As a mother, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We want to protect our children, play with them, raise them so they’re good adults, keep them healthy – everything to make their lives better. It can be difficult – one of the toughest jobs is being a parent! I would say it’s a thankless job, but we’re thanked every day by the love of our children. However, it can be next to impossible to do everything right. In fact, we’ll do a lot of things wrong, and that’s okay. Knowing that, though, doesn’t stop us from having regrets and wishing we could turn back the hands of time to do things differently, do more with or for our children.
While our children might not notice the difference if we did something or not, we do. It can keep us up at night, stay on our mind for years after it’s relevant. We beat ourselves up about it and dwell on it. Instead, we should start right now, today, to do things differently. It’s not too late, even if they’ve grown up faster than we would like or expected. We have our doubts and things we’d do instead of what we did do.
20 Take More Pictures In The Same Place Or Position
I wish I took more pictures of my kids. It’s great to get pictures of them at any time – there are never enough pictures – but I wish I would’ve thought to take more photos of them in the same place. That way, I have unchanging factors, like a tree or wall, to compare the pictures to later. See how much my kids have grown, how much they have changed.
It might sound silly, but it’s difficult to get a good idea of the way they’ve grown when the background is different.
I have Christmas pictures around the tree, but the kids are all in different positions and places around it. I have pictures of the kids sitting in the same way in another picture, but they’re in different locations and the items behind and beside them aren’t the same so it’s hard to compare their growth. We can tell they’ve grown and look different – we can see and we know they’re older. But it’d be nice to have these kinds of photos to look back on and remember. It’d also be nice to show these photos to them when they’re older, so they can see how much they changed, too.
19 Comparing Myself To Other Moms
Everyone compares themselves to others. To be honest, it’s worse for moms. Mothers compare everything. It can be damaging, making us feel like we’re doing something wrong or not doing our best.
Instead, we should look at what we can do. We do more than we think, and our kids don’t know the difference between store brand cheese sticks or name brand. They’re just happy to have cheese. We should try to focus on how well we do personally – not compare to how others are doing things with their kids. We need to worry about raising our own kids healthy, happy, and well adjusted. We can do that without having to compare ourselves to other people by just focusing on our kids' development.
18 Spend More Time Doing Crafts
Crafts are messy. Kids are messy. Crafts with kids are extra messy and time-consuming and can have weird results that aren’t expected. So, of course, it's easier to do other activities with the kids rather than do crafts. What difference will they know if it was never an option on the table anyway? Simply don’t bring it up or ask, and they would never have a clue. But we do. We know and we hound ourselves over not doing crafts or other fun things with them.
Maybe it’s a mess we want to avoid and the stress of dealing with kids and crafts mixing together.
What we can do is bring the activities outside. Or put down newspaper and plastic bags, to help make clean up easier. These sorts of crafts might seem pointless to us, but not only is it a good learning experience for the kids, it’s also a fulfilling memory to have. They have fun and you get to think back on the moment and smile at how sweet and cute they were doing their little crafts. There might be a mess to clean up, but it’s worth it to help them learn more and to enjoy the nice time with them.
17 Have More ‘Mom’ Friends
It’s not easy to make friends at any age, and as we grow older it becomes more difficult. People are awkward and life can be complicated, which makes it hard to have time for friends at all. When you’re a parent, that time grows shorter and the energy to socialize runs dry. Your day is full of snotty noses, making boo-boos better, putting together PB&J sandwiches, and fighting tired tots down for naps. There isn’t much time left to go out with friends. But there is an easy solution I wish I'd known sooner – mom friends are a great way to have friends and help wrestle rowdy excitable kids.
You get your social time and so do the kids! You get two birds with one stone this way. You can do all the kid things you need to do to help raise them and get to hang out with people who understand what you’re going through. Plus, they’re moms too! They know and they can sympathize. You can exchange tips and help with all the kids. It makes life easier overall and you get the fun and enjoyment of friends. Mom friends will most likely be the best friends you’ve ever had!
16 Keep More Mementos
I always felt I never had enough time to do a baby book. I always figured I could come back to it later. I’ll remember, I’ll just make it when the kids are a little older and I have more time to make it good. Don’t put it off! Do it as it happens! You have time, if nothing else, you can jot down little things that happen to put in a book later – you will not remember! Start a little collection of things as you get them, even if they don’t go in a book yet.
Don’t put it off, don’t wait, start right now with gathering little memories to put in a book or folder later.
