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Ooooh, I have one you'll no doubt find really, really helpful:

I wish I'd worried less.

With my first, I let her sleep with me (and she napped in my lap). I liked cosleeping when she was a baby, but then she grew up into a big toddler who kicked, and I had visions of her still being in my bed at age eight. But, nope. She moved to her own bed full time when she was a little over two; now she's four, and sleeps just fine. It all worked out.

With my second, I swore that I would try the whole putting-her-down-awake idea and see how that worked. Except she had colic, and instead I spent hours rocking her while she screamed. She's now a toddler and comes into my bed partway through the night and kicks me. I try to remember that it will all be okay.

You know, some of the parenting books do their best to make you all paranoid about getting the kids into habits of one kind or another. But most of these are things the kids will outgrow, or give up with a little prodding. We don't worry about kids being in the habit of pooping in their pants; we use diapers (sorry, nappies) and plan to either train them to use the potty at some point, or just leave them to it until they train themselves.

It will all be okay. Really. You love your babies and you're doing your best; there are probably things you're doing that will make your life a little harder for a while, but you know, either you'll realize you messed up, backtrack, and fix it, or the kids will grow out of it.

Hmm... Rocking... I would never have rocked her to sleep - took up until almost TWO years old to break that habit. Used to sit with pram eventually and rock her to sleep until Paul (ex) said to me: Uhm Bee when she's 16 and comes home from jolling are you gonna be putting her to sleep like that still? Heheh. Good point, I guess, so we broke that habit. Dummy is number 2 biggest sin. STILL LOVES that damn dummy. Shoulda thrown it away ages ago but she loves that dummy. Again, perhaps at her prom we'll let go of it.
Putting to sleep, asleep is another one. She is now getting over it and can obviously fall asleep on her own, but wherever possible, try and put them down to sleep, awake. I DO NOT like the Ferber method of crying it out, however. Tried it and HATED it. Just felt like child abuse. Just my humble opinion, though, use it, don't use it.
Finally: STOP worrying - sheesh - TWO gorg babies and you are doing SO well. We all worry. Guess that's the nature of this thing, they call motherhood. But try and relax - we all make mistakes, if we were perfect, we'd be on another dimension. So, relax, drink lots of wine and keep chatting to us, the 'wise' ones. HA! Speaking of which, will call you from work later. Enjoy Nina's wedding tomorrow.
Lotsa love

I wish I had never gently oh so gently patted my daughter on the back to get her to sleep. I had to do it until she was four! I can still remember it even though it was years ago. Thinking she was asleep and then crawling to the door only to have her wake up again as I left the room and back I would have to go and pat!

Ditto! I definitely spend less time worrying and more time listening to my gut instincts now then I did when I first became a parent, 13.5 years ago.

The first tenet of my personal parenting manifesto is this. Pour more love on them. You can never have too much love!

Let's see, what else...don't let anyone tell you your going to spoil your children by holding them. That's just nonsense. You tell them this, I'm going to hold on to them as long as they let me because it won't be very much time before they won't.

Later on, when they get older, a really important skill will be learning how to pick your battles.

Don't be afraid to loosen up a little and eat dessert first once in awhile because, you know, life is uncertain. :-)

Hmmm, that ditto looks out of place now, but when I started that comment it was right under Naomi's, so I'm dittoing the "stop worrying" sentiment.

I've been lurking for awhile here- by the way Congrats on your twins, and that everyone is healthy!!!

I have 3 kids, and what would I change...I definitley agree...worry less....I think on how tense I was with the first compared to the 3rd- what a difference. I used to hear don't hold your child too much they will be spoiled or don't rock them, what do you know for the first time, let alone what do you trust as you get lots of advice from your friends/family/strangers.... But you know I didn't hold my first child alot scared of all the things that might happen (being overly dependant on you, etc..)- but now I look at my third , thinking this is my last and all I can think about is how much I want to always hold her, because I'll won't be a baby forever or get back this day again.

You know-so far-my kids have turned out okay. They don't do what everyone scared me into thinking they would. I think it's definitely on how you feel, and are comfortable with. Do what you need to.

Time passes way to fast. Enjoy what every you can now. Things will get easier and there will always be a challenge.

Oh yeah and definitely pick your battles(when they get older).

Good Luck

Lucie has never been one for sleeping with me, or for me being there when she feel asleep. From day one she was falling asleep alone.
Bianca was the total opposite and needed to be rocked as a baby and then cuddled in the swing chair. She still finds it really hard to fall asleep and lies there for hours.
Whilst Bianca was the more time consuming, Lucie made up for it in other ways. Lucie wouldn't be left alone at daycare without a huge fuss, nor would she 'happily' stay in the ball park outside Ikea without Aiden and I staying.
Lucie was demand fed until about 6 months old. Bianca was schedule fed until she was 18 months old. I found it a lot easier the second time round.
Bianca has been smacked once by Aiden. Lucie has never been smacked. Not because we changed our minds about it second time through, but because Lucie was never really that naughty. Bianca went through a bad stage age 9. She was smacked as Aiden had found out she's been playing 'chicken' on the freeway. Thankfully she didn't get killed or cause an accident. The smack hurt (it hurt me as well) but a lesson was learnt.
You will find a groove with both your children T. It maybe a little different with each of them, or it may be the same. Lucie is pushed more academically than Bianca is, yet we expect Bianca to put in a greater effort with her school work (Never happens). When Lucie was 14 I would have gladly let her get the bus from school to a friends house in the afternnon, and I wouldn't dream of it with Bianca.
Each child is so different it's hard to say what's wrong and what's right. I worried sick about when they were younger, but they haven't turned out too bad now.
One thing is NEVER EVER have some tidy their rooms for them- my girls think I am a room tidying slave and both quite messy.


I'd worried less! In fact now with number 2 I do worry a lot less and it is so much more fun..
I'm gonna babysit my neighbours twins in an hour.. They are 4 weeks old now so I think in 2 hours time I will tell you just how marvelous you are having two babies all of the time!


I wouldn't stess so much about potty training.... I let everyone's comments about how "their" kid potty trained so early make me think that my kids *HAD* to be potty trained early... You know what? They weren't. Total stress, months of trying, only to have them catch on quickly when *they were ready*.... My youngest is now 18 months, and I refuse to listen to the people who tell me to start training her now. (Because their kid was trained before their first birthday). I'm not breaking out the pull-ups until she's at least 2 1/2!!!!

Hang in there, you're doing great!!


I agree I wish I'd worried less abou No.1 and just enjoyed it. With No.2 I fed her if she was hungry, put her to bed if she was tired and she was a great baby (feral toddler but that's another story!)

