Heather Armstrong of Dooce might snicker to see herself appearing in a parenting advice site, considering the struggles and foibles she’s documented for six years now. But yesterday’s post, which muses on her regrets and asks her readers to do the same, falls squarely into Parent Hacks territory.
As usual, she writes beautifully and with intelligent humor about some of the choices she’s made on her way to becoming who she is now. Her honesty encourages the same candid revelation in the comments. It’s like PostSecret for parents, even though many of her readers’ regrets have nothing to do with parenthood.
I cite Dooce’s post here because I think that stopping every now and then and visiting those regrets opens a new window on one’s ability to raise a little person. While it’s dangerous to push a child “not to make the same mistakes I did” — because sometimes that’s the only way they’ll learn — acknowledging the things you’d have done differently if given the chance at least puts those hot spots on your radar. So you hopefully you’ll see them coming in your kid’s life.
Another takeaway: reading those regrets was not the downer I’d expect it to be…I feel inspired to look at the choices I’m making today with new eyes. Right now I’m doing a little experiment with my dear friend: we’ve each chosen goals we want to achieve in the next month, and we’re checking in daily to report on our progress. I’ll write a detailed post about it later; the point here is that I have a little regret I’m trying to do something about, and my kids are watching me do it. They’re watching me attempt to change an ingrained bad habit. They’re watching me struggle, and try, and fail, and try again, and, hopefully in a month, succeed. You know where I’m going with this…the old “parent by example” and “teach a man to fish and he eats for the rest of his life” saws. But I’m seeing its effect on my kids, and I’m so relieved to discover that even my parenting foibles and failures contain tiny successes, if I take the time to notice them.
How do you share your self-improvement aspirations with your kids?