Updated: May 6
As parents, there are some things we focus on getting right. We love our kids, we teach them to be healthy and eat vegetables and do well in school. But there are other things that sometimes go by the wayside.
Mistakes aren't the same for all of us, but here are some mistakes I have made that I want to help clue other moms in on, since one of my kids is an adult now.
We don't always realize the pitfalls right away.
Sometimes we do things because they seem easier in the moment, and help us avoid a temporary meltdown. We may not realize for months, or even years, that we should have done things differently. Here are some of the biggest mistakes I have had as a mom.
Not having a consistent bedtime routine.
This has been one of my biggest regrets with both my kids. With my youngest, it isn't for lack of trying either. You can check out my post "Your Baby Won't Sleep?" to see all the things that I tried to get my 5 year old to go to sleep.
River is a very attached baby. She wouldn't sleep without being held until she was about 11 months old, and her bedtime is a huge cause of stress for me.
At some point, I caved and let her watch videos on my phone to go to sleep. Recently though, she stopped falling asleep with it, and I would wake up after midnight to see her still watching videos. So, we have been gradually trying to wean her away from the phone at night.
I wish I had never let her watch videos before bed.
With my oldest, I didn't have a consistent nighttime routine either, because I worked a lot of overnights when she was young.
While I was sleep training her to go to bed on her own, I started putting her down in the crib with a bottle of milk. Big mistake. Little did I know at the time, but when you let a child fall asleep with a bottle, the milk pools in their mouth. Milk has sugar. The sugar damages their teeth.
We ended up having to get caps put on two of her teeth because they were so damaged. She had to be put under to have dental surgery when she was about 3 years old. I thought I was going to die of shame at being such a terrible mother.
I wish I had never let her go to bed with the bottle.
But who knew that milk had sugar? I didn't. As soon as I found out, I started putting her to bed with a bottle of water instead of milk.
Turns out, the same thing happened to my aunt with my cousin, and of course she never told me. That's why I'm telling you ladies now! Hopefully I can spare you some heartbreak, and help you care for your child's teeth better than I did with my daughter.
Not making my daughter do chores.
Growing up, I didn't make my older daughter do any chores. I felt like, she had to do most of them at her dad's house, so I let her go easy at my house. Now, either her room is constantly a mess, I clean it up, or I nag her for days until she cleans a little bit.
I tried. I really did. I had all kind of chore charts, I offered to pay her, I withheld privileges from her, nothing worked. Well, nothing short of standing over her and telling her exactly what to put away and where to put it.
I wish I would have had her start cleaning at a younger age.
By the time I started, it was already sort of too late. Plus, her dad is a borderline hoarder, which doesn't help. One day I was cleaning the kitchen after dinner, and she actually told me out of the blue that she thinks I clean too much.
Now, with my younger daughter, I started her with cleaning up her toys and her room around 2 years old, and she helps quite a bit more. She will even initiate cleaning her room herself. Usually when she wants to get out of going to bed, but still, it's something.
Letting my daughter have her way too much.
I try to be a responsive, attachment mom. So, when my kids cry or ask for something, I respond immediately. Even if my little one asks over and over for the same thing, while I am trying to get whatever it was she asked for. I just keep saying, "yes, mommy is getting you a cookie."
I think partly, I have gone overboard on being responsive because when my daughter was little, was when I first started to understand my own childhood trauma. My mother wasn't responsive at all. So I became too responsive, and my child can be very demanding as a result.
I wish I would have said "no" more from the beginning.
Now, when I tell her no, she will sometimes throw fits and keep asking over and over. Setting limits for your children and telling them no doesn't make you a bad parent. Teaching them not to ever hear no makes them spoiled. Then, when you do try to tell them no, it takes practice for them to get used to hearing it.
Buying too many toys.
I have probably done this with both of my kids. Like I said above, I have trouble saying no. But it's not just about saying no either, I buy toys for my kids even when I see things I think they will like and they aren't with me.
I see cute things, and I think my kids will like them. Usually they do, but now my house is getting cluttered with so many toys they can't possibly play with all of them. Also, both of them really have trouble getting rid of things because they are sentimental about their dolls.
I think I have done this in the last few years, because for a while after my divorce I was really poor and couldn't buy much of anything. So, I bought stuff for my kids because I could.
I wish I hadn't bought so many toys.
Now, I have no where to put all of them. My house looks like a toy explosion.
These are the four biggest mistakes I feel like I have made with my kids. No parent is perfect. We all make mistakes. And, when we make mistakes, we can fix them. The problem is, sometimes training our kids out of behaviors they have grown used to can be very difficult.
It is also important to forgive yourself for the mistakes that you make with your children. We are always doing the best we can, but we can change for the better. It is much easier to improve when we give ourselves forgiveness and grace.
If you are coping with a large amount of guilt, check these other blog posts:
What parenting mistakes have you made? Let me know in the comments, so we can share your wisdom with other moms too!
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