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?
I reached out to some amazing mom bloggers to see if they would share their biggest regret as a parent with me and you. I have not only shared their stories but I also included my favorite post from their blog so make sure you check that out too.
This post contains affiliate links which means with your purchase I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
I regret not asking my doctor about Postpartum Depression sooner, especially delayed PPD. I don’t think I was in denial at first (or ever), I think I just didn’t know. I thought PPD happened soon after a woman gave birth, so was pleased that I always passed the PPD symptoms questionnaire with flying colors during all my post-delivery OB appointments.
Sure, I was stressed and freaked out and anxious all the time (I mean, aren’t all new moms to some extent?), but not to the point where it sent up any red flags.
I still didn’t think to inquire about my mental health?!
Not even when my son’s pediatrician asked about my angst (after I put him thru the ringer one day) did I stop to give it consideration. And then, 18 months later, weaning happened. The floodgates opened, and 1.5 years of buried angst came pouring out, along with a brand new and intensely powerful feeling of loss.
The despair was paralyzing, and the sobbing fits happened daily for weeks on end. And would you believe I still didn’t think to inquire about my mental health?!
So far, I’d dealt with my anxiety by burying it deep. I was lucky, after all. I lived a comfy life and had a supportive partner. So, I focused on my good fortune and tried to convince myself that whatever uneasiness I was feeling would eventually disappear.
After doing that successfully for a year and a half, it didn’t cross my mind that my sudden weaning-related emotions could be related to PPD. Then, several months later, I stumbled upon an article about Post-Weaning Depression… and boy did a hell of a lot of stuff suddenly make sense!
From there, I consumed all the info I could get my hands on, and all my reading confirmed that I should’ve seen someone for help wayyyyy sooner. That was well into my baby’s 2nd year. Better late than never, but I very much regret not seeking out this info sooner.
My Favorite Post: Off Road Strollers
Dealing with Regret and Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression (PPD) can be so hard to even admit to anyone especially your self. I have personally dealt with PPD and postpartum anxiety (PPA) and it was so hard to tell anyone I was struggling.
You have this little baby, that your body worked hard to make so why should you feel depressed? How can you admit to anyone that you aren’t as happy as you should be?
But let me tell you even just sharing it can be weight off your shoulders. And you don’t have to take medication if therapy helps or other changes. But if you do have to take medication don’t worry if you are a breastfeeding mom there are safe options that do work!
I did a guest post of my first PPD struggle Rainbow Baby: The Struggle No One Told Me About on The Butterfly Mother.
Please don’t ever feel like you have failed or that you aren’t a good mother because you are struggling. You are amazing and your baby needs you. Reaching out does not make you weak, it makes you strong!
Parenting Mistakes: How to Forgive Yourself
As a parent you have to know you will make mistakes. You won’t know what it is, but it will happen no matter how hard you try not to. You may work hard to avoid the parenting mistakes you felt your own parents made, but I promise mistakes will happen.
Does this make you a bad parent?
Heavens no! It makes you human.
You could sulk and struggle with the mistakes you have made, or you can learn from them and work on being a better a parent. No matter what the mistake is you can improve your parenting skills and be a better parent!
But you need to learn how to forgive yourself! The truth of the matter is your kids either didn’t even realize you made a mistake or have already forgotten it.
And if not you need to let them know you are sorry, take responsibility and let them know you will be working on being better for them. This not only lets them know that you will be trying to be better, but that it is indeed okay to make mistakes and admit it.
I have been working on following the Positive Parenting program to help me be a better parent, who yells less and has more fun!
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.
Favorite Post: Learning to Listen
Be Happy With Who You Are
As a first time parent it can be really hard to not try to fit the “society norm mom” but the truth is there is no norm. There is no standard that you must hit just like with anything else in life you are unique and so is your parenting style.
Being happy with who you are as a parent can be challenging but you will be so much happier when you let go of what you think you have to be and just be you.
From driving so my child sleeps, with no bra to house being an utter mess! It is really life and sometimes it isn’t!
I honestly can’t follow people who only show or talk about how amazing it is, because while it is amazing it is also damn hard!
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.
Favorite Post: What depression feels like
no one cares what mom wants right now
I think it is our nature as humans to be selfish sometimes. Sometimes we just think about ourselves and what we want before we think about others. But as a mother our kids are now number one and it can be real hard to cope with.
I know on rough days I have thought “No one cares what mom wants right now” and well it is true…. who thinks about mom?
No one, usually not even mom. It is hard thing to adjust to. But we have to learn how to be selfless. Do the things our kids want to do just because they want to do them!
In the same notion you can only give so much and do have to think about yourself daily with some self care. You can even take this time to teach your children self care.
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.
Favorite post: How to stay sane while staying home
Being a Young Mother
While I myself do not have experience in being a young single mother I have watched my sister grow from being a 16 year old mom, to a mom of a very smart almost 7 year old.
My niece’s father has seen her a handful of times and certainly wasn’t helpful, but my sister had her family to help and she has flourished.
