What I Wish I Had Done Differently As a Mom - Baby Chick

What I Wish I Had Done Differently As a Mom

Discover the mistakes in parenting one mom made, what she wishes she had done differently, and the advice she wishes she had taken.

Updated November 30, 2023 Opinion
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I am the oldest of four siblings, and my mother always said she wished she could have thrown me away and let me return to another position in the family. I never entirely understood that, but it now seems clear as my children have grown. My oldest son is 15, and I look at him, and as a mom, there are things I wish I had done differently.

What I Wish I Had Done Differently As a Mom

I was 29 when I had my first baby, and I just wanted to get it right—all of it. But the truth is, I didn’t know what it meant to get it right. Despite what we may be told, what is right for one mom and child isn’t for everyone else.

I Wish I Accepted Earlier That Breastfeeding Wasn’t Going to Happen

I wish I hadn’t agonized over the fact that breastfeeding didn’t work well for me. I somehow thought they would be milk-making machines just because I have naturally large breasts. I assumed my son would latch and everything would be perfect. Instead, it didn’t come naturally. I hated it and gave up. I wish I had given myself grace early on and embraced that breastfeeding wouldn’t be part of our journey. Life would’ve been much easier.

I Wish I Hadn’t Worried So Much About My Home’s Messiness

I wish I hadn’t worried that my house was too messy for people to come over. For some reason, I felt people would judge me because my home isn’t always Instagram-worthy. We have a big family, and things are often a disaster. Kids don’t care, including other people’s kids. So why did I? I wish I had let my kids be kids without getting bogged down by extra laundry and dirty dishes. Life is too short to worry about what other people think.

I Wish I Had Planned for Children Earlier

I wish I had planned to have kids in my 20s and not spent selfish money. Yes, this would have taken a lot of preplanning and is likely unrealistic, but knowing what I know now, I would’ve liked to have been a stay-at-home mom to my oldest kids. I was able to do it with the younger two, but I feel like I missed out on time with the older boys because I wasn’t financially in a spot to stay home. Perhaps I could’ve had more time with them if I had worried less about going out for dinners and drinks and having the best clothes and shoes.

I Wish I Didn’t Worry About Comparing Myself to Other Moms

I wish I hadn’t gotten so wrapped up in keeping up with other moms. I blame much of this on social media and that my older children were born right as the world started to live online in front of everyone. I spent too much time comparing myself to others. Social media isn’t great for a mom’s mental health, particularly if she is going through a rough patch. I struggled at home, obsessing over what looked like perfect kids online. I found myself wanting to be those moms and not myself. I wish I had never allowed those intrusive thoughts inside.

I Wish I Hadn’t Yelled As Much As I Had

Another thing I wish I had done differently is I wish I wouldn’t have yelled so much. This one hurts. And even though I know all parents get upset and lose their cool, I feel so guilty that I am the mom who did it too much. My kids are good and didn’t deserve me to take my frustrations out on them. I would take a much calmer approach to parenting and see things from their perspective. A bit of empathy could’ve gone a long way.

I Wish I Let Others Help Me

I wish that I had delegated more. I tried to do it all myself. It wasn’t because I wanted to, but I felt I needed to. That was silly. I’ve had a loving husband on this journey with me the entire time, and he helped when I asked, but I just didn’t sometimes. Instead, I would take it all on and get stressed out. I should’ve doled out responsibility much sooner than I did.

I Wish I Did More of Nothing

I wish that I had spent more time just doing nothing. I feel like my kids got many great experiences, vacations, and trips to the zoo, and while all of that is awesome, and I love it, I am not sure they all know how to play checkers. That may seem silly, but I wanted to pack it all in, and I lost a few of the simple joys.

I Wish I Ignored the Experts

I wish I hadn’t listened to all the experts. I wanted to be sure I was doing what the best-selling authors and influencers said was the best when I should’ve listened to my heart. Sometimes a mom’s intuition is better than someone who claims to be the best of the best. I wasted time trying to make my children into people they are not because the experts said we should do things a certain way. That was foolish.

But thankfully, all is not lost. I still have time to correct some things I may have done wrong as a mom. Do my kids love me? Without a doubt. Did they grow up in a home with more laughs than tears and meals at the table together instead of in separate corners? Absolutely. Did they know how to tie their shoes at an appropriate age? That is questionable. And that is all okay.

They may not be little, but I am still their mom, and I pray that we have many years left together to make beautiful memories. I hope to yell less, laugh more, and always keep my door open, whether the house is clean or a mess. And if I am lucky enough to be a grandmother someday, I plan to do things I wish I had done differently as a mom with my grandkids. That includes teaching them the double jump on a black and red checkerboard on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

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Colleen Dilthey Thomas is a mother of four, three boys and one girl, and a freelance writer. She offers her life experience and a bit of wisdom to a variety… Read more

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