When I dusted off my resume last year, with the daunting task of updating it with “what I’ve done” during my stay-at-home-mom years, someone said to me, “Just don’t put ‘Mom’ on your resume.” At first, I was horribly insulted. What kind of a lame person did he think I was to consider such a thing? Then I was insulted again! I have learned so much as a mom and—despite the fact that it has made me a much better person to employ—none of it will ever get any respect from anyone in charge of hiring anywhere. It’s the hardest job (that we know!), but it also teaches you more about working hard and fast and smart. More than any other job I’ve ever held.
Since I’ll never actually put any of my many mom skills on an actual back-to-paid-work resume, I’ll share here the list of “skills” I wish I could include:
1. Strategic Planning—Quiz: Your husband is putting the baby down for nap, do you finally take that shower you’ve been planning for days? No! It’s quiet—type now, shower when naptime is over.
2. Executive Function—Apparently, I am in charge.
3. Prioritization & Decision Making—I have never made so many decisions in my life. And whenever my careful planning is met with resistance (all day long), I ask myself, “Does this really need to happen? Is this really important?” What if no one gets a bath tonight? What if my sick kid only eats ice cream today? Would I rather get groceries with two kids today or spend my alone time with a shopping cart this weekend?
4. Building Strategic Networks—Hopefully, we can all agree that It-Takes-a-Village, but… How do you find your village? No one does it for you!
5. Change Management—If you’re going through a tough time, rest assured it will pass. Things looking nice and calm and steady? This too shall pass. Change is the only sure thing.
6. Community & Stakeholder Engagement—If you can make doing laundry and errands sound exciting to a toddler, you can get anyone on board for anything.
7. Risk Management— This one may be the most important skill a parent can learn and is a particularly hard one for me. I know I need to give them enough space to make mistakes, to get hurt, but knowing when they’re ready and making sure they have everything they need to succeed… Not easy to know when to let go of the back of the bike, but these are everyday decisions for parents.
8. Relationship Management—You can’t call a big meeting and take care of everyone at once. It’s all about one-on-one contact. With your kids. Individually. With your spouse. Alone, outside of the home. Yourself. Alone, at home. Not to mention friends, co-workers, extended family. You’re going to need a calendar.
9. Flexibility—Not talking yoga here, though that helps with all kinds of flexibility. Not one single plan ever goes the way you actually plan, but you know how to bend yourself into a pretzel to make it work for everyone.
10. Accountability—Ain’t no one else to blame (or claim credit).