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Ask Jamie: Parenting Regrets

Posted Apr 05 2009 12:28am

What parenting regrets do you have? if any?

In many ways, I feel lucky. I really don't have any "real" parenting regrets... yet. When Bo was born, my life and priorities shifted in about a million different ways and I can honestly say that everything I've done since he was born has been for him or about him in some way. In some ways, that probably sounds unhealthy, but it is true, and I feel like thus far, I've made the right decisions for our family and for Bo in terms of everything from what he eats to how we are raising him.

Bo is still very young which has also impacted my list of regrets. I am sure as he grows older, my list of regrets will grow as well. Things like not allowing him to hang out with certain people or socialize at certain places. Saying things I wish I hadn't when he is going through his hormonal teenage years. Even getting angry during the toddler years will probably be something I live to regret. But right now, there really aren't any major issues that we've encountered that I've looked back on and not been able to correct or change the outcome.

In terms of personal regrets - I wish I had worried less when Bo was a newborn (okay, and now...). We've only left him with someone besides family once and it was a young woman that I trust implicitly. I worry about everything -- from baby proofing issues to choking hazards. I'm definitely anal retentive and totally paranoid about something happening to Bo and I wish I could calm those fears a bit more.

I also wish that I could find more balance in my life. But I think every Mom feels that way. I've done everything I can to try to make my life balanced between Bo, Mike, family, friends, work, home, etc. but it is still difficult and a delicate line to walk. I have a feeling that I'll be striving to find balance in all of these areas my whole life. But I hope that by trying to balance all of these things, most of the time I will succeed and in the mean time, be the best Mom that I can be.

A part of me feels like my goals for parenthood are slightly different than others and that this in turn will also impact my list of regrets as Bo grows older. My ultimate goal is for Bo to always know that he is unconditionally loved. I already know that I won't always be able to make him happy, even though many parents seem to have happiness as their number one goal. There are going to be evenings when he is going to want to go to a party and I'm not going to let him go. And he's going to be mad. There are going to be times when he will receive a bad grade and he may want me to fix it by talking to his teacher. I refuse. I think being a good parent is about a lot more than simply making your child happy. Sometimes, I'm going to have to be stern to teach him the tough lessons. I want him to be smart, responsible, honest, dependable, trustworthy, and have a strong work ethic, etc. Those aren't characteristics that are developed when the main goal is to make the child happy. Sometimes he is going to be unhappy. And that is going to be really difficult. But I hope in the long run, he'll turn out to be a better person for the life lessons that will come from not having a parent that always gives in and coddles him.

What are your parenting regrets? I'm especially interested to hear from those of you with toddlers and older children as I realize the actual parenting issues are going to become more difficult as he becomes older. What are your goals for parenting?

Friday's Feature at Sticky Feet Part Deux is Ask Jamie. Feel free to email me or leave a comment with any question you would like for me to answer. Anything is fair game!
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