Thursday, September 3, 2009

What I Wish I Knew Then...

As the parent of a teenager, you suddenly realize all of the things that you want them to know and be prepared for that you, yourself, were not at their age. As a homeschool mom, I have the opportunity to customize Nick's education to best prepare him for his future to insure some success.

For example, I had no idea about credit cards until I had one, ran up the bill and couldn't pay it. That was NOT a fun lesson to learn. I never understood stocks or investments. I still have no idea what the heck anyone is talking about when they discuss how to get a mortgage - we've always rented.

I wish I had been able to graduate from college. I'm finding now that even the most mundane of jobs require at least a two year college degree. The fact that I have 25 years of work experience under my belt does not matter, a piece of paper does. I might not have quit so easily if I had understood the consequences down the road.

I am glad, however, that I grew up in a broken home. Sounds tragic, doesn't it? But seriously, I grew up as a child of divorce and it just made me realize how hard it can be to make a marriage work and that it takes TWO people to make it work. One of the best examples my parents ever set for me was how NOT to be. I'm sure that doesn't comfort them any, but it's done wonders for me.

I wish I had learned the importance of saving my money and not spending it for immediate gratification. I have a hard time teaching my kids that with any real conviction because A.) I remember what it was like to be in their shoes and see what I want and have the means to buy it right then and there and B.) Because we (the parents) are living paycheck to paycheck, I sometimes regret that we cannot buy them the things that they want. Granted I know that this can just make for spoiled brats but I don't see the harm in a new $7 action figure or a new pair of sneakers once in a while.

I wish I had learned that your first love usually isn't your LAST love and that you should not give everything to a relationship when you are so young. I still have emotional scars from a relationship that happened over 22 years ago that although they made me the woman I am today, there are certain aspects of my life I could do without.

I wish I had spent more time with my grandparents.

I wish I had tried harder to have a better relationship with my sister while we were growing up.

I wish I had learned that people are going to let you down - and sometimes in a big way - and that I should not expect so much or put people on pedestals. We're all human, we make mistakes and that no matter what, you have to forgive.

I wish I had never developed an addiction to Hostess Cupcakes or Coca-Cola. They are my drug of choice.

I wish...I wish I was younger but still with my 40 year old brain!


A.Marie said...

Great Post!! This is one of your best yet! I had to laugh about the cupcakes and coca cola! My addiction would have to be nutter butter sandwich cookies..I REFUSE to buy them, because I can eat the ENTIRE PACKAGE! :)

jenn said...

That was awesome! I agree with everything you said. I know my kids are going to make mistakes, and I know I have to let them, but it is going to be so hard!

BTW, I used your recipe for chicken pot pie last night, and the family LOVED it! Thanks!

Unknown said...

you have hit on a lot of good points here stace. all of our experiences are for growing and learning and we can only teach our children from what we know. ultimately, they will make their own choices and decisions also no matter how much experience we, as parents, tell them we have. i always got the "things are different now" thrown back at me. but then when something would happen that i tried to tell them, they would come back and say they wish they would've listened to me. lol! i guess that's just the way it is.

have a wonderful day my friend...xoxox

Anne said...

Unfortunately, I think they have to learn many of those things themselves. I am trying to do everything I can to prepare my kids to grow up successfully, but again, some things I think they have to learn for themselves, no matter how painful.

Grampy said...

Hi Stace
What an excellent post.It is funny how our up bringing can mean so much in our older years.I was brought up in an abusive family life. Both mental and physical.My father use to beat us. If he wasn't doing that he was calling us names.It was hard to keep your spirit up.
I raised four girls. I never ever hit any of them.I was also very careful what I said to them I thank god all the time that I didn't turn out like my father. My children are grown and live happy lives. No they are not perfect.
Sorry for rambling. Have a good day.

A Lil Enchanted said...

Hi Stace... I think we all have things that we wish we had done differently... learned earlier (or sometimes not at all)... and that we wish we could teach our kids. Sometimes we need those experiences that life brings us to learn those lessons the hard way.

I think it's just in the nature of kids to not get it sometimes... to need to learn lessons for themselves... and we can talk till we're blue in the face but they just won't get it until they are ready to get it... and usually that means learning it from their own experiences. My older kids have told me quite a few times lately "Mom you were right"... because now they are grown and on their own in the real world with real adult issues and they are learning the hard way for themselves.

Does this mean they will now listen when I advise?? Probably not... but maybe more than they have in the past. It's all just part of growing and becoming the person we are... and that is also ever changing with each new life lesson.

I learned a lot of life lessons the hard way... and from growing up in the situation I grew up in... lessons that my siblings never learned and still can't grasp because they grew up differently. I'm thankful for those lessons... I'm thankful that I grew up in the circumstances that I did... I'm thankful for the people who taught me those lessons... even the hard ones.

There is no such thing as the perfect parent... all we can do is our very best on any given day.

A Lil Enchanted,

Anonymous said...

What a truly wonderful post :) Thank you for sharing!!

walkw/me said...

It's a great post!
I have 2 little kids and by now I find it difficult to handle things when it comes to my children. But all I know and wants to do is to give them the best in everything.

For the things that you wanted to do, I think it's not yet too late esp. going back to school and finish.

Femmepower said...

Whew!That was pretty long but I read it all the way.You got me hooked especially on the importance of education.I worked my way through college and luckily I earned my degree after all the hard work.Without my college degree,I wouldn't have gotten well-paying jobs in various companies that I prefer.Maybe I'm just lucky that I was a late-bloomer so I wasn't distracted by young relationships.I had boyfriends,yes,but I wasn't in love.

You've learned a lot from your experiences,that's good enough to share with your kids so they'll be guided through.We all make bad decisions sometimes.What matters is if we learn from our mistakes or not.

Oh yes,coca cola is my drug of choice!

Roo said...

"I wish I had learned that people are going to let you down - and sometimes in a big way - and that I should not expect so much or put people on pedestals." WOW! AIN'T THAT THE TRUTH!!!!!

Frugal Vicki said...

I love this post. I don't want to prevent every mistake, I know they need to learn from them. I just wish they would listen enough to decrease the severity of the mistakes.

Nina said...

What a great post. You have made me think. I'm not at that stage with my kids yet, but can't hurt to think about.