Being a mom is hard right? No matter what age your kids are there are new struggles that come along and new hurdles to jump over. It seems like every day you are having to pull some new moves out of the hat that you lost 6 months ago.
Having two under two wasn’t hard for us until now. My oldest is 3 and the youngest is 1.5 I think they play nicely for about 20 minutes a day. It is exhausting and this long cold winter isn’t helping.
Some days I can keep them busy with things like play doh and our favorite sensory bins, but some days they want nothing to do with any ideas I come up with and I’m left feeling defeated. Being pregnant with out third is probably playing in to the stress level too.
Mom’s Share their biggest regrets as parents
I think we can all agree that being a parent is hard, and based off my recent post My biggest regret as a parent we are not always the parent we want to be!
This post is a long one, so don’t forget to save it for later, because we all know someone somewhere will need something from mom. And you are going to want to read this one!
It is so empowering and calming to knowing that “hey, I’m not struggling alone.” No matter how perfect someone’s life may look online, I promise it is not perfect!
What is your biggest regret as a parent?
Ida Forssell – Martikainen
My biggest regret as a parent is that I spent way too much energy and time on trying to keep everything perfect. Instead of embracing motherhood to the fullest, I focused on the outside world and external expectations far too long. I tried to do everything by the book from the moment I first became pregnant – everything from prenatal vitamins to attending maternity yoga religiously.
I purchased a wardrobe full of maternity wear, dozens of nursing bras, studied different stroller brands and booked a maternity photo shoot. I signed us up for a special birthing hospital with limited rooms, because everything was supposed to be perfect.
When my firstborn graced us with her arrival, I avoided giving her a pacifier for the first two weeks, I kept her at home for the first month and tracked everything on an app. We never left the house so that I wouldn’t be in full makeup and both of us dressed to par.
I struggled with my baby weight and literally pushed myself near off the edge to obtain my pre-pregnancy weight. I refused to nap when she did, because I had a house to tend to.
I took online university courses, because I wanted to “make the most of my maternity leave”. When the life of a toddler started taking over my house, I cleaned even more – and relaxed less. We attended every single mommy and me class and group I could find; baby swimming, baby dancing, family cafés.
It wasn’t until my second pregnancy that I started to really accept and embrace motherhood. The ups and downs, the occasional disastrous mess and chaos. That it’s okay not to be perfect all the time. That it doesn’t make a difference if my child is walking at 8 months or 14 months.
How the rest of the world sees me is not important, what matters is that I’m happy and not overwhelmed. Today my house is often a mess, but it’s a house full of laughter, play and love. I’m a flexible happy parent for the most part. I know how and when to reach out and ask for help, I don’t need to be in control of everything all the time. I don’t need to be perfect, and I wish I had realized this already in the beginning of my journey as a mother.
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A big thank you to Toni for allowing me to write this for her blog. She asked me to contribute my biggest regret as a parent and I was excited to participate.
Parenting is one of the hardest things to do. Seriously. I don’t like referring to it as a job, because that doesn’t sound like an entirely fair comparison, but most of the time it does feel like work. We get paid in love from our children, but we definitely earn it!
parenting is one of the hardest things to do
I’ve been a parent for eight years and, while that’s not a very long time, I’ve learned a lot so far. Mostly by failing, a lot. More than I care to admit, honestly. I’ve yelled (a lot), spanked, ignored (during tantrums), spent too much time on the internet, and plenty of other things. But my biggest regret, by far, is being too selfish.
By nature, I’m a pretty selfish person. I don’t like that particular trait about myself, but I’m doing my utmost to change that. I had a habit of always considering what I did and did not want to do when it came to my son, instead of caring more about his interests.
For instance, if it was too hot outside and he asked if I wanted to come out and play, I would usually say no (or an empty “maybe later”) because I’m hot-natured and hate the heat. If he asked if I wanted to watch a certain TV show or movie with him, I would be more concerned with watching what I wanted to watch.
There was one time when he showed an interest in playing soccer, but I never signed him up to play because taking him to practices and games would have been a hassle or an inconvenience to me.
I hate the fact that I acted that way. I’m ashamed. I was an only child for the first twelve years of my life so I was used to only having to be concerned with myself and what I wanted to do. It’s not an excuse, but it is why my selfishness became a horrible habit that I regret every single day of my life.
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As a mother to three beautiful kiddos, there is a lot of things that I regret. Things that I wish I could do differently or change however over all there is one regret that hold dear in my heart.
I regret putting my oldest sons last name as his biological fathers or even putting him on the birth certificate at all. I had a teen pregnancy and was naive to think he was the one. Needless to say eight years later with no contact from him since and my husband wants to adopt our son.
