There is no remedy, although you'll convince yourself that every other parent has found one. When you feed your kids sausages, you know that every other mother is serving organic ragout. When you terrorise them for tardiness on school days, you know that every other mother is cheerfully diffusing tension with a sing-along.
Other mothers never shout at their children, never feed them cheese strings, never leave their bed sheets on for five weeks and never harry them from the house so they can read Twitter or send them to school with a temperature so they can catch up on the garden. Other mothers listen raptly to their rambling tales from the school playground and never ever find their children boring.
Guilt at the hours your brood spend on their iPods prompts you to enrol them in drama and t'ai chi. Then, guiltily, you fear you're controlling. If they spurn their spinach and litter their rooms you feel guilt that you've spoiled them. When you demand instant digestion and a spring-clean you feel guilt that you're a nag. Should a teacher declare them talented, you beat yourself up for not having harried them through Homer. If the report shows room for improvement you blame yourself for those years of Enid Blyton.
At night when, well-fed, well-soaped and well read-to, they sleep on their soft-plumped pillows, their follies fade from memory and you recall only your own voice hectoring. And when, infrequently, they tell you you're the best mum in the world, the guilt is worst of all. Because you know that, however hard you strive, you'll never feel you deserve them.
What makes you feel guilty?
Nominations are now open for the Brilliance in Blogging Awards 2013. If you relish the thrill of voting, but are stumped for enough candidates, feel free to use my URL in one of the categories! Should I be shortlisted my 10-year-old will give anyone who voted for me a makeover.