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Katherine Heigl on Being a Working Mom: ‘My Priorities Were Messed Up’

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Katherine Heigl vented some of her frustrations about being a working mom in an interview in the September issue of Good Housekeeping.

“I felt like my priorities were messed up,” Heigl said of the period when she was shooting movies, the ABC show Grey’s Anatomy and trying to raise her young daughter all at once. “I was putting so much time and energy into just my work, but I was raised [to believe] that family comes first.”

Heigl and her husband, musician Josh Kelley, adopted their daughter Naleigh from South Korea in 2009. The adoption process can be long and complicated, and Naleigh arrived earlier than the couple expected, just as Katherine was beginning to shoot a movie for three months in Atlanta.

“I would come home angry and frustrated that I’d missed everything with my kid that day,” she says. “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 to take a leave from Grey’s and then soon after permanently quit the show. She and her husband adopted another daughter, Adalaide, from Louisiana in 2012, at which point Heigl was staying at home in Utah full-time with the exception of a few short movie shoots.

“We had big dreams of expanding our family, moving to the mountains and having a quieter life,” Heigl says.

Heigl is now back at work: she will return to TV this fall as the star of NBC’s State of Affairs.

[Good Housekeeping]

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Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com