Off-the-point: The best advice I received: 'You'll commit mistakes, whatever you do. Your parents commited mistakes, and their parents commited mistakes. Don't worry, the kids will be fine. '

I'm going with the 'they'll grow out of it, possibly with a bit of nudging' stand. I got Catherine off to sleep in my arms for all her daytime naps. Was at home, and loved it: have some downtime to read this way. At 20 months, kid started fighting me one day. Within 3 days she had me trained: now she goes to our bed for her daytime nap: lies down and goes to sleep. I still can't get over it, by the way.
Nighttime: similar - we went through co-sleeping, moving her to our bed in the middle of the night when she complained, basically all the bad habits. At some stage we stopped being impressed with this, she picked up the mood (with a bit of prodding) and now sleeps by herself.
I think it is easier to get them to give up things when they are a little older.

I wish I had felt less guilty, and just accepted that I was doing the best I could do at that moment.
I wish I had said, screw this guilt, DAMN it, I am A GOOD MOMMY!!!!
And I wish I wouldn't have cared so much what others thought and just gone with my gut instinct more, and not listened to my crazy in-laws advice.
There. I said it!

Don't stress so much!

I think even when we DO have experienced mothers/grannies around, they brought their babies up according to the strict rules of the post-war era. We might be the most "over educated" and "under experienced" generation of mothers ever, but some of the "over education" is undoing stuff like Dr Spock and allowing people to parent according to their gut feeling and baby's temperament.

My daughter is nearly 1 and while she now goes down at night awake/drowsy after a cuddle with me, there have been many times when she has slept soundly for hours after going to sleep on the breast or in my arms. Don't let "the books" tell you that something is wrong if it works for you and you don't have a problem with it!

Another thing I do take solace from is that they will grow out of practically every baby habit at some point. How many children over 10 or adults do you know who suck their thumb in public, have a dummy, need to be breastfed to sleep? I take solace in that when I get up to cuddle my daughter if she's crying persistently and calling for me during the night.

My daughter is now two and I'm pregnant with another one. What will I do diferent?
I will not worry as much and I will enjoy those first few months much much better (or so I hope, if that stupid PPD stays away).

With my daugther I worried all the time, if I was doing the right thing, if I was holding her too much or not enough, if she was eating too much or not enough, etc, etc. But in the end she turned out just fine and I'm sure she would've regardless of what id id, as long as I followed my instincts (which sometimes I didn't).

I will also definitly not worry as much about what other people say. My MIL has 9 children, all were breastfed until 12 months and were pretty much attachement-parented. My Mom has 2 children, both bottlefed, we went to school at 1 year old, etc. You get the picture. Believe me, it was hard as helll to try to listen to both of them, one saying I should try harder to breatfeed, the other telling me to quit and just give her formula. I nearly went nuts!

So my advice to you is follow your instincts and listen to what others have to say but then filter it and do it your way.

I agree with the stop worrying. You are doing just fine. The only advice I have is to listen to your heart and be honest about what you want. For example, we knew we didn't want to co-sleep so we never started.

Your kids will tell you what they want as they get bigger (by 3 months I knew my daughter liked to sleep on her side, hated the pacifier, was never going to latch on, was a good sleeper, liked tummy time, didn't fall asleep in the car, etc.) I bet you already have a list..

I agree with the above - how many adults do you know who still suck their thumb? Whichever the way we were raised as infants, most of us manage to turn out pretty well. I was bottlefed and I'm just as healthy and happy as my breastfed friends. My husband had a pacifier until he was 4 yet he doesn't have buck teeth, an oral fixation, or is over-dependent. We have been told over and over and over by the media et al that what happens to a child in the first few months of their life affects them forever, but I think that applies to bigger things than breastfeeding/bottlefeeding, co-sleeping/in the cot etc, things like actual physical violence or neglect. In three months' time, you might be saying "Oh, I wish I'd put them to bed awake" or "Gee, pacifiers do make life easier" but it is only you who will remember those "mistakes". Feed your kids, keep them warm, love them, and they'll be fine.

You're doing a great job, Tertia. Don't forget to remind yourself EVERY DAY, even if it just for a few seconds, that you've got them this far and they're doing great. Therefore you must be doing at least some of it "right"!!

I wish I had worried less and felt less guilty. I play the "I wish I hadn't..." game, but what I try to do is think of what I should have done instead. And usually I realise I actually ended up doing the only thing I knew to do. I was doing the best job that I could, so why second guess myself now when I can't go back and change it?
The only thing I really wish I hadn't done (and wish I would stop doing now) is worry so much about what other people think.

I would try to enjoy the individual moments and not worry about things that may or may not happen in the future.

Time passes so quickly...

I wish that I had figured out faster that sometimes, no matter what you do, very young babies cry. There isn't anything wrong, they aren't lonely or hungry or hot or cold or wet or gassy... they're just either grumpy, exhausted or overstimulated.

I wish I had learned faster that when the baby cries, I owe it to myself AND them to finish what I'm doing in the bathroom, get a bottle of water and a pillow before rushing into their room to check. If I get there and they want to nurse, I need to have enough "personal errands" taken care of so that I can sit comfortably for an hour (my daughter was a leisurely nurser).

I wish I had learned faster to set logical limits when I was somewhat well slept, and to stick to them (ie- have a policy in effect for a 4am cry instead of wondering what to do and hating everything around me). But that's just something that works for me... I'm more comfortable structured than not.

I don't regret for an instant rocking him to sleep when he needed it, or lying on the floor of his room when he needed that to fall asleep. He goes off to sleep happily and cheerfully on his own now, at not-quite-3. I would have sorely regretted it if I had pushed him into being too independent too early and had a kid who needed more than I'd given and now couldn't go to sleep on his own.

I don't regret giving him a pacifier when he showed all the signs of needing one. It gave him more sucking than I could provide. When he didn't need it anymore he stopped using it.

I'm going to raise this next one the exact same way--give all the love and comfort the baby needs at the beginning, bceause when they're ready it'll be easier for them to be independent. They'll never remember whether I rocked them or not--but they'll remember whether or not they felt secure.

I'll tell you what I *do* regret: taking a book contract that was due when he was 14 weeks old, so I was up every night for weeks until 3 am trying to write a stupid book I didn't care about and feeling like I was a horrible writer and awful mother. That stressed me out more than I had any idea it would. I'm taking a break from work for the first couple of months with the next one.

I also regret buying baby socks in more than one color, because inevitably they get lost and then you have non-matching socks. It's all-white for this next kid.

I really freaked myself out about a lot of stuff. They need to be picked up when they cry, but you don't have to break your ankle running to get them. I learned that turning down the maternal anxiety machine is healthiest for the whole family. ;o)

I agree with Bee. I started rocking my son to sleep because he was colicy and seemed to need it. But I was still rocking him to sleep at three years old. Although initially I liked the time where it was quiet and I could reflect on my day, it just seemed to not fit in the schedule anymore. I also regret not being "sillier" with him when he was little. I was a teenager when he was born, and I still had a lot to learn about being a person, much less being a parent. He's thirteen now, and I've been trying to get pg for the last four years with no luck. I have learned to worry less about things that I can't control, and pick my battles over the things he wants to control. This was also true when he was a lot smaller.

