No parent is perfect. While trying to navigate the messy journey of raising a human to be a decent contributor to society, there are definitely a few screw-ups along the way. Mistakes (and learning from them!) is how we build our parental foundation and figure out how to be the best parent possible.
One group of moms, all over the age of 40, are using their years of experience as parents (and all those blunders along the way) to help other parents maybe learn from their mistakes, providing advice and sharing stories on their group TikTok account — @4friendsover40.
In the now-viral clip, the four moms go around and share (what they believe) are the biggest parenting mistakes that they regret making.
First up to dish her biggest parenting mistake is 48-year-old mom, Erin who claims that her mess-up was a “doozie.”
She prefaces that, growing up, she was a bit of a latchkey kid. So, she grew up doing everything herself as a kid.
“I think because I was fortunate enough to work from home when my kids were little, in the afternoons, I picked them up from school and did everything for them, and therefore, I think they’re not very self-sufficient,” she admits.
“My mom would say, ‘Brown some taco meat before I get home.’ I think if I told my son to brown taco meat, he’d be like, ‘What are you talking about?’ I would like to redo that a little bit.”
Terryl, 50, goes next, admitting that she regrets losing her patience when her kids were young at times when they probably needed some deeper nurturing.
“I remember one time when my daughter had school pictures one day. She was like, in first grade, and she was like anxious about it. Like, these kids get anxious about these little things, right? And I was just like, ‘Get in the car! You’re messing up your hair! Like, you need to look perfect!’ And they don’t,” she says.
“It makes it worse and causes a lot of just stress and frustration for everyone, and you don’t need that.”
Sarah, 48, piggybacks off of Terryl’s notion about being gentle with anxious kids.
“I have my oldest, always kind of anxious, very quiet, very reserved. So, anytime anyone asks for something, it could be the grandparents, it could be at a parent-teacher conference, and they might say, ‘Oh, what’s your favorite meal?’ And she’d pause and take her time to answer because she was thoughtful, shy, and I would jump in and try to save the day for her,” Sarah explains.
She admits that she jumped in before her daughter could answer because she was uncomfortable with the silence her daughter was creating.
“She’ll be like, ‘Mom, I can talk for myself,’ but I made many mistakes with her. That was my number one mistake. I wish that [I] just let there be a little moment uncomfortable silence, let her gather her thoughts and say it for herself,” she concludes.
Last up is the most experienced parent of the group, 57-year-old Jenn, whose mistake is one that so many parents can relate to — aiding our kids in falling asleep.
“I lay down with her at night to read a book or just talk, and now I don’t think she can really fall asleep without me laying next to her,” Jenn says.
Several of the other friends chime in, noting they also do this with their kids.
“And now it kind of ties me into her, you know, it’s nine o’clock and I want to go and do whatever things and watch TV with my husband or whatever. And she’s like, ‘Will you rub my back? Will you scratch my head?’ And it’s like, ugh!” Jenn admits.
After being so open about their parenting mistakes, several TikTok users chimed in, thanking the group for their honesty and noting that some of those mistakes have had major impacts on them as adults.
“Y’all are amazing for doing this. Not only is it great advice, but it’s inspirational for me to see moms be able to own their mess ups,” one user noted.
Another said, “My parents did everything for my little brother but I had to do things on my own and in adult life it shows drastically.”
One user thanked the group and said, “Parenting is the hardest balancing act I think exists! All the what ifs and ‘did I do this right’? it’s rough out here lol. thank you for this!”
More TikTok content of moms laying it all out there, admitting faults, and passing down experience and knowledge to the next generation of parents, please! Let’s keep normalizing not being a perfect parent.