Spending Time Away From My Kids Makes Me a Better Mom

Mom Moment 23

Confession: I wish I had worked more when my kids were babiesI worked part-time as a college professor when my first child, now 8, was a baby. But then due to my husband's job as a military officer, I decided to quit and stay home with her and our subsequent kids.

And yes, even though it ended up leading to a pretty amazing career as a blogger, writer, and entrepreneur, I was still always with them all the time, cramming in work at naptime and bedtime when I could.

Of course, hindsight is always 20/20, and there are lots of things I'd probably do over, but the big one, which isn't generally the popular opinion, is that I'd work more than I did.

Maybe it's because my kids have been off school for going on almost three weeks and my sitter just returned a few days ago, but it's pretty clear that I am a way better parent when I am not around them all the time.

I look back at all the craziness of being with them 24-7 and I can't even remember the coolest moments because they are all jumbled together. Thank goodness for pictures, though I honestly didn't even take much of those.

Because we were always together and my husband traveled so much, I spent a lot of my time wanting a break, a little peace and quiet, some respite from what was an extremely challenging and lonely existence for me. 

For much of their babydom, I was struggling to keep everything together, and between my own hobby turned work plus keeping the house clean, it was so hectic, so much so that I honestly don't have as many memories of their first years as I would have hoped.

Now that I have a regular work schedule, with older kids in school and my youngest with a sitter for part of the day, I get time to myself -- to work, to run, to breathe -- and so when I get home with them, in the afternoons and evenings, heck even the mornings before school, my attention is solely on them.

And those times they have with me now, which would be less total time together before when I wasn't working, is quality time. Memorable time.

I realize that not everyone can work when they have babies, and that for lots of people, the grass is always greener; maybe if I had worked more, I would be pining to be with them. But I can say that in not being with my kids every minute of the day, it's made me much more appreciative for the time we do have together. And it's allowed me to be a better parent, which is what they need and deserve. Too bad I didn't know this when my kids were babies.

Do you wish you had worked more or less when your kids were babies?

 

Photo via Victor1558/Flickr

baby first year, work, time for mom, back-to-work

23 Comments

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sterl... sterling21

I guess I don't get how you would of had more memories if you were not there? I deeply regret working 50 hours a week when my son was an infant, I missed a lot, his father was at home with him and to this day he still prefers his dad instead of me, he cries when I come home and tells me to leave. You either want to make memories or you don't, if you really wanted to devote quality time with your kids you could have, especially since you were home.

nonmember avatar nicky

It's not that youre a better parent, its that parenting is easier when you get time off from it. The most challenging thing about being a parent is leaening to keep your cool and enjoy your time with these little people who dont understand the world like you do.and need you there to teach them. Id love to get out of the house and have someone else watch my kids so I could feel free again but alas this is what i signed up for when i decided to have kids and i know its not forever. I will never understand people whp.have children just so someone other than family can raise them.

nonmember avatar kaerae

This again? Whomever shuts up first can win.

blunt... bluntcakes

youre damned if you do and youre damned if you dont. this case is totally individual if its worth staying home then stay home if you've gotta work then go to work if at the end of the day you feel like you did the right thing then bravo, sister go you!

ilove... ilovemy4kiddies

I'm the opposite, I'm a better mom cause I did stay home with my kids and still do even though they are in school full time. I work now only when they are in school or when their dad is home but we've never had anyone else raise our kids and we like it that way! I love when my kids are out of school home with us, I look forward to holidays, summer and 3:30 everyday cause then I have them home. I know the same is true for them, they love having me drop them off and pick them up from school every single day. Right now they are my life and one day they will be grown up and gone and then I will have all the alone time I need but for now I just want to spend as much time with them as possible cause that day will get here all too soon. 
To each his own though, I do what I do because I want to. If someone needs time away to regroup to be a better parent then do it! I'm all for being the best parents we can be.  

Rosas... RosasMummy

staying at home works for some but not for others, the end.

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

You're a better mom when you're not being a mom, interesting logic. You just keep telling yourself that if it makes you feel better, I'll just keep raising my own kids.

Anony... AnonyMOUSE715

Why are people bashing her? I do not have kids yet I get her point. She was with them so much the memories became every day things, all jumbled together because there was no time to miss her kids viceaversa!

nonmember avatar Janice

Wow, I thought this forum, Cafemom, was suppose to be a supportive sounding board. I guess I was wrong.
Anyway, I have been all the things a mom can be. I have worked full time, part time and stayed home full time. I can tell all you who are bad mouthing this author, that I too am a better mom when I have a break from my kids. I do not love them any less than any other mom, but not all of us, moms, are meant to stay home full time. Hence the womens movement. It doesn't make me selfish or a bad mom, it shows that I've been there and know what works best for me. Oh and my part time sitter is not raising my kids, she is keeping them safe for me while I'm away earning a living.

jalaz77 jalaz77

Working 3 12 hr shifts a week I perfect for me, I feel the same way. I feel like I get a little break at work. I love what I do, I help others so its rewarding. So to those who say others are raising my kids is so wrong and martyr like behavior. I love my kids they are my world but I knew I wanted a career too, so I feel I have the best of both worlds.

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