What everyone else said....we mommy guilt ourselves into an early grave. You've got a very important element and that my dear, is friends. Friends saved my life more than once.

I'm going with the worry less/less guilt vote.

I also think I am going to try to be less vocal with my frustration when the newest/last baby gets to walking/talking stage. Because, as fun as it is to tell the story of my oldest telling me that NO, *I* was the one being "'noxious" when she was 19 months old...it's really difficult to hear from her now that she's 14, Ya know?

Tongue control. Learn it now, model it later. ;-)

Oh and the other thing I am going to offer is to remember how resilient kids in general are. Sing the "This too shall pass" song along with "Good enough is good enough" Both of them will get you far.

Hmmm. Well, I don't regret AT ALL rocking/nursing to sleep, because now my babies are four and it's almost heartbreaking, how long ago their baby days were. I honestly regret not picking them up MORE, especially during the earliest months, when I was still in my "don't hold the multiple-birth babies too much or they'll get too demanding of attention and you'll never get a moment's peace" phase. They were teeny tiny babies--when will I EVER again get to bask for hours in that warm sweet scent on the top of their fuzzy heads or that breath of heaven from their tiny toothless never-tasted-solids mouths?

Concretely, I wish I had learned all the tricks to make our stroller infant-friendly and gone for walks EVERY DAY. Go at 6am or 8pm if necessary (because of heat), but GO. Get out of the house and WALK. Funny you should ask this, because I was just yesterday remembering some infant stroller outing and aching to realize how much better it would have been if I'd known to remove the bumper bars and snap up the leg-rests so the whole thing turned into a three-piece infant bed.

I also regret not hiring a cleaner or a mother's helper who would stay for more months (you've got that covered) and I regret not taking more photos of me with the babies and I regret not taking more photos in the NICU. Hmmm. I regret not seeking out more support for breastfeeding. Let's see: stroller/walks, breastfeeding, paid help, holding 'em more, and photos ... I think that about covers it.

One thing I wish I'd LEARNED sooner: just at the point when you don't think you can stand for one more second the horrible phase you're in, it will change. Just when you think you've got everything figured out, it will change. For the first year, every six weeks or so, quite a bit/almost everything will change. So freaking out because you've made some crucial mistake or laid down the foundation for some ruinous bad habit is probably/definitely a huge waste of energy.

When my son was a baby, the only way he could fall asleep was either in our arms or nursing, so that's what we did. He slept in our bed for the first year. I used to think I regreted handling his sleep issues that way, but he is now a 3 year old who sleeps in a regular bed in his own room, AND has a very close relationship with both my husband and me and loves to snuggle, so it turns out that I wouldn't have had it any other way. My 3 week old daughter now sleeps with us, and cuddles and nurses to sleep - ON PURPOSE.

The moral is - don't worry so much. The only thing you HAVE to do "right" is love your children. Everything else will work itself out.

I wish I hadn't spoiled my kids so much. Even though at the time, I didn't think of it as spoiling. I now have a 9 and 7 yr. old who still need me to brush their teeth, pick out clothes, etc. because I never taught them how. I always thought that if I did it for them, they would match, and their teeth would be perfect. Now I'm regretting it!

As far as babyhood goes, I would say that I regret holding my first until he went to sleep and going to his every whimper. W/my second, I regret not holding him enough. Sure, I held him "enough", but I had a 17mo. old to take care of, and I just didn't have time to hold him like I really wanted to. I still regret it. He's like velcro to me now though!

I'm pregnant now, and I'm so worried that I am going to either a)spoil this one or b)not spoil him/her enough. So I suppose that worry never ends!

I wouldn't stress over feedings, or diapers, or silly things that always work themselves out like that. The kids will be fed, and they will be changed (no matter if you buy the cheap diapers or not!), and they will be bathed. Worrying yourself about getting to them immediately isn't good for you! If it helps, hum or sing when you are preparing their food/getting things ready for a bath so you don't hear them. I would kind of chant "Mommy's coming, mommy loves you, be patient." And it helps. You're doing a wonderful job!

With my first, we let her random schedule run our lives. I would nurse her to sleep, then carefully, painstakingly, carry her to her crib, trying not to alter her coordinates in space so that I didn't disturb her. If she woke up and cried, I would carry her around and rock her until she fell asleep. If she didn't want to nap, I'd deal with it, which usually meant carrying around a cranky baby all day.

I decided in retrospect that this was as much of a disservice to her as to my husband and me. With my second, who is now 6 months, we finally just decided that he would adapt to our schedule and not vice versa. He had been sleeping horribly at night, with the result that my husband and I had to trade off nights of getting up 7 or 8 times to shove the pacifier back in his mouth when he woke up at night and cried. We were exhausted. So we Ferberized him (did that link work?). It took only 3 nights. He took to it well, and now he sleeps really well and is happier during the day. We sleep well and get up when we're ready, not when he loses his binky. My daughter sleeps better because she doesn't hear him wake up constantly. I'm a better mother to both of them during the day, and a happier wife.

So I guess what I've learned is that even though they look fragile and vulnerable, babies really are pretty adaptable. And their wants aren't always their needs.

My son is 10 now. We are SOOOOO close. I'm glad I co-slept for the first three months and VERY glad I let him cry himself to sleep the short while following. He has ALWAYS Had the best sleep habits of any child I know.

I'm glad I didn't stress out about matching outfits and cute shoes. I'm glad I watched TV WITH him and didnt leave him a lone in front of it.

In reality? I dont have any regrets - and you won't either.

(back to lurking)

You'll never be able to truly "learn" from other's mistakes - only your own. We all make them. It's part of being a Mommy. Each baby is different and each mommy is different. For every "I wish I'd never...." you will find an "I wish I had..." You do what works for you at the time. Hindsight is always 20/20 as the saying goes and there is no way to act now on what you *might* feel in the future. Just go with it. You're doing great. Kate and Adam are healthy and growing. A year from now when they are into everything and don't want to be held - you will long for the times you had to hold them all night. It's all part of the process. You'll get there. You are a great Mommy!

Long time reader - first time poster. When my older son was 18 and had left for college I had an (almost) irresistable urge to stop all parents with little children and urgently tell them--your time with your children is so short; you have no idea. Try as hard as possible to really BE there with them. Don't always be thinking of what's next--when will they sit up by themselves; when will they walk, talk, date, use drugs..whatever. I wasn't very good at this, but my children are 25 and 20 now so they made it through whatever mistakes we, as parents, made. And mistakes were made - definitely. When they were little we found a community of good information in the day-care center they both attended. After that it was harder. But having children made us LESS judgemental of other people. Pre-children we felt free to say things like, "Oh, I would NEVER do that." Post-children we could see better why people made some of the choices they did. It was a humbling experience (and still is). Just try to do the best you can (the old "good enough parenting theory") and never be afraid to admit you made a mistake and try something else. Rigidity is real problem.

