Just you wait.
I hear those words so often. And for the most part, what comes next isn’t meant to inspire excitement, but dread.
Just you wait…
…until she starts crawling.
Just you wait…
…until she can stand up.
Just you wait…
…until she’s walking.
And after they’ve filled in the blank with some baby milestone that’s meant to spell impending doom, they usually top it off with, “Then you’re in trouble.”
Why do more experienced parents do that to newer parents? My daughter is coming up on her first birthday, and the “just you wait” warnings are only escalating. It’s as if I’m meant to live in fear of every milestone that lies ahead. As if my daughter’s increased independence and mobility are going to temporarily ruin my life.
I might be a new mom, but a handful of these milestones have come and gone and all I can say is this; they are freaking fantastic! I waited for these moments with baited breath, fearing the worst case scenarios that my all too active imagination had conjured and then they arrived. And they were beautiful.
It reminds me of giving birth. There was plenty of “just you wait” hype. Yes it was hard. Yes, it could have been a lot worse and I ache for the moms who have had it far worse than I did. But honestly, my anxiety far outweighed the reality. I labored hard and then a brand new person arrived and my life changed dramatically. It was exactly how it was meant to be.
So what if I now have to use the ottoman as a makeshift baby gate so our little crawling machine doesn’t escape the living room too easily? So what if we have to push our water glasses away from the edge of the dining room table? So what if I have to constantly take the heating grate or paperback or power cord away from her curious hands and mouth? It’s all part of the process and as inherently creative beings–aren’t we meant to revel in it instead of dread it?
It is my belief that we were all made by a Creator. And that being made us to be creators. One of the single most incredible things we can do is procreate. So how can the act of procreating do anything but enhance our creativity? Why do we talk about our children as if they hold us back?
If we’re going to use this “just you wait” narrative, let’s nix the negativity. Let’s talk about every milestone and every challenge we encounter in our parenting journey as fodder for our creativity. We have to do the same in our art-making processes, otherwise we’d just give up. Let’s embrace the process. Granted, this is so much easier said than done when you’re covered in poop or you’re cleaning up the floor under the high chair or scrubbing marker off the walls, but problem solving can only nurture our creativity. We just have to keep the negativity at bay long enough to let it. Let’s love the surprises.
And beware of the unnecessary way that “just you wait” thinking takes us out of the present. Let’s not fear the future at the expense of the moment. We need to enjoy what we can in every stage in our children’s development. You can wait or you can play with what you already have. It’s going to keep changing. And that’s exactly what any creative endeavor needs.