Do you regret becoming a parent? It’s okay, you don’t have to admit it out loud. The simple truth is we all regret becoming a parent at some point. We are only human. Naturally, we want to be selfish and with a child, we simply can’t be anymore. The saying you don’t know what you got until it’s gone is so true. You never fully appreciated the freedoms of being childless, until you had a child. The ability to just hop in the car and go or to not be interrupted every five seconds. But that saying remains true now too. If you lost your child today, you would literally do anything to get them back (even if you don’t quite feel that way now). You would look at your memories together with such fondness that you have a hard time doing presently. So how do you stop parenthood regret in its tracks?
I actually never wanted a child. I was only off of the pill for a couple of days when I got pregnant. A couple of weeks later my ex and I broke up. He’s never attempted to meet her or help financially. Being a parent can be hard, but being a single parent can feel nearly impossible to handle. While I don’t miss him and take pride in raising her by myself, there are days I just wish I had some help.
There have been many days I just wanted to disappear or lock myself in my room. Parenting is the hardest job in the world. You don’t get to take a lunch break and have evenings/weekends off to recoup. I work from home so I get to see my child’s beautiful face 24/7 and I wouldn’t have it any other way (most of the time ? ). Other days, I pray “why me?” Why am I so cursed? But those days come few and far between for me now.
Why do we regret parenthood?
There are a million reasons I’m sure that we could list why parenting sucks. But we could do that with anything in life. Everything has a downside. How many times in your life have you told yourself “I’ll be happy when I get my finances right or when my kid gets older, etc.”? I said that when I was in high school, basic training, and so many other parts of my life.
But what kind of life is that? To never fully live in the moment and just accept the season that we are in. Oh, how hard it can be to stop that terrible thinking! Do you see where I am going with this? Don’t get defensive because then the issue will remain. We have to take full responsibility for our minds. Your mind is the reason you regret parenthood. Our minds cause 99% of our problems! Wouldn’t you agree?
I highly recommend you read Viktor E. Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning”. You can get it here on Amazon or at your local bookstore. He describes life in the Nazi death camps and his findings about the human mind. Imagine living in conditions where you’re constantly starving, have no control over your own life, and have no idea if your family is dead or alive. That would be very difficult to cope with, but Frankl found that he did still have control over one thing. His own mind.
There are so many people living in extreme poverty around the world that are so happy and many people who are rich and miserable. The only explanation is how we choose to respond to our current situations.
How can you stop regretting parenthood?
Make a daily effort to take back control of your own mind. There are so many effective ways to do this. We have to start taking care of our minds, body, and soul and our lives will start to become reflections of our newfound positivity. Work on the things that you can change and don’t stress over the things that you can’t.
MIND: Read and take time with friends
Reading even just a chapter a day of a self-improvement book like “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey (it’s one of my favorites) can make a positive impact on your mind and how you see things around you.
I’ve experimented with this (because I got lazy and quit) and have found that when I read daily my mind reacts differently to my problems. For example, when my mind starts to spiral out on control and I begin to feel sorry for myself, a little voice reminds me that it’s pointless to worry. That voice gets louder every day. Literally, your mind can start to override your old “programming” and you will then react differently and just be content. Our minds can do amazing things if we just make a conscious effort to change them.
And also it’s easy to regret having children when we feel lonely. It’s easy to let our entire world revolve around our child, but this is not doing anyone any good when we neglect our social needs. Meet some mom friends in your area on local Facebook groups if you don’t have any friends around. It sucks when you don’t have anyone to share your feelings with and will only bring you down even further.
We all know how great exercise is for us, yet we neglect our bodies anyway. Our minds hold us back from experiencing benefits like reduced stressed and an increase in our self-esteem. Here is an amazing article by Web MD on how exactly exercise affects our brains. So you may say yes I know I need to workout, but I’m so busy or if you’re really honest with yourself..you’re lazy (don’t worry, it happens to all of us). It’s a hard cycle to break, so what can you do?
Start small. Just work out 10 minutes a day. You could even just go for a walk every day or every other day until your ready for more. You just need to get moving. Don’t think of it in terms of losing weight, but instead getting healthy and doing it for your child. You have to discover what exactly is holding you back and come to terms with it. We are all busy, but we have to make time for the most important things. Playing on Facebook in your free time is not helping you reach your parenting goals one bit.
SOUL: Mindful meditation and/or prayer
Many studies have been done and show spiritual people are the happiest people on earth. A happy caregiver is a good caregiver. And no I’m not trying to get you to convert to my religion. You don’t have to be religious to be spiritual (but it helps by ALOT).
Mindful meditation is an extremely effective way to rewire your brain. Meditation is not about clearing your mind. It’s about living in the present time while being mindful to push out any thoughts or worries that pop into your head. This helps us to get better at living in the moment all the time. When you learn to live in the moment, you will appreciate your child much more.
And many people that pray notice that they have more self-control among many other benefits that will help you become a more positive person. Personally, I find prayer the most important of everything I have talked about for being a better mother.
And think of love as a verb
Even if you’re not feeling it. Just show your child as much love as you can. Take them to the park and just play with them. The better relationship you have with them, the more your love for them will grow. I notice this all the time with my daughter. She is 18 months now so she is doing way more stuff than she used to, but also gets into way more stuff now unfortunately (good with the bad). And I love her more all the time. Honestly, when she was born I loved her only because she was mine. It took me a while to actually bond with her.
I find that when I neglect to do these things that I am more stressed out. And ultimately become negative about all aspects of my life. I lower myself to having a victim mentality and feel like all my problems are everyone else’s fault. I have gotten better at stopping myself before I get too wrapped up in that downward spiral. You have to take care of you or else you can’t effectively take care of your child.
You may have tried some of these things before and failed so you gave up. We all fail and that’s completely normal. We will never be perfect parents, citizens, pet owners, homemakers, employees, etc. Just make an effort and you will see everything around you start to change. Ever meet a really happy person? Their happiness rubs off on others. You can be that person too. Your happiness is your choice. Your circumstances don’t define who you are unless you let them.
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