Good luck and I envy your ability to solicit information from your readers.

And get as much sleep as you can. Sleep deprivation can made for poor decision making skills. (How's that for an impossible suggestion to someone who has little babies).

I, of course, agree with the less worrying statements of many of the mothers above. i have three children. The youngest is just three months and I find that what we do and don't do is a reflection of what we did or didn't do with the other two. I think with the first, I was worried about her hurting herself, but now I realize that there is no way to protect them from bumps or falling down. All children are going to do that. I think what I would do differently is to never start yelling to make myself heard. Set the guidelines early, be consistant and keep your word or they walk all over you. I learned that one with my first. Never again.

I really wish I'd not spent so much time with #1 worrying about what he SHOULD be doing - especially in the sleep department. "He should be napping at least x times! He should be napping for at least X minutes! He should be asleep by 7pm!"

I wish I'd just revelled in his infancy and not stressed the tiny details, because it went so fast, and the whole sleep thing settled down, in the end, in spite of anything I did.

I wish I'd spent more time "in the moment" rather than stressing about what was coming around the bend, about what I had to do to get ready for the next phase. I wish I'd spent more of the time that I rocked him to sleep just smelling his little head and memorizing the look of him sleeping in my arms, rather than thinking that maybe I was setting up a bad habit or not doing something right.

I don't regret rocking to sleep AT ALL. I regret I let myself be made to feel bad for doing it.

I wish I would have trusted myself more and known what a great job I was really doing! (hint hint!!)
The great (or not so great) thing about children is that no 2 are alike. What works for one might not work for the other.
YOU, my dear, ARE doing a GREAT job!! Keep going forward, don't look back! In 10 yrs your kiddos will look back and know they have the best mommy!!

You've already gotten good advice, but I'm going to come at it from another angle...

Things I am GLAD that I did. :-)

From the very beginning, since Lindsay was a newborn, I have ALWAYS taken her places with me. I've never been the kind of mom who had to find someone to watch the baby while I ran errands or met a friend for lunch. Yes, it might have been "easier" to do thing by myself, but the benefit has proven to be invaluable. I now have a preschooler who has always been very manageable in social situations, impressing waitstaff at fancy restaurants with her excellent behavior and table manners. Lindsay is a young lady who I can count on to behave in public, because she's had so much exposure since a young age!

Granted, as an infant, there were difficult moments. Like when she no longer could/would sleep "anywhere" but was terribly interested in her surroundings (yet tired!). Or when she was learning to walk, and wanted to try out her new skill rather than sit still in a highchair. But practice makes perfect, and I didn't let the struggles put me off from taking her places with me. :-)

I'm also very glad that I've spent so much time talking to her, reading to her, and generally interacting with her. That said, I DID always make time for myself, and also let Lindsay (and Ellie, and Samantha) learn to play by themselves. In no way have I been an "all-consumed" mother, who spends every waking moment trying to educate/entertain my children. There is GREAT benefit to helping them learn to be self-entertaining.

In a nutshell, I think mothers are destined to question everything they do - worrying/wondering if they could be doing it better, somehow. Just do whatever feels right for YOU, Tertia, and rest assured that - ultimately - your beautiful children are going to turn out just fine. :-)


Do you mean "smack" as in "hit"? Or is there a cultural difference to the meaning of the word? If you mean "smack" as in "hit", please don't. If you need to discipline your children there are other ways to do it. Dealing with small children who misbehave can be very frustrating, but the sight of an adult actually hitting a small child is a terrible thing to see and a terrible thing for the chilld to experience.

The only thing I think I would do differently is something you have already done: I would have reached out more and admitted I was having a hard time adjusting to life with a colicky newborn. If I had known then that my feelings were so common, I might have been more willing to not be seen as perfect (not that anyone in their right minds was thinking that anyway, but what did I know, I was out of my mind) and would probably have felt a little relief.

As for actual parenting, however, I don't know that I have many regrets. I suppose there are single instances I regret, like losing my temper now and then or something, but as far as basic parenting goes, I truly believe that you just find your groove and go with it. If everyone raised their kids the same way, we'd have an awfully dull world. Really, what would be the point? If we give our children some love and guidance and point them in the right direction, they'll generally do fine. And if I'm wrong...well, I'll stick another quarter in the Therapy Jar, just in case.

I think you're awesome, as do, apparently all of your Friends In the Computer. Keep up the good work.

I do wish that I had relished every moment with my daughters - good and bad. I can hardly remember the first year for either of them, and it makes me a bit sad. I was so worried all of the time, that I forgot to enjoy it. I know there were wonderful times and I let them slip by... Don't let the times slip by.

My daughter is only 18 months old, so I still have plenty of time to screw her up. :) There are only a couple of things that I look back on with regret at this point.
One is comparing her to other children. Every child is different. I always told myself that I wouldn't let it bother me if another child her age was doing more (rolling over sooner, walking sooner, and now talking sooner). But, at first it really bugged me. I don't know when the turning point hit, but I don't worry about it anymore. I just wish I had relaxed and enjoyed her more.
The second is the dummy. We can't seem to get rid of that thing. (Yes, I am an American who calls the pacifier a dummy -- my DH heard it referred to that way when my daughter was only a couple of days old, and it stuck. Try getting a preschool teacher to understand that when she says "Duh-duh" at naptime, she wants a pacifier. They've never heard it referred to that way.) Anyway, I digress--my only advice is to get rid of the bottle and the dummy as soon as they are showing signs of wanting to give them up. But, if they don't, don't stress about that either. :) If the worst thing that I ever do to my daughter is let her keep the dummy a little longer, I'm doing well! :) Surely, she'll give it up before kindergarten, right? :)

The one thing I regret doing is spending so much time "tandem pumping" (nursing on one side, pumping on the other). Yes, it let my older son get only breastmilk for a longer time. But I wish I had just enjoyed the moment more and not been fussing around with tubing and flanges.

Yeah, I wish I had worried less, but I think that's a lesson you need to learn by doing.

I don't have kids yet, but I have to say that "Chez Miscarriage's" post about Mothering today sounds bang on. My five siblings and I were exposed to "moderate risk factors", namely a really awful, ugly divorce in which our mother ultimately walked out on us (I was 12, the youngest was 2). It was really tough for a lot of years, but we're turning out great, all of us. Loving, close to each other, and productive members of our communities.

Even though my mom did that awful thing so many years ago, I still love her and I have come to understand her. She’s human, she made mistakes. I’m still glad my genes are 50% hers.

My point is that kids can be so resilient. I guess it's a 'trust your gut' kind of thing - we each know how we want to parent, as long as the parenting meets 'adequate standards’ of care. I have a feeling from reading your blog you will far exceed “adequate”, Tertia.

The best advice I got was: "Just remember, the baby doesn't know any more about being a baby than you do about being her mom. You'll figure it out together."

Did I make mistakes? Sure!

What would I have changed? 24-years later I can honestly say NOTHING.

