Posted by: Deborah Drezon Carroll | March 13, 2010

6 Things I Shouldn’t Have Done?

I just read this article about the 31 things moms should do and not feel guilty about. Things like hiding the good ice cream in the back of the freezer and letting the kids eat the crappy store brand, and making grandparents take the kids to Disney on Ice instead of suffering through it yourself. Good suggestions, both. Reading the article gave me an idea, about a service my girls and I could provide. I’ll list a bunch of things I did as a parent that I’m not proud of, and the girls can look ’em over and tell if they were really that bad. This way, if you’re doing any of these, you can take a peek into the future and find out if you’ll pay later from seeing if my kids turned out all right or if they are getting ready to be snipers in a tower because of how we raised them. (Spoiler alert: They’re quite fabulous, hence the name of our blog.)

Here goes a half-dozen…

1. I didn’t buy them “label” clothes. Truth be told, when they were little, their clothes came from House of Bargains. (no, seriously, that’s the name of the store.) Two reasons: 1. We didn’t have a lot of money and 2. I have a pet peeve about labels and I eschew them when I can. Sort of reverse snobbery. When the girls got to high school, I’m sure they wanted some clothes that came with upscale names. I still stuck to my guns and not always because we didn’t have the money, I must admit.

2. I accepted hand-me-downs from friends and made my girls wear them. And, many of them still had the name tag of the kid who was the previous owner. I don’t know Jen Rackow, but I know all three daughters wore her white cardigan sweater. Full disclosure… I still accept hand-me-downs and now I keep some for myself even though sometimes friends give me things for “one of my girls.” If I like it and it fits (or not), I keep it.

3. Every Thursday we had pizza for dinner. Now I hear they’re thinking about taxing pizza so clearly, this is a bad food, but it was our Thursday night staple.

4. I didn’t make them practice piano. Okay, I tried, but it didn’t work. All three took lessons. No one plays an instrument currently. My friend Celia raised four sons. She made them practice. They are talented. I feel I fell down on the job.

5. I gave them M&Ms for potty training. I was desperate. The preschool we wanted our oldest to attend wouldn’t take her unless she was trained. She was two and a half and definitely not interested in the potty. She did, however, like candy. ‘Nuff said.

6. On weekend mornings, I got up, dragged myself downstairs with the kids, and put Sesame St. on TV. I’d lay on the couch and sleep while it was on. Oh, and through Mr. Rogers, too. So for like an hour and a half, I could get some much-needed rest. The girls were pretty young, and, yes, during that short nap, I guess they were unsupervised.

Alexis Writes:

Very interesting… here are my thoughts.

1. This is the one that sucks the most for both parties. Don’t get me wrong I get why parents do it. I don’t think a child should be walking around in a more expensive trendier outfit then I. That’s simply not right. However, as a teenager this is a slippery slope. I never had the shoes you felt cool in unless I bought them myself. I frequented Ross quite a bit because they did have some trendy brands. I also did this because I knew my parents didn’t want me spending a lot of money and it was a way to appease both parties. I think many young parents feel pressure for their kids to look good and think this means buying expensive clothing. This is ridiculous, the kids don’t care unless you do and they are running around and getting dirty. Plus they grow so fast it is a complete waste of money.

2. I don’t think I should speak too much on the hand me down issue. I never minded getting clothes from other people if I liked them. I never had an older sibling to get them from so I think that’s a different perspective so I’ll let Tamra and Shira address it.

3. Pizza is fine. Everyone should have a night off from making dinner. Plus, it’s simply delicious. If people can’t figure out how to eat it in a way they don’t get heart disease, that’s their problem. This is coming from a person who couldn’t stop eating for a time in her life and even I think it’s ridiculous to tax it.

