Tuesday, September 21, 2010

If I was given the chance for one "do over"...

I was sitting here thinking if I was given the chance for 1 "redo" in life what would I choose?  I have made SO many mistakes in my life.  I mean A LOT!!!  Lots of things started popping in my head.  But then I thought real hard about it and I have found the answer.  If I could redo 1 thing in my life I would have made my children work harder.  That's it.  Out of all my mistakes I think that one is the one thing I would choose.  I have tried to shield my kids as much as I could from reality.  My sister would definitely say otherwise, and maybe compared to her children, my kids have had too many doses of reality.  But I look at my oldest daughter and wonder where I went wrong.  Deep in my heart I know.  I tried to do everything I could to give her what she wanted and never told her she had to work for what she wanted.  Since I have been a single mom most of my life, she hasn't had the easiest life.  Guilt has definitely played a big factor in why I have tried to give her so much and never really made her face the consequences of her actions.  But when I had something I gave it to her.  I never made her work for anything.  Now she is 20 and has no clue how the real world is.  She is struggling.  She cant hold a job.  She is barely a sophomore in college and should be a junior.  She wants to party and sleep all the time and expects us to pay her way for everything.  And its my fault.  So my one redo would most definitely be to teach my daughter hard work pays off.  That nothing in life comes easy and you have to work hard and prove yourself if you want to succeed.  Out of all my many mistakes, this is the one I wish I had not made the most.  I love her so much and look at her now and know I didn't do her any favors. 

She is struggling.  I think back and I had my first job the day after I turned 15.  I have worked most of my life and it definitely did not hurt me.  I mean I have still made plenty of mistakes in my life, but I know how to work and work hard.  When my 15 year old was talking about getting her license and a car I told her she would have to get a job.  She needed to start saving and planning on paying 1/2 her insurance.  She looked at me funny and blew it off.  Then later she said something about needing money for one thing or another.  I told her, Mar, you really need to start looking for some sort of a job if you want money for extras.  She said "OMG mom really?  Where?  And I don't even have a car to get to work!"  I said, "I can drive you to work."  She looked at me like I was crazy.  She said "There is no where to get a job!"  I said, "You can apply at a fast food restaurant."  Again, another crazy look shot my way and she says, "OMG really mom?  Really?  I am NOT working at McDonald's or any other fast food!!" 

I seriously have made a mistake.  My kids think they are too good to work and that everything should be given to them.  I really am trying to figure out how to reverse this way of thinking.  Of course it's thrown in my face that Taylor has never had to work for anything so why should she have to.  I really need to sit down and have a heart to heart and explain things to Margaret.  I think Taylor is finally starting to see that she does need to finish school.  We aren't giving out the money anymore and she has hated being broke.  But she is having trouble even getting a job, much less holding on to one.  The last job she had was for about 2 weeks.  Then Mardi Gras came along and she had to go to New Orleans with her friends and lost that job.  She doesn't take her responsibilities seriously.  I wish more than anything I could redo this.  Start very early in life teaching them that they have to earn what they get. 

I know I am not alone in giving everything I can to my children and making life as cushy as possible.  I know many parents that do this.  We all had to work as teenagers and had to earn our way, so now we want to make life "fun and easy" for our kids.  Give them the life we feel we missed out on!  Well, I can see that this way of thinking is wrong.  We are doing our kids a huge disservice.  We are teaching them that things should come easy and you don't have to work for what you want.  We are raising lazy selfish kids. 

So that is my do over.  That is what I would change.  And do you know that my mother told me this when Taylor was 3?  17 years ago she told me that one day I would regret giving her everything.  And as Taylor got older and my mom saw me doing everything I could to make her life easy and giving her no responsibilities at all, she told me I was making a huge mistake.  She told me not to do this and I didn't listen.  Why are moms always right?  I wish I had listened to my mom. 

I love my kids with all my heart.  I pray that they will be ok and learn that hard work is the only way to make it in this world, despite the mistakes I made trying to give them anything and everything without working for it or learning that they had to wait and earn it. 


  1. I think that would be a really good 'do over'.
    I think that every parent, no matter how 'good' they are with their kids regrets not doing more of something with/for them so don't go beating up on yourself for what you didn't do.
    And it is never too late to start! Your oldest will have a hard road to hoe by having to learn it now but some really good doses of tough love when it comes to bailing her out might be just the thing she needs...even if she doesn't see that she needs it.lol
    We just had a situation here with the BIL and our nephew. They live on the edge of poverty by BIL's choice. He's been letting his son have a large sum of money each month for the last 5 yrs. that he is due from Social Security Insurance and he's been letting the kid blow it all on Ipods and designer clothing and cell phones. Well, now the BIL has lost his SSI check which was 33% of his income and he can't cover his bills any longer. He has to take the son's SSI check back for bills. The kid is devastated and can't cope b/c he has no blow money. We gave him some 'jobs' to do around here to earn some money. Instead of saving it and spending it wisely all he could say was he could now continue to buy pumpkin lattes at Starbucks with it.
    And he has no job skills and does lousy in school. In 2 yrs he graduates. He says he will only work at the mall, in one of those designer clothing stores...but he has yet to go out and apply for a job. He thinks he is going to go to college to get a career drawing animee...and he thinks he is going to go to Japan for college. And the kicker is, the kids doesn't know how to DRAW!lol And his father is just as clueless about anything.
    The nephew is going to be living a really bad dream in 2 yrs. and there is little we can do to avoid it...nor should he avoid it. It will be the thing that finally makes him 'man up'.
    So your kids are not alone in being centered on themselves. I think the inclination of this whole generation sees themselves as the center of the universe and none of them appreciate really what all we as parents go through for them. That won't happen until they hit 30 I think.lol
    Sorry to babble but I can't mention this stuff on my blog since the family might read it. ;-)

  2. wow! my kiddos are still really young, but you've given me some food for thought. and i think that you've done the best you could which is what we all do (most of us anyway, of course there's always those few odd balls). try not to beat yourself up, when i look at your kids they seem very happy, and that says alot too! also, you are doing what you can now to teach your kids the value of hard work, so that says alot. to me it's not the fact of us making mistakes, but what i think really says something is when we can admit it, and then be proactive which is what you are doing. i think it says so much to our kids when we can admit to them that we are not perfect, and we do make mistakes, but when we do, and realize it then we make a change. that is exactly what you're doing. you are a great mom just by the fact that you even think about these things.