They say hindsight is 20/20 and sometimes I feel I'm proof of that. We all look tend to look back from time to time to reflect on how we'd do things differently with relationships or jobs... What about parenting?
As we celebrated my daughter's 8th birthday, it had me looking back and wondering what I would have done differently if I had to do it all over again.
I'm glad there are plenty of things that I'm glad I did and I would keep status quo if I had to repeat the first 10 years of my children's lives. But, I must also admit that I now see where I could and should have done things differently.
First on my list is the limitation of "screen" time. With the emergence of learning CD's, DVDs, TV programming, etc., I truly thought I was doing something positive for my kids as I watched them learn their ABC's with ease and learn how to spell with Reader Rabbit. And, you can't deny how much fun they had watching the abundance of toddler TV programs. Long story short - I bought into the whole Baby Einstein scam.
I used to watch my son sit at the computer and think how cute it was to see this little 3-year old sitting at the desk using a mouse. But, truly, in hindsight, how has this benefitted my kids? Other than learning a few things, I see now that they were in front of a "screen" for longer periods than they should have been. By time I heard about the 2-hour screen time rule, my son was already five. Traditional methods for learning and entertainment were in the mix, but screen time was more than 2 hours each day. To this day, I see my kids loving the computers, DS, video games, etc. and I can't help but wonder if things would be different if they had experienced less computer, TV, and video game use early on.
Second, I would enforce a better diet. The nutrition is there but the variety leaves a lot to be desired. My son was the first born and had many food issues. Yes, the gag reflex was quite strong if you know what I mean. It was such a pain, it led me to avoid trying as hard as I should have to introduce certain foods. Now that he's older, I have had to enforce the issue and we've had some success, but I guarantee things would be a lot easier if the foods were sucessfully introduced at a younger age. I should have just laid a tarp on the floor and called the shots.
Third, more time away from the kids and more time spent with my husband. With a son on the spectrum and a daughter with multiple food allergies, I was on the immediate defense. I worried a lot, to say the least. I could not seem to relax enough to leave the kids with a sitter or grandparent often enough to where I would consider it regular date nights with my hubby. One thing I realize now, the kids would have survived. They're quite resilient. And, my time is important, too. And so is quality one-on-one time with my husband that allows us to bond.
All in all, I can't complain. So much could have gone wrong and I'm fortunate to have two beautiful, great kids. But if I could go back and tweak things a bit, I just might. I don't regret the past but sometimes hindsight puts an interesting spin on how I can parent moving forward.