Woulda, coulda, shoulda. Regrets about what we should have done can overwhelm us. Life is an education, and all of us can look back and see things we wish we’d done differently.
Moms especially can have a hard time with regrets. There is a time for asking forgiveness and a time for doing the best you can moving forward. A productive use of regrets is to pass on the lessons we’ve learned to other mothers, in the hopes that it will help them avoid some future heartache.
Hence, this short, incomplete list of some things I wish I’d known as a young mother.
Things I Wish I’d Known
- Little ones sleepily crawling into my lap during my so-called private devotional time was a short season. My frustration at not getting me-time was short-sighted. Welcoming them with open arms and gratefulness would have served us better. What a wonderful thing for them to have early memories of sitting with me while I read my Bible.
- Children are definitely potty-trained by the time they leave for college.
- My kids would learn to read, even if it wasn’t on the timetable of other people and institutions.
- I didn’t have to keep thinking every thought that popped into my head. I didn’t have to be ruled by the emotions created by random thoughts, and I didn’t have to focus on them.
- What was going on inside my head was reflected on my face. Too often I greeted my husband with a frown or met my children’s eyes with a harsh look.
- Most, if not all of the time, my husband meant well. He didn’t have a hidden agenda, he didn’t mean to hurt my feelings or neglect me. He loved me beyond what I could accept at the time.
- I could have made my needs known rather than stuffing them and nursing wounds and getting resentful. Being a Martyr Mom was neither attractive nor helpful.
- I should have taken better care of myself physically. Sometimes I wish I would have had tools like T-Tapp and Plexus Slim back when I was a young mom, rather than gaining 100 pounds and feeling beyond exhausted most of the time. But then I wouldn’t have had a story to encourage others.
- I could have chosen what kind of day I would have. I didn’t have to let events and other people rule my mood.
- Most of my stress was caused by responding emotionally to things that existed only in my imagination. And I wasted lots of life dreading things like cleaning the kitchen or getting up in the night with a baby. Those things were inescapable responsibilities, and it was silly to waste energy on thinking negatively about them before they even happened.
- It was worth staying up late or getting up early to carry on traditions and celebrate small holidays.
- Rocking little ones to sleep, changing diapers, and reading picture books was a very short, precious season. It didn’t last forever, even though I thought it would. For a long time it seemed like we had an endless supply of little boys since we had six sons, five in a row….but now they are all men and the youngest is 21 years old.
If reading this has brought up regrets for you, please don’t allow those painful thoughts to settle in and stab your heart. We serve a merciful God of restoration and healing. Learn the lessons, seek forgiveness and choose joy. Pray for wisdom for moving forward, and trust that good things are ahead in your relationships.
Are there some things you wish you’d known, starting out, years ago?