If I had it to do all over again…

If I had it to do all over again, I’d pray more with my kids. I’d lift them up more. I’d abandon the housework and play with them for hours on end. If I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t overreact. I’d let them glue macaroni all over the walls. I would remember what’s really important…all the time. If I had it to do all over again, I’d be a perfect parent. I’d have perfect kids with no resentments towards me. I’d have kids who have the fondest childhood memories of any kid.

When I hear the phrase “If I had it to do all over again, I’d….” my ears close up. I stop listening. Because I’m pretty sure that if you had it to do all over again, you’d scramble to do your best just like you did the first time around. You’d fail. A lot. You’d know the right things to do and you wouldn’t do them all over again. You’d love your kids the best you knew how and every night lay in bed wishing you’d done something different, only to do the same stupid thing the next day and the next and the next.

I appreciate advice from people who have traveled this road. I really do. But sometimes it’s apparent to me that parents remember their childrens’ growing up years with far more fondness than the reality that was. They remember themselves better. They remember their children sweeter, more obedient. They remember themselves often as “uninformed” rather than overwhelmed. If only I’d known… then I would have done…

I love my kids dearly. I play with them often. I treasure them. They are my world. But I’m pretty sure that if the phrase, “If I had it to do all over again…” comes out of my mouth, it will be followed by “I would fall into sinking despair because that was the hardest time in my life and I don’t want to relive it.”

Instead of telling me your perfect scenario if you had it to do all over again, how about tell me what you did? Tell me what you did that you feel good about. Tell me how you failed. Tell me how you think those failures have affected your kids. Be honest with me. I won’t judge you. I don’t need your hypothetical Candy Land dream that’s unattainable. I don’t need your beautiful, but false painted picture of how it was when you raised your kids. As well meaning as you are, that doesn’t give me hope. I just need you to shoot straight. I just need you to help me feel less crazy.

They tell me to blink and they’ll be grown. Well, I keep blinking…

10 thoughts on “If I had it to do all over again…

  1. When my kids were little it was the hardest time of my life. Christian and Hannah were only 17 mos. apart and then Micah was 3 years younger than Hannah. After Micah I had post partum depression….it was horrible!! I would never want to go back but I do think my kids and family learned a lot from it. Lessons learned: Faith in God is a necessity, allowing friends and family to help is crucial, putting on a “everything is ok face” for people is unnecessary and not worth the time, circle the wagons…this is not the time for fake friends or relationships that rob your family of the best you have to offer, pray, pray, and pray some more, make time everyday for reading the Bible. I am sure there are more but that is all I can think of right now. I know it seems worthless to you now, but this phase will not last. Soon they will all be in school and then teenagers which I have enjoyed hugely. Please know that I am praying for you and your family and that sometimes it is the best thing in the world to go sit in the bathroom and lock the door. 😉 oh yeah….one more lesson, count your blessings…. Philip, Jack, Mikey, Katie, Brittany, Scott, Andrea, mom & dad, a church that is amazing, a saviour that loves you………


  2. I told my mom the other day that people telling me “you’re gonna miss this” is like a billionaire telling a person who struggles to make ends meet that money doesn’t buy happiness. While that may be true, it still makes me want to punch you in the face.


  3. Sure, I have the “if I could do it all over again” moments. Like you, I cringe at the thought of doing it all over again. However, I acknowledge that I need to re-prioritize. My daughters are still young, 7 and 5. When I tell them that I don’t have time to play because I have dishes and laundry and cleaning and phone calls. . . then something is wrong. But on the bright side, they are still young! I still have time to fix the situation.

    But I don’t want to do it all over again!


  4. Bill Cosby said having children is Rage, RAge, RAGe, and JOY! It’s certainly a crazy, stressfull, exhausting, beautiful thing! It’s this big secret because parents want grandkids!


  5. When Tori and Jakeb were little, 2 yrs and infant, for a few years I never thought I smiled. Ever. I was so encouraged years later to go back and watch home movies and see that I DID smile! I DID laugh! It was like a huge rock lifted off of my shoulders. I really felt like I ruined my kids childhood but I didn’t. It must have been God smiling through me because I honestly do not remember smiling very much. I was too overwhelmed. Too depressed. Too tired.


  6. I certainly don’t want to “do it all over again” or have someone say that to me or give me advice in that way. I think if I did it all over again I would be rocking in the corner. LOL Parenting is one of the hardest jobs we will ever have. No doubt! My problem right now is the ugly “G” word – Guilt. The whole thing about all your child is ever going to learn or his/her brain will absorb is by this date or that age goes through my head constantly I don’t want that pressure. I want my kids to learn on their own pace and on the pace that I can give them, and if it’s like a turtle one day and supersonic the next, that needs to be okay. I want my kids to know and love God. I want my kids to receive my love and love me back. I want my kids to enjoy their childhood as best they can given life’s circumstances. All I can do is the best that I know how, and pray lots. 🙂

    Don’t know if that’s the advice you wanted, but that’s what I got. 😉


  7. One only good friends (whom I share an office with) always laughs when my kids do crazy, ornery, disobedient things and tells me these are the best years of my life. I ask her how late she slept in on Saturday and how many people drank out of her drink at breakfast. And then I threaten to fire her if she says it again :).

    P.S. I’m not a crazy stalker, I found your blog on my cousin Randy’s blog. Love your honesty and your love for children!


  8. Some may disagree, but I like that my kids always see the honest side to me. The frustrated, exhausted, pulling-my-hair-out…honest side. If it was an ugly moment, I would later apologize and they learned forgiveness and mercy.. imperfections and unconditional love. I don’t even try to be perfect – God has that one covered. Some days, especially when they were younger, I would have a running countdown to bedtime in my head. Then try and rush them so I could have quiet time..or do the dishes or hundreds of other chores I hadn’t done yet. Or..plunk down on my bed exhausted. I regret that. Because really, what is another 10 minutes in the bigger picture? To them, it’s me saying they are important and reading with them. To me..too often…it’s like pulling teeth and taking every ounce of energy I have..skipping parts I know they aren’t reading along with to hurry up. But I like what one of the ladies above said..in the midst of it we may think we are doing everything wrong (or never smiling) but looking back..I do think we do a better job than we give ourselves credit for. And they know they are loved. That’s really all that matters.


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