When you have kids everyone tells you how fantastic and necessary it is to stay home with your kids as long as possible. It’s like you’ll set them up for a life of disappointment if you don’t put your professional life on hold until they are at a minimum school age. If you have the means, then you absolutely must stay home or you are not a very good parent. At least that is what society tells us.

Staying home is a great experience, and I’m happy to have tried it. I am also happy to have it behind me, never to be attempted again. Some people flourish at home with the kids. It is where they are happiest, even with the bad days. Then there are folks like me. We are good parents. Our kids are well rounded and blossom under our care. But we do not have that bone deep satisfaction of our counterparts. Being home is fine, but we aren’t the best parent we can be when we stay home. For us leaving each day to work outside the home leads to a happier household all around.

But it is hard to take that step at throw “the one chance to watch your kids grow up every hour of the day” back in the face of society when others are not afforded the same opportunity. You should cherish the time at home and be happy! When you’re not, it’s just a rough patch. You feel yourself slipping into depression? Just get out more! The answer can’t possibly be that maybe you should work out of the home, right?

When I decided to find outside employment, I felt like a failure. Why couldn’t I be satisfied with my kids all day? Accepting that I am not programmed to love being a stay at home parent was difficult. Everyone told me it’s the greatest thing in the world, so why did I dislike it so much? Acknowledging that my happiness matters as much as the children’s was a tipping point. I could not parent at my best when I wasn’t fundamentally content with my decision to stay home.

I am a failure of a stay-at-home parent and that is perfectly fine. Accepting this has made me a better parent and a happier person. For some people, less time with the kids makes for a stronger household and that is just right.