These mementos are important. Not just for you, but for your kids as they get older. Getting to see these things as they grow older, sharing them with close friends or significant others is great. Try not to overwhelm yourself with it, it’s supposed to be fun! Just start a little box full of things. Even if they never make it into a book or folder, you’ll still have the scraps of papers with notes and locks of hair from their first haircut.
15 Enjoy Bath Time More
As adults, baths and showers are supposed to keep us clean. You get in, get soaped up and rinsed off, then get out. It’s no wonder we expect to do the same for kids. We want to get them out so we don’t have to keep bent over scrubbing away. We have other things to do, errands and tasks that we have on our mind as we try to get the kids cleaned up and on their way. They splash, they yell and they make a mess of things, as kids usually do, it’s a time to get clean and they somehow make it a whole new chore to deal with afterward.
However, bath time shouldn’t be so black and white, so set in get-clean-and-get-out. Letting kids play is good for them, and you get to have those memories to look back on with a fond smile later. It can be tough when kids want to splash water and bubbles all over the place, but it’s nice to watch them have fun. Toss in a few toys and after they get clean let them soak for a while and play. There’ll probably be something to clean up when they’re done, but you’re going to have to clean it anyway, so why not let them enjoy themselves while they’re young?
14 Let Them Help With Cooking
Helping a parent cook is very beneficial to kids. They not only learn how to be in a kitchen and how to cook, but can also learn measurements, numbers, colors, and tons of other things. It might be a little more work, but watching your little tot work hard at helping is quite rewarding as well. You’ll have to clean up after anyways, a little extra mess won’t make a big difference, and they can help with that, too. Pick something easy like cookies – no knives or boiling involved. Let them measure or pour things and mix ingredients, let them get their hands dirty!
13 Let Them Help With Chores
Speaking of letting them help with cleaning, it’s good to let them help with chores around the house, too. Again, it might be more of you constantly picking up after them, but this part of it all, right? Let them help fold clothes or put them in drawers, give them simple tasks like putting away the spoons and forks, let them handle the towels.
It is always easier and quicker to do it yourself, but it’s nice to give them this chance to learn. The quickest way to learn is by doing the tasks, and the more they do it, the better they’ll get at it. Things will have to be redone less often, they can learn to do it better and better each time. Soon you’ll have a little helper who enjoys doing chores with you, giving you less time doing the chores and more time to spend just playing with them. As far as they know, it’s all been fun and games. They’ll enjoy the time with you, you’ll enjoy the time with them, and the chores will get done.
12 Sing To Them More
I’m no singer. I don’t have a great voice and I don’t really enjoy singing because of it. I would sometimes hum to my kids, trying to convince them to sleep, coax them to stop crying, relax and stop fighting to stay awake. I would even go as far as playing music on the phone instead of singing because I didn’t think it’d do them any good for me to sing. I didn’t know how much I’d wish to go back and sing to them, how much good it would have been for me, not just them.
Regardless of how your voice is, the kids will love it – even if you sound like a cat with it’s tail stuck in a door.
The fact you’re paying attention to them and they can hear your voice will mean the world to them! They don’t mind if it’s not the best singing. They just love having you close, hearing you, knowing you care. Your love is audible in your signing, they can feel it, they can sense it, and they crave it. Belt out songs, let yourself have an ugly voice. They’ll appreciate it, and you’ll love the new bond formed from it.
11 Enjoy Their Laughs And Smiles More
There’s nothing sweeter than a child’s laugh or smile. And as much as I love the expressional faces, I never spent enough time actually enjoying them. I know it sounds silly, but I definitely didn’t appreciate it enough and I wish I did. They’re such happy faces and they filled me with happiness too. Joyous little giggles went unheard and cheeky smiles unseen as I busied away with something else that seemed so pressing at the moment. Now I soak in as much as I can, but it never seems like enough.
Make sure you take time to sit and just enjoy their laughter, and their giggles! You’ll miss them if you even blink they happen so quickly. Maybe it’s a toy that makes them burst out with musical giggles or something they've seen in a show that has them grinning ear to ear. Whatever it is, find more of it and sit and enjoy their reactions! You can’t turn back time no matter how hard you try, and guilt is pretty nasty with reminding you of things you forgot or didn’t think to do.
