A mother works while her child gets close to her laptop screen


After Nine Years, I Can Proudly Say I’ve Found A Career Outside of Parenting

May 25, 2021

A typical morning in my home includes making breakfast and lunch for myself and my three kids, dropping my youngest off at daycare, walking the dog and quickly tossing on some kind of work-appropriate attire. By the time 8:30 a.m. rolls around I’ve folded down the secretary desk in our dining room and I’m logging on to my work laptop, ready to start the day of my corporate marketing job.

I started working full-time in early January, while in lockdown with my three daughters and my husband (who is also working full-time). After spending the first eight years of motherhood mostly at home, working very part-time as a freelance writer, I knew that I was ready to start my career and commit to a full-time schedule. I’d pushed aside my career for almost a year while I took care of the kids and my husband continued to work, but I knew that I needed to finally forge my own way in the world.

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Being able to work from home has mostly been an added benefit, since I eliminate commute times and I’m able to easily switch out of work mode and into mom mode. During quarantine this has been especially important. My third grader will often sit a few feet away during her class Zoom calls while I complete work tasks, and she'll sometimes sit through my own Zoom work meetings.

It’s definitely not always easy.

I get interrupted, and sometimes it feels too overwhelming to work-life balance when the lines of work and life are so blurred.

"We would have been financially stable, we may have been able to buy a house faster and I might have felt more fulfilled."

Still, I wouldn’t give it up for the world. I love working full-time, and I’m so glad that I jumped in with both feet even if the timing wasn’t ideal.

Every morning I feel fresh-faced and excited, eager to tackle new projects, excited about interacting with other team members (even if it is virtual). I don’t regret spending nearly a decade raising my three little ones, but I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to embrace this new role in my life.

Sometimes I do wonder how different life may have been if I believed in myself a few years ago and re-entered the workplace sooner. We would have been financially stable, we may have been able to buy a house faster and I might have felt more fulfilled. I try not to dwell on my feelings for too long, because I know that being home for those foundational years were important to me.

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Now that I work full-time though I do feel more myself than I’ve felt in many years. I’ve tapped into my ambition and creativity in a way I wasn’t able to before. I’ve unlocked something inside of me that feels like fresh motivation, and it spills out into my home and interactions with my kids. Because we’re all home together, co-existing in this space that contains so many of our different roles — student, parent, child, employee — it also feels like I’ve brought my family along on my career journey.

I see my kids quietly observing while I present my ideas and thoughts in a meeting, or watch me type away while they read nearby. They’re watching their mother grow into this different version of herself, and seeing me as someone else outside of mom. Working from home has given us this opportunity to see each other in a different light, and I hope we carry these observations with us.

For me, returning to the workplace helped to unlock all the different parts of me — a missing piece of the puzzle that helped to create a more complete picture of who I am.

Article Author Brianna Bell
Brianna Bell

Read more from Brianna here.

Brianna Bell is a writer and journalist based in Guelph, Ontario. She has written for many online and print publications, including The Globe & Mail, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

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