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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Occupation: Mom?

Recently, my husband and I have found ourselves in a situation much like many other American's right now. Out of a job, in debt, and about to lose our home. I can't throw myself a pity party because I know that a vast majority of the people reading this are experiencing the same thing. I wish I could say knowing that we were all suffering together offered us some comfort, but all it does is make us feel bad for one another...and then realize we are competing for all the same jobs.

I haven't worked since I was put on bed rest with our first son sometime in my second trimester. That was four years ago. I was great at my job and made a decent paycheck for a girl with no degree. I had only life experience and  work experience. I was just 24 when I was given the job and only weeks away from marrying my husband. I had landed a wonderful job at that point in life when nothing but possibilities lie ahead and no one or nothing has had a chance to shatter the illusion yet.

My husband and I continued our daily grind for a few years, graduating from a shoe box apartment to a slightly larger duplex in the outskirts of a more affluent neighborhood. We had been trying, unsuccessfully, to start our little family and this home was a great place to keep trying. We must have sensed it because not even a month after moving into our new place, we became pregnant. It was a very exciting time. All mothers remember what it felt like the first time they discovered they were going to have a baby. It is a feeling you can never fully recapture again, no matter how many children you may have later in life. There is just something magical about the first born child. Anyone who says any differently just doesn't want their other children to find out.

Since it was a small challenge for us to become pregnant, of course it would make sense that this stubborn fetus I was carrying around wasn't going to make the pregnancy easy either. After a series of complications, I was put on full bed rest until I reached term and that was the end of my working days.

I stayed home with my oldest son, enjoying my role as a stay at home mom. We had faced a few financial hardships with only one income but we felt it was worth the sacrifice to be able to have one of us home raising our son.

Just after his second birthday in October, the baby bug bit me. Those damn bugs bite hard! By Christmas I was pregnant with son number two. Complications were much more dangerous this time around and we struggled to afford my constant care and finding care for our oldest son.

After our second little trouble maker was born, we had no intention of me going back to work. We were to broke to survive well on one income but we were also to broke to afford day care for two children. Since life never goes as planned, I had two minor surgeries in the three months postpartum and had a very difficult time recovering from one in particular. This sounds like a great time for my husband to get laid off, don't you think?

So here we are, up at midnight for the countless night in a row, applying for jobs and getting nothing in return. Today we realized, if we were going to keep a roof over our heads, we were going to need to see if I was "hireable" as well. It's a long shot, but a parent will stop at nothing to find a way to provide for their children.

Since it has been four years since I left the workplace, it would be a grave understatement to say my resume needed some fine tuning. I included my work history, skill set, and other qualifications and sent it off to my Aunt for review. As a hiring manager herself, she has been helping my husband and I make our resumes as top notch as they can be.

My resume looked great....except for the giant gaping hole that has been my life as a stay at home mother. She wanted to include my time at home with my boys somehow, but that was the question. How do you include motherhood on a resume? Lifelong job, pays nothing, work weekends, holidays, nights, and even in your sleep. No vacation, sick time, insurance, or 401k. My bosses would love to write my a letter of recommendation but one still sleeps in a crib and the other can't even spell his name. 

I researched a little bit and there doesn't seem to be a very clear cut answer. I noticed the most common method was to include a sentence about being on a work hiatus for motherhood in the cover letter, but not all applications require one.

Should being a full time stay at home mom be listed under job history or other qualifications? Or does it simply have no place on a resume?

In the end, I added subtle information about being a stay at home mother and left it at that. If they wanted to know why I dropped off the face of the workforce planet, they could ask me in the interview that I am holding my breath I get.

In the meantime, I would love to hear what other mothers, working and stay at home, have to think about this topic. Do you believe we should be able to include our work as mothers on a resume or is this just another one of the sacrifices mothers make?


  1. I definitely think it should be included. Whether employers take any consideration into it is obviously up to them, but I believe the work that mothers do trumps most 40 hour work weeks hands down.

  2. Where do you believe a mother's work should be included? A resume or a cover letter? If you think it should go on the resume, how would you list it? I agree that being a mother makes an employee better. In the past, the concern with hiring a mother was how much time she would take off to care for a sick child or that she would not be able to put in overtime since she had a child to care for. However, I think that the qualities it takes to be a good mother are very similar to those of a good employee. We are used to working hard with very little praise. We have to work under every situation imaginable and always keep our cool. To me, there is no end to the types of work a mother does and a mother is always growing and learning.