Can mindfulness with our children prevent parenthood regrets?

The biggest regret of parents is not spending enough time with their kids when they were young. They regret working too much, not appreciating that their children would grow up in a flash, not taking enough photos and not going on holiday enough with them. They also regretted worrying about the little things and not letting themselves go and enjoy the moment. That’s according to a survey commissioned by Huggies Little Swimmers nappy brand and published in the Daily Mail.

Mindful of how two-thirds of parents would do things differently if they could, I was more determined than ever to enjoy a half-term break with my eight-year-old daughter mindfully and fully. While she is still young and wanting to play with me.

I was more mindful on holiday with my daughter. With special moments, you either use them or lose them. 

I resolved to pay full attention to how many dives, handstands and lengths she did in the pool (instead of surreptitiously reading my book while pretending to watch her). I applauded when she came down the scariest of scary water slides. And I cheered when she was chosen to go on stage to take part in a tongue-twister competition. I savoured every minute, took as many photos as possible, and I can say I had no regrets about being fully present in the here and now.

Because I, like the parents in the survey, can feel time slipping through my fingers. I blinked and my baby is suddenly nearly as tall as me, and has picked up skills in persuasion, manipulation and negotiation. Each moment I spend with her is tinged with the reminder that this moment won’t come again. And there will be a time when moments like this don’t happen again.

So, I have no regrets about reading that article as a reminder to myself to be mindful. To remember that the human existential condition is such that we only have now. We can either live it fully or let it slip away unnoticed until we feel sad when we spot it in the rear-view mirror.

And the one main regret I certainly don’t have from my weekend away is my decision NOT to go down that scary slide.

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