10 Held Them More As Babies
Babies like to sleep and it makes things so much easier to do when they’re asleep. I used to hold my babies long enough for them to sleep then put them in their beds so I could go do whatever housework needed doing. Now that I look back, I wish I would have held them more. Just a little longer hugging them close, feeling their warm little bodies full of life, touching their chubby soft cheeks with a fingertip. Just watching them as they nestled in and slept peacefully. Now I try to hold them and being three and seven they’re both full of independence and want to be free, they don’t want to be held. I should’ve held them when I could have, when they just wanted to be close to their mother and held nonstop.
It might slow your housework or other things you feel are important, but it’ll be worth the memory of holding them and letting them rest.
It strengthens the bond you have with them and helps them feel secure and safe. Plus you get to hold them, that’s wonderful in itself. Find time to hold them even if you feel you don’t have time, you’ll be glad you did.
9 Read To Them More
Reading helps kids learn to read and calms them down to relax. It’s good to read to them before bed to help them settle in, or after any big activity to do the same. I didn’t think to read to them just for fun, though. Just grab a book and invite them to sit and listen, to look at the pictures with me. Just to spend some quiet downtime with them as they grow up. There’s plenty of books to read that are engaging, educational, and fun. Grab one and huddle up together to go on the adventure, see how great it feels to strengthen that bond with them and help them get a love of reading.
My grandma used to read to us all the time, even as we got older. I used to get tired of it in all honesty, but now that I look back on it, I love having that memory with her. It really helped us get closer and helped me learn to love books and reading. Now I try to read to my kids every day at least a couple times, as hard as it is with short attention spans and school, plus not being used to it since I didn’t do it before. It’s been a wonderful experience, and I’m so glad I started doing it. Better late than never!
8 Paid More Attention To Them
Life can be hectic! It’s busy and people want things done a specific way at a specific time – we’re constantly running around with tasks to do. This doesn’t stop just because we have kids. We still have to make phone calls, clean the house, do the dishes, and do laundry. We don’t mean to ignore our kids or not pay enough attention to them, we just have a million things to do and it feels like we don’t have enough hours in the day to do them. We do everything we can for the kids, but we have other things that need doing.
Except, the other things can wait.
The laundry will still be there later, the dishes won’t run away, and the phone calls can be made at other hours.
We need to remember to sit down with our kids and spend time with them, no matter how busy our schedule is. Kids feel neglected without enough time. That can really hinder their growth and negatively affect our bond with them too. Even if we feel there isn’t enough time to do what we have to and with the kids having their own schedule, we need to make time to be with them. They’ll grow to be happier and more well adjusted.
7 Enjoy Their Hugs More
Kids like to hug. Being a parent to an affectionate kid can be tough, especially when they just want to hug and not let go for a long time. My daughter can give at least 20 hugs to a person a day! They like the physical sign of affection and need that affirmation that you’re close. Sometimes, they can get clingy and it can get frustrating. You don’t want a kid hanging off of you, especially if you have things you need to do. It can get annoying and you eventually try to encourage them to hug less or even stop altogether.
While that might seem like a good solution, it really isn’t what we should do. You’ll miss all of those hugs when they get “too old” and don’t want to give them out as readily. No matter how busy we are, we should sit and let them show us they care in ways they want to. Especially if it’s with hugs. It’s an easy gesture and doesn’t take a lot of time, be patient and hug them close, make it fun! Get them to giggle and laugh, squeeze them close and shut your eyes, just enjoy the feel of hugging their little bodies while they’re still little!
6 Waste Less Time Trying To Pump/Breastfeed
We’re told all the time that ‘breast is best’. And while it’s true that breast milk has a lot of natural nutrients that growing babies and their brains need, it can be detrimental in other ways we might not consider. If you’re like me, you didn’t produce much – if any – milk. Trying to pump or breastfeed is exhausting on its own, add in the frustration of not being able to make milk, and you’re in for a really bad time. I did everything I was suggested, the tea, the physical therapy, all of it. I let the baby nurse as long as they wanted to, but it was no use.
All it did was get us both upset and frustrated and made me feel like less of a mother.
Then I started bottle feeding. A fed baby is a happy baby! No matter how you have to do it, as long as your baby is fed, it’s a good thing. Bottle or breast, it doesn’t matter. Having a child who isn’t hungry is always the best plan. And you can still bond close to your kids with bottle feeding, you can still hold them close to yourself and get skin to skin contact like many doctors recommend. And the best part is they’re not hungry, they have full tummies and are happy to be close to their mother.
