Parenting is among the greatest sources of human joy; it is also the single greatest cause of guilt. Not only do we feel guilty about the things we’ve done or not done for our kids from the time they were born, but we even feel guilty about the genes we’ve burdened our kids with before they were born.  So there it is. Whatever our kids fail to become or fail to achieve is our fault. We should have tried harder, done more. Or so it seems. Whenever she would see a newborn, my grandmother would ask rhetorically, in her gentle European accent, “From this they have to make a person?”

It’s impossible to fully alleviate you of your sense of guilt. Beginning with your baby’s first diaper rash, you’ll assume it’s your fault for not changing her frequently enough. And it’s downhill from there.

Here’s the good news. By practicing No Regrets Parenting, you are hereby completely absolved of one form of guilt. No, not for the diaper rash. You are absolved of any guilt you might feel about not spending enough time with your kids. No Regrets Parenting is about opportunities, many realized, but some missed. If you find the minutes to do even a fraction of the suggestions in the No Regrets Parenting book (www.noregretsparenting.com) , you will have captured precious moments that would otherwise have been lost. And if you do more than a fraction of the suggestions? When the long days with your young kids are over, the years will not have seemed quite so short.

This is very important, so please read it carefully: you should never feel guilty about the minutes you can’t spare, the times when you are too busy, and the moments that are lost to the realities of life despite your best efforts. No Regrets Parenting doesn’t ask you to be superhuman; it only asks that you set the right priorities for your time and make the conscious effort to be there as often as possible for your kids. The only guilt you should ever feel is from not trying.

And here’s another reason not to feel guilty about the time you can’t spend with your kids. Kids need to grow their independence. Whenever you start to feel badly about leaving them with the babysitter, or dropping them at a friend’s house where the friend’s parent supervises the play date, or putting them in front of the TV while you pull the house together, LOSE THE GUILT TRIP! You’re not neglecting them or failing as a No Regrets parent because you’re not with them 24/7. Rather, you’re providing balance between the time they spend with you and the time they need away from you to develop independence. And kids need to know they don’t have a claim on all of your time—the goal of No Regrets Parenting is appreciative kids and fulfilled parents, not spoiled kids and guilt-ridden parents.

Share your guilty feelings (we all have them!), and how you resolve them, by clicking on the title of this post and entering your thoughts in the Comments box that appears at the end.

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