Thursday, December 5, 2013

What I would Change in My Parenting Life... if I could

Don't we all go through this?

If I could do it ALL over again I would...

I would have had children sooner. I think if I were ten years younger, then I'd be a bit more of a  "lively mom" ... I would be more of a "hip mom".

I would have had more children. I have one son and one daughter. They are so different in their needs and social lives. Yet I sometimes wish that they didn't have only each other.  I would have liked them to have one "of their own" to talk to, to be a confidant. One boy for his brother and one girl for her sister. Then again, they might have ganged up on us or created massive-scale family wars.

I would have had smaller, more intimate birthday parties. I got a little caught up in the whole birthday party gamut for several years. I was able to pull back early on with my son, and go from gang buster get-togethers with renting bouncy houses to smaller, museum trips and now to video-game overnighters. My daughter was a little tougher, but we were able to do an overhaul on the idea of a birthday party by offering up a special lunch for her and a friend or a mini-shopping spree at a favorite store: both of these much less expensive in the long run. However, this year, through circumstances, we didn't have a "formal"  birthday party.  My sister in law's wedding on my daughter's birthday took natural precedence so I was able to wiggle a gentle family dinner with sweet, personalized presents like a pair of earrings, sparkly cards and books; and my daughter received presents and cards from thoughtful relatives and friends. I am hopeful that we can do something like that every year without the whole glam and slam.

I would have figured out a definite career path which didn't require additional schooling. As it was, I decided to become a teacher as a mid-career professional, and this took umpteen hours of night school and weekends. The long-run benefit was the goal: more time with family. Ironically, the process sucked up every free second for four years. I didn't chaperone field trips because I had to work on a paper or get caught up with grocery shopping in between preparing for work and preparing for classes. I didn't read as many books to them at bedtime as I would have liked. I didn't bake cookies for them. My daughter turned 10 and my son was in eighth grade when I cleared my credential. But guess what? I did bake cookies for them this year. Yeah. I might do it again, too.

I might have stayed in the restaurant business - even with the crazy hours.  I probably should have taken that trip to Europe I had so briefly entertained with a friend when I was twenty.

Oh, egad! There are so many, many things that occasionally cross my mind.

Do I regret my choices? Well, regret is a very strong word. It implies some kind of sorrow. No, I don't regret my choices. I  think I am accepting of where I am and what has been done so far, which is a good thing.

I think my children have wonderful futures and my husband and I will have a fantastic retirement life.  I believe strongly we can all benefit from an occasional inward  - and backward - review.  We can cast back and catch snippets of past dreams or aspirations to become the stuff of future dreams.
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