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Avoid These 2 Mom Regrets

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My husband and I had dinner with his boss and his boss’s wife last night. They are an amazing team in business, marriage, and parenting. They’ve raised four children who are all responsible, kind adults who still like to hang out with their mom and dad.

At some point during our dinner, the couple talked about their regrets in life, specifically in parenting—and they only had two regrets! After they shared the first one, I asked about the second one. “You know,” the wife said, “I can’t think of it.” Her husband laughed and said, “I was wondering what it was going to be because there was only one I knew about.” Eventually, they remembered the second. Here are their two parenting regrets.

1. They regretted not making their kids get summer jobs. 

Their children were very active in the summer—playing sports, working as camp counselors, traveling with the family—but these wise parents wish they would’ve figured out a way to get their kids some real-world work experience.

“They did work in our office in the summer,” the dad said, “but it’s different when you’re working for someone else. It teaches you lots of valuable lessons about how to follow directions and get along with others.”

imom chore chartIf your children are too young for a real job, start with responsibilities in the home. Chores will make them more responsible and give them a sense of accomplishment—maybe not right away, but eventually.

2. They regretted not going camping.

I know—camping isn’t for everyone. But it is a one-stop shop for teaching teamwork by putting up the tent, gathering firewood, cleaning up the campsite. Plus, being in nature and away from the routine of home is such a wonderful way to bond with your kids. If you can’t make it to the great outdoors, camp in your backyard or in your house. Bring all the “roughing it” elements of “real” camping to your home experience.

A parent of two small children added his own touch to indoor camping: He found an online fireplace, complete with a roaring blaze, and put it in front of his children as they nestled into their sleeping bags while “camping” on their bedroom floor.

Now, these might seem like minor regrets, and I would never have come up with them if I’d had to guess. But coming from a couple who did do so much right with their children, I found them very interesting. Oh, and here are some of the things they felt they did right: eating breakfast and dinner together most days, talking to their children frankly about the risks of pre-marital sex (complete with photos of sexually transmitted diseases—the dad is a doctor), and making time for each other.

What parenting regrets are you trying not to have, and how are you avoiding them?


If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

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