Every Party Has a Pooper…

That’s why we… had a baby…?

Since having a baby, we have received tons of advice. I try to be open and gracious and just nod my head and say “mmhmm” each time, but sometimes it’s harder than others. The most difficult stuff to ignore, though, is when people feel the need to rain on our parade. It’s the Just Wait Syndrome, or JWS, and my friend Jill and I have discussed it at length. We officially think it’s a nationwide epidemic.

JWS goes a little something like this. I say something good, like “I just won the lottery!” and the listener says something like “Oh, just wait… those taxes will kill you.”


JWS strikes with any big occasion, and having a baby is no different. Here are some recent, real examples:

Us: We’re having a baby!

People: That’s great… are you nauseous?

Me: No

People: Oh, well… just wait until those ankles swell!

Us: It’s a girl!

People: Aw, so sweet. Just wait until you have to pay for the wedding, though…

Us: Laura’s going to give birth at a birth center, with no drugs.

People: Just wait until she’s in the middle of it. She’ll be begging for an epidural then.

(Incidentally, I didn’t. And I gave birth with no drugs. So there. Ninny ninny boo boo.)

Us: Ella has been so easy.

People: Just wait until she’s 11 and hates you.

(This is a personal pet peeve. I do not plan on Ella ever hating us. I never hated my parents. Never. I think it’s healthy and good to raise her to love and respect us, and then expect that to happen. But I digress.)

Us: She’s a sleepy baby. She slept xx hours last night!

People: Just wait until she’s teething. She won’t sleep that long, then!

I know most of the time, these people mean well. Sometimes they’re trying to be funny; other times they are trying to set me up to have realistic expectations. Many times, these are coworkers or friends, and I would hate to make them feel bad for saying something offhanded. So… readers. What DO I say when JWS strikes?

  1. #1 by annie on August 24, 2010 - 7:58 pm

    I hate this, too, and get it all the time. It never, ever ends. And it comes from all directions: family, friends, random strangers in the grocery store (I actually had that happen once when Isabel was a baby, and as soon as the lady left another stranger turned to me and told me she hated it when people say things like that because her son had some kind of injury when he was a teenager which rendered him severely handicapped and she’d give anything to have those ‘just wait…’ years back).

    So, what I do is nod my head and say, “Yeah, that must be tough.” And move on. They obviously don’t want to hear my opinion, plan, or side of things, so I just agree it must have been hard for them and leave it at that.

    Hooray for you for having Ella drug-free and at a birth center! That is so awesome! And I totally agree…I don’t plan for our kids to hate us, either. I never hated my parents, they never gave me a reason to and I always respected them. I don’t see why my kids can’t be the same way. 🙂

  2. #2 by Jill on August 24, 2010 - 8:06 pm

    Oh, JWS, you are a thorn in our sides! I’ve noticed it happens a lot, no matter what stage of life you’re in. People always (unfortunately) have inappropriate and-incidently- negative things to say about naturally positive things. I think there are a number of possible reasons for JWS: things such as insecurity, jealousy, poor sense of humor, ignorance, one-sightedness, intent to ground in “reality”, making conversation, etc.

    I also think a lot of people only have their own experiences to go from and they transfer their personal experiences to you and your situation, even though we don’t have cookie-cutter lives. Yes, there are similarities in situations and common patterns that can be evident, but does that mean these will be true for everyone? No. And does this mean we need to rain on everyone’s parade? Certainly not. We should focus on the positive and be encouraging individuals. Is that easy? Not always. But, if we empathize with the other person, putting ourselves in their shoes, I don’t think we’d say a lot of the things we say!