Sometimes I rocked her to sleep, sometimes I didn't. Sometimes I picked her up right away when she cried, sometimes I let her fuss (never a full-on 'cry-it-out' though.) She always slept in her own bed in her own room (yes, from day 1.)


I wish I had worried less. Seriously. I still spend so much time contemplating if I am doing this or doing that right.
I did some things wrong in infancy, like with sleeping, and had to undo them. BUT I don't know if there is a right way. It's trial and error with each child.
Now seeing the big picture, my children are 13,10,7 and 2, I realize EVERYONE eventually sleeps through the night, is weaned from breast or bottle, is potty trained, learns to read, ties their shoes, learns their multiplication facts, on and on. All those things stressed me out big time. Sleepless nights, distracted conversations. You do the best you can, you help your children however you can and realize that much of who they are does the rest.
I think the most important things to teach are compassion and responsiblity and manners. Honestly, if you do that, you are an amazing mom, and your children will do well in society. Those three things I have done right so far. People compliment me on my kids behavior all the time. Their athletic skills? Not so much. Their academic skills? Somtimes need extra help. However they are good, kind people, and that is what I did right.

I agree with the other posters who said that they wish they'd worried less. You are doing fine, and whatever you are doing wrong, or right, or somewhere in between, won't matter much in a few years.

Now, with my son, I worried if he cried. I hated for him to cry, thought I wasn't doing my job as a mother if he cried. As a result, I rocked him to sleep, nursed him in the middle of the night, etc. forever. His going-to-sleep rituals got longer and longer. I thought parents who let their kids cry it out were evil. Well, now with my twins, I worry a lot less if they cry. Crying is what babies do, and when you have twins and a toddler, and only two arms, someone has got to cry sometimes. You can either cry about it, or laugh about it. I choose to laugh. So, with my girls, we don't rock them to sleep and sing them to sleep, as sweet as that can be. When it is time for bed, in their cribs they go, with a kiss and a cuddle, and a nighty-night, and they cry. They cry loud. Every night. For five minutes. Maybe 10. And then they lay down and go to sleep.

If only I'd let my son cry for 5 or 10 minutes, I wouldn't have had to rock him and sing to him for an hour every night. He probably eventually would have laid down and gone to sleep, just like they do. They are not suffering from the crying. They are just testing the world a little, seeing who is in charge, and finding out that mom and dad are in charge. With my son, he tested the world and found out that he was in charge.

Now, I think I made a mistake with my son, but it doesn't matter. He is now 3.5, and I don't have to rock him or cuddle him any more. We put on his pj's, brush is teeth, read him a book, kiss him goodnight, and turn out the light. He is a good sleeper now, so it doesn't matter that at 1.5 or 2 he wasn't. So my point is, do what you need to do, and don't worry about it. It all works out fine in the end.

after 6 1/2 yrs of IF, 3 m/c and 7 cycles, i wish i had not held my ds so much. he got so used to falling asleep in my arms. he'd fall asleep and i would put him in his crib. later when i started to go to work after one year of being on mat. leave, he'd wake up at about 3 am out of habit. i was the type that if i was up for more than 10 minutes, i couldn't fall asleep anymore. it would take him at least 30 min. to fall asleep again, so i got very tired, very fast for lack of sleep.
so i started take ds to bed with me after he woke up so that he would fall asleep real quick and i could sleep. (you'll do anything for sleep at this point).
now he's 3. sleeps with us - not good. on week ends, we put him in his own bed after he falls asleep in ours, and then at around 3 am, he wakes up and wants to come to our bed.
all the books said you couldn't spoil a child by holding him too much up to the age of 3 months - - this is not true, you do spoil them, and now it's to late.

I'm in the granny category, as my younger child will celebrate his 30th birthday tomorrow. I wish I hadn't worried so much with the first one, who was very colicy in the evenings. I wish I had insisted that they help pick toys and their rooms more. Honestly, that is really the only thing I would do differently, as they are not tidy or neat today as adults. At the time, it seemed to take too much energy to make them help with the cleaning, it was easier to do it myself. One thing I really did do right (for me and my children) was have a scheduled bedtime routine--bath, brushing teeth, bedtime story, and prayers. They were in bed at 7:30 pm and I had the rest of the evening to relax. They got up at 6:00 am, but I never really minded that.
A lot of things that parents do today, like co-sleeping and taking babies to restaurants, weren't common practices then,so I didn't have to decide what to do about those things.

I wish I would have put my child down for naps early on (like the first few weeks!) instead of carrying her around in a bjorn or having her sleep on me. I wish I would have not given her bread products until she was well established in eating non-pureed veggies. But who knows if any small change would really have made a difference. All I know is someone once said don't parent in fear or something, and I try to follow that idiom.

I definitely wouldnt have allowed the little buggers to sleep with or on me for as long as I did. They are ten and seven now and are just now starting to fall asleep on their own. Ick.

I can honestly say the only thing I regret is trying to finish editing a book during the first month of my son's life. Yes--editing a full-length book while getting no sleep, trying to recover, learning to breastfeed, etc., etc., etc. Looking back, I am appalled at my idiocy. What a stupid, stupid woman!

I know I've made plenty of other mistakes, but that's the only one I really kick myself for--torturing myself over something so inconsequential instead of focusing 100% on my baby and myself. Life is too short, and I can't get that time back.

T, when you write your feelings right now, your fears of making some indelible mark that you will regret later, oh, Honey, I get it.

I agree with Naomi, it's pretty much what I would write, in terms of worrying, and the temporaryness of it all anyway.

One thing that was different for me was this intense need I had to have things MY WAY. My husband would try to do something for the kid and I would butt in and overdirect. I was so concerned about everything being right. I was a mess.

Even now that that one is four, I still have bad habits of thinking about his care that I want to break. With this new baby, I am so much more relaxed. Put her down awake, put her down asleep. Feed her this much, skip a feeding. Breast, bottle, open cup, whatever. Kid is smiling, must be fine. WHY couldn't I have been that way with the first one? WHY WHY WHY? I have my theories.

You have my sympathy, truly you do, having two "first kids" and after such a long struggle. I know when I adopted my son, I had been through so much in the process, and carried a lot of that baggage in with me. I think it made the normal "first kid" issues even more enormous. Being so deliberate in my "having a baby" just carried over into being overly deliberate in my parenting as well. When I was "surprised" with my daughter's conception and had a boring pregnancy that resulted in her full-term birth, it just felt like a bonus, a gift, plain and simple. And there was no stress. Well, very little. There's always some.


My boy is only 4 months, so I'm not looking back on a whole lot yet, but so far I don't really have any regrets. Sometines I nurse him to sleep, sometimes I rock him to sleep, sometimes he takes a pacifier. I've done enough researching to know that if these things become a problem in the future there are things we can do to correct them. Right now, he's my tiny little baby and mommy and daddy's arms are good places to be.

