25 Moms Admit Their Biggest Parenting Regrets

Tanvier Peart | Feb 3, 2017 Being a Mom

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Becoming a parent is one of the greatest gifts a person can ask for in this life -- filled with joyous moments, love, and affection. (We'll save the chat about tantrums for another day.) But that, however, does not mean parenting is a walk in the park, or without its own hurdles. Because truth be told, there are things about our parenthood journey that many of us moms regret, even if we don't always want to admit it.

As much as we might think about a decision or an action we regret as a parent, society often looks down on moms who speak out candidly about the truths -- which is why we're all coming to the (virtual) table for this discussion that is likely happening behind closed doors.

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Moms -- including CafeMom community members and some of us on the CafeMom editorial team -- are confessing our biggest parenting regrets. For anyone at the beginning of life as a mama, maybe there's something to learn from some of our mistakes. And no matter what, hopefully this shows every mom that none of us are alone ... and that we shouldn't beat ourselves up too much! Because we've all been there.

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  • Not Breastfeeding Long Enough

    1

    "I would say my biggest regret is not nursing my firstborn and not nursing long enough with my second (five months)." -- Jaime H.

    More from CafeMom: 12 Common Breastfeeding Hurdles & How to Overcome Them

  • Co-Sleeping Too Long

    2

    "My biggest regret is allowing my son when he was 6 months old to sleep with me because he was sick. He's been sleeping with me ever since and he is now 6, almost 7 ... Please don't judge." -- Andrea H.

  • Not Standing Up for Myself

    3

    "[I regret] a lot, actually. But it all falls on my not standing up for myself [and] making my own parenting decisions. I didn't just get other opinions, I followed them -- even though I didn't want to. I feel like it would've prevented a lot of issues of today." -- Anonymous CafeMom community member

  • Not Knowing About Postpartum Depression

    4

    "I suffered [from postpartum depression] for two years! Being told I was just stressed and it would get better -- that BS killed me; it forever changed me. So very sad. It robbed me of my extroversion and made me cold and distant. It's been six and a half years since my daughter was born, and I still am not the person I used to be -- happy-go-lucky. I miss that me." -- Pamela525, a CafeMom community member

    More from CafeMom: Moms With PPD Have Always Known What Science Is Finally Proving

  • Not Asking for Help During Nighttime Feedings

    5

    "When my daughter was a newborn, I was breastfeeding, and I wish I had let Dad take one nighttime shift and give her a bottle of formula (instead of exclusively breastfeeding). It's one of those things experts tell you not to do because it can cause 'nipple confusion,' but a ton of my friends did it. Looking back, it would have made a lot of things easier ... I would have had one solid block of four hours' sleep, and when we had to put her in daycare it would have made transitioning her to bottles less of a nightmare. And most importantly, my husband would have had more opportunity to bond with her -- there really is something about feeding the baby that is special." -- Courtenay Smith, CafeMom editor-in-chief

  • Letting My Baby 'Cry It Out'

    6

    "I wish I hadn't done 'cry it out' with my oldest. I feel like maybe we would be closer if I hadn't." -- Mommytoobeagain, a CafeMom community member

    More from CafeMom: Experts Say 'Crying It Out' Doesn't Harm Babies -- but That's Hard to Believe

  • Not Changing Pediatricians Sooner

    7

    "My regret is that I didn't leave my first pediatrician sooner. She gave me really bad advice about keeping my first child drinking just three ounces at a time, and I think he was starving. Then when they missed pneumonia in my second child at 3 months old, I left. Always trust your instincts over your doctor -- especially a childless one!!!" -- Liz Alterman, CafeMom staff writer

  • Sweating the Small Stuff

    8

    "I wish I had a bit more patience with my children. I know I will miss these days of their being little -- so I sometimes wish I did a better job of not sweating the small stuff." -- CheerioHolder, a CafeMom community member

  • Not Knowing There Are Autism Signs

    9

    "I wish I would have known what to look for autism-wise. I could have gotten my son more therapy and help." -- Anonymous CafeMom community member

    More from CafeMom: 18 Ways to Tell If Your Child Has Autism

  • Visiting Family Too Much

    10

    "It might sound silly, but my biggest regret is visiting family so much. I felt obligated to take my kids to visit my mom every year. She NEVER made the effort to visit us. Now that the kids are grown and out of the house, I look back and regret not traveling with them and having actual family time and real experiences." -- Anonymous CafeMom community member

  • Spanking

    11

    "I spanked my oldest once when he was about 4. It was completely in anger and my own lack of ideas on how to handle the situation. It was a terrible day for both of us. Six years later I still feel guilty, but it was also a teachable moment for me and never happened again. I guess in that regard it had a benefit, but I'm sorry it was at the expense of his trust of me in that moment." -- Anonymous CafeMom community member

    More from CafeMom: 12 Scientific Facts About Spanking Your Kids

  • Trying to Be Two Parents

    12

    "My biggest parenting regret? My (now ex) husband. He wasn't as invested in the kids as I hoped he'd be. As a result, I tried to be both parents. That left me little time for anything more than parenting." -- Anonymous

