07/03/2012 03:09 am ET | Updated Sep 01, 2012

I Wish I Could Go Back... Confessions of a Divorced Mom

The actions we take and decisions we make in life ultimately lead to specific outcomes. Some of these outcomes we can anticipate, and others we are simply blindsided by. One brave divorced mother decided to share her very personal, poignant and heartfelt story on my online confessional. The story touched so many fans of my Secret Regrets project, and has received a lot of attention after being featured in my bestselling book, Secret Regrets: What if You Had a Second Chance?

This brutally honest story of regret brings many issues to the surface that so many married couples deal with. Issues that, if left unresolved or are ignored, often result in the breakups of marriages -- and the breakdown of families. This woman's realizations and admissions can help encourage each of us to identify what's truly important in our lives and to see if we are living life and making decisions that genuinely reflect that. If we are, we may be able to avoid a lifetime of irreversible regret. Here is her story:

"If I had a second chance, I would have quit my job when my children were born. I would have not made so many excuses to say, 'I have to work.' Because they were mostly lies. Lies told, because honestly, the weeks I did spend at home scared me to death. It was easier to hire someone to mother them, and pay her to do my job.

I would have not made excuses for only nursing my babies for a few months. I would have told my husband and my friends and my mother-in-law that I would raise my children. The heck with what they 'wanted' or 'expected' or thought I should do. My mother-in-law, although very nasty about the fact that I 'worked,' was more than happy to take my kids on weekends, when I was more than happy to be 'so tired' to raise them myself. My husband and I broke up anyway, as our lives diverged, and without family time to hold us together, we were just spending money, and making excuses for not being with our children.

But I was too obsessed with 'my life' and how I thought I was supposed to live it. Make money, have fun, be everything to all people, except those who really should mean the most to me. I was selfish, and self-absorbed. I wish I could go back and make the difference when it counts.

Now my children have no time for me. At first I was angry, but I understand. I always made excuses as to why I never had time for them. Or took them on a few errands and told people we were taking quality time. All BS. It was about me then.

Now it's too late. They have their own lives, and as my ex and I 'worked' all the time, our children learned to get comfort elsewhere. They expect us to pay for school, which we are doing, and to lend them money, which we do, but it is an artifact of our poor self-absorbed parenting that we feel we have to give them things and money, instead of giving them our time, when we had the chance.

I wish I could change the past. I'd have my children, say the heck with the huge house, and the big screen TV, and the new car every few years, and the vacations, the expensive food, the eating out, the business suits I thought I 'needed,' the radical shoes, the thought that I 'needed' lunch out every day, and the cost of day care. None of which was necessary. I would stop all the excuses, say 'NO' to spending money on anything but the essentials, forget the BS that I 'deserved' what I earned for myself, and spend my time at home and being with my children.

Now, their only concerns are what my ex and I can do for them. And, I realize they do this because we bought what we thought was love for too long. I hope they can be there for their children, but I am afraid the pattern will continue.

So, as we move forward, we continue to open the checkbook instead of our hearts." - Anonymous

If you have a divorce-related or parenting-related regret, you can freely and anonymously post it at, and read additional similar regrets in Secret Regrets: What if You Had a Second Chance?

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