I do wish I hadn't spent the first couple of months terrified he'd choke or suffocate, but hey, first time mom jitters. What can you do?

Everyone's already mentioned all the things I'd have changed (stressing out, hurtling myself toward him at the first cry, getting more help...)

Here's what I'm glad I did and will try very hard to do with the twins I'm now carrying (I'm writing this for me to keep in mind):

1. Read every night. When we are both home, all activity stops and reading happens. We cuddle, we curl up, we read. This is hard because one of could be cooking or getting something done, but the message would be "this isn't the most important thing we do" and we wanted that to be so.

Its so cool to listen to him play alone now (just 3) because he's so dramatic in his own story telling because he's had such a good foundation.

We don't buy a lot of books, we go to the library every week: great outting, great way to teach responsibility about how you have to care for books (can't write in them, can't tear them), etc.

Most libraries also have a pretty good collection of kid videos and DVDs, which also helps keep that expense down.

2. I think I've posted this before and it sounds a bit preachy and new-wavey, but I need to remember it now more than ever (sorry). Babies are this magical bundle of energy. Mothering takes a lot of energy. I could have been drained by my interactions (working mom here) with him or I could make those moments with him (bathing him, reading to him every night, getting him to sleep by himself) blast me full of excitment and vigor. I made a choice almost every day to have it be the later. Sometimes (like when your hair hurts from lack of sleep), I faked it. But even when I did, I usually walked away more fulfilled than drained. This decision really does feed on itselfand I knew I could better handle the next time he called out if Icould come away feeling pumped up instead of worn down.

I never wanted him to feel I was a martyr to his needs (even when that was exactly how I was feeling). I wanted him to think there was NOTHING I wanted to be doing more than being with him. I think its made him feel very secure.

I might have really wanted him to get back to sleep so I could finish watching American Idol (or something equally as silly), but I think he never questioned that I was making a rule about going to sleep because that was just the best thing for him to do.

You are doing really great.


My philosophy is *you only really regret the things you don't do*. I love this piece on mothering - v v long, sorry, but well worth the read. I wish I knew who wrote it, but I don't.
If not for the photographs, I might have a hard time believing they ever existed. The pensive infant with the swipe of dark bangs and the black button eyes of a Raggedy Andy doll. The placid baby with the yellow ringlets and the high piping voice The sturdy toddler with the lower lip that curled into an apostrophe above her chin. ALL MY BABIES are gone now.
I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like. Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves.
Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber duckie at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.
Everything in all the books I once pored over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach. T. Berry Brazleton. Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early- childhood education, all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories.
What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations -- what they taught me was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all. Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One boy is toilet trained at 3, his brother at 2. When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow.
First science said environment was the great shaper of human nature. But it certainly seemed as though those babies had distinct personalities, some contemplative, some gregarious, some crabby. And eventually science said that was right, and that they were hard-wired exactly as we had suspected.
Still, the temptation to defer to the experts was huge. The literate parent, who approaches everything; cooking, decorating, life as though there were a paper due or an exam scheduled, is in particular peril when the kids arrive.
How silly it all seems now, the obsessing about language acquisition and physical milestones, the riding the waves of normal, gifted, hyperactive, all those labels that reduced individuality to a series of cubbyholes. But I could not help myself. I had watched my mother casually raise five children born over 10 years, but by watching her I intuitively knew that I was engaged in the greatest and potentially most catastrophic task of my life. I knew that there were mothers who had worried with good reason, that there were children who would have great challenges to meet. We were lucky; ours were not among them.
Nothing horrible or astonishing happened: there was hernia surgery, some stitches, a broken arm and a fuchsia cast to go with it. Mostly ours were the ordinary everyday terrors and miracles of raising a child, and our children's challenges the old familiar ones of learning to live as themselves in the world. The trick was to get past my fears, my ego and my inadequacies to help them do that.
I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub- quiet codicil for an 18-month-old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China. Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.
Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the Remember-When-Mom-Did Hall of Fame. The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, What did you get wrong? (She insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?
But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did NOT LIVE IN THE MOMENT ENOUGH. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.
Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity.
That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.
Author Unknown

I thought I would tell you "rocking my son to sleep"...for every nap & bedtime...until he was 12 months & 5 days old. At which point I did a CIO/Ferber method to get him to go to sleep on his own. It worked in 2 days.

BUT I don't regret that. Yes, I could have had alot more time. My house could have been cleaner. I could have taken more showers. But now that Austin is 18 months old, he never lets me hold him. He is on the go from the time he wakes up until he passes out in exhaustion. I have to steal hugs & kisses when I can. So I am very thankful for those memeories I have of rocking him for HOURS, convincing him to go to sleep.

No regrets for me. I know I am doing the best I can. I know I am not perfect. But I do know that every decision I make regarding my son is thought out, and once decided, I am confident it is the best thing for him, at that time.

Besides, when he grows up...and has some issues, I want him to be able to blame me...would hate to have him think it was his fault. He is perfect!! LOL!! j/k

I guarantee you...you are doing the right thing for your babies.

I wish I had somehow realized that the baby wasn't going to die if I took 15 minutes for a shower every day.

I wish I'd stopped pumping sooner--and I only lasted 2 months. It was a looong 2 months!

I have NO regrets about holding him when he fell asleep (naptime and nighttime), or about co-sleeping. Of course, he's almost 5 now and he still sleeps with us. In a way, I love the closeness, and in a way, I wish he'd moved to his own room at 3. But no regrets about the cuddling.

I also wish I'd known just how hard mothering a newborn was going to be. I felt like a total failure for a few stressful months there.

I wish I knew that it was ok that my daughter needed to be held and close to me to sleep and that other babies existed just like her. There was no book that said there are babies who will wake up every time they are put down and that was hard. I don't regret that she slept on me for the first few months of her life, I just wish that I knew there were other babies like her!

I wish I wouldn't have beat myself up for not being "perfect", whatever the fuck that means. I will never regret the co-sleeping or the breastfeeding, but I wish I had been ok with it from the beginning and not felt like I had to defend myself from all the people who disagreed with me. I let my own bullshit and unsureness of being a first time parent guide me at and that's what I really regret. I regret that I didn't say fuck off to my mother-in-law more often with her "spoiling" comments. I wish I had known how fast this second year was really going to go.

I wish I had taken more video!

I re-read my comment, and it sounded so harsh, like we never cuddle or rock our babies. We do, all the time. For comfort, or pleasure, or just because. Often right before bed, with a bottle. Just not to go to sleep.

I wish I hadn't let myself worry about what "other" one-month-olds, five-month-olds, 1-year-olds were doing.

It's easy to get caught up in the comparison game, even if you never thought you would be that kind of parent.

I wasted too much time and energy on that the first year. It was a tough thing to let go.

Your babies are beautiful, by the way.

