The “motherhood penalty”—where women are punished professionally for taking time to be home with their kids— is real. One study found that mothers had “lower perceived competence and commitment, higher professional expectations, lower likelihood of hiring and promotion, and lower recommended salaries.” Ugh. Motherhood is the hardest job I have ever had, and yet it somehow makes me less qualified as an employee.
I have been a stay-at-home mom for over 10 years and, honestly, the thought of working outside the home again terrifies me. I know I'm capable, but worried that I will be judged for not "working" for so long, even though I’m confident that what I learned during my time as a SAHM would make me a better employee.
Here are just five things I wish I could put on a résumé from my time as a SAHM.
1. Expert at de-escalation and negotiation
Having a toddler will teach you these specialized and highly useful skills. It’s hard to imagine a more irrational and unreasonable person to deal with than a 2- or 3-year-old who was just told no, and these tiny terrors really know how to make a scene. Being a mom and dealing with the irrationality of children can give you the skills to be able to get along with anyone.
2. Works well under harsh conditions
I have learned to work endless hours with almost no breaks and on very little sleep. How many other jobs require that kind of commitment? Motherhood has a way of teaching you what you are made of, pushing you and making you realize that you are stronger than you think.
With any other job, it's acceptable to list the skills you have picked up along the way on a résumé, so why should motherhood be any different?
3. Potty trained three boys
Given the amount of work this entailed, it feels like a huge accomplishment in my life. We often take mothers for granted but they are the ones who are most responsible for teaching little humans to act in a civilized manner, follow rules and function in a society. That's no small feat.
4. Management skills
My husband has often jokes that I'm the house manager, which is actually a fitting title. Running a home, balancing everyone’s schedules, and keeping things running smoothly is way more involved than I ever could have imagined—and has definitely afforded me some management skills.
5. Able to multitask and delegate
Motherhood means wearing many hats and getting it done. It also requires that you learn how to delegate for your own mental well-being. Motherhood makes me feel like I have several tabs open in my brain at all times—and I must figure out what to hold onto and when to let go.
The world would benefit from putting more value into motherhood, and corporations would benefit from hiring them. With any other job, it's acceptable to list the skills you have picked up along the way on a résumé, so why should motherhood be any different?