I don't want to offend anyone, but this has been on my mind lately. I keep wondering if there are other moms out there who feel the same way I do. I love my kids. I love being a mom. But I am not the best baby/toddler mom. Before I got married, before I even graduated from college, I knew I wanted to stay home with my kids when they were little, but I also knew that I wanted to work or do something other then just being a mom. I hope that phrase isn't offensive. "Just being a mom." I have heard women say that before when they introduce themselves: "I'm just a mom." And I know that is the most important thing I can do and will ever do, but I wanted to be able to do more because I knew that one day my kids would all be at school and I would be left home alone. I always had a plan that once my kids were in school all day I would substitute teach. And now I do. And I love it. And I noticed something when I started working again. I was happy. I felt smart and like I was contributing to my community. I like eating lunch in the teachers' lounge and having other grown ups to talk to. I got all giddy and excited when I got my first paycheck in the mail. I felt like I was doing something good for myself and my family. I have always known that I am not the best baby/toddler/little-kid-under-the-age-of-4-Mom. The older my kids get, the more I like being a mom. I didn't NOT like being home with my kids when they were little, but it's not something I would want to go back and do again. It was not my favorite stage in life. I knew I wanted kids and I knew I wanted to be a mom, but I also knew that my personality and my talents were better for older kids. And now that my kids are older and now that I can work because they are all in school I am a happier person and a happier mom. I am a better mom because I get to work. I get to do something for me and not just do for everyone else. I get to go out and be with lots of other people for the day and not just be confined to my little house. I know there are lots of women out there who love having babies and little ones home with them. That is awesome for them. That is so great that they love that stage of motherhood. But I didn't necessarily love it. There were definitely great moments during those stages of my kids' lives. I have very fond memories of my kids when they were little and I did enjoy them when they were babies and toddlers. But I am so glad for new stages and new opportunities. Yes, I made the choice to be a stay-home mom and I am grateful I was able to do that. I think it was important. But I am also grateful that I now have the opportunity to work. I look at my friends who worked while their kids were young (and the ones who are doing it now) and I applaud them. They are awesome. They do an amazing job balancing everything and they are amazing mothers. And my friends who don't want to work and who love being homemakers - you're awesome too! I sometimes wish I could be more like that. I love how we're all different, how we all mother in different ways and have different strengths when it comes to raising our kids. No one is right and no one is wrong. We all do what is best for us and our families. And on the days I get to work and see my kids in the halls at school (or better yet, be their teacher for the day) I feel so lucky. I feel like I have the best of both worlds.