Jennifer Garner with her three kids: Violet, Seraphina and Samuel
Vince Flores/
August 21, 2018 12:45 PM

Jennifer Garner has been enjoying a sting of fun roles lately, but she had a moment of doubt about her career after giving birth to her third child in 2012.

The actress, 46, opened up about deciding to return to work after taking a small break following 6-year-old Samuel’s birth. Garner was married to then-husband Ben Affleck at the time and the two had already welcomed daughters Violet in 2005 and Seraphina in 2009.

“I would have to decide, ‘No I actually do love this job,’ ” Garner told Variety of deciding on roles after becoming a mom.

But the actress took a six-month break after Samuel was born because “three kids just knocks you flat on your ass,” before an phone call with her then-agent of 20 years Patrick Whitesell made her rethink her career.

“Patrick said, ‘Either this is the telephone call about you doing Dallas Buyers Club and how we’re going to make that happen, or it’s a telephone call about your retirement,’” Garner said. “That was a real moment of decision and clarity and I loved him for it because it forced me to say, ‘OK, I am not ready to be home all the time.’ ”

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These days, Garner expertly balances her family life with her career, and has starred in a string of emotionally fulfilling movies like Love, Simon and the Tribes of Palos Verdes.

The star also worked “really hard” for Peppermint, which stars Garner as a self-made killer set to avenge her husband and daughter’s brutal homicide. It marks her return to action, and she attributed her hiatus from the genre to becoming a mother.

“I had done so much action and then I started having babies. It’s hard on your body. So I was pregnant. I was nursing. I was recovering from those things and it took a long time,” she told Extra.

But despite her commanding on-screen presence, her little ones’ perception of the star remains unchanged. “They just want me to come home and be mom,” Garner said.

Peppermint hits theaters September 7.

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