by Susan Evans
One of my recent clients has spent the last several years as a stay-at-home mom. Her youngest is in the midst of the college application process which has her contemplating what she wants to do after her last child leaves the nest. However, the thought of getting back into the workplace can be a bit overwhelming for any stay-at-home parent. Fears of not being good enough keep popping up alongside doubt and worry. My client expressed her frustrations by talking about her day-to-day activities. After all, who would pay for things like:
- Scheduling family activities?
- Figuring out what to make for dinner?
- Knowing what her son wants for his upcoming birthday party?
In frustration, she looked at me and said, “seriously, who would pay for that?”
Well, actually, a lot of businesses. Scheduling multiple people and coordinating activities amongst a group of people is a skill. Especially when dealing with non-driving teenagers who have a great ability to surprise you with such wonderful moments as, “<Best Friend’s> birthday party is tomorrow night and his mom wants to know if I can come so they can buy tickets to a show”. Yes, you’ve taught them better… or at least you tried. Or what about your husband who has an upcoming potluck (he doesn’t cook) who informs you at 9 pm that he has been assigned to bring a main dish the next morning. Yup, Super Spouse to the rescue yet again.
Of course, no one recognizes these efforts. Kids get participation trophies, but the parents who put all the effort into organizing them don’t. The husband gets told how yummy the dish they brought was, but somehow the appreciation gets lost in translation as he brings home the crockpot encrusted with burned cheese and sets it on the counter to be cleaned.
Yup, motherhood isn’t for sissies. And yet, she’s so grateful for the time she took being home. Like when her son came home upset because he thought a girl liked him only to find out that she went back to her previous boyfriend. Or the thrill of getting a good grade on a project.
So how do you translate these seemingly boring, albeit micro-moments, into a glowing resume that results in someone interested in hiring you?
- Step back and take a look at your day-to-day tasks from a management point of view. From the examples above we see scheduling, flexibility, adaptability, project management, and attention to detail are all part of daily life. You have these skills and more!
- Think about your motivations. Why did you opt to stay at home with your kids? Most likely your answer will center around people service. Being there for the kids and/or freeing your spouse up so they can focus on their career are wonderful attributes. They are soft skills that play into team building. It’s great stuff! Don’t minimize it!
- Think about what you wanted to do before you had kids. This gets to the core of your heart. Is there something inside you that you put on the shelf because the timing wasn’t right. That’s totally ok. Having kids is a season of life, not a life sentence. Start picking up articles on the topics that used to interest you and see if you rekindle an interest.
All this is just the start of the process. If you really want to give your job search, as well as your self-esteem a jumpstart, I’d encourage you to check out the packages Careers offers. I promise you, you will see yourself in an amazing new way. Whether you decide to go back into the workforce or pursue your dreams (or maybe both), know that you are amazingly talented and have gifts that this world needs.