5 Made More Things With Them
Making things with kids can be difficult. They don’t want to cooperate, they don’t want to move their hand the way you want, they want to ‘help’ by going crazy and getting into everything. However, it’s important to remain calm and continue to make these mementos with them. You get the lovely reminder of the time spent together, they get to have fun, and you both have great memories of doing the activity together. Plus you get to hang them up on a wall, like a nice photograph in your house. Even if it’s messy or takes up time, it’s good to make these lovely memories both mentally and physically with them.
I never did anything like that with my kids. With the first, I didn’t think about it and with the second I figured it was too much work. Now I wish I had done that, to have those memories or mementos. It’s messy and can be difficult to organize, but it’d be entirely worth it. Get some kids, get some clay, make some simple handprints. It doesn’t have to be complicated or overdone to be special.
4 Have More Family Dinners
Having family meals can be hard with busy lives. Between school, work, chores, and errands – there isn’t much time left to sit together and eat. It doesn’t seem like a big deal to miss meals together, just grab something to fill your stomach and go about your business. However, it really puts a big rift between family members to skip these times together. At the dinner table, it’s easy to talk to each other, see how everyone else’s days had gone, how everyone is doing.
It helps families grow closer together and helps people keep up with each other.
Even if you all have things you need to do, even if it’s only once a week, sit down with your kids and have a meal or two together. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it means the world to the kids. Sure, it can be difficult, but it’s entirely worth it. Make time, find time, make it happen and start a conversation as a group, as a family. Listen to their ramblings, take in their concerns, their worries, their excitements, and their hopes and dreams. You talk to them every day, but nothing is quite like sitting together and chatting, getting all of them in a new light.
3 Let Them Sleep Over More Often
As kids get older, they want to stay the night at their friends’ houses. I always said no because I always worried about them, always worried about someone else caring for my kid. Who are these people? I’ve met them, but can they really, honestly keep my kid as safe as I can? Can they keep them happy? What if they have an uncomfortable place for them to sleep? What if they don’t make the right food that they like? There’s a hundred ‘what if’s and it’s a little silly to be so worried. These people are capable of raising their children fine, why can’t they watch my kid for a night? There’s no reason to be so overprotective.
It can be difficult to let the control go and trust someone else. But it’s important to let them have this social stepping stone. They can’t grow if we keep them too protected, especially when it’s safe like this, with another parent watching them. It’s a fun and exciting time to have, to play and have fun with their friends and nestle in with them to sleep. The first time can be scary for both of you, but it’s probably hardest on the parent letting the kid go. Your house is quieter, you wonder if they’re having fun, what’s going on them, what they’re doing, if they’re okay. Your mind will wander to a million things, but they’ll be okay. You’ll get them in the morning and hear all about the fun they had.
2 Spend More Time Cuddling
Cuddling sounds silly, it doesn’t sound like it’s a big deal. Cuddling is an elective, isn’t it? It’s nice but it’s not necessary to helping kids grow. That’s not correct at all. Cuddling is more one-on-one time, and physical affection. It can help build your bond with them and gives you time to talk to them. You can learn a lot about how the kids are doing, what's going on in their lives. If your kids are still very young, it can be a good time to teach them things too. While lying there, you can practice letters, numbers, colors or just words.
You can talk to them and hang out with them, get to know them on a new level.
Make time to cuddle. Maybe it’s in the morning before getting the day started, setting the day already off on a good foot. Or it’s at nap time, winding down and helping them get ready for some rest to go on with the day. It can even be at night time, when it’s time to go to bed. Whenever it is, it will be a great moment for them and you. Those memories will last forever and the soft, quiet moment together will help with your bond and aid in getting you both closer together.
1 Be In More Photos With Them!
The subject of photos is usually the kids. They’re doing silly things or funny things, or maybe it’s a big moment. First sports game, first time tying their shoes, events of that nature. Holidays, events, birthdays – it’s always about the kids. And that’s great! It’s important to capture these moments. A lot of times, though, we don’t think about getting in the photos too. We snap the pictures, we take the videos, we focus on the kids and forget about ourselves. But we should try harder to get in pictures too! We’re in these situations like them, we’re part of this event with them, we need to remember ourselves.
Taking pictures can be awkward or make us feel uncomfortable. But it’s important to do it. I never took pictures with my kids until recently. When I’m long gone, they’ll still have these pictures for years and years. You need to be in these pictures so your family can always have these memories, so they can see you with your kids. Even if you think you look bad, it’s a great memory to have so you can show them to your kids. It’ll help keep you in the memories of the events, too. As funny as it may feel, it’s important to be in these moments of their lives.