There are a lot of things in motherhood I regret like yelling too much, not being patient, not being present in the room and playing with them, but over all my biggest regret is being naive, foolish, and immature.
One small thing cause such a big ripple, more like a wave, that is proving more and more to be difficult. I can reverse the damaging choice i made but it will take over a year and money that we as a family cannot manage at the moment.
I have to watch my son suffer, who desperately wants my husbands last name like the rest of us all because of one foolish pen stroke and a naive girl.
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I have worked very hard over the years to live my life in a manner that prevents regrets. However, as soon as I had my first child, I let those regrets creep in. For once, I questioned whether graduate school was really the correct path for me.
I had wanted to have children since about age 20, but knew the timing was off. So, I waited…and waited…and waited. I decided to go to graduate school and thought I’d be able to have children part way through…before realizing that was not going to happen if I was going to retain my sanity. So, I waited some more.
Then I finished school, started my career, and 3 months later got the plus sign on the pee stick. Fast forward 9 months and one small mini me later, and the doubt started creeping in.
Going back to work was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and I consider myself one of the lucky ones who got to have additional time away (my son was almost 5 months old when I returned). Now, my boy is almost a year and to this day I still vacillate between wanting to have my career and wanting to be a stay at home mom.
There’s this part of me that would be devastated if I didn’t choose to challenge myself with this career path, but another, more primal side of me, that would be completely fulfilled by giving it all up to be home with my son (and future children).
So, two and half weeks ago I started my lifestyle blog with the hopes that someday, if I work it hard enough, I may be able to do what I love while also being home with my little ones. I suppose only time will tell.
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I regret resenting my daughter when she was just two weeks old. I knew a newborn was going to need to eat all the time, what I didn’t know was how long each feed would take and how the cycle of finishing one feed and starting the next would consume my days.
On top of this, breastfeeding wasn’t clicking with me. We had shields, tubing and syringes of supplement formula to try and get baby girl into the groove of breastfeeding and it wasn’t working. I was tired, I didn’t want to continue the process, and I found myself resenting my daughter every time my husband would say “it’s time for her to eat”. She. Was. Two. Weeks. Old.
I regret not soaking her up more in those first two weeks. I regret stressing out so much about getting her to latch. The stress I felt reflected in her, some feedings we would both end up crying. All she wanted to do was eat and I was racked with guilt for feeling like I didn’t want to feed her. She was dependent on me and I was letting her down.
We turned a corner once I gave up the shields and tubing. Making the decision to pump and bottle feed relaxed us both. Feeds were shorter and they weren’t totally dependent on me so I could fix a bottle for my husband t
o give her while I got to do whatever it was I wanted. Once I was relaxed, she became relaxed and we were able to bond the way we should have been all along.
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I think we can all admit that parenting is difficult and that we all have regrets from time to time. Whether it’s yelling, too much time on my phone, or taking an extra long bathroom break it is simply just a blip on my guilt radar, because my ultimate regret is not putting myself first.
You see, if I were to consistently take time for self-care every day I wouldn’t lose my cool as much, I wouldn’t cling to the lifeline of social media or five minutes of peace in the bathroom while my kids are trying to knock down the door. My biggest regret is not showing my children that it’s okay to do something just for themselves once in a while, and I know that I will still continue to struggle to do so.
But, all I know for sure, is that I’m doing my best and that it’s okay. Parenting is an endless educational opportunity for the children and parents, and by making mistakes and learning from them we are teaching our children the greatest lesson of all. Nobody is perfect, and all you can do is try to be better in the future. Your past doesn’t define you. So do yourself a favor and brush off yesterday.
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I am now almost 14 years into this parenting gig and there are still many days that I feel like a rookie. Reflecting back on my biggest regret as a mother takes me back to that time when I was a brand new mom and had no clue what to expect!
I was foggy from sleep deprivation and a nervous wreck about every little thing. I wanted so badly to do everything RIGHT, even though I did not know what that was at the time. I worried about my new baby’s sleeping and eating and even tracked (per the discharge orders from the hospital) the consistency and frequency of his bowel movements!
“I was foggy from sleep deprivation and a nervous wreck about every little thing”
I decided to join an online community of other new moms (to be sure I was doing things right – sigh). While it did provide some camaraderie, it also led to my biggest regret as a mother. I spent way too much time comparing my baby to everyone else’s baby!
