Woman lies on bed in front of laptop.


As A Mom Of Three Kids — I Don’t Ever Want to Work Full-Time

Jan 1, 2020

I grew up in the '90s. I was a latchkey kid raised by a hard-working single mother. Starting at around age nine, I woke up every morning, poured myself a bowl of cereal and walked to school by myself. After school I’d watch cartoons and munch on an apple, waiting for my mom to get home and make us dinner. I was extremely independent and self-sufficient, but I was also lonely. I dreamed of a house bursting at the seams with activity, and obsessed over books that featured families full of raucous kids.

"At the beginning of our parenting journey I thought that it was my responsibility to drop everything when our routine was interrupted."

When it came time to have my own family, I was determined to be available as much as possible. It wasn’t easy at first, my husband and I lived in poverty when our oldest was born, but over time I’ve managed to build a part-time career as a journalist and remain available for kid-related interruptions that include sick days, dentist appointments and the recent strike days. Before my husband and I were married, we talked about my desire to be around for after-school chats and the never-ending mid-day appointments. What we didn’t foresee was the challenges of having one income until we started raising our kids.

My flexible work situation is a privilege, as is the opportunity to be around for my three kids whenever they need me. I am able to rely on my husband’s income and my part-time work to pay our bills. I’m also partnered with someone who is supportive, and steps in when I’m not available. At the beginning of our parenting journey, I thought that it was my responsibility to drop everything when our routine was interrupted. Now my husband steps in when I have work I need to do.

This writer opens up about the challenges as a single mom and a constuction electrician. Read that story here.

When I think of my nine-year-old self, I don’t feel that ache or pity I once did. I see the benefits of both being constantly available, but also the positive impact of not being around all the time. I see how hard it was for my mother, who did the best she could with what she had. Being raised as a latchkey kid taught me self-sufficiency and likely has contributed to my ability to run my own business successfully. I’ve had to teach my kids independence, despite the fact that I’m almost always nearby to help them out.

Now that my business has taken off I’ve had to re-evaluate my goals. I briefly considered putting my youngest daughter in daycare full-time, but after months of discussions I realized that I would be sacrificing an important goal of mine. After eight years of parenthood I remain committed to not working full-time. My youngest will soon head off to kindergarten, and I’ll be able to work a few more hours, but I still won’t be working full-time. I know that with three kids in school I’ll have even more opportunities to volunteer in the classroom, adventure out on school field trips, take my kids to the dentist, pediatrician and orthodontist appointments, and stay home to comfort my kids when they’re sick.

Read about a single mother who was in her mid-50's when she lost her job.

Being available to my kids is important to me, and it’s been worth the sacrifices to have the life I want for my family. It’s not for everyone, but it works for us. I’m not sure how long my kids are going to enjoy coming home from school and sitting at the kitchen table to dish about their day with their mom, but for now that’s a highlight for all of us. And when they’re teenagers, I plan to still be here, a warm cup of hot chocolate and some cookies on a plate, ready to hear about their day.

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.

Add New Comment

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.