    Your blog reminded me of an article I read recently called “10 Questions Cool Broads Don’t Ask.” It can be found here: http://www.thatcoolbroad.com/2008/06/11/10-questions-cool-broads-never-ask-2/

    Here is a quote from that article that I think sums things up well:
    “Though I’m sure most people aren’t intentionally insensitive, it sometimes happens when they leave their brain on the soapdish. “-10 Questions Cool Broads Never Ask

  3. #3 by Daria on August 24, 2010 - 8:20 pm

    I dont have a baby but I got this alot when chris and I were planning our wedding and from my sister when I talk to her about her daughter’s inability to use self soothing skills because she rushes in to save her from everyone and everything. It so freaking frustrating that I want to scream!!! (and one time I did scream at her lol). She kept making comment that my husband wouldn’t get up to help witht he baby and that I would be doing everything when we had kids because thats what happened to her. It got to the point that I was literally in tears everytime I thought of it and I dreaded even going to her house. After talking to my pastor one day, he gave me some good advice and it was hard to swallow. But he told me to tell her that while I respect her opinion and know that she is only trying to warn me, if she doesnt have anything positive to say about my husband or future kids it may be a good idea for her to keep it to herself. Especially because many people believe that when you speak negatively, negative things happen. So now, I just have auto response: “Nope, that won’t happen to me because God is going to work everything out in my favor.” Not saying this has to be your response but not allowing people to speak that negativity about your daughter or other things in your life will change people’s perspect and will encourage you as well. I’ll be praying that JWS will leave your life and never come back again.

    Lots of love to you, mike, and princess Ella

  4. #4 by Shannon on August 24, 2010 - 8:34 pm

    I simply say, ” I’m so sorry that was so hard for you, (or, that must have been so difficult) but I’m just trying to stay present in this moment and cherish it for all it’s worth- because I know that someday, I’m gonna miss this!” It leaves them with something to think about, it’s a good reminder to myself, and a positive note. Another blog I sometimes read just had a post similar to this- http://www.mycharmingkids.net Disclaimer: it may make you cry! I’m not even swimming in postpartum hormones and I cried like a baby. Enjoy! =)

  5. #5 by Mommy, a.k.a. Grandma on August 24, 2010 - 9:05 pm

    Not sure how to rebut this, although I loved the part about how you never hated your parents – yea! This may be slighlty off topic, but I remember when Daddy or I would be grocery shopping when all four of you kids lived at home. Sometimes we’d have two carts full of groceries, and some fellow shopper would ask, “Are you feeding an army?” We would reply cheerfully, “No, just four kids.” Not infrequently the person would click her tongue in disgust and say, “Well, better you than me.” I loved responding with something like “Yes, I agree” with a big smile. They never quite knew if they were being insulted!

    Maybe when you encounter JWS you should say to the person, sarcastically but politely and cheerfully, “Wow, you sure have the gift of encouragement!”

  6. #6 by Phyllis on August 25, 2010 - 12:29 am

    I didn’t get this with my first baby. (Because he was so difficult! People were too busy telling me what I was doing wrong with him.) I hear it constantly now, though: “Just wait until they’re teenagers!” And I think I just now came up with an answer: “Oh, you mean when they’re able to take care of their own needs, be responsible, carry on adult conversation, and be my friends? I have heard that’s really terrible! I just dread it!” 🙂 I should try it.

    It’s not just nationwide, by the way. It’s international.

  7. #7 by Mrs on August 25, 2010 - 8:27 am

    JWS or Debbie Downers . . . .whatever they’re called, they’re a pain. I had a friend who continually tried to knock down every excitement in my life! We now have very little contact.

    What worked for me the most was to remember that their response has absolutely nothing to do with ME; rather, it has to do with where THEY are in their walk of life. If you can recognize this, you’ll find yourself not taking it personally at all.

    As Annie said, they obviously don’t want to hear your opinion, plan, or side of things. With many, many people, I simply stopped talking about anything happening in my life and instead inquired of their own, making POSITIVE responses to anything they said. After a while they either began to be more positive around me, or they didn’t change at all. Either reaction was fine! Again, I no longer took it personally. When we recogize that each person is in a different walk with God (if believers) or walk of life, we don’t have to own anything they do or say.

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