08/31/2011 11:23 am ET | Updated Oct 31, 2011

What Is Your Greatest Regret?

By Michelle Gerdes on The Juggle

Many of us have made a juggling choice that, in retrospect, we regret. In my bid to banish mommy guilt, I try to take those cringe-worthy decisions in stride and chalk them up to a learning experience. But there is one regret I can’t shake, one that predates mommyhood: skipping grad school.

Why didn’t I go back to school in the B.C. (before children) era? For one, I always felt there could be a better time: I’d go back part time after the move, after I settled into the new job, once I had a shorter commute. In hindsight, all of these reasons seem trite and pale in comparison to my current situation: two kids under three, a crazy commute, a new job, and a beloved husband who deserve some of my attention, too! I had always intended on going back to school and regret not taking the time to do so when I had so much less to juggle.

Most people, however, cite a misstep in the love department as their biggest regret, according to a recent study from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The study, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, called 370 adult Americans at random and asked them to report one salient regret in life. Men were more likely to mention a work regret, whereas women were more likely to mention a regret related to love. Nevertheless, when all were combined, regrets involving romance were the most common (18%), followed by family (16%), education (13%), career (12%), finance (10%) and parenting (9%).
Keep reading...