Tuesday, June 26, 2012


You know what the best thing is about children?

They erase all past regrets.  All of them.

How can you have regrets?  If my life hadn't gone in exactly the way it had, with the timing to a T, I wouldn't have my two children.  Maybe I'd have different children, but they wouldn't be the ones I know.  And those are the only ones I want, and can imagine having.

It makes everything worth it.  All the bad decisions.  All the missteps.  All the broken relationships. In a sense, upon the birth of both of my children, the slate was wiped clean.

But you know what the scariest thing is about having children?

There are so many potential future regrets.

Regrets about time - how much you spend with them, and how you spend it.  Regrets about patience lost.  Regrets about putting too much pressure; about not putting enough pressure. Regrets about forcing them to face fears; about not forcing them to face fears.  Regrets about not cuddling with them more.  Not laughing with them more.  Not falling asleep next to them more.  Not living in the moment.

Regrets about big decisions that will affect them forever. 

Regrets about not giving them the perfect childhood that I want for them.

Hindsight is a scary, scary thing.  I can tell that already.  I feel like I'm walking through a minefield of potential mistakes and mishaps, ones that could have huge impacts on the lives of the two people I love more than anything.  Because when it comes to my kids, the slate never gets wiped clean.

My two boys are looking to me to have all the answers.  To do everything right by them.  And I am going to try - so, so hard.

But there's so much to mess up on.  And it's hard not to be scared when the stakes are so high.


  1. Interesting. I never even think about that. I try to do the best I can from day to day. If the kids are healthy (to the extent you can control that) and feel loved, what's to regret? Don't you think it's ironic to worry about regretting in the future that you didn't live enough in the moment?

  2. You know, I disagree - I don't think kids erase all regret. Sure, I have accepted my new reality, and of course i love them with all my being, but I wouldnt say that I think that any of a number of other paths wouldnt have been great for me. I also dont think the stakes of most parenting decisions are that high - i mean, you can readjust as you go along, right? Wrong preschool? Switch him? Didnt save enough for college? Borrow? Have a rough week and yell more than you'd like? Make up for it. You get my drift.
    Kids are incredibly resilient and actually dont remember much from their very young childhood other than love. My oldest LOVED her nanny who watched her until she was 2.5 but today, at 4.5, really doesnt remember much about her. Anyway, sorry to ramble - just saying go easy on yourself. you really can't screw up that badly at this age.

  3. I have often said that my approach to raising my children is like my approach to driving a car long distance - if I thought too deeply about all of the risks I'm facing in that car, risks both of my own screw ups and other people's - then I'd never be able to make it on a highway on-ramp. I'd freeze. Same with kids. The stakes are so high, and my ability to control outcomes so low, that I just can't think too hard about it or I'd never be able to make a single choice.

  4. I have such mixed feelings on this. I crossing my fingers that damage can be undone because my 2 year old has lived through some really stressful situations already and I wasn't good about protecting them from the tension (I'm betting the newborn was unaffected). And I also have regrets from before their births. But I think it is a good attitude to have. Maybe I just need therapy so that I can keep that in perspective!

  5. Great comments above. "A perfect childhood" wouldn't be very helpful, because the rest of their lives won't be perfect, and they will need to learn how to cope. Maybe mothers don't need to have the answers; maybe it's enough to show them how to find the answers they need for themselves. For sure, our children must see us forgive ourselves, frequently and unreservedly, as they will absolutely have many moments when they have to forgive themselves. We are inescapably human, and that means imperfect.

  6. I think, in the end, children remember whether they felt loved and knew you were trying your best. Eventually, they grow up, become adults themselves, and realize just how hard a parent's job is. So, love them lots, keep trying your best, and I think you will do just fine. But, I know how much you want them to have the very best possible. I feel the same way.

  7. Funny, I had my comment written in my mind as I was reading this, then read the comments, and so many of them reflect what I was thinking. I had a good childhood. Not perfect, because there is no such thing. Money was tight, it was a blended family, but it was really, really, really good. My mom still is hard on herself now, and I'm 36, about small things that I've long forgotten or are just not that big of a deal. My response is always to tell her that I always felt safe, secure and loved, and I knew that they were doing the best that they could do with the resources they had. My childhood memories are happy, and as perfect as possible. And from working in a profession where I see what the complete opposite is (I work in a community mental health center), it helps me not be so hard on myself. Yes, I may have snapped a little at my daughter and lost patience when I was exhausted, but I'm not perfect. I am doing the best I know how. She knows I love her, and that is what she'll remember.

  8. I think a lot of this depends on your own childhood. Mine was particularly "messed up," and I am in therapy now dealing with some of the repercussions of it. I think about this a lot with my daughter. But at the end of the day, all you can do is your best.

  9. What a sweet post and lovely family friendly site. I stumbled upon this when I was looking for other family friendly blogs. I also post ideas and information at: http://forevertogetherfamily.blogspot.com/.

    Thank you for sharing all that you do and filing the space online with good vibes. Take care.



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