If I Had It to Do All Over Again

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If I had it to do all over again,
I’d only use baby books as a guideline, instead of treating them like a bible.
Practically no child is textbook in their development, and trying to force them into that mold is so not a good idea.
Instead, I’d relax more and only refer to the “manual” to see what’s coming up next, and not stress if my child took a little longer to get there.

If I had it to do all over again,
I would be gentler with my children.
Even though names like “Silly goose” seem innocuous to me, I’d never say it my daughter, making her cry out “I’m not a silly goose!”
It’s hard to explain to a child that you never meant to hurt her, you only meant to laugh with her at whatever observation she just made…that it killed a part of your soul to know you had any part in making her sad.
Instead I’d learn better ways to show my joy, because what I really felt in those moments was a kind awe at how intelligent my child was, and the words she chose to express her thoughts delighted me.

If I had it to do all over again,
I wouldn’t use corporal punishment.
Oh a little spat on the hand to get their attention to keep them out of danger was all right,
But for the bigger stuff like disobedience and disrespectful bad-mouthing, I’d instead elect consequences that better fit the situation like removal of privileges, to better get the point across, having found that spanking never resulted in anything but further stubbornness and anger.
Thankful we learned this lesson in time for raising the last of our brood.

If I had it to do all over again,
I’d pick up my first born more.
Instead of telling her she was too big or too old to be carried, I’d scoop her right up.
Although this taught her some independence, I really missed carrying her and holding her close more.
Affection should never be stingy.

If I had it to do all over again,
Instead of being wary of strangers around my children, I’d also be wary of friends.
I’d listen to my gut more, and if something seemed too good to be true, I would question it more, and be a better protector.
Protecting our children is everything.

If I had it to do all over again,
I’d be a little sweeter,
And not let my temper get the best of me, causing me to say hurtful things to my loved ones that were hard to take back once said.

If I had it to do all over again,
I’d be braver.
I’d speak out and be a better defender for my children, especially against school bullying – by both students and teachers.

If I had it to do all over again,
I’d be stronger.
Having always considered myself a strong individual with an aversion to weakness, of course that would be the one area I’d dislike within myself.
I’d draw more on my inner strength and believe in myself more.
I’d say things to loved ones that should be said and stand my ground, instead of worrying about hurting their feelings about something they really needed to hear (for example: smoking, alcoholism, abandonment of their children.)

If I had it to do all over again,
I’d be a better wife and mother by finding ways to help my husband learn to be a better father.
When you are not raised with a good role model but your spouse is, you may rely on your spouse to give you cues and clues for improving your role.
Instead of using anger and impatience, I would gently but firmly sit down and explain better possibilities, and share more stories about how my father raised me. Perhaps even get him connected with a good living role model that could mentor him.
And I’d do it much sooner rather than later.

If I had it to do all over again,
I’d yell less.
Instead of a knee-jerk reaction in anger, I’d take a deep breath or put myself in time out (leave the room) in order to regroup and come back to approach the situation in a calm but firm fashion.
Yelling should only be reserved for ballgames and emergencies.
And it sure doesn’t sound pretty.

If I had it to do all over again,
I’d say I love you more and hug my family more.
Although I know I must have given plenty of hugs and I love you’s during their childhood, I know I didn’t give near as many as I should’ve until after all the grandparents passed.
Life is too short.
It’s important to give lots of hugs and I love you’s.
Each and every day.

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