In fact, I was truly unable to just enjoy my baby because I was worried that he was not lifting his head or babbling at the same time as some of the other babies. Or I worried that I had to supplement with formula at three weeks old because I literally did not sleep with the amount of times he wanted to nurse. Was I somehow damaging him by not exclusively nursing for longer?
Looking back, I really regret that I did not just enjoy the baby phase more. Now I realize that every kid does things at his/her own pace and the rest does not matter. I did way too much comparing him to other babies (and as a secondary regret worrying that everyone would think I was a bad mother for the choices I made or for doing things the wrong way – whatever that meant!)
Hopefully I will get a chance as a grandmother to relish in the baby phase a bit more. Not too soon, though! I have to survive the teenage years first!
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But that didn’t explain wanting to have only one on one play dates when she had lots of friends, being joyful at home but finding it hard in big groups. My husband and mother in law felt i was just coddling her. That the tantrums were simply tantrums and she was misbehaving. In fifth grade we moved her to a private school because she said it was hard to learn where she was. There were too many kids and the teacher couldn’t control them. None of that was good for instilling a love of learning. So we enrolled her in a private school where I assumed they would assess her and recognize ADHD. I specifically asked her math teacher. Nothing. Instead, teachers got mad at her for asking questions or not remembering something.
True, she did very well academically; but she worked at it so damn hard. She compensated; but it just wasn’t fair. She had hours and hours of homework and she was 10 years old. The smallest assignment could take hours which could launch a melt down. And now she was having anxiety. Couldn’t sleep alone, scared to go to school.
I should have insisted on testing earlier. Finally I kicked into gear. We got her tested and a little medicine made a difference academically overnight. It was amazing But by then Kylie was having full on panic attacks and losing her self-confidence because of her struggles. So I was way later to the party than I should have been. And boy do I regret that.
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First I want to remind you that we are all human, therefore it is impossible for any of us to be perfect parents. We do the best that we can with what we have and what we know at the time. If you are doing the best you can my friend, then you are doing amazing by your children! It is only in looking back on the years raising our three daughters that I longingly wish I knew then, what I know now.
My biggest regret all those years is not following my heart and spending the time I was given on what truly matters. I was young when I had my girls, and definitely did not have the confidence to stand firm in what I believed was right, instead I did what my mom thought I should do at the time. And believe it or not, we didn’t have Google to ask!
If I could go back and have a redo, I would not care as much about whether the house was tidy (my mom taught me that this is what mattered) and I would spend more of my time teaching my girls how to bake, cook, garden, balance the budget, and other life skills rather than do it my way (this was not modeled for me at all, children were to simply stay out of the way).
I would take more photos of our girl making blanket forts, of all their Lego cities sprawled all over the living room, and even take pics of their messy bedrooms because the time went so so fast. I would go to their soccer games and stand outside in the pouring rain to watch them play and cheer them on rather than go to work (because society told me that I was not important or valued as a stay at home mom).
“because society told me that I was not important or valued as a stay at home mom”
Getting the gist from these examples? What I regret the most is not following my heart and spending my time on what really mattered instead of sweating the small stuff. However, when I reflect on the talented, independent, loving, beautiful young women that my daughters have grown up to be, I know that I did more things right than wrong. There is a picture of my girls over on this page of my website Connect with Lisa!
Follow your heart, it will lead and guide you as you journey thru parenting. Remember that you only have approximately 6570 days with your child at home, make each one count!
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My biggest parenting regret is not teaching my two oldest kids to clean up after themselves from the beginning. I thought having a messy house was part of having kids and that it would get better as they got older. Not true! I’ve heard the quote, “Begin as you mean to go on” but unfortunately didn’t apply it to this aspect of motherhood.
I later realized that yes, children are mess-makers but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a tidy house. I had to work hard playing catch-up to teach my kids how to keep our home clean and organized. They always had chores so they knew how to clean but they couldn’t keep it clean. All the picking up and putting away fell on me and my husband when it didn’t have to.
I learned from my mistake. As soon as my youngest two could drop a toy in a basket, I made sure to end play time a little early so there was time for them to help pick up. Over the years I’ve also realized that children don’t need nearly as much toys and clothes as I thought, which makes cleaning up so much easier. We haven’t become minimalists but we’ve definitely removed some cluttered and continue to do so on a regular basis.
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I hope that you are able to feel a little bit less stressed about the mistakes you know you have made. Because bottom line, we all wish we did something differently but gosh darn it we are good moms! It is our mistakes that make us unique and make our children who they are. So please whether you are an expectant mom, first time mom, or your children are grown and out of the house know you are AMAZING!!!
Share with us what is your biggest regret?
Need to feel a bit better about the state of your house? I’m a terrible housewife!