Last Friday, I accepted a new job, and I'm pretty stoked. Mainly because I've only been out of work for a month and haven't really been looking yet, but a former co-worker is bringing me on to her company, proving that once again, life is all about who you know.
Another reason this is exciting, other than ALL OF THE BENJAMINS #1997, is that despite being a stay-at-home-mom on and off for 5 years, I keep getting jobs AND the jobs keep growing in status. Now, I'm not a CEO or even a VP or any other acronym, and there are plenty of mid-to-late-30s folks that are WAY higher up the career ladder than I am. But considering how many times we are told, as women, that if we leave the workforce to hang with our kids for a minute, we are basically worthless, I'm pretty stoked.
My career path has been bumpy, to say the least. I can't seem to make up my damn mind what it is exactly I'm supposed to be doing. Since my 20s, I haven't made any real forward progress in any one position. I've switched fields. Been a victim of the recession. Popped out some offspring. Had a job that was a real stinker. But despite my lack of longevity at any one particular place, I'm proof positive that staying home with your kids isn't a career killer.
I understand the fear of having holes in a resume. But I also have a hard time believing in this day and age that most people don't have them for some reason or another. Maybe you went back to school. Maybe your company shut down. Maybe you were living in a fox hole in Iraq. There are LOTS OF REASONS to be out of work for a while. But that doesn't have to mean you weren't learning or growing during that time.
Which is why I include my time as a SAHM on my resume. Yep, I list it as the time I was CEO of my household. It's partially tongue-in-cheek, but it's also because the time I spent at home, managing my household and kids has value, dammit, and I want credit for that just like from any other job.
Look, I'm not one of those moms that goes around saying how motherhood is the hardest job in the world or touting how much we *would* make in a year if we were actually paid for our job, because honestly, it's not a job. It's a lifestyle choice to be a parent, one that millions of people make every day, since always. You can be a parent and work. You can be a parent and not work. Parenting is a role we play. But that doesn't mean that that role doesn't change who we are or how we live, and that's why I include it on my resume.
Before I was a SAHM, I was a deadline-obsessed, last-minute-everything mess. Always running five minutes behind, never prepared if anything changed. Having kids means you learn FAST how to be ready early, be prepared for EVERYTHING and always be able to go with the flow. As a SAHP (yes, parent. I see you, dads.), you multi-task all day long. And you can't cuss freely while doing it. (So I'm told.) I had to learn to stay on a much tighter budget. I've learned about the best way to get the pee smell out of things, which is really an under-appreciated skill, IMO.
So no, I don't want a pat on the back for these things, because I signed on for it. But I'll be damned if I won't take credit for it on my resume.
A resume is our place to sell ourselves to a potential employer, right? These skills I've learned as a Sesame Street-watching mom of two insane boys have made me a better employee, I KNOW. So rather than apologize for the gaps, I flaunt them. I acknowledge them and don't allow my time as a parent to my kids to be a reason I shouldn't be hired.