Hindsight is 20/20. Parenting hindsight is even clearer. My parenting “D’OH!” moments – the philosophies and modes of thinking I struck out on.
Nothing cataclysmic here… and I’m certainly not going to dwell. Just something to look back on and chuckle a little bit. Who knows? Maybe these tiny insights can help newer moms. Or, maybe these little nuggets can help us all fess up a bit! My kids are getting older, time to reflect and see where I blew it :)
Parenting Hindsight Blunder 1 – Screen Time & Baby Einstein
Long before the AAP was warning us about screen time for young children, there was Baby Einstein. Baby Einstein videos were 30 minute DVDs for infants & toddlers that, for a while, were being touted as a way of turning your kids into geniuses – I’m not kidding. Eventually Disney bought the company and pulled in the reigns about the claims that these videos made infants brilliant. Long story short – I bought into the whole Baby Einstein scam. Now, it takes an “act of Mom” to get them away from the tablet, their phones, and it’s tough breaking screen time habits. No long-term damage from this one. I just wish I had the cash (and the time) back that I dumped into these products for things that TRULY promote health, intelligence, and well-being – youth sports, music lessons, camps etc…
Parenting Hindsight Blunder 2 – Doing Too Much
I was always covering for my kids. Did they get their homework done? Is the permission slip signed? Did she forget her lunch? I had it all under control, I took care of everything. Damn! I was good at it! The problem is… now that it’s time for them to be more independent, they’re dropping the ball. My son needs 20 reminders about which homework assignment is due and I can’t cover for him any more. If I had let them fall on their butts in their responsibilities a little earlier, they may well be more independent now. I’ve learned that kids are fantastic at learning from their mistakes, I wish I’d have let them screw up a little more (and learn the consequences quickly). I preached independence, but did little to let them be independent.
Parenting Hindsight Blunder 3 – Make Time for Your Spouse / Your Friends / and YOU!
This one doesn’t even deal with my kids directly. Don’t forget your friends and/or your husband. This one is WAY easier said than done and I think we’re all a little guilty. It’s way too easy to get caught up in laundry, schedules, school, work etc. You could wake up one day and wonder what happened to your BFFs and forget what it was like to “date” your own husband. I’m busy, he’s busy, she’s busy – everybody’s busy… No more excuses! You’ve got to MAKE time – for them and for you. Get that mani, read a book, pour a glass of wine and watch the Bachelor… don’t lose yourself.
Parenting Hindsight Blunder 4 – Following Through On Punishment
Laying down the law and then backtracking. I hate to admit I’ve done it more than once. My error with this was usually creating a ridiculous threat very early on in the behavior and then having no recourse but to backpedal. I’d up the ante and sometimes my bluff was called. This one’s a little easier to fix. My suggestion? Really think about a suitable punishment long and hard before blurting one out that you have to stick with (or worse, bail on). Let it breathe for at least a few hours before pulling the trigger.
Parenting Hindsight Blunder #5 – Well…. Parenting in Hindsight
I still do this. I tend to internalize my own experiences as a child and project them onto my kids like my experiences from the 80s are still somehow relevant to what they’re going through. I thought my crystal-clear memories of “what it was like being __ years old” would help. Spoiler Alert: often they’re not really relevant at all. The schools are different, teachers act differently, bullying is different, trends are different, and attitudes are different. Sure yesterday’s worries about cigarettes are today’s worries about vaping – that’s the same… but other than that, I think being a kid and their experiences are in so many ways different than our experiences of “being a kid” in the 80s & 90s. It was nice that I tried to relate, but I should have respected their experiences as what they are today – unique in comparison to when I was their age.
So, there’s a few parenting blunders I’m fessing up to. They’re more mole hills than mountains. We can’t go back and tweak things but we can sure learn a lot moving forward. And, I’m not beating myself up over these. I’ll pat myself on the back for some of my triumphs in here – PARENTING HINDSIGHT – HERE’S WHERE I NAILED IT
Do you have any parenting hindsight mistakes you want to admit?