Encouragement for moms who are struggling
We all have different pet peeves in general. One of the biggest pet peeves I have as a mom is the moms who are quick to jump into a conversation with a mom in a stage behind them who is struggling and say, “Just you wait and see…” She then proceeds to assure the struggling mom how much more difficult parenthood gets. She regales her with tales of phases yet to come and how difficult they are.
Having been a mom myself for almost 11 years, I get it. All phases of parenting have their struggles. The things I stress or worry about now with a 7-year-old and 10-year-old are different than when I had a 7-month-old and 3-year-old. Some stuff is easier and some stuff is harder. Certainly their problems get more complex as they get older, and I know that will continue as they grow.
However, the last thing a mom needs when she is struggling is to basically be told whatever she is struggling with isn’t that big of a deal and will only get harder. Whether it’s true or not, it’s far from helpful.
Instead, I do my best to do a different version of “Just you wait and see” to offer encouragement for the moms who are behind me in phases. Because while each stage of motherhood has its challenges and difficulties, each stage also has some really awesome blessings and good parts, too.
To the baby mamas
If your baby isn’t sleeping well, hang in there. Eventually he or she will get better at sleeping and you’ll start to feel less like a Mombie. No matter what you’re doing to survive this phase, it’s OK. Maybe your preschooler is watching more shows right now so you can rest when the baby does. Or maybe you have dishes piled in your sink and no energy to do them. It’s OK. Give yourself grace and know that it will get better. One day, you will actually be able to look back with fondness on the middle of the night snuggles and feedings. But it’s OK if right now all they make you want to do is cry in exhaustion and desperation. Just you wait and see. It will get better.
If your baby is struggling to eat well, hang in there. He or she will figure it out. My first baby couldn’t figure out how to suck to get milk and had some big struggles for her first few weeks. But, she’s now a healthy 10-year-old who can not only eat and drink on her own but even prepares her own food. Just you wait and see. It will get better.
If your baby has started crawling and getting into everything, hang in there. While it’s fun for babies to be on the move, it is also stressful to keep them safe! I’d guess when they learned your baby can now crawl, some people smirked and told you how your real fun of parenthood is about to start. While they meant it sarcastically, having a baby who can explore and start really learning about the world is pretty cool. You get to see their personalities start emerging even more and that’s fun! Just you wait and see. It will get better. They will learn to avoid hazards.
To the toddler mamas
If your kiddo has started walking and is into everything everywhere, hang in there. My oldest took her time to walk and did so cautiously. I’m trying to remember if my youngest walked very long. He seemed to go from walking to running quick quickly! It is difficult to keep them out of the trash or corralled when you want to go places. You’ll have battles of will when you want or need to carry them, but they’ll eventually get more steady on their feet. And they’ll eventually start to understand their boundaries and what they can and can’t do. He won’t always try to pull things out of the trash and will instead walk to you with a big grin and his favorite book so you can snuggle and read. Just you wait and see. It will get better.
If your toddler is all about wanting to do things for herself to the point of your frustration, hold tight. One day she will legitimately be able to pick out her own clothes and tie her own shoes with ease. These days are frustrating and it’s OK to want to just take over so you aren’t always late thanks to this stage of independence. Just you wait and see. It will get better.
If your toddler is in the midst of potty training and you’re in the midst of frustration, I understand. Potty training has been one of my least favorite parenting tasks. I even once said in frustration, “This child can go to college in diapers. I am done!” Of course, that wasn’t true. Now both of my children are able to manage their own bathroom needs solo and we haven’t had anyone in diapers in years. Just you wait and see. It will get better.
To the preschool moms
If your preschooler is learning how to count or say the ABCs and is counting over and over and over, hang in there. One day that same kid will stop counting and maybe even help her younger siblings learn to count. Maybe you’ve got a mathematician in the making. Just you wait and see. It will get better.
If you feel frustrated with your preschooler seeming not to play with other kids his or her age, don’t fret. Of course you worry and want only the best for your kids. It’s understandable. However, learning to play well with others really does take time and isn’t all that easy for little ones to do. Later on they’ll have a grand time playing with friends and, hopefully, siblings. Just you wait and see. It will get better.
If your preschooler loves playing pretend and you think you might scream if you have to eat one more bite of pretend food, voice one more action figure or burp one more doll, take a deep breath. Remind yourself that kids with good imaginations are smart. Breathe in and out and know that pretend play is how they figure out this week. Eventually you’ll get to have real conversations with them or play games and have lots of laughs. Just you wait and see. It will get better.
To the moms of early elementary kiddos
If you are sending your kiddo off for his or her first day of kindergarten and cry for an hour afterward, hang in there. You’re normal. Letting them go and grow is so difficult and so bittersweet. There are so many feelings involved and you’ve got so many worries. And even if that kiddo is not sure he wants you to leave him at school without you, take a deep breathe and eat some chocolate. By the second week of school (at most) he’ll be so in love with his teachers and friends and new schedule. Before you know it, she’ll be a full-fledged school-aged child and you’ll actually enjoy the time without her. Just you wait and see. It will get better.
If you are not sure whether you will survive the days of learning to spell and read, hang in there. It can take forever for early readers to get through books. Hold tight to patience and know that one day your kiddo will be reading like a champ and you’ll burst with pride at seeing how far he or she has come. Just you wait and see. It will get better.
If your kiddo is working through learning his or her limits at school or home or both, hang in there. This happens in many stages, but it really won’t last forever. They will learn what is OK and what isn’t. They will learn their boundaries and how to make good decisions. Just you wait and see. It will get better.
To all the moms
No matter what phase or challenge are having right now, know that it won’t last forever. Children learn and grow. They change. We get a sideline view to see them growing into young men and young women. As parents, we get to be there to cheer them on and celebrate with them. We also can wrap them in our arms and comfort them on difficult days.
Motherhood is challenging to the very core of your being. You’ll have days that you’ll look back and not even be able to explain how you survived them. But you WILL survive. This challenge WILL pass. And it WILL get better. Just you wait and see!
Do you have any additional encouragement for moms to add? My oldest is in 5th grade, so I can’t go much farther, yet, than I have. Please share your comments, so we can encourage each other on this journey!