From what I've heard, the pace and degree of difficulty of an LPN program isn't necessarily easier than an RN program. Instead of cramming two tons of information into two years, you're cramming one ton of information into one year. Most programs will have a couple of days a week dedicated to clinical rotations in facilities in addition to lecture time, monstrous reading assignments, studying, class projects and writing care plans
(a learning tool that can take a lot of time to put together depending on the instructor's requirements).
Since you are concerned about time for family, know that full-time nursing school
with a full-load of courses demands a lot of you, regardless of whether it's an LPN or RN program. Some schools
are set up that you can take any non-core nursing courses ahead of time, thus freeing up a bit of time during nursing school. A few schools do offer part-time programs that allow more flexibility. That's about as close you'll get to "kind and gentle" in nursing school since many nursing schools are somewhat akin to bootcamp.
In making your decision, it would probably be a good idea to find out more about the specific programs available to you. Talk to students and former students if possible. What's the schedule like? Is there a lot of work to do at home? Talk to any nurses you might know if they have any information about the different programs (local reputation, etc). If you don't know any nurses, ask friends and family if they know any nurses they could introduce you to.
If all else is equal, then, it might make sense to take the plunge right away and get started with the LPN program. Or maybe you decide to wait a few years for the RN program when your girls will be a bit older.