Parenthood can sometimes feel like a string of difficult choices that easily sets the stage for regret. Should I have circumcised? Should I have breastfed? Should I have waited longer before going back to work?
As a mother of three now in the teen and young adult stages, I've tried to take my own mommy missteps in stride. Still, I can reel off a list: I should have been more patient. I should have provided more consistent boundaries when my first daughter was a teen. I should have made a better relationship pick. I could beat myself up forever.
So I was comforted to read that I'm not the only one: according to a study by Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne, women have more regrets about their families than men do. Researchers looked at 370 adult Americans at random and asked them to report on "salient regret in life." Men were more likely to list work, and women, family.
So now at least I know there are other moms out there with a long list of "learning experiences." But what exactly is on them? Here, from Circle of Moms members, are six life choices many moms live to regret.
1. Having a Baby Too Young
Though they don't regret having their children, some Circle of Moms members say they wish they had chosen the timing better. As Sonya B. explains, "I regret being unprepared to properly care for my children when they were born. I still have problems supporting them the way that I would like, but that is a decision that I made, so I will live up to my responsibilities." Emily S. agrees: "I don't regret having my son, there are times that I wish I could go back in time and party more and do all the things I can't do now at the drop of a hat. I do wish I would have waited." (For more perspectives, see Young Mom vs. Older Mom: Which is Better?)
2. The Wrong Marriage
Making a poor choice on the relationship front is common, and many Circle of Moms members say they regret getting married to the person they did. As Shannon explains, "I go through stages of regret often. And we've only been married 2 years!" And Amy D., a longtime married mother of four, shares that she struggles with whether or not she still loves her husband of 14 years. Sadly, "Most days the answer is no."
3. Using Formula Instead of Breastfeeding
To breastfeed or not to has always been something moms worry about, Circle of Moms members say, and with growing awareness of its benefits, some moms who formula feed their babies have misgivings. "So much is going on about cow's milk, formula, and human breast milk, I wish I could have continued breastfeeding," says Cecily D. "I formula feed with regrets."
4. Daddy Not-so-dearest
"I don't regret having my daughter, I regret who I had her with," says Christina G. My ex would rather be out partying or having random sex with some girl he meets instead of being around his only daughter." Emily S. feels much the same: "I don't regret having my son. There are times that I wish I could go back in time and party more and do all the things I can't do now at the drop of a hat. I do wish I would have waited and chose to have a child with someone else."
"Yup, I regret the tattoo of my ex-husband's motorbike with his name underneath. Yeeeeech I HATE it.... so does my boyfriend," says Nicole S. Rowena H. also regrets a tat, or at least its location: "While I was pregnant it got a little out of shape. Now my fairy looks like a squashed fairy." (For another perspective, see: Kid Tats: A Guide to Getting a Tattoo Dedicated to Your Child.)
6. Circumcising Sons
"I was all for circumcision, and had it done for my son, but now someone recently attacked me and my husband over my decision, and I feel kind of bad," says Ashley I. Lisa K. adds: "I absolutely regret having it done. I knew that there was a debate before giving birth, but I never looked into it because I didn't know my child's gender. My husband wanted it done and I didn't bother fighting - now I wish I would have and I'll certainly go to bat for any future sons." (For another perspective, see A Tough Call: My Son’s Circumcision Story.)
What's your greatest regret?
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.