It happens to many of us. You’re in the throes of your career, achieving accolades and landing promotions. Then, you have a baby—and your world stops. Even if you want to go back to work, you miss your child. But you might not want to quit the career you’ve worked so hard to build, either.

In the Parents Magazine YouTube video above (“After Baby: How I Found Flexibility At Work“), Kristy, a working mother of three, tells her story of how she found work-life balance. Kristy gave birth to twins 9 weeks early and had to have an emergency C-section. After the babies left the NICU, she was home with them for only two months, but then had to decide if she was going back to work or not. She returned to work, but not before researching her child care options. Putting two babies into daycare was going to be cost prohibitive, so Kristy found a nanny to watch her babies instead.

But she was miserable. Gone all day, she would come home to find that her twins were already asleep. When her nanny unexpectedly quit, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Kristy, who then decided to stay at home. “I just realized more and more that I wanted to be the one at home with them,” says Kristy. “I wanted to be the one seeing all of their developmental changes and growth.” Plus, she wanted to get to know them in a way that she wasn’t able to do working full-time in an office.

Being home wasn’t all that Kristy imagined it would be, though. She missed work and without a schedule, the hours were just endless. So Kristy tapped into her work experience as a Human Resources professional and launched her business as as HR consultant for small companies that didn’t have an in-house HR professional. Her business eventually transitioned into recruitment and now Kristy has her own executive search firm. It’s something that she can do flexibly from home—and she finally has her balance. “You have to be really creative,” advises Kristy. “You just have to be open to however your life evolves.” For Kristy, that meant starting her own business.

But not every person with work-from-home aspirations should have to become a business owner in order to experience work flexibility. That’s why it’s critical we expand access to telecommuting, part-time, and job-sharing opportunities to ensure parents can earn a paycheck and still be home with their children, too. Flexible work gives working parents—and anyone desiring work-life balance—the ability to have the best of both worlds.

photo credit: istockphoto.com