I never would have thought these two words could possibly make me cringe. In all fairness to those two words, they are usually accompanied by one particular phrase that I would be happy to never hear again.
“Oh, don’t look forward to (‘xyz’ milestone) because of (‘xyz’ inconvenience that comes with it).”
The literal words are more akin to “Believe me. Once she starts (insert milestone here), you’ll have your hands full.” When you are a new mom, this phrase follows you almost as much as your little one does. In some form or another. Those comments come from a good place, so I aways just laugh it off. My exasperation is reserved for my own personal thoughts. It is just lighthearted conversation. There isn’t any way for them to know that it bothers me, so I say nothing. Nevertheless, in my mind I am kicking them into a playground ball-pit, 300-style.
For clarification’s sake, most of my irritation comes from the fact that everyone says it. Like if you have ever worked at a cash register. Every sweet old man says “I just made it this morning,” after handing you a large bill. Or a favorite song ruined by hearing it too many times.
I’m fully aware of the fact that babies can be a handful. My daughter’s thirst for exploration is nearly impossible to contain, like most babies on the move. It brings me joy to see her completely motivated to learn something new and I am her biggest champion when she conquers those objectives. So during quick conversation about her accomplishments and milestones, the challenges are the furthest thing from my mind.
It is common for acquaintances to use this as a simple way to relate to me. I won’t dismiss them, I know that their intention is not to complain. It is merely a way to keep the conversation flowing. I understand this. That is why my politeness won’t falter because of my own annoyance to these words.
I just want other parents to understand that every day my baby is closer to never being a baby again. I have little patience for any attempt to dull my spark or my joy. Babies take work and effort. Believe me, I have been thoroughly warned. There are so many wonderful things we could talk about. It puzzles me that the only thing some people can find to relate to us comes in the form of a lighthearted complaint.
No one says “I bet you’re looking forward to Christmas! Well just wait, once Christmas comes, you’ll have your hands full cleaning up wrapping paper! Believe me!” It sounds silly when you think about it that way, right?
If you feel like switching things up:
I would love to listen to fun anecdotes that you want to share about your family. What are some of the specific “hands full” stories that you are looking back and laughing at? How old were your children were when they went through their own milestones? Can you offer suggestions about fun things that we could do together? These are the kinds of things that this new mom wants to hear.