It is likely that there are mistakes that every parent has made in their lives. Some parents conveniently forget all their past discrepancies in favor of pretending that they have always been the beacon of righteousness. Some parents lay in wait for past mistakes to be thrown in their face and used by their children as leverage. Some parents fall somewhere in the middle.
No matter where a parent falls in this, they should probably have a small amount of emergency preparedness for discussing the past with their child. I found that working into it when they were infants and half asleep was a nice time for it. I had a nightly confession where I told them the things that I could have done better that day. There is very little judgement then, and if they did manage any facial expressions that hinted that they were displeased with my actions it was usually gas. Then I got to turn that displeasure right back at them. Darn babies not being able to control their bowels.
This article is going to help trudge through our pasts and relive those mistakes. Good-naturedly and in a safe space. After all parents don't know where they are going until they know where they came from, much like "normal" people without super powers.
15 Saying "I Hate You" To Their Parents
Oh, how the tables have turned. Now as you look at your baby or kid thinking about them saying those words to you... OUCH! It hurts. The pain, it burns. They won't ever say that to you will they? That is so awful. You give so much. There is no way they will turn on you. Then again, didn't your parents give and give for you? Didn't they try to give you everything they didn't have? And still it didn't matter because that one day they didn't let you go to Jenny's party and your crush was totally going to be there and everything. They ruined your life that day. Well, you rebounded ok. I guess. However it could have ruined your life if you hadn't worked so hard to overcome. You will ruin this kid's life too. Not because you want to, but because you care. The good news is they will likely regret saying it like you do. The bad news is it might take a little bit of time.
14 Lying To Their Parents
Telling lies and getting caught is a little bit part of the course as you grow up. You have to kind of feel out the way this works in order to know that it's bad. Those lies aren't so regrettable because they are part of the learning curve. The ones that are a little more regret inducing are ones that had consequences. Maybe you blamed your sibling for doing something that you did and then they got in trouble. Maybe you blamed your friend for breaking something in your room because you knew that your parents couldn't ground them (even though you were the one that broke it.) Maybe as you got older, you lied about whose house you spent the night at or a party that you went to. Those lies seem so much more scary now that we look back and see how it could have turned out. What if we didn't make it home? Our parents wouldn't be able to find us. It's hard to imagine when we look at our children in their younger years that they will put us through this.
13 Not Trying "Healthy" Foods Provided
At the time we were pretty sure we were on the right side of history by refusing to eat that vegetable garbage that they put in front of us at the dinner table. As we grow we usually learn that it was not cruel and unusual punishment to expect us to try a bite of green beans. It was an attempt to get or keep us healthy. When you raise your own kids and see how incredibly finicky and unwilling to give things a try they are, you will rue the day that you put your foot down on the foods you would eat at your parents house. In some situations you maybe even kick yourself for not learning how to pick the produce and/or cook it for yourself. Ramen noodles were of course sufficient in college, but as you get older you may want to be a little more sophisticated. That usually involves adding more colors to the food you cook. Unfortunately adding Skittles to stir fry doesn't pan out so well. Don't ask how I know.
12 Not Napping
This is a huge regret. Most people I know really do regret not enjoying those naps more. Many a funny meme has poked fun at this concept. You always miss what you can't have. This is not exception. When daily naps were encouraged, it was a drag. In fact a lot of us sneaked toys into nap and play while we were supposed to sleeping. Pretty smart. Except if we were anything like my kids, when we talked for our dolls/action figures we didn't have volume control. Thus allowing mom and dad to hear that we weren't sleeping. D'oh. In hindsight it makes perfect sense. Eventually we will get to nap again. Pretty sure that when we reach 80ish we can even fall asleep mid-conversation with people and no one is going to say a word about it to us. Just hold on a little longer.
11 Being Mean To Siblings
Depending on how your relationship with your sibling has developed you may have some regrets for how you treated them when you were both small. If you have more than one kid this may have you analyzing your past interactions with your brother or sister to see if what your kids are doing is normal. It may even be difficult to watch if you were the "baby" for instance and you see your youngest being ignored or not played with. It can bring back some feelings. Remaining neutral can be hard. Try to remember that they have their own unique dynamic and you shouldn't imprint your experiences onto them. You may end up getting insight into the other sibling too that makes you see how annoying you may have been as the "baby" of the family. When you see your own kids fighting, it's hard to not regret any of the mean thoughts or actions you committed against your siblings in fits of rage. Also you probably regret ever uttering the words "They are touching me," because come on guys! That crap is annoying.
10 Not Finding The Toilet When Puking
There are some things in parenting that will never come naturally to me. Cleaning up puke is one of them. Any other "Puke Apologists" out there with me? I don't function in cleaning up this type of mess. I gag a lot and I don't know where to start with the cleaning. Like I know the correct thing to do does not involve burning the house down, but part of me still debates if I'm kidding myself by not doing it. Try to marry or have a baby with someone that is your opposite in this area. Someone that has an iron gut. In our house when emergency puke happens I am the one that grabs the kid and gets them in the tub, and my husband cleans. Focusing on calming the child can offset your brain from thinking about the chunks of last night's dinner in their hair. Any way quick apology to our own parents for the times we missed the bucket or toilet.
9 Blabbing Family Secrets
Around the age of four or five is when there seems to be an influx in the amount of information that kids give to passerby's. They like to tell them about the inner workings of their home and they don't quite have it figured out who should know what. That means in kid logic that they should spill everything to everyone. This is usually fine if you are pretty careful about the things that you say in front of your child. However, I have been told by kids at daycare about how their parents fought over what coat to get. I have been told that their mom doesn't like their grandma. All kinds of things. Now, I don't remember blabbing any secrets of our family and I'm pretty sure there was not a lot to blab, but just in case. This could definitely be a regret if there were contentious things going on within the family. Let's hope it can and would be laughed off with the sweetness with which they utter it.
