This is a call to revolution; a cry to those whose nine to five is more like a five to nine (as in years. Back to back days and hours. Never ending.)
The stay at home parent.
I recently started to revamp my resume; a preemptive move for a job search, should we actually ever move back to the United States from Japan.
And it struck me as ridiculous that there is no way to quantify the work I have done for the past five years as a parent into something that would make me a desirable candidate for a professional career.
It's almost cliche to mention how under appreciated the stay at home parent really is. And I'm not talking about the fact that I have not eaten a full plate ('Mom! I want a bite of YOURS!') of my own meal, that I chose to cook because it's what I wanted; not because it's something I knew my picky eater would consume. Or about the fact that I have not taken a shower in I don't know how long without a little head popping in to ask a question or share a story or tell me they neeeeeed me rightnowrightnowrightnow. Or that the piles of laundry and dishes and toys and books and craft mess is endless. That's the life of any parent, wheather they work or stay at home.
This is about the fact that there is no apparent way society values the skills you learn, beyond the domestic, when you are a parent.
I am considering rewriting my resume to include skills such as,
- can calmly diffuse multiple heated situations (read: tantrums) while maintaining personal integrity, all while working towards accomplishing a common goal. (i.e. living with any number of little humans who have big feelings and opinions. And by personal integrity I mean sanity and by common goals I mean bed time. If this person isn't manager material, I don't know who is)
- keen sense of anticipating a problem and finding a solution before the other party is wise to any issue at hand (read: any parent at any given time while out of the house. Arsenal of distractions and snacks in the diaper/mom bag are optional. If I were ever need to hire a PR rep or an agent, I would hope they could handle themselves as well as a parent on an outing with a five and two year old)
- facilitated negotiations which lead to a satisfactory and desirable outcome for both parties. (i.e. potty training. I feel like if you can get a toddler to poop in the toilet, you should probably just be handed a law degree)
If during an interview I was asked to describe a difficult work situation/project and how I overcame it, my response NOW would be far different than what it would have been BEFORE I had kids. Also, the response now would be more honest and would involve a whole lot more of my true self than that of my 'before children' self. Of course, a situation/project from work is not likely to mean as much to you as a situation/project with your children. But what you learn about yourself from any situation is what defines you; it is what makes you YOU and what makes YOU the perfect fit for a job. What does it matter if you learned how to manage different types of personalities at the playground rather than a conference room?
But, as it were, you can not apply these sorts of skills to the professional ranks. And so when asked what your career has been for the past several years, you check the box; stay at home parent. And that's all there is room for. No room for the explanation that in raising children, you yourself were raised above and beyond your former self. You learned how to care and how to do things with meaning. Shouldn't those be the qualities an employer is looking for?
I find my self worth in so many things, the last thing I 'need' is a fluffy and fancy resume that would be my ticket into the office to sit in front of the desk to answer the interview questions to get the job; I just wish society found stay at home parents just as worthy.
And so, I am working on my Mom Resume. And, truly and honestly, I will send that bad boy out, cover letter and all, in hopes that someone, somewhere, will find the worth and value in the lady who can simultaneously wipe the rear of one child while breastfeeding the other (all while ordering a pizza over the phone) without loosing her cool.