Welcome to our new guest post series about "time."
How do we use it? Misuse it? Many of us spend so much time complaining we don't have enough of it, but how often are we grateful for what we actually have? It is a gift we receive every day...a fresh allotment. But how will we spend it? And what values shape how we use it? As we reflect, may there be space to consider how and where we spend our precious seconds of this gift.
I'm growing to despise that phrase the more I think about it. I've been guilty of spouting these words more often than I'd prefer to admit, but I'm trying to remedy the habit.
No one feels encouraged when those who have gone before them throw "Just wait until..." into a conversation. I may be the only mom guilty of this, but I have a theory that the "just wait" attitude is pretty common amongst mothers.
We look at those beautiful newlywed women with their slim figures, cute outfits, and 9:00-5:00 jobs and think, "If only that were still me," but to curb the guilt that comes with our jealousy, "just wait" becomes our motto.
"I'd look that good, too, if I still had time to get ready in the morning without trying to get little people ready as well. Jus you wait!"
"What do you mean you're tired?!? Just wait until you have kids! You won't know tired until then."
"You feel overwhelmed? Ha! Just wait until you're juggling children, meals, and cleaning. THEN you'll feel overwhelmed."
I had a conversation with a young twenty-something friend a few weeks ago, and I felt conviction as I heard her admit, "I don't know if I can ever have kids. Everyone says how much harder it will be, but I'm overwhelmed now..I can't seem to get it together now."
In that conversation, I was forced to remember the girl who struggled behind the smiles in my newlywed days. Those were the days of trying to find security in all of the wrong places, flubbing my way through juggling a job and a household for the first time, and getting way too stressed out over it all.
Mommy memory loss has taken away my ability to recollect how often I messed up during that time in my life. (Hallelujah! Amen.) Unfortunately, I've only focused on selective memories of how nice it was to sleep when I wanted, go shopping when I desired a new pair of shoes, or enjoy spontaneous nights on the town with my husband. Those are the memories I've allowed to define my my newlywed years as the "easy" time of my adulthood.
Don't get me wrong, those were great years, but they weren't easy either. I had a lot to learn, and desperately needed to grow. I did not become a master of the wife life with all of my "spare time." I made many mistakes during those years and tried lots of ideas and suggestions until I began to learn a system that worked for me.
For that season in my life, I was busy. No, I wasn't busy in the same way being a mom makes me busy, but I was living life. I needed to experience busy in that context so that I could be better prepared for the demands of motherhood.
So, to you sweet young woman who feels inferior or terrified after listening to moms hash out their "just wait" speeches, take heart. We have all been where you are, but perhaps we've forgotten just how challenging it is. If anything, we want you to not take this time in your life for granted. Don't waste your days stressing over circumstances beyond your control. We are all learning how to grow to be stronger women who can take on the next phase of life when it comes.
And mamas, for all the chaos that kids bring, we know the irreplaceable joy that comes with them as well. Shouldn't we all want to encourage others to have that experience? Will you join me in replacing the words "just wait" with words that inspire others to live their current season of life to the fullest? It's a much more pleasant use of time for all of us.