Do you know that manual that comes with being a parent? The one that assures you will do an excellent job and make no mistakes? Well friend, let me tell you, it doesn’t exist.
Experience is your best teacher in life.
Even with the best intentions, the best mom in the world will make mistakes because the perfect mom does not exist. You’re probably not abusive or making bad parenting choices that will get you onto the evening news, but if you are being honest with yourself, you probably have room for improvement.
Today, I’m here to talk about the biggest mistakes that I’ve made as a parent, most of which are completely unintentional, and to make you feel a bit better about yourself too if you’re guilty of any of them.
1) I tried to do it all by myself
When my eldest was born, I tried to be the supermom that I wasn’t and wanted to take care of everything.
For the first few weeks after I gave birth, instead of hiring someone to clean the house, I tried to do it while caring for a newborn. It was completely unsustainable.
Even today, I still have times when I take on a little too much, but I’ve learned that it’s OK to say no to things, or to ask for help.
2) I set a high expectation for myself
I’ve always been a perfectionist. In school, I worked really hard and got good grades. At work, I’ve always gone the extra mile to make things happen. I carried this same mentality into motherhood but I’ve learned that it’s really not necessary.
In fact, I think that it’s OK to let your kids see you fail at times. When your children see you mess up, it will serve as a powerful life lesson and teach them how to handle the mess with dignity. This includes teaching them to confess to a wrongdoing, or apologizing for hurting someone.
3) I worried about everything
The anxiety started from the minute I found out that I was pregnant. I worried that there will be complications with my pregnancy. I worried that I would gain too much weight. Then, when my daughter was born, I worried about all the issues related to a newborn. Did she have enough to eat? Was she too hot or cold?
I’ve since learned that I was worrying too much. When I look back at the pictures of firstborn, she looked so happy and relatively healthy. I wish I’d worried less so I could enjoy the moment more.
With my second daughter, I’ve learned to relax a little. Now, both girls are at 2 and 4 years old, and they are both doing great.
4) Too many rigid routines
Don’t get me wrong. Routines are great. They are especially important for young kids because it helps to discipline children.
However, I’ve come to realize that it’s OK to let go of them occasionally. If there’s an emergency and if sticking to routines is out of the question, don’t beat yourself up for it.
As long as it’s not a daily occurrence, you will be fine mama.
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5) Doing it for them
My eldest love to help me around the house. Whenever she sees me cooking, she would insist on helping me with something. Well of course, her definition of helping is always making a mess around the kitchen.
Initially, I got really frustrated and would just take over because if I were to leave her to her own devices in the kitchen, I would be spending the next hour cleaning up after her!
However, taking over tasks that they can do for the sake of saving time will do a great disservice to them in the long run. Kids cannot learn if they are not given the opportunity to try and mess up.
So nowadays, I just let my eldest help me with some tasks. Yes, I still clean up after her, but she’s getting better with time!
If you’re looking for some book recommendations on how to split activities between parent and child, check out this book “Get the Behavior You Want… Without Being the Parent You Hate”.
6) Force feeding my kids
Toddlers are notorious for being picky eaters.
In our culture, feeding kids (instead of letting them self-feed) is pretty normal, so in my early days of parenting, I had the mindset that children should eat whatever food that we think they should eat.
Whenever my kids refused to eat, I’ve either distracted them to make them eat, or force-fed them. However, this strategy backfired. My youngest, in particular, knows how to hold the food in her mouth and spit it back out.
I’ve since tried a few methods that work, and they work great. Check out my blog post here on how to feed picky toddlers.
The important thing to remember here is not to force-feed your kids and to develop good eating habits.
7) Fighting with my husband
For the first few months of my newborn’s life, I probably fought a little too much with my husband. I felt that he didn’t understand my needs, and he wasn’t doing enough around the house.
To be honest, it was exhausting.
After many months of tearful conversations, we have come to accept that our lives are different as parents, and started to work as a team.
I will admit, we still sometimes fight now, but it’s less emotionally draining. When we have to hash out some things, we make it a point to never fight in front of the kids.
8) Talking above my kids and underestimating how much they know
I would suggest keeping all adult conversations out of the room once your child is of toddler age.
They catch onto more than you think. Sometimes, I would switch out some words to describe an item, but my daughter still managed to figure things out! There was this one time when I asked my husband if he would buy me a pint of ice cream but I didn’t want my daughter to know, so I spelled it out instead of saying the words. Lo and behold, she still understood me and insisted on having some too!
9) Thinking that I Was The Only One To Lose It With My Kids
I blame this on social media.
We often only see the good side of things and how other parents are doing an excellent job with their kids, but no one shows you the reality behind that façade.
There were times when I lost my temper with kids. They just wouldn’t cooperate or nothing that I was doing would work. When I raised my voice, I felt like I was the worst mother on earth.
However, when I started talking to other mom friends, I quickly realized that there are a lot of loving and caring parents who lost it too because of stress or lack of sleep.
10) I over scheduled my kids lives
As a parent, I really want my kids to learn as much as they can. I really do.
But sometimes loading up their schedules with sports, music and dance class is not the best thing to do.
On some weekends, I’ve tried to pack all these extra-curricular activities into one day, but my daughter was exhausted at the end of the day. It gives her less free time for play.
On weekends now, we just let our kids play freely and guess what, they really love it, and they are learning too!
11) I didn’t prioritize myself enough
This is probably the biggest mistake that I’ve made as a mom.
If you’re a mom, I’m sure you would have struggled with parenting at some point in your life. As much as your kids matter, remember to take time to take care of yourself. If you need some suggestions on how to pamper yourself without feeling the mom guilt, check out my post here.
I used to give up all my time and energy for the sake of taking care of my children and family, but these days, I know better to make time for myself too.
Choosing myself over my family is not easy, but there was a point in my life where I could not handle the stress, and I just broke down. That was also when I said to myself and my husband that I need to prioritize myself because I cannot take care of the kids if I’m not looking after myself first.
These days, I make room for self-care and it does a wonderful job of making me a better parent.
No matter what mistakes you’ve made, just remember that kids are more resilient than you think. Don’t let the mom guilt eat you up. How do you forgive yourself and move on in life when you make mistakes as a parent? I think the key here is to shrug it off, don’t let the guilt turn into shame, and rise above it. Learn from your mistakes and improve. Remember that everyone (even the good parents) makes mistakes, and we have the power to change it.
Have you made any parenting mistakes as a mom? If you have stories about your mistakes as a parent, I would love to hear from your experiences! Whether they are funny or serious, I’m sure there will be others who can relate.
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