Kids don't change. I realized that when I read a story recently about Theresa Grentz from Rutgers University, who was nominated to be the U.S. women's basketball coach for the 1992 Summer Olympics.

Her older son reacted with joy and pride that his mother had been singled out for the honor of a lifetime. Her small son, however, wanted to know, "Am I goin'?"My mind went back to 25 years ago when my typewriter was in my bedroom, resting on a piece of plywood supported on either side by cement blocks. I received a letter from my mentor, Glenn Thompson, then editor of the Dayton (Ohio) Journal Herald, who informed me that at his suggestion, Newsday Syndicate had picked up my column to be distributed throughout the country.

My husband was thrilled for me, the boys were stunned, but my daughter thought a minute and said, "Who's going to drive me to Scouts on Tuesdays?"

You wouldn't believe the guilt that a small human being capable of walking under a coffee table can lay on you. With one look, he can get the candy bar you were saving for yourself or get you to take the bent fork or the egg with the broken yolk.

Parents set themselves up for guilt. From the moment children are born, we elevate them to the center of the universe. Schedules are readjusted, lifestyles change, sacrifices become a way of life. Nothing is going to get in the way of our children's happiness.

We tend to operate under a double standard. If a mother locks herself in the bathroom, reading the morning paper in peace and a child interrupts, she yells through the door, "I'm busy." If she is on the phone talking to an editor and a child demands her attention, she calls the editor back.

If dinner is late because she met Grace in aisle 3 and got to talking, no big deal. If dinner is late because her plane was on the ground at O'Hare, she'd better arrive home with a new Nintendo game as a peace offering.

It has always been. It makes you wonder, if the sons of Sandra Day O'Connor had been small when she was named to the Supreme Court, would they have lamented, "YOU go to Washington! We're not leaving our friends." Were Carol Burnett's daughters ever in tears because their mother hadn't washed their favorite sweater as she was going out the door to make millions laugh? Did the little Kennedy kids hang around the knees of their First Parents as they prepared to leave the White House and whine, "You guys going out again?"

Mother's guilt. Don't even think of leaving home without it.