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Your Regrets vs. Your Children's Regrets

Photograph by Getty Images

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that I'm not the only mother whose choices sometimes keep her awake at night.

I'm not saying I do anything particularly horrible, parenting-wise, but some nights as I'm trying to fall asleep, little doubts from the day's events creep in. Did I overreact when that juice got spilled? Was it really necessary to yell just because the laundry was all over the floor (AGAIN)? Could I have shown a little more interest during that 20-minute description of a YouTube video about Minecraft?

Am I doing motherhood right?

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Here's what I try to remind myself in those moments, and what I hope you will remember too: If those doubts ever creep into your mind, your regrets are never ANYTHING like your kids' regrets. Kids have a completely different perspective, and probably don't even notice any of the things you're so worried about; they have their own concerns! When you look at things from their point of view, you realize you're doing everything just fine. For example...

Mom Regret: Not playing with them more

Kid Regret: Missing a golden opportunity to write on the walls while mom wasn't playing with them

Mom Regret: Yelling when her kid jumped in the mall fountain

Kid Regret: Not stripping off his clothes and peeing while he was in the mall fountain

Mom Regret: Being so strict in the toy aisle today

Kid Regret: Giving up after the 893rd "no" in the toy aisle today—there was a chance Mom still might've given in!

Mom Regret: Throwing the glitter away so she wouldn't have to deal with the mess

Kid Regret: Not having any Play-Doh left because it's all smashed into the carpet

Who knows what they were planning to do with all that glitter?

Mom Regret: Telling them they couldn't help with dinner because she was in a hurry

Kid Regret: Insisting they could help REALLY FAST and spilling an entire bowl of pasta sauce on their favorite shirt

Mom Regret: Not getting them the overpriced, impractical present they wanted for their birthday

Kid Regret: Forgetting to ask for a pony. No, TWO ponies!

Mom Regret: Skipping a playdate because she just can't stand that little brat, Timmy

Kid Regret: Not biting Timmy at the last playdate.

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Mom Regret: Skimming past some pages of the last bedtime story so they'd hurry up and GO TO SLEEP.

Kid Regret: Only choosing 276 books for mom to read at bedtime.

So see, moms? We should go a little easier on ourselves. After all, who knows what they were planning to do with all that glitter?

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