As I prepare to send my second child off to college, and my third child only two years after that, the empty nest looms large and a bit scary for my future. I try not to spend too much time looking backwards, but rather living in the moment and enjoying the time I have with my children today. Yet I’m frequently asked as both a mother and a psychologist what I might do differently if I had to do motherhood again.
So here are my regrets in the hopes that newer moms can learn from my mistakes.
1) I said no to offers of assistance.
NEVER do this! When my oldest was born, I was sure that I was super woman who didn’t need sleep, recovery time from a C-section, assistance around the house, or advice for breastfeeding. That ridiculous mentality came crashing down when I was nearly non-functioning and depressed when my baby was not even a week old. I learned my lesson with my second and third children and I adopted the “yes” policy. The “yes” policy was that I said yes to any offers of assistance. “Would you like dinner?” “Yes” “Can I come over and hold the baby?” “Yes” and so on.We aren't super women and we don't need to be. Click To Tweet
We aren’t super women and we don’t need to be. Allowing others to help us is a gift to ourselves and a gift to them. Community is a key to a happy home, a confident and content mother, and children who know they have others to support them outside of their homes. Say yes and reap the benefits for years to come.
2) I put my children ahead of my marriage.
I fell into the dreadful trap of thinking that my children needed to come before anyone else in my life. Luckily, my marriage survived, but not without some very trying times. Your relationship with your partner is the one that needs to come first. Your children are on loan, but your partner is for life. That relationship will help you through all others and will model healthy relationships for your children.Your relationship with your partner is the one that needs to come first. Click To Tweet
I’m not suggesting that all relationships are meant to last or that you even need a partner or spouse. I am, however, suggesting that if you want that relationship and you want it to survive after your children leave, prioritize it!
3) I didn’t put my own wishes/desires into the mix soon enough.
I made my children the complete focus of my life and pushed myself right out of it. They didn’t ask me to do this; in fact I know that they didn’t want me to. It led to me being exhausted, unhappy, and a bit resentful of the world. Once I realized it, I changed my life and added myself in, but I do wish I’d done it sooner.Happy mom, happy kids, happy life. It sounds cliché and maybe it is, but it is infinitely true. Click To Tweet
Happy mom, happy kids, happy life. It sounds cliché and maybe it is, but it is infinitely true. Pursuing your own dreams, taking care of yourself, and valuing your own future and relationships is all part of raising children. You get one life and it doesn’t need to be filled with caring for others and denying yourself. What do you want out of life? Don’t wait to answer that question when it’s too late.
Life shouldn’t be about regrets and mine isn’t. I do like to look back and learn from my own experiences and I like to help others learn from my experiences as well. Parenting is hard work, but it can be joyful and fabulous as well if you stay conscious and aware of how you are participating as a parent, partner, and as yourself.
Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. CPC
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Smart Women, Inspired Lives: How to Be Happy & Confident
by Dr. Lisa Kaplin
Do you long for more energy? Do you wish you could walk into any room and feel happy and confident? Do you simply want to enjoy your life more – personally and professionally? You can. Too many women today are doing more, but feeling less satisfied. Life doesn’t have to be that way. With small tweaks and simple strategies, you can enjoy a great life with soaring self-confidence, a good sense of well-being, and plenty of laughter. This easy-to-read yet profoundly impactful book will be all you need to join the tribe of smart women living inspired lives. Your life gets better right now.
About Lisa Kaplin, Psy. D, CPC
Certified Life Coach and Psychologist at Smart Women Inspired Lives.
I’m the proud owner of Smart Women Inspired Lives, where I help overwhelmed and exhausted women move from the feeling of being “stuck” into a life filled with calm, confidence, and joy. In addition to the posts and articles I write, I offer individual and group life coaching sessions, classes and speaking engagement opportunities.
Let’s face it, parenting can be really hard. Sometimes we aren’t sure how to handle really tough situations or really tough kids. Lisa has worked with parents since she started her training as a psychologist and has helped so many of them learn the best tools to relate better to their children, handle difficult decisions, and how to assess whether their child needs more help than just parenting.
If you are ready to change the relationship with your children and feel more confident in your role as a parent, Lisa’s parent coaching is right for you. She does parent coaching either with you or with you and a parenting partner.
|Channeling Your 21-Year-Old Self||Getting Unconscious – Is It Worth It?|
|Channeling Your 21-Year-Old Self|
|Getting Unconscious – Is It Worth It?|