I wish I had trusted my own instincts more and felt less like a bad mommy because I didn't do exactly the same thing everyone else was/told me I should be doing. My eight year old is still alive and my 4 month old is thriving so I must be doing something right. I stopped letting other people dictate to me how to raise my kids. I learned to take what I needed from well meaning though sometimes pushy people and filter out the rest and to also be brave enough to say "I am so glad that worked for you and your family, but I think I will go a different route". Do I second guess myself? Hell yeah! But I think all moms do at one time or another. Sometimes I stop everything I am doing and just cuddle, look at, play with my miracles, laundry be damned! I don't want to look back years from now and regret not spending enough time with my babies because the laundry or dishes needed doing. I think if you love your children and want the best for them it's pretty hard to mess up. You are one kick ass mommy and you are only going to get "kick-assier". Trust your instincts, they were given to us for a reason. :)

I didn't read all the comments so I don't know if this has been said or not......

I learned after my first, who is now 3, to trust my instinct. Nothing beats a mother's instincts about her own children. And I am learning with my 15-month-old, a total opposite of my 3-year-old, that what works for one kid doesn't always work for another. You just kind of have to "go with the flow" and do what feels right for YOU and your children, not what books or friends or family or even doctors say sometimes.

And remember, if you feel you have screwed up, your kids don't know because they have nothing to compare you to!! LOL>

What people seem to often forget is that human beings are very adaptable. Just because you start doing things one way, it doesn't mean you have to do things the same way forever. I really believe you should do whatever works best for you and your family, and when it stops working, you should trust that you can change it.

People also seem to forget that a baby's needs change over time. A newborn's needs are totally different that a 6 month old's, etc. etc.

My one month old sleeps with me right now, almost always in my arms. He feels secure there, I worry less about him ( I tried putting him in his crib a few times only to get up and check on him every 5 mins) and we both get more sleep that way. Right now, it works best for us. Sometime in the near future, I plan on moving him into the bassinet in our room, and then to his own room (when he's not waking up every few hours!). These changes may be difficult initially, but it seems silly for parents to think they can never change anything, especially as their babies grow older and their needs change.

I wish you didn't have so many commenters. It would be nice to give my 2 cents sometimes. But, every day when I get here there are always over 60 or so responses so I just move on.

I bet I have something really smart to say too. Oh well, your loss!

Tertia -
I think the most important thing is that you do what works for you and your family. There are a million "rights" and "wrongs" and interestingly enough if you start comparing other's list you'll find what is "right" for one, is "wrong" for another. So I think you have to find your own groove as a mother and as a family. You're already doing this naturally.

That said, it is good to listen to other's experience as long as you keep it in proper perspective. What people are usually sharing is what did or did not work for them. This is useful not b/c you need to mother like the next person, but b/c eventually something that has been working for you, won't work for you anymore. And when that happens you'll need to try different strategies so that you can transition to something that works better for you.

I hope this makes sense.

As I look back over the last 5 years raising two kids I can see many transitions. We co-slept, night-fed (for a year), used pacifiers, I held my first for naptime for almost 6 months (and so glad I did). But you see all of these things eventually change, either at my urging (b/c it didn't work for me anymore) or at my child's urging.

One of the most important things I've learned is to recognize when something doesn't work anymore - either I'm unhappy, aggravated, or frustrated with something, or the kids are. The sooner you recognize this, the sooner you can chart a new course. What often happened in my days as a new mom was that I waited until I was about to explode before doing something different. Once I hit that point I wanted immediate results (which in the world of babes and tots isn't usually forth-coming unless the result you desire is endless screaming and crying.) IME gradual transitions work best, you just have to have patience with yourself and your little ones. In the moment of frustration it sometimes seems like it will never end, but this too shall pass.

So if something in your daily routine is becoming unacceptable to you, then start brainstorming with other people about what specifically you might do differently. But don't just stop doing something you enjoy with your kids b/c someone else says you shouldn't.

There's my two cents of assvice. I hope you know you are doing a wonderful job! Just keep following your gut, and take everything anyone else says (including me) with a grain of salt.

I do not regret the hours I spent holding my babies and rocking them to sleep. Those are some of my fondest memories. I do regret trying to be "normal" again---feigning keeping up the pace and activities I had before I had children.

Finding the balance between my needs and my children's needs took time---years. Maybe it is impossible with a baby, and certainly with two. But I still believe, for babies, just go with your instincts. Hold them, love them, give them all you can, answer to their needs. This creates a great base of comfort for them, a resource for later when psychology comes more into play. It is good that babies are babies first and not for very long. This is the time to just forget psychology and go with your animal self. Remember, culture and expectations have changed, but the biology of babies hasn't.

i wish the ppd didnt hang out for 6+ months.....i wish i would have let people actually touch my daughter. i didnt let people hold her until she was like 3 months old. i know, im a freak, but i was afraid they would break her.
with my son, it was and is completely different. we were a lot more laxed with him. he wasnt rocked to sleep like dd was for 8 months, ds was just put to bed awake after a couple months. we arent pushing potty training, or reading or talking. we did all of that with our daughter. our son is at a completely different pace than our daughter was. its hard not to compare the 2.
i guess id just say, dont worry so much...like ive said before, what you are doing is right for you. it may not be right for someone else, but its right for you. dont second guess yourself. you are doing a great job

I'd have worried less about the mistakes I was making, and enjoyed my kid more. :-)

Honestly, I've made mistakes in my 4.5 years as a parent, but somehow, I've still managed to raise a sweet, intelligent, funny little girl who sleeps well, eats reasonably well, and is (most of the time) a joy to be around.

Don't sweat the small stuff T. Zoe was nursed to sleep for the first year of her life, and seems none the worse for it, and my 7 month old son has been the same - I'm just now starting to put him down when he's sleepy, but still awake.

Each baby is different, and each family is different, and you just need to find the rhythm that works for you and your family - it may be entirely different from what worked for me and mine.

I wish I'd worked less and played more. That about sums it up!

I remember those bone-crushing days of tiredness when I only had one; now I have three (ages 14, 6 and nearly 4) and I still don't play enough. This is a good reminder to do that . Play.

As long as you always follow your heart, you should have no regrets.

With son # 1 my biggest regret is not helping him learn to sleep on his own.
Other than that I have no regrets :)

The thing I wish I could change with my twins is just what you said...worrying about every little thing I did, or did not, do. The great thing about having another baby has been that I have actually been able to enjoy her...not just because she arrived solo, but because I am so much more at ease.

I let her fall asleep in my arms till she was 3 months old. Loved it. And no harm done, she goes to bed now at age 1 every night after a raucous game of tag with her dad. Sick, or awake for no reason? Into the bed with us she comes. And so forth.

It took me a couple of years of mothering my twins to get to this point. So, yes, I only wish I had no been such a hardass with myself...after all, our parents had no parenting books or theories, and we all turned out ... okay.