8 Rushing Growing Up
Can you believe that we wanted to be adults so fast? It was the eating desserts anytime I wanted that did it for me. That was what sold me that adulthood was the thing that I should fight to get to. Now looking back, cake isn't really worth the crap we have to deal with. Yeah, I love cake however I mean the stuff that comes along with it is kind of umm well not fun. Obviously rushing to grow up has little effect on actual age. However many of us in an attempt to show off how responsible we were took on things that we could have put off a little longer. Getting a job, babysitting siblings, having boyfriends, and having babies are things that spring to mind in the area I am from. They are all things that we likely wanted or have to do eventually, but putting it off a little longer to enjoy some freedom is regretful
7 Fighting Over Name Brand Clothes
When we were younger having the right brand of clothes seemed so important. Important enough to throw epic tantrums and get grounded over the ramifications. As we grow up we start to realize brand name is a little less important and quality is more of an issue. The thought of buying my children (who grow like weeds) some jeans that could be outgrown in months for $75-$80 puts me in shock.Plus my kids are totally messy (like me). Those jeans would be stained and hole-y before we got two months in. So let's take a moment to make a huge apology to parents who had to deal with those fights. What can we say? We were young and wanted to be cool. Hopefully my kids will be smarter than me and care less about that stuff. This might be where it comes in very handy to have a twin. Maybe as a team they could justify it for sharing the one pair. Pool there money. Dangit. Why didn't I have a twin?
6 Not Taking Care Of Possessions
Kids in general just don't usually take care of things well. It makes sense. They don't realize the work or money that goes into things. They shouldn't know that. How enjoyable would childhood be if you were calculating constantly the value of the things around you. However there are some instances in which this is very regrettable. There are gifts received when I was younger that I lost from being careless or stupidly broke that I would really would have loved having for my children. There aren't a lot of ways that you can hammer home that things could be important some day. That is until something is lost and than it feels too late. Such is life. It will be interesting in this digital age to see how this develops. What will their most valued positions be? A picture on Facebook or Instagram?
5 Not Hearing More Stories From Grandparents
This is pretty self explanatory. Sadly as you lose Grandparents and loved ones you realize how incredibly valuable their outlook is. As you grow up you start to wonder about the things they saw and how they grew up. We are lucky nowadays to have ancestry websites and things that can tell us what our DNA says about where we are from. The thing that can never be replaced or replicated are the individual stories. There are some really lucky times in life in which I was able to do reports at school about the my grandparents. At the time it was a hassle, but listening to stories and talking to my grandparents about their childhood are really amazing things to look back on now. Wish it was something I made more of a priority when I was younger. How can you though? Life isn't something you ever think of losing when you are young.
4 Not Letting Mom Sing In The Car (Even If Her Voice Isn't Great)
Maybe this one is a little personal, but I hope you can relate. How do I say this nicely? There are a lot of moms (myself included) that very much want to sing lullabies to their babies, but lack the skill. From what I gather young babies don't care so much if you are out of tune. They accept that it's their mom singing and it calms them. The magic age of truth comes along in the 3 to 4 range and suddenly they are the critics on American Idol. "That was a little pitchy," they utter from the back seat. I remember not loving my mom's singing voice (sorry mom), but I don't think that I ever told her that. I might have tried to change the subject or smiled politely. Now I lover her voice because I don't get to hear her sing as much, but at the time it wasn't as special. My own kids don't have any problem cutting me down on my singing as requesting that I stop. Either raising really great non-lying kids, or bullies. Will update when I know more. I think much like the grandparents stories, that you just don't realize how much little things like can be missed.
3 Not Asking For Help
As we watch our 5 year old's take 15 minutes trying to teach themselves to tie their shoes we have time to reflect. It may occur to us that people helping us was not the enemy we thought it was in the past. Don't get me wrong struggling is an important part of life too, and we shouldn't offset every difficulty with help. However there are specific instances in my life where I remember not asking for help and needing it. Maybe with dealing with anxiety over something or problems with friendships. There is a delicate balance to parenting in which you are there to teach them to shoulder life on their own and yet you are there behind them with your arms out ready to catch if it falls. Asking for help isn't a weakness and I wish I had known that when I was younger. I think I could have received some help and some ways to cope better as an adult.
2 Worrying So Much About Making Them Proud
Is this relatable to anyone? This is something that seemed to affect a lot of decision making early on for me. It was whether or not my parents would be proud of me for what I was doing. Our parents never came out and said "make me proud." There was never any repercussion for not doing something exactly right. There was just always this thought in our head that we better make them happy they had me. Not even sure why that would be a thought. As we look down at our own kids (or look at a growing baby bump) we know that we don't keep score of how proud we are of them. We don't tally up what they did and that weigh it against what other kids did to see if we still care about them. It's such a strange idea now as I realize the unimaginable love that we as parents have that pride in our kids would be something that they need to worry about.
1 Being Embarrassed By Them
Parents are going to be totes embarrassing always. Since caveman days it likely has been that way. Some of the cave drawings out there can probably be deciphered to mean that the drawer's mom inquired loudly whether she needed more leaves to wipe with while her crush was in the cave next door. The echo guys, it carries. The regrettable thing is that if you could have drop that embarrassment, you would have seen that other kids don't care. They are paranoid about the prospect of their own parents mortifying them in front of you and so goes the circle of life. Also if we could abandon the embarrassment for awhile and watch what our parents do, we could usually have leaned a thing or two about confidence. When our mom asked that question at high school orientation, that was awesome that she had a voice. My kids will likely be embarrassed by me, but I hope they also are able to see that I gave my voice to make their lives better.