What will I wish I had done differently?

Out on an afternoon walk, a question seeped into my brain: “When I look back on how I raised my children, what will I wish I had done differently?”

Right away I knew the answer. I will wish I had let them play more. 

I let them play a lot, so maybe this sounds whack. But children’s play—the full-throttle, all-out absorption unencumbered by schedule and goals—is unique to childhood. I think I will wish I had been more trusting of the learning that happens through play. I think I will wish I had relaxed more and let them just be.

How about you? What will you wish you had done differently?

This same time, years previous: adventuring, my little boy’s surgery, dunging out, and what I do all day


  • momma-lana

    Because I am on the other side of childhood with 5 children ages 22 to 34, I can tell you that you are absolutely right. I would just be less stressed about everything. I guess that is why God gave children grandparents. We can and are that way with our grandchildren.

  • Suburban Correspondent

    I don't look back and wish for more intelligent conversation. I just wish I had basked more in the unconditional love and happiness of little ones, maybe bottled a little of it to sprinkle over my sleeping teens at night. I miss my babies something awful.

  • Anonymous

    I have 2 little ones, so I don't have too much hindsight to look back on. But after some conversations with other Moms, one of the things that I really want to focus on is that I want my children to look back on childhood and truly know that I had time for them. Of course there's work to be done, meals to make, rooms to clean! But our children are only children for so long. I want them to remember Mom playing WITH them, not just them playing while I spent my days busily working away. I enjoy my otherwise long days more when part of the day was spent having fun with them. Afterall, I made the decision to be a stay at home Mom so that I could be home with my children, not so I could be a homemaker who just happened to have little ones running around me.

  • Zoë

    Yes to the more conversations other than correction and chores. I blame it on the fact that they are still pretty young and intelligent conversations are hard to come by but really, this is when it needs to start. I just have to get in the habit.

    I think my kids play plenty so I doubt I'll regret that. I'll wish I had those aforementioned conversations and also that I wasn't so serious all the time. I'm not very good at having fun on a regular basis. I have a hard time balancing being mom and being friend.

  • Margo

    I am with Jane – wish for more conversations that didn't center around correction or work assignments. And one of our kids has been so critical recently and I'm worried that I'm being a bad role model and I tried to talk to the kid about it, but I'm afraid it sounded like criticism. . .

    I think my kids get to play a lot. I'm so pleased with that. We had an opportunity to sign them up for a science camp and I seriously entertained it for a few days, but then I thought it was more important to have free time. . .

    • katie

      My son stops listening as soon as we try to make a serious suggestion for self-improvement. … until he gets over the hump and I get a chance to explain that what he is doing (not apologizing, yelling, being mean, whatever …) is something we all do. And I'm trying to help him be better at the same time I want him to help me be better, so if I start to yell please remind me we are trying not to yell or if I forget to say excuse me, please remind me … etc. I figure since he gets a lot of his bad habits from me anyway, its a good reminder that if I have to nag him, I probably need nagging too, and if it helps him not tune me out, we're all the better for it.

      Does that make sense?

  • Mama Pea

    Since our daughter was an only child raised out in the boonies, I wish I had (somehow, someway) managed to import more playmates for her more often than I did. However, as an adult she has said that during her childhood she realized she was alone much of the time (except for mom and dad, of course), but she never felt lonely. So I guess that means it wasn't too bad for her!

  • Unknown

    The only time I truly feel comfortable in my new-ish role as a SAHM is when my two-year-old son is in a full-throttle giggle session while playing. He never got to relax in daycare. He was tired, ignored, and miserable trying to sit through "projects" he didn't understand or care about. So I guess I will always regret putting him in there in the first place. mesterday, I put his overgrown bangs in a ponytail on top of his head. He spent twenty minutes dancing in front of the mirror, and then doubling over in laughter because "my hair is dancing, mommy!!" So I take your words to heart, because I don't want to forget to let him play when he is older. But I honestly think you don't need to worry about that. Your kids get to play a lot, and they get to live full lives with your family. I love all your family stories!

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