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The Question Women Get Asked in Job Interviews That Men Never Do

Photograph by Twenty20

I haven’t had a traditional job since before I became a mom. When I found out I was pregnant with my first son, I knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. My husband agreed that would be a good fit for our family and we made it work. Over the years I picked up some freelance writing but I still missed being able to go to work everyday and the social interaction of being around other people. So I started looking for a more traditional job. And that's when I was rudely reminded that things are still vastly different for moms and dads in the workplace.

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A while back, I went in for an interview at the place where my husband happens to work. I was approached by his boss about the possibility of a part-time position and decided to go for it. I prepared for the interview and when the day came I went in with my research and most professional looking outfit (because, let’s be honest, as a work-at-home mom I’m not exactly looking my best most days.) I sat down with the head of HR and the interview seemed to be going well.

Why is it that when a woman becomes a mom she gets questions like that thrown at her?

She had some hard questions about how my husband and I would handle working in the same place. How we would deal with the day-to-day and what we would do if one of us were to be let go. But then she asked me something that made my jaw drop and I honestly had to keep myself from rolling my eyes into the back of my head: She asked me what I would do with my children if I were to begin working outside the home.

I seriously doubt she asked my husband the same question when he interviewed for his job.

What did she expect me to say? “Oh, you know, they’ll be fine. They can stay home and take care of themselves.” Obviously I would do what any other working mother does and find suitable childcare arrangements. I’m sure this woman didn’t mean anything by it, but I would think that as a fellow working mom she would know better than to ask such an insensitive question.

Why is it that when a woman becomes a mom she gets questions like that thrown at her? Does anyone expect a man to quit working when he becomes a dad? Does his boss ask him what he will do with the baby and how he will balance his work/home life? But women are apparently asked this question all the time, and sometimes they're even denied a job simply because they're mothers or planning to become mothers.

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I ended up not being hired. I’m not saying that’s the reason why. I could see that the particular job I was interviewing for wouldn’t have been a good fit for me, but that experience certainly left a really bad taste in my mouth. It’s hard enough getting back into the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom for five years, but facing attitudes and questions like that certainly doesn’t make it any easier.

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