  • Being Present but Absent in Photos

    13

    "I exercise my full 'mom right' to take pictures of my children. It's a way for me to document my now 3- and 1½-year-old boys as they get older, hit milestones, and grow into young men. One regret I have is not stepping from behind the lens -- constantly taking photos of them individually and with other loved ones, except their mother. Even though I will forever cherish these memories, I want them to be able to look back and see I was with them every step of the way." -- Tanvier Peart, CafeMom staff writer

    More from CafeMom: I Refuse to Stress Over When My Baby Hits His Milestones

  • Coddling My Child Too Much

    14

    "I wish I didn't baby my son as much as I did for as long as I did. It messed with his confidence as he got older." -- Anonymous CafeMom community member

    More from CafeMom: Our Baby Boys May Need a Totally Different Kind of Parenting

  • Being Too Much of a 'Yes Mom'

    15

    "I wanted my children to have the best childhood as possible and said yes to almost EVERYTHING. Field trips. Sleepovers. Playing outdoor games inside -- you name it. It was only after having my fourth that I realized that loving your child doesn't mean you can't have set rules in place. They need them. Both my house and sanity would've fared better if I stopped being such a 'yes mom' from the beginning." -- Saraiah W.

    More from CafeMom: Dear Other Moms: Just Because I Have Kids Doesn't Mean I'm Okay With Yours Tearing Up My House

  • Becoming a Stepmother

    16

    "I wish I never chose to become a stepmom. I know it sounds awful, but if I can turn back time, I would have walked the other way. I feel awful saying it. Actually, I can't believe I even typed it. But she causes so much turmoil and hurt!" -- Anonymous CafeMom community member

  • Having an 'Only'

    17

    "I wish my daughter had a sibling. I always thought we'd have another baby, but it hasn't worked out that way so far, and she's 13 now. My own feelings aside (I love being a mom and would probably be happy with a half dozen children!), I feel like it's something that would have been so good for her -- not just as a little girl, but when she gets older. Sigh." -- April Hussar, CafeMom senior editor

  • Not Knowing How to Entertain My Child

    18

    "My daughter is 3 and I already have regrets. One, not knowing how to interact with her and keep her entertained and using a damn tablet with cartoons on it too much. I have no idea how to play with her. We work on ABCs and 123s and songs and blah blah but then it's like.... uuuhhh, so what now? Let's go for a WALK! Heh." -- Velisity, a CafeMom community member

  • Not Getting Enough Rest

    19

    "I regret not resting more in the newborn days with my first. Even though she just slept all day, I felt obligated to 'entertain her' and keep the house spotless and be a productive mom, and I think it just made me even more stressed out. I was always on edge and felt like I wasn't doing the 'right' thing. If I could do it again, I'd take advantage of those first quiet weeks and just lie on the couch and be lazy between feedings -- LOL." -- Ashley Austrew, CafeMom parenting editor

  • Not Co-Sleeping

    20

    "I actually regret not letting my son co-sleep when he was little. I was so worried about bringing him in the bed with me early in the mornings, and if I'd just done that, and let him snuggle up to me at 4 a.m. instead of just getting up with him and trying to start the day, we both would have been a whole lot happier and more rested." -- Mary Hawkins, CafeMom senior audience development editor

  • Not Harnessing the Powers of a Babysitter

    21

    "I definitely regret not getting a babysitter more often when my oldest was a baby/toddler. We both worked and so we felt too guilty to leave him on the weekends -- [we] felt like that time was important to spend with him. And it was! But looking back, having someone play with him for an hour and then put him to bed wouldn't have been a big deal. And we really could have used a regular date night! I think we would have felt more like ourselves and refreshed if we'd had more of those." -- Elena Mauer, CafeMom content lab editor

  • Putting My Child in Public School

    22

    "I wish I had never put my daughter in public school. She loved to learn until they got ahold of her. We're homeschoolers now, and we're in a much better place than we were ... but I've never been able to get her back to that original place where she enjoys learning just for the sake of learning." -- Christine Tate, CafeMom community member

    More from CafeMom: 25 Things Every Kid Should Do Before Kindergarten

  • Not Hiring Help Around the House

    23

    "I wish I had hired a housekeeper when the kids were younger. I finally did it now that I'm a full-time working single mom, and just having someone come in every other week forces me to pick up all the 'stuff,' and gives me peace of mind that everything gets clean. Best money I've ever spent, and totally worth working into the budget." -- Jenny Erikson, CafeMom senior staff writer

  • Not Encouraging My Child to Learn Another Language

    24

    "One of the many things I regret the most is not encouraging my daughter Eloise to learn a foreign language. Our family is one that boasts immigrants and people from all walks of life. I wish I would've utilized our access so she wouldn't be struggling to learn now that she's in high school." -- Mary A.

  • Not Teaching My Child to Cook

    25

    "I wish I'd taught my daughter to cook more, and started earlier. She's 17. She can cook a few small things, but not much. I've been a SAHM since she was 7 or 8, and there just hasn't been much of a need for her to cook. I don't know why it didn't occur to me sooner to teach her. I guess because I was never really taught? I kind of picked it up on my own. I think she could probably follow a recipe if she tried, but she has no interest in it." -- Megs_Mom1, a CafeMom community member

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