4. No offense to Celia but I don’t think any of her sons plays piano for a living so it’s not a loss. My friend told me the other night that she heard that two is the age where children should start to learn a new language if they want them to learn more than one. She wants her daughter to learn Italian. My philosophy, if your kid is not potty trained, she shouldn’t be learning to speak Italian. Stick to the basics. Your kid should play or do what they like.

5. Potty training is important so who cares if you give candy? As adults if we work hard we get paid. We get rewarded for doing a job, why shouldn’t kids? If that’s what it takes, sugar them up!

6. You can’t supervise your kids for the rest of their lives so what does an hour count? As long as they’re watching Baby Einstein and not out in the street playing in traffic it’s ok for you to take a break.

Other than the labels thing, I am probably not scarred.

Tamra writes:

Hmm…I was hoping your confessions would have been a little juicier…

1. This one definitely sucks. Although, I agree with Alexis. A 5-year-old should under no circumstances have a pair of Uggs that cost 100 dollars. Their feet are growing by the second and those boots aren’t going to fit them for more than a year. Plus, their parents could have bought me a pair instead, my feet stopped growing years ago. I think that it’s okay for teenagers to have some nice things. I’m not saying that their parents HAVE to go out and buy them a Juicy Couture sweat outfit that costs a million dollars, but there is nothing wrong with having some nice things. And there isn’t any arguing that a nice pair of designer jeans looks amahzing…I think that not having my parents buy me these things as a teenager made me appreciate being able to get them for myself as an “adult”. I am totally capable of bargain shopping, but if there is something brand name that I want, I don’t feel bad buying it.

2. I didn’t get too many hand me downs from Alexis because I am practically a midget. I can understand kids not wanting hand-me-downs, everyone likes to get something new that’s all their own (I know we’re minutes away from hearing Shira talk about the bat mitzvah dress). I like getting hand-me-downs now. Sometimes my friends have nicer stuff than I do, and I’m always down to take that. Plus, it’s totally good for the environment, and that’s really trendy now.

3. There are no kids that ever complained about having pizza night once a week.

4. Excuse me, but I played piano for 9 years and pretty much never practiced, but I can play some songs, let’s not get that wrong. Maybe I’m not Beethovenette, but I did learn a lot about music and I really liked my piano teacher. I think I got other things from my near decade of piano lessons more important than playing the instrument. I learned about making a commitment with something and managing different activities. The kids in my class learn about 10 instruments and play on 4 sports teams and then tell me that they’re too busy to do their homework. I never had to say that at school.

5. I think bribery is a great way to get kids to pee. Besides, using a potty is really a skill you’re going to need if you want to function in society. It’s not like you were paying us to use the potty, it’s just m&m’s (too bad they didn’t have the dark chocolate ones back then…). Also, if it makes you feel any better, I have no memory of that, so I guess it couldn’t have been that offensive.

6. At least you were with us in the room while we were watching TV. Kids do have to learn to be by themselves eventually. And again, if it makes you feel any better, I have no memory of that.

I think I made it out fairly unscarred, you definitely could have done a lot worse.

Shira writes:

1. I do think it’s pretty silly to buy a 13-year-old a $200 pair of boots. Just yesterday one of my students “lost” her Uggs in gym class and the rest of the afternoon was devoted to questioning the entire class to find out what happened to them. As a kid, I don’t remember caring too much about labels. By high school I was pretty set on being punk rock and labels were “so not alternative.” I cared more about being able to dye my hair pink than owning a pair of Mavi jeans (do they even make those anymore?). I do remember not liking the guilt of spending my own money. I once spent $70 on a bathing suit. $70 of my own money, that I had earned working in my parents’ ice cream store. My parents made me feel like I had committed the crime of the century. Now I like the idea of being able to buy myself nice things if I want them, and nobody can make me feel bad about that!

2. When I was younger, I was not a fan of hand-me-downs. Being the youngest, I usually got last pick. The real problem with the Bat Mitzvah dress was not that it was a hand-me-down, the problem was that it: a) was hideous and b) didn’t fit. In high school, hand-me-downs were a precious commodity. My friends and I would go “shopping” in each others’ closets, and we still do from time to time. Free clothes!

