“Another career gap,” I thought as I judgingly placed the resume on the discard pile.
At the time, I was working part-time as a Human Resource (HR) Assistant while I got my MBA, fully expecting to climb that HR corporate ladder as soon as I graduated.
But then, life. Then a move, a kid, another move, another kid, another move, another kid . . . and so the story goes.
“I’ll just stay at home with my first baby while I finish getting my MBA.”
“I’ll go back to work once we find our place to settle down.”
“My starting salary couldn’t pay for daycare times three. I’ll go back once my third starts kindergarten.”
Let me be clear here: I don’t regret staying at home with my kids for one second.
Those moments of airplane feeding baby food, making crafts, and coaching my girl’s teams—I wouldn’t give them back for the world.
I know how fortunate we are that staying at home with the kids is even a possibility and truly believe being home these past nine years has infinitely more value than lines on the resume.
Still, I think back to how nonchalantly I judged those career gaps before having kids and know my battle to get back to work will be a climb.
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Maybe you’re there, too. Maybe the desire to go back to work has been prodding you stronger and stronger, but you cringe as you think about polishing off the dusty resume you haven’t touched for years.
I hear you, sister. I hear your self-doubt making you hesitate more and more as time passes, thinking you have anything to bring to the corporate table.
But I also want you to hear this . . .
Your job right now is a job worth listing on your resume.
This feeding and homework checking, coaching and volunteering?
IT ALL MATTERS.
Every time you’ve coached shows how you can lead.
Every committee you’ve volunteered on shows how you can work with a team.
I spent 30 minutes in an interview this week sharing how I built a women’s group at church, revamped our school’s fundraiser to 400% growth, and used my soccer experience to coach my daughter’s teams.
And do you know what? Whether I get the job or not, I am all kinds of proud.
If I do get the offer, I’m going to take all the kids to Chuck-E-Cheese or Chick-Fil-A or wherever the heck else they want to go to celebrate and figure out this daycare after school thing like a boss.
But even if I don’t?
I found the right type of position to apply for.
I learned how to ask for the salary I need.
And, most importantly, I’m bringing an experienced interviewing confidence you do not want to mess with to the next job.
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Confidence that every single thing I’ve done as a parent can be both translated into leadership, organization, writing experience, and teamwork and used in the job I’ll land in the future.
What you’re doing right now is not a career gap.
Please, please stop thinking that way.
Instead, list the job you’re doing right now—Loving Mom (and Wife)—on that polished resume. Under that, bullet-point everything you’ve done—Microsoft Office experience, managing marketing for a school event, speaking, leading a committee or study, etc.
And do not for one minute feel ashamed to brag about parenting in an interview.
This job you’re doing?
The incredible ways you’re showing up for your kids have value for them and for you.
If you ever decide to go back to work, do not forget to be proud of the amazing work you’re doing right now.