Sunday, March 30, 2014

10 Things I'd Do Over As A Parent

Brontë gets amazing hand-me-downs & gifts--there's really
no need to buy more clothing... yet I still do...
I try not to live my life with a lot of regrets, but parenting... good grief. There doesn't seem to be any way to emerge unscathed from the guilt & what-ifs. Despite only having been doing this for about five years (I'm counting all the way back to my first pregnancy here, since I figure that should be included) I've racked up a fair few regrets. Here they are:

  1. Video watching. We got rid of our TV when Linnaeus was about a year old. I do let him watch videos the computer & since the exhaustion of my final trimester with Bronte in my belly, he's watched more than I'd like. I still use videos as a way to get things done, like showering, making meals & blogging. 
  2. Yelling. I'm really not sure if it's even possible to parent without yelling, but I wish I did it less.
  3. Swearing. I have a serious trucker mouth. I have no problem controlling this at work, in front of grandmothers or any other social situation where four-letter words are really not appropriate. However, when I'm at home, I lose this filter for some reason & have let fly a lot of expletives in front of my children. Consequently, my three-year-old is an adept user of the F-word. Heh.
  4. Allowing ANY battery-operated noisemakers toys into the house. We managed to avoid a lot of them, but still had a handful creep into the house. Gawd those things are annoying. 
  5. Buying too many clothes. I got pretty excited about having a baby & got all kinds of really adorable & really impractical clothing for Linnaeus. You know the ones--tiny jeans, jackets, shirts that look just like the adult stuff, right down to the functional pockets. I didn't spend a huge amount of money, as a lot of it was from the consignment store around the corner, but still. I still haven't really learned my lesson, buying all kinds of things for Brontë that she's worn once or twice before growing out of. Linnaeus too, still has drawers stuffed chock full of clothing. At least he wears it all for a year or two these days, but it's still way too much.
  6. Not doing the major renovations in our house before having children. This isn't exactly parenting related, but... Now that we have two little kids, the thought of not having a proper kitchen for weeks is too daunting to consider. So we're stuck with the barely-functional 1960 kitchen.
  7. Waiting until we were 'ready' to have kids. This is kind of antithetical to #6, but I think there's no way to be really, fully 'ready' to have kids. You just need to jump in & I wish we'd jumped a little sooner, in some ways. I will be in my late fifties when my daughter graduates from high school--no spring chicken.
  8. Not going hiking or camping. Somehow this part of our lives, which used to be so important to us, (we got married on top of a mountain that we hike up, for Pete's sake!) just fell by the wayside when we reproduced. We've been meaning to do both things, but just haven't gotten around to it yet. I really want my kids to spend more time in nature--not just green spaces like city parks. 
  9. Waiting so long to get a child bike seat. We bought our iBert when Linnaeus was about 20 months old, & we have used it a lot in the two years since then, but we could have bought it a year earlier. He definitely prefers it to the trailer, which we got when he was about eight or ten months old.
  10. Not bringing Linnaeus to the pool until he was 15 months old. I didn't have any specific reason for not doing this--it just never happened. At three & a half, he gets quite anxious when his feet don't touch the bottom--floating is right out of the question unless I'm holding him tight. I suspect he might have been more comfortable in the water if I'd taken him earlier & more often. I hope to avoid this with Brontë--she's already been swimming at just a few months old.

Now don't leave me hanging... what are yours? Maybe just one or two or three? Leave them in the confessional comments section below to make me feel like I'm not the only one here... ;)

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  1. I wish I hadn't let visitors at all or for so long when my daughter was first born. We missed out on bonding time.

    1. Ooh, that's a tough one. Everybody wants to see the baby RIGHT AWAY especially if they're the first grandchild, etc.

  2. Bah. You're not even in the camping sweet spot yet. Linneus would love it but camping with a diapered baby who doesn't sleep throught the night is no fun IMO. I presonally think 4 to 9 is the camping sweet spot (!). We didn't take Theo to a pool until he was almost two, and he swims like a fish (it's temperment not exposure).

    My big learning was how little a 4-year-old needs any electronic devices. We cut Theo off the iPad and phone games about 6 months ago and haven't looked back.

    The other thing is that little kids need very little. They need their parents, fresh air and a "cardboard box."

    1. Yup, yup, yup. I know we'll go camping eventually... True about the diapers.

      Also: I just made a cardboard box 'boat' for Linnaeus this afternoon...

  3. Don't beat yourself up about the swimming at all! He'll figure it out! You really can't do everything, you know? And for hiking, well, you live in the city and don't have a car and have two teeny kids! I'm with the above - the camping sweet spot hits at around age 4, you have time:) I wish I didn't yell so much too. That is such a tough one! My mom was not a yeller at all so I feel terrible about it.

  4. My son watches too much TV and it's something I thought was a parenting no-no. I mean... it is... but my sanity is more important and he's well balanced with outdoor time and book reading and one on one play-time. I think Netflix is a godsend. I wouldn't want him to watch commercials or random unapproved shows.

    We also waited, were delayed, too long before having kids... I wish I'd started 10 years earlier, but I also know I'm a better parent now, just without as much energy! And that's 10 less years to spend with my kids and that makes me really sad.

    1. Yeah, it's a balance between my sanity & his screen time... a fine balance...

      Hey, we'll just have to take really good care of ourselves to get ten extra years to make up for it! ;)

  5. While I am really happy that I got to do so many things in my 20's- finish my art degree, travel, have an impractical but super fun job- I do wish that we had our kids a few years earlier- they are so fun and I am a bit sad that I will be an older Grandma!

    1. Yeah, I know what you mean. I think maybe if I could pick the perfect time for me to have kids, it would have been around 30. But it wasn't just up to me...


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