Going Back to Work After 10 Years At Home

When I began my maternity leave with Lily I had no idea that I'd be home as the primary caregiver for my children for the next decade. And now, ten years after becoming a mom for the first time, I'm working outside the home again.

The kids and I out for ice cream with my work friends
(both girls are wearing shorts from Mini-Cycle and Oli's t-shirt is from them, too!)

We always took me being a stay-at-home-mom one year at a time, so all I knew at the start was that I'd be home for the next 12 months, thanks to the generous maternity leave offered by the Canadian government. I had a double university degree and a job I loved, plus, as an extrovert I enjoyed spending my days with dozens of people in a professional capacity. However, we'd always lived frugally and always wanted several kids in a small span of time, both of which led us to being a one income family and me as the primary caregiver. 

I learned I was pregnant with Oli when Lily was just four months old, so instead of going back to work after my maternity leave ended, I was preparing to give birth again. Without any nearby family to step in, we were raising two babies on our own. Both Brad and I working 40+ hours a week on top of caring for our babies would have been extremely chaotic. Totally possible (and I know it's done all the time), but not what we wanted if we had the choice. My income was missed, but Brad's increased a bit and we weren't spending anything on childcare on top of finding other ways to save money (cloth diapering, buying only used clothing, and living quite simply saved us thousands). 

While I wasn't making money, I was incredibly fulfilled with Motherhood. I loved our comforting routine, the flexibility we had without work or daycare, and being there for every little moment. I loved that I was the main influence in our children's lives and that they too were together all day, forging an incredible bond. And surprisingly, I didn't miss work at all. I've always been ambitious, so when I became a mother my ambition just pivoted to our kids and our home from my previous work.  

Chloe came along less than two years after Oli, completing our family, and for a couple of years we had all three children at home together. It was loud, chaotic, exhausting, and wonderful. Lily started kindergarten at age five and I began taking on writing work and growing this blog to the place where I was accepting sponsorships and collaborations when they felt right for me and my message. Writing and blog work continued for the next five years, as it does today, but that was all working from home and easy to fit in around naps and quiet times. Even when Chloe began kindergarten last year, our schedule was quite full and the kids still needed me a great deal. Adjusting to school in a new language, extra-curriculars, church involvement, volunteering, and keeping our home kept us all busy, and Brad was by then working quite long hours. 

For ten years Brad and I never once questioned our decision for me to pull back professionally and be a full-time homemaker. But as the kids grew and our life settled into a routine, we both began to see time that I could invest outward again. Over the past year we had many discussions about what it would look like for me to take on work outside the home. I wasn't looking to work full time and I wanted evenings and weekends off. Ideally, I'd find something that was precisely when the kids were in school (9-3) and that was a great fit for me personally, lining up with my values. This felt like a unicorn of a job posting and not one I'd likely find, but that's exactly what happened when I was offered a job with Boutique Mini-Cycle

You've read about Boutique Mini-Cycle on the blog, and know I love to shop secondhand and local. Their business model lines up perfectly with things I'm passionate about  - sustainability, thrifting, reusing, capsule wardrobes, and simple design. For those who don't know, Boutique Mini-Cycle is a Montreal-based children's clothing shop that sells sustainably made and high quality brands, as well as secondhand clothing. Their new and used clothes are all beautifully designed and well made (no fast fashion!) and they guarantee to buy back the clothes you buy from them when you're finished with them. The best past was that upon being hired I was given the choice to work as much or as little as I'd like when in the office, so I could coordinate with Brad and the kid's schedules. I now work every Monday (Brad's day off) from 9-4 at Boutique Mini-Cycle taking pictures, organizing and valuing secondhand pieces and then another ten hours from home creating content for their site.  

While it's just part-time, it's been a big shift for our family. I have less time with Brad, missing the whole day that he's off (he works the other six days a week), so we need to be more intentional about guarding our evenings together, but on the plus side, Brad gets more quality time with the kids. I enjoy my work so much that it often feels like a break from regular life (especially the past three months of homeschooling). My colleagues are lovely and the work environment is so positive and stress-free. The added income is a huge bonus too, as we look forward to paying for braces and semi-private highschool in the years to come.

I had initially thought that starting in September when the kids were back at school would be the best time to look for a job, but when I was offered employment during the Pandemic I jumped at the opportunity to be out of the house for a day each week (with social distancing measures in the office, to be sure). I am a homebody and love being with my kids, and for the past ten years I've had no regrets as a stay-at-home-mom, but this new season feels like the perfect fit for our family and I'm so ready to take the next steps. 

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on your new job!!!! This was such a lovely post to read, you and Brad are so good at communicating with each other and supporting each other. I am very happy for you that you landed your "Unicorn" job. I am sure that you will be a huge success, Mini-Cycle have a gem on their hands, I hope that they truly appreciate you.