3. There’s nothing wrong with having pizza. Cooking every night is a pain in the butt. Every cook deserves a night off. Also, pizza is delicious.

4. I hated playing the piano. I wasn’t any good at it, and I probably was never going to be. Later on, I tried to teach myself the guitar, and I couldn’t do that either. I love music, but I have come realize that I am just not a musically talented person. Forcing me to practice piano was just going to make me hate it more.

5. I wouldn’t have survived my teaching experience in the inner city if it hadn’t been for Jolly Ranchers. There is nothing wrong with giving kids some candy to make them do things (or not do things) that you want them to do. Mostly, I’m shocked to learn you actually had candy in the house, since you think granola bars are a dessert.

6. Raising kids is a full-time job, without breaks, or financial compensation. I don’t see any reason why someone with three children shouldn’t take a nap. I still haven’t figured out why nap time doesn’t exist after kindergarten. The world would probably be a much more pleasant place if everyone napped each day after lunch.

I guess I came away unscathed. Except for the Bat Mitzvah dress. God I hated that thing.

Shira writes:

That picture needs to come down immediately.

Debby Writes:

The photo is gone. See? I did pay attention to your desires. 🙂



  1. I agree with Tamra — this list of Top Mothering Regrets is so tame! Mine would be a lot more juicy, and a lot more guilt-inducing: making my older daughter think she was fat, starting with putting her on a diet (though calling it “healthy eating”) when she was four; not forcing my younger daughter to take SAT prep classes (though she did fine and got into an Ivy League college, just not the Ivy League college she wanted to); not insisting that my older daughter go to a French immersion elementary school; not insisting that my younger daughter study in Buenos Aires when she had the chance. And that’s just a start!

    I do love the impulse behind this post, though, and I REALLY like the idea of asking your daughters to react to your regrets, a wonderful reality check.

  2. Okay, you and Tamra win. I will dig deeper and next week, I promise Mothering Regrets Part Deux. I’ll try to keep up with yours. Check back!

  3. Hi there,
    love your blog!! You do have three amazing daughters!!

    Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!!

    xoxox Sabine

  4. Hi Sabine, Thanks for checking us out and for the kind words. I’m off to check your blog.

  5. My family ate pizza on Fridays and I loved hand-me-downs. I suppose that’s why I love shopping at thrift and vintage stores – I rarely buy anything new!
    I think your daughters turned out pretty well =)

    Stopping by from SITS to say hi

  6. Thanks for checking us out. I totally love thrift and vintage stores. Hey, anyone can pay lots of money for great stuff but only a talented few can get great stuff for little money, right?

  7. Okay, gotta tell you, I was looking forward to some dirty gritty stuff that would make me feel less bad, but really, these are the things I consider normal. I must be a horrible momma for my confessions, lol!

  8. No worries, I am working on the next post and I promise to get down and dirty! Come back and I’ll try to make you feel better about every bad thing you did. 🙂

  9. I love that your blog is a compilation of you and your daughters. And this post was very interesting.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog last week!

  10. Shira IS adorable – the dress – not so much.

    My top 5 would have been much, much worse….missing the oldest’s part in the school play because I got there too late (bad deadline day at work), forgetting to pick the younger one up at the tutor’s (completely, got home and asked where she was!?), omitting Santa presents one Christmas (don’t call my bluff on evil behavior) — okay there were still stocking gifts and parent parents….but not the big toys. The hardest thing I had to do to anyone ever, moving them away from a very close extended family (although some days I think this may be a blessing as much as a scarring event and responded to every phone call at work with the question, “Is anyone bleeding?” Really not sensativity Momma, am I?

  11. Oh, yeah, you’re way worse. 🙂 Truth be told, I never said these were my TOP 6, just 6. But, I’m giving in to peer pressure and admitting better ones next week.

