Mom: 2003-Present

I spent a good chunk of yesterday writing a proposal for a blogging gig I think I’ve decided not to apply for. Then I took the opportunity to update my résumé . When Dan got home, I gave him my daily explanation for why the house looked like… our house… and told him how glad I was that my credentials were in order and looking strong. It feels good to know that I’ve still got it and I could go out and get a job if I wanted to.

He laughed and said, “Are you planning on leaving me or something?” Hrm. No. But then I started thinking. Why was this so important to me?

When I was pregnant with Laylee, I was working on hiring new employees for the library where I worked. We had TONS of résumés from mothers whose kids were older and who were ready to get back into the workforce. I had a hard time choosing a candidate who had a 15-20 year blank spot on their résumé over someone who had been steadily working on education or tangible work-related projects. They just didn’t measure up in my book. At that point I was fairly sure I would quit and stay home after Laylee was born. I was planning to become a SAHM who would one day come back to work and even I didn’t relish the thought of hiring one and breaking her in.

That night I went home and “bawled out my eyes” (as Laylee would say). “No one’s ever going to want to hire me again. I’m going to lose all my skills and credibility. People don’t value motherhood as experience. Wah, wah, wah wah.”

Then I thought about it. Several of those women had been stay-at-home moms but their résumés did not reflect a gaping hole in their lives. Their lives had been filled with community leadership roles, continuing education courses, part time jobs or contract work from home.

It hit me that staying home with my kids did not mean dropping into a black hole for 20 years. I decided that my mission would be to stay current on technology, continue to read, educate myself and engage in projects that could be quantified on paper.

I frequently hear women talk about getting an education or mastering job skills “in case” something happens to their husband or “in case” of divorce.

I say do it in any case. Find something marketable you love to do and learn how to do it well. Take classes online or at a local college. Finish your degree or follow one of your passions and then write it down so that you have credentials ready at a moment’s notice.

Not only will making or keeping yourself employable bring you a sense of pride and security, but it will help you stay confident that you are staying home to mother because you CHOOSE to stay home and not because there’s nothing else you can do. It will remind you that you are married to your husband because you CHOOSE to be and not because you feel trapped or financially dependent on him. I believe it will strengthen your marriage and make you a happier mom.

A healthy dose of independence and the lingering possibility that you could live without your spouse makes it all the more meaningful that you choose not to. Knowing that you are capable and qualified to work outside of your home makes those rough days with your kids more bearable as you tell yourself that you have your choice of careers and you choose to be with them all day because you think it’s valuable and you are frugal and/or fortunate enough to work without pay for a decade or two.

I challenge all you ladies out there to take an hour and really hammer away at your résumés. If you wouldn’t want to hire you, then make one small goal towards changing that. (This is a great exercise even for women currently in the workforce. Prove to yourself that you have options other than your current job and if those options are more appealing, take the plunge!)

I’d really love to hear your thoughts, goals and progress on this.

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