Anyone else out there in the same situation?
You went to college, got a degree, worked for a bit and then gave up the opportunity for a professional career before it even started. You turned it all in for diapers, playdates, scanning the Target circular for the best price this week on Tide and learning to get along with women you have nothing in common with for the sake of your kids’ social schedules? And now, years later, potty training days long gone, days of carpool lines over forever ( Hallelujah) and looking for a career… (Insert politically correct note here: I am writing this from the perspective of a Mom because I am a woman. I know there are men who gave up careers or sacrificed advancement of their careers to be full-time or very involved dads. However, I can only speak to my experience as a mom. I would love to hear from fathers who are experiencing the same rebirth. For now, I wanted to put that out there for equality sake since from here on I will be discussing moms.)
I was a stay at home mom who didn’t really ever stay at home. I volunteered, created my own businesses, learned every skill whichever interested me (cooking, baking, sewing, cake decorating, gardening, refinishing, etc…), volunteered even more ( in hospitals, homeless shelters, schools, synagogues, etc…), hosted food drives, hosted clothing drives, ran half marathons, coordinated school events, tried to motivate others to volunteer… well, you get the point. I did a lot when I was staying home and not working. I haven’t had a “real full-time job” in over 20 years but I did have a job which maybe wasn’t 24 hours a day but I would argue it was 20 hours a day at times. Just because I got to do my job wearing leggings every day doesn’t mean I didn’t have a full-time job. In fact, I would love to find a full-time job in which I could have a Lululemon wardrobe and still be appropriate for the office.
Presently, I am living in a new city, loving my life and wanting to have that career I didn’t have at 25. Is it too late? Some days, I think it is too late. Some days, like yesterday, when I was working a temp job at a press event and realized I was the oldest in the room and watching 20-something women run the show, I get discouraged. I get cranky. I feel the urge to just forget it and accept that I made a choice to be a mom and that excludes me from the chance to live out a dream.
Then I come home to my neighborhood filled with nannies pushing babies and toddlers in strollers. I think about all the women who made the choice to work fulltime and still have kids and somehow make it work. Part of me is very envious. I couldn’t do that. Because of my own childhood issues, I never could have let a nanny take care of my kids. We barely even had babysitters watch our children. It was important to me that I was the one putting on all the band-aids, cutting all the waffles into perfect shapes and changing all those diapers. I made a choice. It was the right choice for me. I am NOT judging or criticizing moms who make different choices. In fact, right now, I am envious. Then the idea of working moms encourages me because I realize it is all about choice.
You get a choice. I get a choice. We all wake up every morning and get a choice. I am making the choice to try even though I am closer to 50 than 40. I am choosing to keep trying. I will not be discouraged when I am the oldest person in the room. I love my age. I love where I am now in life and I don’t want to be that 25-year-old woman. I just want the same chance to prove myself as the 25-year-old woman applying for the same job. I have imagined creating a resume based only on my duties as a mom. I can use examples from Mom-life to demonstrate any skill listed on LinkedIn.
Seriously, when I read most job descriptions, I think every mom I know meets the requirements. The listed skills are ALL used on a daily basis in life with our children. Parents use these skills when working with, their child’s teachers, their child’s friends, their child’s friends’ parents, their doctors and I could write a novel on the skills I used both successfully and unsuccessfully with school administrators.
Here are just a few of the skills necessary for life as a mom ( especially in the toddler and teenage years):
- Project Management
- Attention to Detail
- Ensuring Deadlines and Objectives are met
- Strong Work Ethic
- Positive Attitude
- Good Communication Skills
- Time Management Abilities
- Problem-Solving Skills
- Acting as a Team Player
- Ability to Accept and Learn From Criticism
- and most importantly Determination & Persistence!
This is just the beginning of this discussion. Putting this out there as food for thought and would love to hear from anyone else embarking on this same journey.
I would love to tell you this is the first in a series of posts on the subject but let’s be real, I have resumes to tweak and cover letters to create.