Here's the thing: if we were armed with all the perfect information about what absolutely worked best, perhaps we would - for example - breastfeed our babies, put them to sleep awake and happy and never give them sleep associations, feed them on demand but still within a schedule, etc etc. But, babies are not cardboard cutouts. You might have something in your head that you want to do, but then your baby comes along, and doesn't respond to that. And you don't have the patience/ energy to do what you're meant to do anyway. So you do what you can do to get through the next few hours, and that's the best decision you can make.

Of course, within that, mistakes will be made. But that's part of it. Do you look back on the mistakes you've made in the rest of your life and think, "Gee, I wish I had lived life perfectly?" No, because mistakes inform us, educate us, make us who we are. And if you are perfect all the time, your children can't learn from that, either.

Your initial post suggests that if you rock/ don't rock, pat/ don't pat etc - you could be making a "terrible mistake". These kinds of mistakes aren't terrible. Perhaps you'd do things differently in retrospect, sure. But a "terrible mistake" is leaving your baby unharnassed in a rocker, and having him fall out when you're not looking. A "terrible mistake" is deciding to drink hot tea while you're breastfeeding, only to accidentally spill it on your baby. The mistakes you're talking about are very small scale, and I believe they're necessary for you to make in order that you grow as a mother.

And, also consider this: when you wrote a tribute to your own mother, it was all about how she empathised with you. How she took the time to read books about infertility. About how she let you cry when you were raw. About how she loved you unconditionally. I don't remember you writing, "And, when I was a baby, you pat me until I was relaxed and then let me fall asleep on my own." :)

With my above post, I didn't mean to suggest that people who leave their babies unharnassed, etc are making "terrible mistakes". I'm just saying that if you do something that endangers your child, and he turns out to in fact be horribly injured by that mistake, THEN it is a "terrible mistake" in retrospect. I just didn't want to put any worse examples in there for fear of making everyone paranoid!

I wish I had not let my instincts be overridden. I didn't breastfeed for long at all, because I felt like it made my mother uncomfortable and made her feel left out. I didn't co-sleep as long as I wanted to because I let my mom and my pediatrician convince me that it was dangerous and a bad idea.

Your instincts will tell you what's right for you and your babies. Don't let anyone pressure you into going against them.

I lost custody of my son when he was 7 months old to his father. It was for legal reasons and had nothing to do with the care I provided.

I've spent the last 15 years doing everything in my power to see my son. To have time with him, to teach him the morals and beliefs I believe in. I gave up everything to make this happen.

In December, 2 days before his 15th birthday, we had a fight. A nothing fight about nothing, but clearly something snapped.

He packed up all his belongings, told me he never wanted to see me again and went home to his father's house.

I haven't spoken to him since then.

Do I look back and regret everything I've done for him? Everything I gave up and did to make sure I was in his life?

Nope. I did the best I could.

I think that's what many of us can say. We do our best.

Only thing I would have done differently 12 months in is win Gold Lotto. A couple of million would have made those months much more enjoyable ;)

Oh and I would have caved to the dummy earlier.

I don't regret any of it in hindsight. You just do the best you can and if you're all still there in the end you did it right.

I wish I hadn't waited "the one year rule" for getting my son's first hair cut. His red hair came down to a point at the bridge of his nose, looking like a carrot, with the rest of his head still bald.

I wish I'd just let my son be, instead of wishing we'd get to the next part or worrying about whether or not I was doing it wrong (like worrying about "spoiling" him as a baby because I held him all the time...I should have just enjoyed it.) Luckily, for the most part I went with my gut so I don't regret many actions, but I wasted a lot of time on needless worry.

I'm most proud of never having used corporal punishment; no spanking, no swatting, nothing. I know I would regret that deeply if I had done it and, wow, was I tempted to do it many, many times.

My son is nearly 13 and the two compliments I hear most from teachers and friends are that he is respectful and gentle. I know there are plenty of years left for him to steal our car and sell drugs out of his bedroom window, but for now it feels so good to think that all those years of parenting with respect and gentleness are paying off.

I recently found your site and just wanted to say congratulations on your beautiful babies! I have three boys 7,5, and 1 1/2. Sometimes I wish I could go back and just hold them as newborns again -just for awhile, without the exhaustion and anxiety. It doesn't feel like it right now, but all of this is just a stage. It too shall pass. And someday you will actually miss having a baby sleeping in your arms. So I wish I could have worried less and enjoyed holding them more. And I wish I had thrown away the books and magazines and done more of what felt right and less of what I thought I should be doing.

"As we spoke about a while ago, one of the losses of the modern world is that new mothers are no longer surrounded by communities of experienced mothers, grannies, aunts etc who would provide this advice and support."

You must have missed grrls thread on drive-bys. The whole world is out there waiting to dole out advice - ha ha ha ha...

As the mother of grown kids I feel very qualified to answer this question but everyone else has pretty much beat me to several of the answers I might have given. Here is just one more.

I didn't yell at my kids much but it did happen sometimes and I really wish I hadn't done that. I'm not talking about raising my voice to make a point. I'm talking about losing it and just yelling at them. I never told them they were bad people but the old "YOU ARE DRIVING ME NUTS - STOP THAT BEFORE I LOSE MY TEMPER" routine is just regrettable because kids eat that stuff up. They know how to push their Mommy's buttons and the best thing you can do is just hold your center and calmly say 'no - that's not happening' and move on. Let them scream and cry and get as indignant as a drunk being refused another drink but keep cool as often as you can.

Then, when you do blow your top - don't beat yourself up about it. You will certainly be in a 2 on 1 situation and you'll be tired and you will blow. And your kids will still grow up to be lovely people because you adore them and you are a smart, capable, loving mother who treats them with respect and honor.

I wish I'd found other moms (the friendly kind) sooner -- it is so nice to have peers going through the same stuff at the same time.

I also wish I'd asked for help sooner, instead of trying to do everything and be Little Miss Super Mom until my head almost exploded.

I wish I'd spent more time enjoying her, and less time worrying about her.

Oh, and I wish I'd asked for help more.

I wish I had allowed/insisted on DH caring more for Meg. He was sure she needed me more, but now she only wants me, which is hard when I'm not there. They have a good bond, but I wish it were stronger.

I'm so sorry to hear about the mama who hit her child for playing on the freeway. That makes me so sad.

You seem to be doing a great job, T. Just love 'em like crazy and be here now.

Loved Kel's post, by the way!

Strangely enough, last night I ended up listening in a on several woman who were having precisely this conversation. One woman's comment I remember distinctly. She said "the one thing I really regret is that I didn't teach my sons to write thank you notes." That was it. Her whole big parenting regret list.

I didn't know her and I was a little (read A LOT) drunk, so I refrained from commenting...but really. She must be a damn good mom if that's her only mistake. Other mom's were giving longer and more general lists.

There are TONS of adults who still suck their thumb, many of them famous. Check out the URL listed here for proof. And ya know what, it's NOT a big deal. In fact, it's beneficial in that it's an effective tension reliever, free, legal, doesn't interfere with the rights of others and, as far as most habits go (especially those considered more "adult") it's far healthier and safer!

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