“The days are long but the years are short.”
That’s an often-shared refrain that many parents exchange as they negotiate life in the thick of the weeds with small children.
Well-intentioned strangers will – unprovoked – remind to you savor each moment because, ‘It all goes so fast.’ Or, ‘You blink and they’re in college.’
But most parents are already acutely aware. And it’s gutting
Most parents could attest to this time-and-space-bending phenomenon because there’s just something about having children that really puts such an incredibly fine point on the preciousness of time.
And that’s exactly what prompted Brittney Pinkerton, a married mother of five young children, to explore her Third Option.
Why did you decide it was time for your Third Option?
“Working virtually allows so many opportunities for my family.
“Before I joined BELAY, I missed some special moments when my oldest kids were little. I worked a lot of hours in a very tough environment away from my kids. I missed class parties so I could make it to corporate meetings.
“I was so stressed that my kids didn't get the best version of me at times. Since joining BELAY in March 2015, I have been able to be there and be present for my kids without missing many moments in my kids' lives. They understand I work hard for a purpose because they see it play out in front of their eyes.
“But don’t get me wrong: The struggle is still real at times. I still find myself working when I should already have dinner on the table some nights, but I also find myself in pajamas at lunchtime some days, too.
“The greatest gift of my Third Option, however, is that my children know if they need me, I'm just a phone call away.”
Beyond family, what did The Third Option provide you?
“Being ‘just’ a stay-at-home mom was really hard for me.
“While I dreamed of being a stay-at-home mom, there was something missing. But I knew I didn’t want to go back to a full-time office position again.
“I had worked remotely as a consultant, so I knew doing some sort of virtual work would allow me to still be the kind of mom I wanted to be while giving me a chance to use and develop my professional skills.”
That’s incredible – to recognize what you needed to do to be the kind of mother you wanted to be while still finding a way to not forget that you, too, are an individual with important needs and goals. That sets an amazing example for your children. What’s the most important lesson you want your children to learn from your example?
“I felt it was really important for my kids to see work ethic played out in front of them.
“My husband grew up on a farm where he got to go to work with his family from a young age. He has always been a hard worker and had a great work ethic. When he made a career switch, his primary concern was that the kids would not be able to witness work ethic firsthand like he did.
“And now, in a small way, my kids get to see that through me. My constant goal is for them to see me demonstrate a balance of priorities by working when I need to for the reasons I need to, but also stopping and just being present in their lives, too.”
As a mother of five small children, I won’t bother asking about ‘free time’ because I don’t want you to fall out of your chair. So who do you spend time with and what do you like to do when you're not working?
“With five kids, I spend my free time enjoying them and doing a variety of things as a family.
“We love being outside and keeping it simple. We have as much fun laying in the grass trying to figure out which animal the clouds look like as we do on elaborate outings.
“I love spending time getting to be ‘Mommy’ and getting all the ‘Mommy’ cuddles and kisses. Aside from that, we are working on an addition to our house and doing a lot of the work ourselves.
“It’s a fun project we all get to do together, but I don't know if we’ll ever finish because I have too many Pinterest pins to ever really finish the house! So, I guess add my Pinterest addiction to my list of hobbies as well!
What do you love most about your job?
“I love getting to serve churches. It helps me find that balance I want to achieve.
“I don't work typical hours all the time, and some days I spend a chunk of my day volunteering at the school – and my clients respect that. In return, I love getting to help them do more than just having a set of good books. I love knowing my clients’ goals as a congregation and helping align their finances with those goals.
“My favorite engagements are the ones where I feel like I have a better understanding of them than just knowing the numbers.”
What do you think you brought to the table from your past experiences?
“I had worked remotely before as a consultant, so I was familiar with the virtual environment.
“I knew that my clients are trusting me without being able to see me sitting at a desk every day, but they are paying me in spite of that, so I have to build trust with them from the onset.
“Communication is important. Transparency is important. They have to know early on that we are on the same team and we are working together. So I know to really focus on those things first to help build a strong foundation as the engagement progresses.”
What makes you excited to get up tomorrow and do it again?
“I love that I get to do what I love this way. I get excited when people ask me what I do because I love getting to brag on how awesome my job is; I’m borderline evangelical about it.
“Whether it’s sharing it as an option to a business owner or sharing it as an option to someone needing a change in their career, I love people knowing about BELAY. The best thing, though, is having clients that I feel are basically part of my family.
“I know they’re there for me if I ever need them, and they know I'm there for them if they ever need me. We've prayed together, cried together, and laughed together. I am blessed to get to serve them, so I get excited that – at the very least – they trust me to do just that.
“BELAY allows for the ebb and flow of life without a complete career change, and I love that.”
It’s Your Turn
If you’d like to follow in Brittney’s footsteps and explore what The Third Option looks like for you, visit our jobs page to see what opportunities are available.