  12. Here are mine: 1. Telling oldest daughter that sliced cucumbers were cookies.
    2. Youngest daughter (at age 10) and I were attending a seminar. I was supposed to write about something special about her for homework. Showed up the next week empty-handed… only mother to do so. She doesn’t even remember the episode!
    3. Making youngest daughter wear her Camp Fire uniform on the first day to a new school. She stills reminds me of that!

  13. Okay, you are forgiven! And, about the one she can’t remember, well, it just didn’t happen, then. That’s my theory and I’m sticking with it.

  14. Visiting from SITS….very interesting! I have done, and still do some of the things your talking about. I don’t mind hand me downs, as long as they don’t have holes in them!

  15. Yep, and they’re environmentally friendly, too. Thanks so much for checking us out. If you like the blog, please add it to your blogroll. Have a great Monday.

  16. Hi! Stopping by from MBC. Love your blog.

  17. I really have no problems with what you did! Being the child that had to have hand me downs though, I now have a combo of HMD’s and labels for the kiddos…don’t hate me:) But pizza, get over it people. We had it every Friday and still do. Funny about the piano and M&M’s. Totally did the candy for potty training! And my daughter asked last month when she could start the violin. I told her as soon as she finishes with the piano lessons she quit. Loved the post. Yes, Juicier would have been nice, but instead I’m walking away with feeling like a normal mom. Thanks SITSta!

  18. HA! Your reply cracked me up. Love the labels! I would tell your daughter that she can start the violin when you are able to find earplugs that will totally block all sound. Or, at least noise canceling headphones for your iPod. I’m so glad I could make you feel normal. Hey, come back next week so I can make you feel superior! Thanks for checking us out, SITSta. 🙂

  19. I love, love, love this! The daughters’ takes are so great. I have dressed my four in cheap clothes all their lives. I wonder if they mind?

  20. Well, if your kids are like mine, they’ll just get you back by spending their own money on nicer clothes than you’ll ever have! Thanks for checking us out and for taking to time to write this comment!

  21. 1. Your children are alive and obviously still love you enough to blog with you.
    2. They seem outspoken, honest, and self-aware which is all they really need to be successful and happy in life (well, with the exception of the potty training thing which they seem to have well in hand).
    3. As my husband says, “Mind the levies.” If you have a really crappy week and the kids are watching more TV than usual and eating pizza two nights in a row, chances are they won’t remember it and if it’s the thing that keeps you sane, it’s worth it.

    Thanks for the reality check!

  22. Thanks. I have to agree with your list of what it takes to be happy. (Although I’m sure they’d add to your list the need to own lots of great shoes.) “Mind the levies.” Really sound advice and so succinct.

  23. I read the initial list last week too. My kids are too young for most of them, but the ones that pertained to my kids age group, I had done too. And I don’t feel guilty at all! 😉

    • That’s much better because guilt is a wasted emotion, don’t you think? Thanks for checking us out.

  24. Hello! stopping by via sits!

    what an interesting blog. Loved to read your daugthers take on everything. interesting….. 🙂

  25. Thanks for checking us out. My girls will be thrilled to know that they were enjoyed.

  26. I have no daughters, just sons and grandsons, but boys have issues with hmd’s and ‘off brands’ too. My husband worked for a large retailer and we always bought the store brand. My son appreciated it more when it became fodder for his stand up comedy act during his college years!
    I like the idea of incorporating the responses into the blog. My kids just make smart remarks on facebook… just the other day I told a story about them when they were 3 and 5yrs.old and I see a comment on fb… ‘Greg? Greg? are you under this bus too??’

  27. Sounds like your kids have excellent senses of humor. And you must, too, to have survived being part of your son’s stand up routine. Must have been funny, though.

  28. This is an amazing blog. I love your daughters take on everything. It appears to me all of you turned out to be wonderful people.

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