to work on hearing “just you wait” without feeling that stab of anxiety or worrying about my legitimacy as a mom.

I also can’t promise I won’t say these words to a new mom when I have a few more years as a parent under my belt. I just hope this new mom knows that if I say it, I probably have good intentions. A need to share my cautionary, but friendly, tale. Not a warning that she might be one bend in the river away from getting tossed over a giant waterfall. Probably a waterfall of poop. Just kidding. (But not really. There really is a lot of poop, amiright?)

Did you hear “just you wait” a lot as a new parent, or is it only me?


  1. I have 3 little kids (7,4,1) and I cannot imagine ever saying this to anyone … This statement “just you wait” is infliciting their own experience on yours and your experience is unique to yourself, your day, your kids, your outlook. I often find my most challenging days as a mom the one that teach me the most and my most favorite wonderful days are just as cherished …. Kids are here to teach us and let us reflect on experience theirs and ours …..and one moms challenge is another moms triumph … We should allow that to be one another’s truth. I hear a lot when I am just doing life with the 3 kids – “boy you have your hands full ” I say – ” no better way to have my hands “

    • Yes, exactly. We cannot know what anyone else’s experience is. And on the flip side, we can admire another mom’s situation/techniques/parenting style etc. without questioning our own. I like your answer to “you have your hands full” and I might use it myself next time I hear that one 🙂

  2. I hear this too! I don’t think it ever ends. I’ve vowed to be honest and optimistic with expectant mothers and to avoid all this negative talk. There are too many individual experiences, and I also don’t find these “warnings” to be supportive. What if instead of “just you wait” we all told each other “I can’t wait (for you to experience the joys of X, Y, Z…)! It’s such an adventure!”

    • I agree. I feel like there is necessity in honesty but experiences vary ! I love to remind new moms that phases are ever changing and that’s the beauty of children and the process of parenting …. Nothing is forever anf each child is so different giving us s new vantage point to view from and leap…. I love every stage – so I am so optimistic about when baby starts to crawl and mountain climb and stand and walk – all of that is so exciting so new ever stage is so different than the next – then they becoming bigger and they swim on their own ride their bike go off to school …. I will never forget the first time my older kids talked the entire bike ride/hike … I mean the non stop I can talk now talking …..and they haven’t stopped yet …. I can’t wait for my littlest turn to talk our ears off ! That’s the stuff I want to hear as a mom ! The beautiful stuff

      • Love that perspective, Randi! I love how you went from “crawl” to “mountain climb” … you’re right, it happens fast! And each stage has it’s joys and challenges. Thanks for commenting and reading!

  3. Oh I loathe this statement. No, it doesn’t stop with one. Then you are pregnant with your 2nd and a whole new plethora of “just you wait” comes flooding forth. I decided early on in my first pregnancy that it is something I won’t say to any new parent since it is so negative!

    • Glad to hear (well, not glad, but you know what I mean) I’m not alone in hearing this all. the. time. I think you’re right that it’s often negative – which is so bizarre because I find some people say it with a smile on their face. Whaa???

  4. I often hear this as a new mom for sure! I’m continually amazed at the magnetic power my baby has for pulling in strangers to tell me their experiences with their babies. The other phrase I hear is “it goes too fast, enjoy it.” So I remain in the moment, relishing it all, trying not to wait until it’s gone. Thanks for a great post.


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