When I was pregnant with my son, I remember telling people how tired I was at the start.
“Just wait until your third trimester. That’s when you get really tired,” they would say. They weren’t lying.
But when that time arrived and I admitted to being tired, it was always received with the same prompt response.
“Just wait until you have that baby! You won’t be getting any sleep for awhile.”
It didn’t take me long to recognize the trend I was frequenting—what I like to call the just wait.
Not sleeping well during your pregnancy? Just wait until you aren’t sleeping at all with your newborn.
Tight on cash? Just wait until you’re forking over a small mortgage in daycare.
Boobs hurt? Just wait until you’re nursing.
It wasn’t until I was experiencing the exciting firsts of motherhood that I realized the just waitwould never go away. Why?
“Just wait until you have two of them.”
Here’s my question—why must we always wait? Why can’t we embrace the here and now?
Why can’t we be tired?
Why can’t we be broke?
Why can’t we be excited, ambitious, oroverwhelmed?
Girlfriend, let me tell you something. It all passes quickly. The first one, the second one, and I’m sure the third and fourth do as well. Yes, the saying is true—the days are long, but the years are short.
I made myself a promise I would never tell another female to “just wait” again.
Do you want to know why?
Because it devalues her current experience. There’s nothing quite like that phrase to make a girl feel like what she’s going through isn’t important. It instills a feeling there will always be something easier, tougher, more enjoyable, more confusing. And while you think you may be helping them, it does nothing more than push the fast forward button on their current experience. Every moment is an opportunity to grow, to relish, to learn. Why shortchange someone’s moment by telling them to just wait for the next?
I can imagine my audience thinking I’m taking this too seriously.
When I was pregnant with my first child, it didn’t take long for the just waits to start flowing. I quickly grew tired of being reminded there would always be a time when I would need more A/C, more anxiety meds, more tissues, more anything. I felt like it totally discounted what I was going through at that moment. When I had my son, people immediately started to pipe up about just waiting until I had two kids. That’s the moment when I knew it would never stop.
That was also the moment I vowed to never tell someone to just wait.
I just wanted to enjoy my son. Even when I was up at 3 a.m. feeding him, watching The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on Nick at Nite through zombie eyes, I still wanted to enjoy him. I didn’t want to think about what it would be like with two kids at that time, because that would mean this moment would have passed. He probably wouldn’t be snuggled in my arms, asleep. I wouldn’t be watching just one more episode because I had finally gotten comfortable. I might not be admiring his little baby eyelashes because they were just so long and beautiful.
Now that I have two children, I am busier. No, I wasn’t just waiting to be busier, but I knew it would happen. Now that my daughter is here I am relishing my minutes with her just as I did with my son. I know one day she will be older, more dramatic, more stubborn. But she will also be funnier, and even more beautiful than she is at this moment. I want to enjoy her now and later in equal, lasting moments. I want to breathe her in now, in a year, and in ten years without thinking about what will happen if I’m just waiting for something else to happen. Because if I’m just waiting, more than likely I am missing what is right before my eyes.
This is why I know not to tell my friends, acquaintances and strangers to just wait.
This isn’t just for mothers either, y’all. Working women, don’t wait. You do that thing now. Get that promotion. Reach that goal. Move out of that cubicle. Don’t listen to someone when they tell you to just wait, because you are crushing goals right now. You don’t have time to worry about what will be. You have to do you this very minute.
Ladies, embrace your bodies now. Body issues may be the biggest just wait of them all:
Just wait until you’re my age.
Just wait until you can’t move like that anymore.
Just wait until you’ve had three kids.
You can be still, falling victim to the fear of just waiting or you can do your thing now. And whether you are running a marathon, doing yoga or taking a walk down the street—I can assure you you’ll have zero regrets you ignored the naysayers of the world and did your thing.
And to the students, yes, you will enter the real world one day. Don’t let anyone tell you to “just wait until you have a real job and blah, blah, blah . . .” because you know what? You probably are working a real job already—on campus, at Starbucks or at a company related to your field of study. Are you waitressing? Do you, Boo. Babysitting? Even better—flexible hours. And when you get your diploma and secure your first career-status job, your life will not suck. There is life after the diploma. Some of our strongest sisters are raising children, working full-time jobs, or doing both while attending school.
Let’s find a way to embrace the now for how beautiful, overwhelming, confusing and real it is at this very moment.
Should you plan for the future? Absolutely. I’m not suggesting for anyone to run free without a care. I simply think there is something to be said for living life as life happens. We should encourage our girlfriends to do the same. If it’s a beautiful moment, remind them, appreciate it, breathe it in. If it’s a tough moment, tell them it will be OK, tell yourself it will be OK. Know you are growing because when you embrace the challenging, you become more resilient with every “tick” of the second hand.
Be passionate. Take control. Lift your girlfriends up. Lift others up. Don’t tell them to just wait. Tell them to enjoy life, all the way to the last drop. And then when all of that is done, take your own advice and do the same.