It’s not uncommon in the American culture for new acquaintances to first ask your name, and secondly, what it is that you “do”. We have this obsession with people’s careers, perhaps so we can pinpoint exactly how we measure up in the rat race of life. Knowing what someone “does” with their day helps us to associate the types of stereotypes that we want to with their career, as well as what type of lifestyle they probably have, based on their estimated salary. Even if unintentional, even if not monetarily focused, we like to ask to get a grasp of what their day looks like- generally to help us feel better about our life. “So and so is a lawyer and his wife is a doctor, sure they have a huge house and four nice cars, but they NEVER see their kids!” “So and so stays at home, and they only have one kid- she must be a bored, and her husband must force her to do all the chores”.
So when the the second question gets asked to a stay at home mom, the conversation can get pretty awkward.
“I stay home with the kids.”
“Oh so you don’t have a job?” or “What do you DO all day”
Correction: I have all the jobs. I get no sick time. I get no coffee breaks, or weekend relief. I have a list of things to do, and nothing ever gets done because it all restarts the next day.
More often than not, though, the response is “nope, just taking care of the kids and the house.”
This mentality can often lead to reduced job opportunities when the SAHM decides to reenter the workplace. It would seemingly be that the days of multitasking, patience, and conflict resolution are not enough to fill a resume, and therefore, stay at home moms are now expected to offer other qualities and non work, work experience as well: volunteering and other unpaid jobs to cover up the “eye sore” of a gap that the other unpaid job is leaving.
Like you’re not busy enough
So for the SAHM who is looking at reentering the workplace, while attempting to juggle mom guilt, three different dinners because the toddler decided they didn’t like mac and cheese today, in addition to trying to count calories and run miles to achieve mom abs — here are a few ideas to give yourself some resume worthy attributes:
- Learn about software, computer, and internet advancements since leaving the workforce
- Career certifications that can be accomplished at home.
- Look for other Mom related fields that will make a transition a little easier
- Mom and kid friendly volunteer work
Love on yourself
Stand up for yourself. When someone says “oh so you don’t work” correct them! Recent data indicates that stay at home moms have increased in the US to 5 million, which is about 24% of married couple families with a stay at home mom. And give it up for the increase in stay at home dads, rising to nearly 2 million in the United States. Do not allow others to demean the hard work it takes to stay at home while not going crazy. If doing extra work outside the home, paid or unpaid makes you feel better- good go for it, if not, don’t. If you plan to reenter the workforce it’s important to keep your skill set up to date, but that doesn’t have to be time where you leave the kids- often times they can be accomplished at home, or can include the kids!
[tweetthis]If you’re a new #SAHM and miss the outside world, these tips can help you.[/tweetthis]
Lauren Penrod is expecting her first child in November, after many years of studying early developmental psychology. She was born and raised in Boise, Idaho, and loves her big little city. Visit her @lauren_penrod.