I recently began reading the book No Regrets Parenting by Dr. Harley A. Rotbart. The title of this book grabbed my attention because right now I feel like a lot of my life revolves around constant regrets. I usually go to bed at night wishing I had done hundreds of things differently throughout the day. I wish I would have had more patience during Caden’s tantrums. I wish I would have read the kids more (or any!) books. I wish I would taken the time to play and laugh with them instead of focusing so much on what I “needed” to do. And so on. It’s easy to feel like you’re drowning when all you can think about is what you did wrong in the day, or all you’ve done wrong since you became a parent. What I like about this book is that it doesn’t focus on your past mistakes, but rather gives you countless ideas to start changing how you parent now.
The focus of this book is how to have quality time with your children by making the most of every possible moment you have together. Whether it’s a few hours between work and bedtime or if you’re home with them all day. The years go by way too quickly and you don’t want to look back on their childhoods with overwhelming regret on all that you missed out on.
At the moment it’s pretty easy for me to cherish the moments I have with Shepard. He’s recently begun weaning himself so I have a very physical and emotional attachment to him that is about to end. I’m hyper aware of how much he changes every day and I want to spend so much time just watching him and cuddling him and laughing with him before it’s too late. He’s still so sweet and good natured that he makes it easy to enjoy almost every minute together.
Caden, on the other hand, is another story. At times Caden can be a very sweet, sensitive, and fun little boy. But he’s also extremely emotional, his temper flares at everything, and most of his joy is found in tormenting our cats or basically doing anything that he knows he’ll get in trouble for. Liking him, and wanting to be with him as often as possible, is sometimes really hard for me. He wears me out emotionally like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. Sometimes I just want to skip over this phase because I spend so much of my day feeling frustrated and helpless to make things better. But then I go to bed at night with one major feeling weighing me down – regret. Always regret.
I’ve decided that it’s time to challenge myself with this book and take a new approach to my parenting style. I’m sick of the regret and feeling like I waste so much of my time on things that truly don’t matter. Tonight we’re taking Caden to register for preschool and the fact that he’s growing up and away from me is glaringly obvious. I want to change my attitude toward him and our time together before it’s too late. And I don’t want to make the same mistakes with Shepard when he reaches this more challenging age. I want to get down on the floor and play with my kids more often. I want to sit down and snuggle with them while we ready together every day. I want to make new traditions and celebrate all the little things in life. I want my boys to know that I am here for them and I will always, always make time for them. And most importantly, I want to go to bed at night and I want to look back on their childhoods and my season as a full time mommy with no regrets.