If you’re a parent who is reading this and you feel like you’re failing, please allow yourself to take a deep breath.
Now, I want you to give yourself some grace. Give yourself some patience and understanding. There is no manual that comes with parenting, and if I’ve learned one thing in the last week it’s that we are too hard on ourselves.
Last week, I wrote about a teeny, tiny, little scare which involved me taking a pregnancy test. It got us thinking about how we would parent differently this time around. In the process, I asked all of you for your best parenting advice and how you’d parent differently if you had to do it again. Your responses moved me to tears. (No really, you can hear me cry on the podcast this week.)
A Second Chance At Parenting
This week’s podcast takes a journey around how we would parent differently, how you would parent differently, and also how our friends Taylor and Heidi from Dude Dad are parenting differently. (They are expecting their 4th and they have a very cute children’s book, Dad and the Recycling-Bin Roller Coaster available for pre-order!)
We had so many good pieces of advice from all of you that we wanted to highlight them here:
It sounds so cliche but I would be more present than I was; truly, a dirty house, your job, etc should all be secondary to actually being mentally in the moments, and appreciating the good, bad and ugly, with your kids as they grow up because it 100% goes by in the blink of an eye!!! – Laurie
I would slow down and enjoy each stage a little bit more… Especially the baby and toddler years. I think that I was in survival mode each day and I didn’t fully appreciate the experience of being a Mom to those precious little ones. – Sherry
I would not worry what my parenting looked like to other people. Trying to please the grandparents and other people changed what I would have naturally did. – Becky
If we did it all over, I would travel with them more and even pull them out of elementary school for it. We probably would do the travel sports again but maybe not as early in their lives. (None of them play these sports in college so….. lesson learned – just enjoy playing and skip practice when needed!) I would also host their friends over more and worry about what the house looks like less! – Kim
I would have moved from the town we raised our kids in. It was a giant suburb of Chicago and the town has a reputation for being a bubble of sorts and it felt like a rat race with all of the Jones’ trying to keep up with each other. We enrolled our girls in dance classes at age three, went to the best preschool, did all of the things. Sure, they had playdates and were raised near family… but looking back it sure seemed like a gross environment. – Karen
My biggest change would be talking more openly about difficult subjects. Making it normal to talk about sex, drugs, death, anything difficult. – Beth
I’m doing it all over again with a high school senior & a 6m old (plus 4 more in between). I was really nervous to be pregnant again at 40 but it’s been amazing watching my older kids love and care for this new little person. My 14yo tough guy will ask to take his sister from me and carry her through the store and coo at her the whole time. My oldest picked a college close to home b/c she didn’t want to miss her younger siblings growing up. And the Littles love cheering on the big kids are sports games, plays and choir concerts. Doing it all over again has been such a blessing to be able to do. – Nikki
Buying Stock in Apple
And finally, we have this very comprehensive list of parenting advice from Jennie:
We have 5 kiddos, so we did do things differently over time, much to the chagrin of our older kids. But to start all over, from first child, this is what I would change:
- I would start my own personal therapy earlier, and I’d learn to manage my depression so I could handle going on more outings with everyone.
- I wouldn’t stress so much about their grades or being in the BEST schools. Those kinds of schools are pressure cookers that are just not healthy.
- I’d kick my kids outside more, and join them.
- I’d teach them to love their bodies for all the amazing things they can do.
- I’d get a dog earlier- they are so psychologically good for kids.
- I’d buy stock in Apple, lots of it :), and travel with the kids.
- I’d hire a house cleaner when the kids were little, and then never stop.
- I’d stop yelling and storming out when I get mad.
And here is a list of things I’m so glad we did do:
- I tell them everyday how much I love their dad. I want them to know that things at home are solid.
- I tell them everyday how much I love them.
- We laugh – A LOT! Most of the time at the stupid stuff I do, and it is so much fun.
- We go to church together, to teach them that there is a higher power in their lives.
- We teach them healthy boundaries in relationships.
- LIFE SKILLS. We used a book called the Parenting Breakthrough by Merilee Boyak that is phenomenal. Along with that, I’ve never been a helicopter mom. They have a problem with a teacher? – they go work it out.
- MONEY SKILLS. Finances are the number one reason people divorce. Our kids are amazing with money.
- I went back to school at age 42 to become a mental health therapist. I can commiserate with my kids about homework, and bad teachers, and how hard school is. AND they get to see me do hard things. AND even if I never work a day in my life, the stuff I’m learning has been so good for our family. – Jennie
How would you parent differently if you did it again or what additional grace would you give yourself? Let us know and enjoy this week’s show: