If I Could Raise My Children Again, Here’s What I’d Do Differently

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For all the first-time moms or moms with young kids – this one’s for you!

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Coming across my eldest’s baby book the other day, I found myself giggling at all the things I had written about, which, at the time seemed momentous. I was proud that my baby actually ate a strawberry; worried that she didn’t like tummy time and was pining for Daddy instead of me. As they say, hindsight IS 20/20. There is so much I have learned that I wish I could pass on to my younger (more frazzled) new-mom self.

Here are a few things I’d do differently if I could raise my children again… which I would, in a heartbeat :).

swim pic - 11) Swimming Class: Only when ready. Don’t get me wrong. I love kids’ swimming class and believe swimming is a VERY important safety skill. However, if your 2-year-old is not taking to the lessons (e.g. is screaming, clawing and otherwise miserable), it’s okay to WAIT. There is still time in the future; your child will be ready later, and then, swim class won’t be the tear-inducing, physically exhausting parent-child activity that it was for me!

halloween outfit - 12) Say Yes to the Dress
(or baby holiday outfit):
 Buy that cute Halloween onesie or red frilly Valentine dress. I know it’s extra money and yes, your child will grow out of it before the next holiday. But, for now, YOU are in charge of what your baby wears – and that stage ends sooner than you think. In our home now, piano recitals and family photos are typically a Battle of the Outfits. I wish I had chosen more special oh-so-cute outfits and snapped some perfect pics while they were little!

3) Nasal Mist instead of The Shot: If you choose to vaccinate your children against the flu, I highly recommend the mist. For years, I opted for the flu shot and traumatized my children who sobbed through the whole experience. Why did it take me 6 long years to try out the mist? Who knows, but now I will never go back. Not a single tear and we leave the doctor’s office with smiles!

4) Complete the Baby Book: For most moms, this is the “I’ll get it to later” task on your to-do list. Here’s the deal. You likely won’t get to it, and by the time you do, they’ve changed. Take a moment to fill out those monthly updates in your newborn’s book with cute ancedotes and funny stories. I tried to fill out 3 to 4 months’ worth of entries at a time, which was nearly impossible as my mind was weary from being a new parent — forget trying to remember what she was doing 3 months ago. Now, those brief entries I did manage to get in her book are priceless. You’ll thank yourself in 5 years, I promise.

park pic - 15) Maximize Playground Time: Tired of all the sand in the booties and shoes? Don’t want to schlepp all the gear and a packed lunch to the playground? Do It. I wouldn’t take back one visit to the park with my young kids. Not. A. One. I know it can be boring or tiring or just HOT. But one day, not too far from today, your kids are going to be in school for most of the day and when they come home, they’ll have homework and activities and you’ll still need to prep dinner. Going to the park has become a luxury of time that we just don’t have as much of anymore. We all miss it, my kids and I. Enjoy it while you can!

6) Pass on the Parenting Books. This could be the most important lesson I have learned. The parenting books I purchased, highlighted and memorized caused me so much stress and made me lose my self-confidence. I would go back and toss those books. Instead, I’d rely on the one piece of parenting advice that has stayed true to this day. It was from a nurse just after my daughter was born. I was an exhausted mess: little sleep, baby not latching, feeling lost. I asked her if I was supplementing enough formula, if I should hold my baby to sleep, if I should feed her in her bouncy seat to reduce reflux. She calmly listened to my endless list of worries and said, “Do not fret. As long as the decisions you make are made in love, you are doing the right thing.” And she was right.

  Do you have anything you would do differently with YOUR kids?? Please share below!

4 COMMENTS

  1. I would back off a little more. My oldest is so unsure of himself and scared to make a decision without me. I stayed home with him when he was my first. I was a helicopter mom who overscheduled my son. With my daughter, I work and allow her to get bored and make mistakes. She seems much more confident, sure of herself, and overall content.

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