Newbies, seasoned vets & grandparents volunteer their top parenting regrets

IMG_3140Call them regrets, oversights or wish-I-would-haves, most parents have them whether they are newbies, seasoned veterans or grandparents. I know I definitely have a few.

Since we’re all in this together, this crazy club we call parenting, it’s nice to hear from and commiserate with other parents on all of their if-I-could-go-back-in-times. I want to thank everyone who volunteered theirs for this post.

Here are mine (in no particular order):

  1. Documenting my downfalls

I didn’t know that when I took the photo for my daughter’s first birthday invitation that I would end up regretting it, but I do. In fact, I can’t even look at it without drudging up the horrible memory behind taking it. What’s worse is that the invitation still remains on many of my relatives’ fridges as a constant reminder.

About 25 minutes prior to snapping the photo, I was in complete meltdown mode. I was crying, screaming, slamming doors – just having a total adult tantrum. I believe it was because my daughter just wouldn’t stop crying. After we had both pulled ourselves together, I decided to take some photos of her outside as a way to move on with the day. Unfortunately the photos turned out great (all except for the faint redness I can see around her eyes from crying), and without realizing it, I had officially documented one of my worst parenting moments.

  1. Hanging on to old Angela

When my daughter Layla was born, I was determined to keep the same lifestyle I once had. I was not going to be one of those moms that wore stained sweatpants to the store, or said no to a mid-afternoon glass of wine. The result was a stress level I had never anticipated and an unhappy family. I remember walking our dog Hendrix one afternoon and having this epiphany and just saying to myself, okay you win, life needs to change. How can we merge these two Angelas together? After committing to the fact that I needed to put everyone else first, things ran a lot smoother.

  1. Worrying too much about visits

Well firstly, I wish I had a “viewing” party when Layla was born.  That way I wouldn’t have had visitors almost every day in the first few weeks, and I wouldn’t have worried so much if they were good visits. But every time someone was coming over, I worried that the house wasn’t tidy, or that she would be awake and screaming the whole time. And when I knew she needed a diaper, I waited longer to change her because someone was having a cuddle. I wish I had just said no, now is not a good time, and that I would have put her first instead of making sure that the visitor was comfortable.

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Newbies, seasoned vets & grandparents:

“The biggest thing I feel bad about is when I fail to show my kids how to express and handle their emotions in a healthy way when I “loose it” myself and yell or don’t have patience for them.” – Virginia

“Worrying to much about what others think. Not going out much and now baby doesn’t like me to leave him and now he’s 8 months old. Leaving him with anyone else is hard on him, he gets so upset and it’s even harder on me. But with time I’m sure it will change.” – Tanya

I regret that due to our decision to move internationally to Vancouver, when Kailey was 7 months, that Kailey won’t really get to know my family (as they won’t bother to visit). Granted, the less than stellar family bonds we had in Australia made our decision easy, we are now in a city with no family at all, trying to make friends that may one day be “uncle’s and aunt’s” for her. Compounding this is our lack of knowledge of the local area and resources available to us to help Kailey, that we may one day jeopardize her health or wellbeing through our ignorance. So I constantly struggle with the question of whether we made the right decision or not.” – Travis

“Mine is that I’ve stressed too much about doing everything “right” instead of just enjoying my kids. I’ve spent too much time listening others opinions. Now I’m just loving all of it. That and I wish I’d had maternity/newborn pics done!”  – Sarah

“Not so much regretful, but I’m always concerned with the balance. Like if I’ve spent the day playing with K, then I’m stressing that the house is a mess. Or if I take time to go for a hike with the dog, maybe I should have spent that time with my husband. I’m always thinking that I could have prioritized my time better.” – Shannon

Mine is that I have coddled and protected them too much. I regret following in my mother’s footsteps to try and deliver everything on a silver platter. I am doing them a disservice by trying too hard to protect them from life’s bumps and challenges. I’m still trying to change my ways…… It’s an ongoing fight with myself.” – Christine

Worst regret and I still struggle with it now is prioritizing play time over household duties. My 1st priority when I get home is to figure out dinner instead of decompress with the kids.” – Sarah

My main regret in raising my sons was to not enjoy them in “the moment”. I was always waiting for them to roll over, to sit up, to stand, to walk, to talk, and I never took the time to sit back and see them for who they were at that moment – the adorable, yummy-smelling, soft, loving babes they were. I always wanted more. Of course as a grandparent, it’s easy to sit back and watch, and that’s making me realize how much I missed because I was too busy worrying about the next thing. I am so sad that I worried about money and things because as long as you’re responsible, it all works out when you’re older. I would do anything to have those little arms wrapped around my neck again, loving me unconditionally, thinking I was that perfect being who also loved unconditionally in return.” – Bev

“My biggest regret is no getting my toddlers to clean up after themselves (I found it much quicker & to my satisfaction to organize & do it the way I wanted it) also getting them to clean their room at a young age, my two older boys (now 15yrs) it has been like pulling teeth!! 6-7yrs old was wayyyy too late to start, my youngest on the other hand we started at 1-2yrs & he does it quickly & efficiently at 9yrs old. Also, not starting the letting go process of things early, like toys the kids are so attached & it’s tough when we do a clean out, with more practice it is getting better but I really should’ve started as toddlers as well!” – Joanna

“A log of my regrets:

I regret not having taken our kids on a family trip to Disneyland. Disneyland was and is still very popular for families to enjoy watching the excitement and exhilaration from a child’s perspective. Nothing beats it. And I missed out on that.

I regret not having gone swimming while I was pregnant – just to feel what that would feel like. Would the baby get more active with the pressure of water outside to the baby inside?

The “ONLY” time I regret having my kids 19 ½ months apart was when they were learning to drive. Too stressful when one is a new driver and the other is learning.

I regret having had to work afternoon shifts (4pm to midnight) for 5 years. Through my kids ages of 8-15. I missed a lot of their sports games etc. And a family shouldn’t have to live through notes being left.” – Pat

“The worst we did was allow TVs in their rooms, and we also should have heeded our friend’s advice that you can’t be friends with your kids as long as they are under 19. They need parents, not more friends.” – Barb

“Honestly I regret not doing more group activities with Aiden when he was a toddler. Never did any family photos. As a dad, I always feel like I should be doing more, even though I already do so much to support him and make him happy. Maybe too much at times. I think dads tend to question themselves a lot, as I have learned through talks with my own dad.” – Alex

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If you have any you would like to add, feel free to post them here.

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