I have regrets.

Do you remember? Do you remember when they placed that baby on chest? And you never knew a love so deep, so complete. I would have jumped in front of on-coming train for her. Her smile was everything. The sweet, sweet smell of the top of her head as I held her. Everything she did was over-the-top. Or at least I thought so and that’s every parent’s right to think that way.

And I knew it would all go by so quickly. Because I saw it played out in others. And those that went before me, who plowed the way, warned me. Don’t miss a single second. You’ll blink and she’ll be off to college.

And they were right.

And so, not wanting to miss a single moment, I begged and pleaded (hell I even did a rain dance in the living room) to be a stay-at-home Mom. Walk away from my career? No problem. Give up designer clothes and vacation. Without a thought.

And then we added a little brother. Seeing the two of them together was like Christmas Day every day. I knew I didn’t want to miss this. So, I continued to stay at home.

And let me tell you, I checked all the boxes. How lucky am I? Room Mom (for both kids) every year. Check. PTA. Check. Teacher conferences. Check. Practices and games. Check. Team Mom bringing those orange slices. Double check.

And I loved all of those moments.

But I have regrets.

Don’t shoot me. I know plenty of women who would have cut off their right arm to become a stay-at-home Mom. I’m thankful for all of it, but hear me out.

I gave it all away. Everything. Every last bit of it. Of me. My life, our life, became all about the kids. Yes, we did things together. And we did things as a family. But in all of that time, what did I do for me?

Not a single fucking thing.

I wish someone would have told me to take care of myself. Have something just for me. Maybe running club, book club, or knitting club. Maybe it is taco Tuesdays with the girls. Maybe it was keeping that side-hustle I secretly wanted but didn’t think I would have time for.

I wish someone would have told me to invest in marriage and date my husband. Get a sitter. Go to dinner and have an entire conversation NOT ABOUT THE KIDS. No one warned me that there would be a day when it would be just us again and we wouldn’t even know each other anymore.

I wish someone would have warned me that there would be a day that there were no more games. No more practices. No more teacher conferences. And life as “Mom” as you once knew it to be, would be over. Oh sure, you’ll always be Mom, but it is different now.

I wish someone would have warned me about the sadness I feel. The identity I once had of myself is gone. The fear bubbling up in me wondering if my best years are behind me.

I have regrets. And I’ve allowed myself to feel them. I’ve sat in the pain of them. But then I thought, “fuck that shit.”

I could either accept them or do something about them. Nope, you’re right, I can’t turn back the clock and do it over. But you know what I can do? I can AGGRESSIVELY chase after the things I thought I regretted.

Running club, check. Wait, no. I hate to run. So, it is a hiking group instead. Book club, check. Knitting club, god those ladies hate my jokes about only being able to knit a sweater for a snake. Check.

Dating my husband, yep! Did I open his door while being totally naked? Yep. And he was on a zoom call. Let me tell you, you only make that mistake once.

Taco Tuesday with the girls? Absolutely. Margaritas included!

I’m doing ALL THE THINGS. And I’m having a blast. All while watching my grown-ass children chase after their dreams.

Yes, I have regrets. Or, had regrets. But no more.

So, here’s me warning you all the things that I felt like I wasn’t warned about. Please take it under advisement. And if you need me — well, I’m sure as hell not going to be at home wallowing in self-pity. I’m out slaying midlife. Look for me at the bar — I’ll be the one dancing on the tables!!

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Val Jones

I am a professional figure skater turned peak performance expert/speaker/author. I help individuals/organizations reach their peak performance and income goals.