I recently discovered that actress Katherine Heigl and I have a lot in common.
First off, we both reside in Utah. We have both starred in movies. (All right, fine. I have made two cameo appearances.) We are both blondes, married to dark-haired men.
But what surprised me the most was how much we both absolutely adore being stay-at-home mothers.
“I was raised (to believe) that family comes first,” Heigl said in a recent interview with Good Housekeeping magazine, which hits newsstands nationwide Aug. 12.
Singer-songwriter husband Josh Kelley and Heigl adopted a little girl, Naleigh, in 2009. It was after that life-changing event that Heigl said her world was changed.
"I would come home angry and frustrated that I'd missed everything with my kid that day," Heigl told Good Housekeeping about her grueling film schedule for TV's “Grey’s Anatomy.” "I didn't get to wake her up from her nap, or do bath time or bedtime. I'd have to sneak into her room and kiss her when she was sleeping, hoping not to wake her up.”
Heigl decided she needed to take a leave of absence to spend more time with her daughter. And that eventually led to leaving the show permanently in 2010.
"I felt like my priorities were messed up," she said in the article. "I was putting so much time and energy into just my work.”
Now, Heigl spends “glorious” days at home with her two daughters on a ranch near Deer Valley. While she hasn’t completely retired from the Hollywood lifestyle, Heigl is choosing to spend most of her time focusing on family.
I feel a strong sense of pride and wonder hearing that a talented and successful woman such as Katherine Heigl would choose family over fame. It is not an easy choice. Many years ago, I decided to head down that same path when I found out I was expecting my first boy in 2008. I’ve since had two others, and there have been times when I’ve wondered what in the world I was thinking.
And then I sneak into their rooms late at night and walk quietly over to my two oldest curled up in their bunk beds. I notice how my oldest son has lined up all his stuffed animals, perfectly in a row, at the foot of his bed. I laugh quietly at all his favorite toys balanced on the headboard, including Dusty Cropper, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and some rocks he collected from Grandpa Carl’s house in St. George. I crouch down low to the bottom bunk and watch my second oldest dream, his chest moving slowly up and down, a cup of water perched beside him.
And then I creep into my baby’s room — still not decorated — and pat his little bottom that he’s always got sticking up, with his little feet underneath. I stroke his soft cheek and marvel once again at how big he’s gotten, how time goes by so fast and how could I ever want anything more than this — to be here, safe at home, with three boys who adore me?
And the answer is, nothing. In my book, nothing compares to life at home. I love creating, writing, singing, recording — that will always be a big part of what makes me me. But at the end of a crazy, busy day, I am always thinking about my children, and if I did enough for them, if they know how much I love them, if they can sense their utmost importance.
It’s a hard, exhausting, draining, stressful, emotional job.
And I’m praying for a late retirement.
Carmen Rasmusen Herbert is a former "American Idol" contestant who writes about entertainment and family for the Deseret News.