My sister has graduated high school early, is married with a 2 year old, working full time and finishing her bachelors.
Being a young mother is not the end of your life, it is the beginning of a new journey and you will have to learn some hard lessons that other parents don’t have to deal with. But you can come out on top and be an incredible mom and raise some equally incredible kids!
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.
Favorite Post: 5 Details you should know about bilingualism in toddler
Working Parent VS Stay At Home Mom
The never ending battle, and judgement filled decision. Neither one is the right choice for everyone and neither one is bad. I have had the joy of being a stay at home mom since I had my oldest, but that doesn’t mean some days I wish I worked just to get away.
I have friends who say they could never stay home and need to work to keep their sanity and I have some that wish they could stay home.
They both have their challenges and benefits! And no matter what you choose someone will judge you but don’t let that discourage you!
In the end you have to choose what will work for you and your family and not worry about what other people think.
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.
Favorite Post: How to have circle time at home
Breastfeeding a newborn is so hard! I can remember crying thinking I just couldn’t do it any more. I knew I was going to push through but I really felt like giving up.
And you know what that would have been okay!
I had decided to pump and bottle feed or give my baby formula she would have been just fine. Sometimes you have to make changes for your own mental health.
I do fully believe that with the right breastfeeding support and knowledge you can make it to all of your goals, but you need the support and you need to know when things need to change.
Related Post: 50+ Breastfeeding Resources
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.
Favorite Post: Let’s talk about stress, baby
The Importance of Self Care
I have talked about it before, and I know I will again self care is so important but it can be so hard to set aside that time for yourself.
I know so many say get up before the kids drink your coffee or tea and just relax, but for me I can’t. My youngest wakes up before 5 and some days as early at 3. At 22 weeks pregnant with our 3rd I need what sleep I can get!
Related Post: Dealing with a lack of sleep during pregnancy
I try to get the kids down and take some time for myself to crochet, read, work on my blog, or just watch a good show. Before being pregnant I would do yoga but now my feet and hands get so tingly I can’t stand to do it.
Someday’s just taking the time to actually brush my hair and put on something other than sweats can make me feel so rejuvenated and happy! Other days I have no desire to get out of my PJ’s.
The key is to find out what works for you, explain to your children you need this little bit of time and help them find something that brings them joy that they can do at the same time.
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!
My favorite post: Realist self care for special needs parents
Child Milestones: Every baby is different
I didn’t learn this more than I did when I had my second baby. My oldest was always so ahead on everything! The girl was walking at 8 months and talking so much before she was one. She easily said 50 words by her first birthday and by 2 she was carrying on conversations and had the vocab of a 4 year old.
She has not slowed down at all and at 3.5 is just a handful.
My second on the other hand was much more in the normal when it came to milestones. She did walk at 9 months, but was not talking near as much as her sister. And I had to tell myself almost daily that they are different and there is nothing wrong with our second.
Our second has thrived in gross motor skill development and the rest is catching up. But I felt so bad for comparing them and I still find myself doing it. No matter how much I try I compare.
It has becoming one of my biggest parenting goals and I really need to work on it more.
How do you control yourself from comparing your child to others?
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.
Favorite Post: Calming an anxiety attack
Trust Your Mama Gut
This is a real thing and if you think something is really wrong don’t be afraid to get a second or third opinion.
When my oldest was just 4 months old she was so sick. 103 temp, lots of cuddling, sleeping, throwing up constantly and by day 4 we ended up in the ER.
They sent us home when she had a temp 103.7 because she was in good spirits. I knew something more was up she was struggling and so was I. We went to the doctor and she had a temp of 104. They tested her for flu, strep, RSV and everything was negative.
My doctor finally said it is rare but we will test for a UTI. Let me tell you that was a long day. She had to have a bag and we waited for her to pee, well she had been throwing up and wasn’t peeing much.
She finally peed but also pooped and well we had start all over.
4 hours later still no pee, they were getting ready to do a catheter and I was in tears, but just as we took off her diaper the chill must have made her pee. Just enough to test and sure enough she had a UTI. Rare, but there it was.
Had we waited any longer it could have been much worse, as it was already really bad.
Follow those instincts they are there for a reason! And not just medically but with everything!
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!
My favorite post from Lisa: 11 Ways to make your love last
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.
Favorite Post: 3 Simple home organizing tips
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!!!
Daily Chores for Your Children
This is so important for me and I have a blog post of household chores your toddler can help with to give you some ideas, but it really is so important.
The life lesson daily tasks taught young is so much easier than when they are older and see it as a chore and not just something we do every day.
Not to mention talking the time to teach them now saves you so much time in the future. They can help and you don’t have to keep reminding them to do it because it is just part of their everyday.
Many of my friends left home and couldn’t even start a washer or didn’t know how to wash dishes. It really was sad and they were frustrated.
I would love to hear what your biggest parenting regret or parenting mistake has been and what have you done to overcome it?