Consider this: if you're a stay-at-home mom, then every day is Bring Your Kids to Work Day.
Unfortunately, my professional work ethic came with me. I tackled all of my homemaking responsibilities as if they were assignments with deadlines. Some mothers glide through the duties of child-rearing, serenely able to ignore dust bunnies while they help their kids finger-paint the sofa. Not me. In my hands, my new job description was less "full-time mommy" than it was "domestic engineer."
Furthermore, all those precious moments with my children I thought I would gain by being home 24/7 were routinely usurped by the phone, the dryer timer, the cable repair guy, and meal preparation. I don't know about your kids, but mine eat three times a day! It's like, no sooner have I cleaned up from one meal than it's time to start the next one.
Then one day last month, I discovered another option, quite incidentally. I had the opportunity to take a trip alone with my youngest daughter for her birthday. Believe me, I struggled with the decision to leave the pets, the laundry, and my oldest daughter in the hands of my husband. But somewhere within my highly regimented brain, the sole neuron in charge of spontaneity managed to shout down all the workaholic neurons -- and I booked the flight.
For four days, we explored New York City. For four wonderful days, my only questions to my daughter were along the lines of "What do you want to do next?" and "Was eating all that chocolate as much fun as you expected?" Never once did a dirty dish or unanswered e-mail cross my mind.
In short, I found that the best way for a "working" mother like me to spend quality time with her kids is to get them away from the "office" ... the farther away, the better.
Be on the lookout for my daughter's blog, "Four Days in Hell: I Had to Spend my Birthday with my Mother!"