I’m pretty sure I’m not alone when I say that I’ve got parenting regrets. There are so many, many things I wish I’d done differently. Of course, coulda woulda shoulda.
I try not to dwell on my parenting regrets, but the fact is, there are a few that I’m really paying for now the kids are older. There are definitely a few things I’d like to turn the clock back on and start all over again. Wouldn’t that be nice? A clean slate, knowing then what we’ve learned along the way? Ah, bliss.
Here’s my top 3 parenting regrets and what I’d change if I had my time again.
Love you, kids!
Don't let housework bother you
Trying to get a teen to wash a single cup is a battle worthy of Stalingrad, so if I had my time again I would be much stricter about chores from the get-go. Little kids want to help and I could kick myself for denying them the opportunity when I had the chance. Sure, a toddler / preschooler ‘helping’ is a basic pain in the butt, but honestly, I’d let them. I would. Every painstaking minute of watching a three-year-old wipe a bench is worth it to have a teen that just wipes a bench because it’s there.
It’s never too late to change habits, especially when you’re the one that pays the wifi bill. I’ll be making a list of everyday chores my kids need to complete in order to earn themselves some screen time. I just need to get better at being a drill sergeant / inspector. I get slack about checking up on the chores, so the kids get slack about doing the chores, and then we are all just slack and nothing changes. But look out, kids, Sergeant Slack is coming for you.
Birthday money was too quickly spent
Or any money, for that matter. This is easily my biggest parenting regret of all. We only recently started saving the initial $2,000 we need for each child to start their Stockspot investment accounts. If we’d insisted that the kids save half of the money they have received each birthday, they each would have covered that $2,000. In fact, we’d have created their investment portfolios years ago and they would be topping it up each month using money earned from their chores, because that’s the kind of parents we should have been.
Instead, the kids will essentially be thousands of dollars worse off when they’re older, simply because we didn’t make them save half their birthday money from when they were five. Hindsight is a bitch, ain’t it?
Good news is, we’re on track with this now. I’m contentedly and single-mindedly that parent now. My kids earn a ‘salary’ each week for completing an important job (eg. one of my older kids tutors the younger kid; another cooks dinner once a week). Their salary is between $10-$20 depending on the job and the child.
Half of their salary is going towards saving the Stockspot $2,000 investment amount; $1 is going to the charity of their choice; and the rest is for doing what they please with. We are also ‘matching’ their saving to help them reach the investment goal sooner.
Can you see me shaking my own hand?
Times tables weren't given enough attention
Oh, okay, it’s not exactly times tables that is one of my biggest parenting regrets. But close. I deeply wish that we’d had more of a routine around homework and knowing things when the kids started school. I just don’t think I instilled enough self-discipline with my kids.
I have big regrets that I was always getting around to that “next term”, “next year”, “when they get to stage 3”. Then high school hit and there is simply no expectation from my children that they should do their very best. Other parents tell me that their child is swamped with homework and studying. At our place, no one seems busy doing anything. “Got any homework?” I say. “Nope,” they say. “Really, none?” I say. “Did it at school,” they say.
Okay, so the grades are reasonable, but what’s with the “did it at school” business? When did you do it at school? At lunch time? Do you have no friends? Not at lunch time? Then when? Wait, what? You did your maths homework during science?! What even!?!?!
Listen to The Parent Panel: 'I had a very shouty week and that's okay'
So, yeah, there will be a set homework time each and every day at home. Same time, same channel, every day. If a child insists they have no homework to complete on any given day, I will happily be making them some homework myself. Again, this is a situation where if I want things to change, I have to set up and monitor things better.
It's never too late
As you can see, it’s never too late to cancel out your most pressing parenting regrets. Fear not! As soon as we move back into our (newly renovated) home, my kids are not going to know what hit them. I’m establishing a robust chore schedule that means they are doing housework to earn money they will invest so their portfolio grows even as they spend their afternoons following their strict homework schedule. Phew! My mistakes don’t stand a chance.
What’s your biggest parenting regret?
This post originally appeared on Mumlyfe and is republished here with permission.
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