Parenting With Regrets
Updated: Aug 17
Your kids don't want perfect. They want YOU.
What comes up when you hear the phrase, “no regrets”?
As mom to five young adults I’m often asked whether I have any regrets. My internal sassy response goes something like this: “Well, DUH. Of course I did and I still do.”
Parenting doesn’t come with a manual and if it did it wouldn’t provide a one-size-fits-all set of instructions. I stumbled my way into parenting at age 25 and didn’t have a clue what I was doing or how hard it would be. What about you, Mama? How well were you prepared to be a Mom? (...and are we ever REALLY prepared to be a parent?)
We parents aren’t perfect and we’re going to get a lot right and a lot wrong. We will have regrets, sometimes on an almost daily basis. (It’s called being human combined with how hard and wild of an experience parenting really is.)
Oh Mama. The truth is that even with the best of intentions and thoughtful prep and planning, we’re going to mess it up sometimes. We will have regrets—it’s part of the deal we made when we became parents.
It’s ok though, Mama. Just keep showing up and doing your best. Let your regrets be your teachers. Each mistake we make shows us something if we let it.
Our mistakes and regrets can become our best teachers if we let them. Your kids don’t want perfect, they want you—accepting yourself as is, trying your best.
Take a deep breath. Inhale from your core. Exhale as long and as loud as you want. Find a mirror and look into your eyes. There you are, Mama. You're o.k.... It's going to be o.k....
Now check in with yourself and notice whether you need a bit more time to let go of it, of what's in the past that you can't undo. If you have to keep moving and go about your day, use a sticky note or a scrap of paper to write this reminder: "I'm parenting with regrets." (Post those four words somewhere you'll see them often.)
Journaling/Reflection Prompts (IF you have more time. IF your regret is still a weapon and not a teacher.)
Take a second look at your regrets. Work yourself through whichever parts of this process will allow you to reframe your regret as your teacher.
Name your regret: "I messed up--blew it. That was a lousy parenting move. I'm truly sorry."
Ask yourself questions like these: "What is it about my mess up that's really bothering me? Which of my core values did I ignore? What impact does my mistake/regret seem to be having on my child/children?"
Notice if your kids have long ago moved on to other things. You may be holding on to something they are not. We do that sometimes, don't we Mama?
Take a quick look at your core values to realign yourself with them.
Name what you're doing well as a Mom. Start with this: "I am a good Mama/Mom. I am (here's where you name your good qualities, your strengths)."
Notice how your regret is becoming your teacher. Let that soak in for long enough for you to move forward.
How do you want to parent differently in this moment? today? this week? next week? this month?
Is there someone else that you need/want to involve, someone you trust?
YOU are exactly the Mom your kids need.
What’s here for you today, Mama?