I stayed at home with my two boys for a little over eight years, after which time I spent two years writing and self-publishing an inspirational book for children. A few months ago I decided that I should perhaps re-enter the job market, be more realistic and get that job like everybody else. I knew there would be a lot of competition to get into a fine organization such as yours and it would possibly be a bit more challenging because of the gap in my CV. But I quickly realized the decision I made to stay home with my children would very much affect how you perceive me.
Maybe you’re not to blame; perhaps you are simply mirroring society’s perception of me. During my time at home with my children, I was no stranger to people thinking a little less of me because of my decision. Sure, there are the ones who thought what I was doing was great, but in social settings, I have had my fair share of people who reacted with the ‘oh,’ not saying much and moving on to more interesting people. Once someone actually turned their back to me and walked away as soon as I said I stayed at home with my kids.
At times I’ve felt a stigma attached to being a stay-at-home mom. Like our IQ is somehow lower or the work we do is not as valuable or as crucial as other things we could be doing with our time. I don’t know what it is exactly but there is something.
I know you want recent work experience (within 2-5 years). I totally get that you need experienced and skilled people for your workplace but let me just say that a lot of stay-at-home moms (and dads) are skilled. I went to university, I have a degree and graduated cum laude. I kicked ass at my last job working for a software company and was even given an award for “outstanding contribution” by the president of the company. I know this might sound a little crazy but I still have all of those skills. My brain didn’t turn to mush while I stayed at home with my kids, I swear. And all the other stay-at-home parents have rock star, mad skills that would be an asset to your company.
We actually don’t lose skills by staying at home. If anything, we develop more skills, like patience. I mean seriously, have you ever been home with a toddler and a baby all day with no breaks, no other adult to talk to, and not even a few seconds to go pee alone? We are talking a full day of full-on care with a dozen diaper changes, three meals, three snacks to prep, never ending dishes, beds to be made, a mountain of laundry so high you could climb it, your name being mentioned every three seconds and your floors so full of cars, Lego, trains, blankets, pillows, food and other stuff that you can’t even see your floors. Staying at home can be super nutty, going an entire day without having a moment to yourself can make you want to hit yourself over the head with any large object just for it to stop for one moment but no, we move on, get through the 956 things that need to get done that day…and do them like a boss. Do you know how much patience, organization, will power, determination and pure awesomeness it takes to stay home with kids? And even with the chaos, we love our kids like crazy. We nurture them, read to them, teach them how to walk and talk and engage them in all kinds of activities.
I would just like to say that in my eight years, not once did I watch a soap opera and chill while eating bonbons. We moms (and dads) who decide to stay at home to care for our children are valuable and should not be dismissed. In our own ways we have contributed to making this world a better place. We might not have contributed to the GDP but we have added value by nurturing the people that will be our (and your) future.
I know our relevant work experience might be a little dated but stay-at-home parents can be assets to any company. I just ask that you look at the whole person. That educated, high achieving and amazingly skilled person is still within us. Open your mind, open your heart and give us a chance. You will not regret it!
P.S. I personally have decided to no longer look for a traditional job. I will continue to pursue my dreams, write more books, give school and corporate presentations and empower people along the way. However, I did want to write this letter for all my stay-at-home peeps out there who might be looking for work in your organization.
P.P.S Even with some challenges associated with finding my place in the world after being a stay-at-home mom, I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life and it will always remain, the most fulfilling work I have ever done. My two boys pictured below…
Josée Lindsay is an author and a speaker. Her mission is to spark the inner greatness that lies within us all. To find out more about her books, meditations and presentations check her out on Facebook and Twitter.