Spending Time Away From My Kids Makes Me a Better Mom

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

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