11 Real Moms Confess Their Biggest Parenting Regrets

11 Real Moms Confess Their Biggest Parenting Regrets

These 11 moms speak candidly about what they’d do differently if they could.


By Kelly Bryant

By now, you know very well that parenting is among the toughest jobs in the world. Long hours, few breaks, and an endless stream of complaints filed with “management” (yes, that’s you) are just a few of the stressful working conditions moms and dads endure. Yet, we do it with unconditional love and the hope that our hard work will pay off one day in the form of happy, well-adjusted adults.

While we celebrate the parenting wins, every so often a nagging regret, whether big or small, creeps into our minds while raising our children. These 11 moms get real about what they wish they had done differently.

1. “When my oldest son was a toddler, I became really busy at work and was also pregnant with my youngest, so I started slacking in cooking dinner and got takeout more often. My awesome eater became super picky. Three years later, I have a child who would eat mac and cheese and plain spaghetti every day. My regret is not continuing to force him to eat everything and going the easy way out.” -- Tara R., West Milford, New Jersey

2. “I wish I hadn't done so much alone. I was such a micromanager that I feel like it damaged some part of me. I should have let go a lot more. My kids still lack some of that independence they need, because I'm a textbook helicopter parent. There has to be some middle ground, but I regret not finding it.” Tahanny C., Ellicott City, Maryland

3. “I regret not teaching my son Chinese. Now, he can't even communicate with his grandparents! – Kannie L., Tarzana, California

4. “Looking back, I wish I had given my son more jobs around the house when he was younger, and I regret not having better follow-through skills with him.” Jane F., Santa Monica, California

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5. “I wish I had done more for myself. My husband traveled a lot, and I was so nervous about babysitters. I had two daughters, and when my third child came, I had no choice but to find a good daytime sitter. If I didn't, I would have never been able to do things at the girls' school. My sitter is the most amazing woman, and the freedom she gave me to be there for my girls and myself blew my mind. I regret not giving myself permission to be away from them.” – Ashley C., St. Louis, Missouri

6. “I regret not getting the kids to sleep earlier. My kids are night owls and probably don't get enough sleep. I feel like I have the only 5-year-old who averages a 9:30-10 p.m. bedtime. – Jennifer V., Eagle Rock, California

7. “For me, it was waiting too long to advocate for my 7-year-old versus stepping in immediately when there was an issue with another child. Kids sometimes need parents to help address issues with teachers when they can't resolve something on their own.” – Cheryl C., Boston, Massachusetts

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8. “My biggest regret sounds trivial, but I really regret not taking more family photos. We have next to none, and it kills me!” – Ana K., McAllen, Texas

9. “We live on the border between two elementary schools. The one for which we were officially zoned never felt like the right fit for my son. The principal and staff were unapproachable, and there didn't seem to be a strong feeling of community. The other school had all that and then some. I took the path of least resistance and enrolled him at the school we were zoned for and felt, for a good three years, that his elementary school experience was lacking both academically and socially. My biggest regret is that I didn't trust my instincts from the beginning and put him in the school that really was the right fit for him all along.” -- Barbara R., Burbank, California

10. “I regret not pushing my youngest son a bit more in reading and discovering what type of books he would enjoy. My oldest sooooo loves reading. I thought he would also enjoy it as much as his big brother, and he just has not. He would never choose reading as a pastime, whereas my eldest son still loves books.” -- Anne E., Simi Valley, California

11. “I [wish] I hadn’t signed my daughter up for so many activities during her elementary school years. If we had honed in on one or two of her interests instead of trying to do every extracurricular available, I feel like she would have had more time to just be silly and spontaneous.” – Elise J., Orlando, Florida

What is your biggest parenting regret?


Kelly Bryant is a freelance writer and pop culture junkie. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband and their two sons. Follow her on Twitter @MsKellyBryant.

Image ©iStock.com/RyanKing999


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