Fatherhood is an awesome experience in all ways, shapes, and forms. As Dads we often find ourselves reflecting on the choices we made while raising our children. Hindsight provides a unique perspective, allowing us to identify areas where we wish we had placed more emphasis on and at times some regrets as well.
Looking back on my fun journey as a Dad, I realize that there are several aspects I regret(too harsh of a word) not prioritizing enough. In sharing my experiences, I hope to offer fellow Dads valuable insights that can guide you guys in their pursuit of becoming the best fathers they can be.
**This article was originally writen for Fatherly.com... but it was never published…You snooze you loose fellas!**
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things I wish I would have done differently
Spend Less Time Worrying
When my son was little, I constantly worried about his well-being. As a new father, the responsibility weighed heavily on me, and I became consumed with fears and anxieties. One of the biggest reasons is that I’m a French Canadian living permanently in South Korea.
I’m married to a Korean woman and my son has dual Citizenship. My son is biracial but looks a lot like me. (Caucasian) Korea is far from being multiracial, so needless to say that we both stand out. All in mostly good ways. People are very friendly and my son is now a popular boy at his school.
Looking back, I wish I had spent less time worrying and more time enjoying the precious moments with my boy. I don’t ‘regret’ per se but I wish I was more in a positive mindset and less on the defensive during those times. Simply said, all the worries I had never ever came into existence, it was all quite the opposite.
Listen…It is simple: my son will grow up remarkably fast, and the opportunity to cherish his early years is so important to me. By redirecting my energy toward being present and engaged, I could have nurtured my love for him in a different way.
**I remember the first day of kindergarten when I had to let him go play with ‘strangers’ ALONE! My Worries! The dread!… Yes, I teared up in the car…but that’s our little secret! I’ll save that one for another article.
Focus Equally on My Wife
Fatherhood! Thumbs Up? Thumbs Down? It’s mostly on the ‘upside’ right? Either way, you will mostly have to ‘parent’ with your lovely wife, whom you hopefully love like crazy. I sure do…(I’m not just saying that because she’s probably reading this article on her phone.)
This guy right here, was laser-focused when my son was born. I dropped a business, dropped jobs, dropped hobbies, and many other things. Because I wanted to ‘be there.’ I literally redid my freelancing schedule to revolve solely around my son’s timetable so I wouldn’t miss anything. Yes..you heard that right. Dedication…
But with that came the fact that I started noticing my wife and I not being as friendly to each other as before due to the challenges of having a little guy in the house 24/7. Like many parents, we were tired and lost touch, a bit, with our own lives, as a couple.
it is easy to neglect our relationships with our partners unintentionally. I regret not prioritizing my wife’s needs and our relationship as much as I should have. About 2 years into parenthood, things started to change for the better, all the hugging, kissing, and other ‘adult’ things as well as making more time for each other all came back to where they once were.
We have now set a positive example for our son and created a harmonious home environment where love and support thrived.
Focusing on My Son’s Minority Language (French)
As a French Canadian living in Korea, it was crucial for me to ensure my son’s fluency in French, his minority language. Regrettably, I didn’t place enough emphasis on this aspect during his early years. We speak mostly English at home with a lot of Korean in the mix. French is almost non-existent at home.
That’s my fault and I take responsibility. But, in my defense, there are limited French language books here and, at that time, we did not show my son any screen time, so Youtube was out of the question.
I know it’s not too late, as he knows a lot of vocabulary and understands when I speak to him. But I wish I would have simply communicated with him only in French since he was little so he could absorb it easily. He will now need full-fledged French lessons from French Daddy…and that’s more than ok with me.
Language is not just a means of communication; it shapes one’s cultural identity and opens doors to new opportunities. By prioritizing his French language acquisition, I could have provided him with a stronger connection to his heritage and speak to some of my family members who don’t speak any English.
The regret lies in the realization that language is an invaluable gift that opens doors to diverse cultures and brings understanding and empathy.
Making More Skype Time with Family Back in Canada
Living 10,000km from family can be challenging, especially during the formative years of our children’s lives. Regrettably, I didn’t prioritize regular Skype sessions with my loved ones back in Canada. Regrets x 100
By embracing technology to bridge the distance, I could have ensured my son had the opportunity to build strong bonds with his extended family, despite the physical separation. But, I did not do that. There’s no reason behind this…simply excuses.
My son has yet to meet his uncles back in Canada or his cousins. It’s been 10 years since I’ve been back home, and when I do go back, next year, tears will be pouring down my cheeks when family and friends meet my son for the first time. Love life…
Focus a Little More Time on ‘Me’
As Super-Dads, it’s easy to lose sight of our own needs while prioritizing our children’s happiness. Regrettably, I neglected to dedicate enough time for self-care and personal growth.
Nothing else mattered for those first few years except kid/kid/kid. Well, I’m telling YOU guys to take care of you/you/you too. The why is crucial: by taking care of ourselves, we become better equipped to care for our children. Prioritizing personal interests and hobbies not only nourishes our souls but also serves as a positive example to our children, teaching them the importance of self-worth and fulfillment.
I don’t know what you do in life or how many hours you’re working, whatever you do, do something for yourself too. We are always taking care of ‘mom’ and ‘kids’ but rarely give care to dad, except on Father’s Day. I write about these topics in my Dad Blog www.daddysimply.com.
I try not to write about regrets on my blog..because as the old saying goes: shoulda, woulda, coulda…
Dudes, take a few days a month for YOU. Write on the calendar “Dad’s Day.” Simple, you make sure everyone at home knows that you’re ‘checked out’ for a few hours or the whole day. You can go play golf, spa, hike, fish, meet up with friends, or whatever…do it for you. Or just take an hour bubble bath with some old-school music blaring all while enjoying a glass of scotch
If ‘mom’ would write ‘Mom’s Day’ on that same calendar, it would be more than fine. So, what are you waiting for?
Give My Son More Time Alone to Explore with Friends
In an attempt to be an involved and protective father, I realized I sometimes overlooked the significance of allowing my son to explore the world on his terms. I regret not giving him more room for independent play and time alone with friends or classmates. We have a great bond together but I know for a fact that it’s because we were inseparable since his birth.
Behind this regret lies the fact that children develop valuable life skills, such as problem-solving, creativity, and social interaction, through unstructured play and exploration. And of course, my little man got all these, but I look back and now know that I should have taken a step(or two) back and let him play with his peers while I should have been in the background.
So What? What Can You Do as a Dad?
We are constantly learning and evolving in our roles, aren’t we? Stop juggling regrets. Those regrets are counterproductive and lead to zilch…
Looking back on my journey, I have come to recognize the areas where I wish I had placed greater emphasis as a dad. By sharing these reflections, I hope to inspire fellow fathers to approach their own parenting with intentionality and a deeper understanding of what truly matters.
What matters to me is to create the strongest possible bond that I can have with my son with the least regrets possible… I achieved this and I’m proud of myself to have said ‘no’ to job offers that would have taken me out of this great daddy role and placed a 50-hour work week on my shoulders. Kudos to Daddy… Because ‘my son will only be young once.’ And jobs will come and go.
We are all uber-lucky to have the incredible opportunity to shape the lives of our children and create a nurturing environment where they can flourish. By reflecting on our own journeys and learning from our regrets, we can strive to become the best fathers we can be.
Let us prioritize what truly matters – love, connection, growth, and allowing our children the freedom to explore the world around them. Together, we can embark on this beautiful and transformative journey of fatherhood, simply. One love guys. No regrets…It’s all love…
***Stories and Strategies For Modern Dads Ebook Here~~
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