"I would come home angry and frustrated that I'd missed everything with my kid that day," Heigl tells the September issue of Good Housekeeping. "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."
Eventually, Heigl's demanding work schedule, which required hours on location in Atlanta, took a backseat. She took a break from Grey's Anatomy and then left the show for good.
"I felt like my priorities were messed up," Heigl says. "I was putting so much time and energy into just my work, but I was raised [to believe] that family comes first."
But it looks like the decision to switch to full-time motherhood was a good one for Heigl. She and Kelley adopted their second daughter, Adelaide, from Louisiana in 2012.
"Naleigh would go off to her ballet classes and other stuff, and I would sit with the baby at home," she says. "I would read, and she would lie on my chest, and we'd lie on the couch with, like, four dogs and watch Friday Night Lights."
But only when Naleigh was out of the house, Heigl adds — big sister had her own ideas about caring for the new baby.
"We brought her home and right away Naleigh was like a little mommy," Heigl says. "She'd say, 'No, no. You're not holding her right.' Or, 'She needs to eat again.' I'd be like, 'Would you back off? Just give me a minute!'"
Heigl will return to NBC's State of Affairs this fall, but for now, she's just relishing being a full-time mom at her family's home in Utah.
"We had big dreams of expanding our family, moving to the mountains and having a quieter life," she says. "Utah is spectacularly beautiful, the people are wonderful and kind, it's an easy commute from L.A. — and there's no traffic!"
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