UPDATED June 13th, 2018 

Moms, do you ever feel unappreciated at home? Maybe you get a grunt instead of a greeting from your husband when he gets home from work. Your kids are screaming for snacks or your baby only wants to be held by Daddy. Even the dog seems to be taking you for granted lately. In fact, it seems like they’d all get along just fine without you.

Don’t despair. I’ve got a solution for any mom who’s questioning her worth in the family dynamic. Try going out of town for a week and you’ll see that the world really does revolve around you!

Unfortunately, I had this experience recently, when I had to leave my home in Italy and fly to the U.S. to be with my father the week he died. It was awful to have to leave my husband and 15-month-old daughter, not only because of the circumstances of my trip, but because I hated the idea of leaving my baby at such a tender age and leaving my husband Paolo with his hands so full. Yes, we have a lot of help—a morning babysitter and my saint of a mother in law—who, between the two of them, took care of Naomi during the week. But evenings and weekends and every night, it was just Paolo, the baby, the dog and the house.

We spoke daily on Skype when it was already night-time in Italy, and Paolo regularly appeared at the end of his rope. He’d complain of having not slept the entire night before. “She cried ‘Mamma!’ all night!” All day long, Naomi would apparently look for me in every room, and say “Mamma!” every time the phone rang. When I spoke to her on Skype video, she seemed calm, but then every night the “Mamma!” cries would start again. Heartbreaking.

So when I came home a week later, physically exhausted and emotionally drained, it was clear that I was missed. I mean, of course, they missed me, but it wasn’t just about emotional longing. There were countless other clues that the house had descended into near-chaos while I was gone. Here are some of the ways I was reminded that everyone needs Mommy!

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