I’m really getting annoyed with how often people address this statement to me as if it were some kind of a threat about a horrible eventuality awaiting me in the future.
“I just got an article accepted for publication and I’m super psyched about it.”
“Just wait till you have kids! That will put a damper on your research activities.”
“N. and I went out to this really cool new restaurant last night and we really loved it.”
“Just wait till you have kids! Then, you’ll have neither time nor money to go out.”
“I slept in this morning and it was just what I needed. I now have a lot of energy to finally attack that huge pile of ungraded assignments.”
“Just wait till you have kids! You’ll forget all about sleeping then.”
(These are all real conversations that I participated in recently.)
I’ve got to wonder why this sentence is never used in a more positive context. For instance:
“N. and I had an amazing time on our vacation to Florida last time and we can’t wait to go again.”
“Just wait till you have kids! Imagine how much fun you could have sharing that great experience with them.”
“I just read this amazing book and I can’t stop thinking about it.”
“Just wait till you have kids! Then, you will be able to read the book together and discuss it.”
“My back is killing me! I spent all day dicing vegetables for my favorite Russian salads.”
“Just wait till you have kids! Then, you could cook together and you’d be able to share with them stories about the Russian cultural traditions while they are helping you dice.”
I know that it is very possible to have fun with kids and see them as people who enrich your life, rather than people who make you perennially miserable. My father, for example, always insisted on taking my sister and me on vacation with him because he said it wasn’t possible for him to imagine having any fun at the beach without us. I’m seeing crowds of people whose lives were in no way destroyed by having children. Why, then, is this sentence always employed in such negative contexts?