Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The "Mom" Resumé

Ah, yes, I can virtually see the rolling eyes. Mom's don't have resumés! I've seen many evening-news specials on the trials of stay-at-home moms trying to get back into the workforce. They just don't have the skill set or the recent job history to make a smooth transition. If you're like me, it makes me flustered to hear mothers talked about this way. I don't say that because I am a mom but because I know all the work my mother put in for me and my brothers (though we didn't always reciprocate her efforts or love... sorry, mom. I'm getting what I deserved now). We need to stop seeing stay-at-home moms as victims. We can gain and use skills that are also used in the business arena.

I am happy that my initial intentions for a post are usually visible but also how readers glean other tips and ideas. I call those the "Almost on Purpose" ideas. At any rate, my initial desire for this post is for the following areas:
  1. The person who does not see how a stay-at-home mom has valuable skills outside the home.
  2. The woman struggling to decide whether or not to be a stay-at-hom mom because you'd just be too bored.
  3. The woman who is already a stay-at-home mom that doesn't see her value
This "Mom" Resumé idea has taken so much longer to develop than I had expected. Here's my premise: Stay-at-home moms should not feel like their "at home" time should be a blank spot on their resumé. To me, being a stay-at-home mom can be a valid career choice (though not lucrative, in monetary terms). For those moms want to go back to the workforce after kids are school, that's cool, too. I just want to encourage moms that the things you do at home and in your community are WORTH putting on a resumé. You DO have valuable skills to offer your family and others. 
    As always (whether or not you want it), here's some background. It's two stories, actually. During my pursuit to be a full-time stay-at-home mom, I met this amazing lady at my work. She was what I wanted to be, if I couldn't be a stay-at-home mom. She was organized, commanded attention, and was very kind all at the same time. For some reason, I shared with her my desire to be a stay-at-home mom. She did not look at me with disgust but with bright eyes. Until now, I did not realize that she was a stay-at-home mom until a few months ago. Her son was three and was starting a part-time preschool. She was approached to work on a project at our company and decided that this was a good time to get back in. Wow! An easy transition back into the work place? I had to hear more. She explained that being a stay-at-home mom gave her more opportunities to be involved in her community. Plus, it was been an opportunity to teach her son about helping others. These tasks could be helping at the library, joining a PTA group, being involved at church. In my desire to be a stay-at-home mom, I had not even seen that far into the future.

    Next, I was thinking about the time that Mom had to go back to work while all four of us kids were in school. Paying for private school for 4 kids, insurance for 2 teenage drivers, and a daughter in nightly ballet classes was NOT cheap. At any rate, Mom set out to find some part-time work. She found work as at a CPA firm. My Mom is one of the most amazing women I've ever known. She can make anyone feel completely at ease and share any problems or worries with her without fear of judgment -- a true example of God's love. At any rate, she shared with many of the women that she had been a stay-at-home mom for 17 years. Some of them balked at that. They couldn't imagine being home all day. It just had to be boring. Plus, they didn't think they could afford it. After some discussion, several realized that their income was almost solely going to cover the cost of childcare. Ouch! Slowly, they started to realize that they might like to be the one raising their children, rather than paying someone else to do so. Her conversations with them were never to make them feel guilty (or for anyone reading this, either). Instead, she was gently showing them that being at home with your kids and taking care of your family can be fulfilling.

    So, I love the juxtaposition of these two stories... trying to get home and learning that it's ok to be home.

    Making a career of being a stay-at-home mom
    I've only been a full-time stay-at-home mom for 3 1/2 years now, and I can say with full confidence that I am not bored. If you've read some of my past posts, you know that it took time to find enjoyment in being home. Raising children is not an overnight activity. It is a day-to-day activity. Our children do not magically turn into responsible citizen. They become responsible citizens because we teach and train them. One of my sister-in-laws (hope she's ok that I'm writing this) is at home part-time with her kids. She has taught me that you can be a homeschool mom, even if your kids are in school away from home. At first, I was like, "Huh? Isn't that an oxymoron?" After she explained more, she said that all learning should start at home. All learning from school should be reinforced at home. Our schools and teachers should not be burdened with teaching manners and morals to our kids. That's our responsibility. Oh, I get it now. Every family engages in some form of homeschooling. At any rate, our time with our kids is valuable.

    The resumé
    In most cases, a resumé will be drafted for a specific job posting. However, the purpose of the post is to take a few typical mom duties and show how they really do apply to the corporate / business world.

    Supply-chain manager
    Supply-chain management is the task of maintain proper levels of goods for future sales. In addition, you must work closely with vendors to procure the best prices on the parts of your product, in order to maximize your profit. No profit = can't pay employees. Can't pay employees = can't stay in business. Yes, I am over simplifying things, but it's just to make a point.

    How does this apply to a stay-at-home mom? Well, as I noted in one of my earlier posts, I may not contribute much money to the household income, but I am certainly capable of controlling how much leaves our home. Yes, I am talking about (du, du, duuuuum): shopping, aka retail therapy. Yes, shopping can be fun but not when you get home and realize you don't have the money to cover it. Plus, it's funny how that "therapy" is somehow always still needed. It's never quite enough.

    By planning menus and shopping with a list, you will be less tempted to purchase unnecessary items. On the reverse side, I have been guilty of not buying enough and trudging right back to the store... only to buy too much. Where is the balance in all of this? My best tip is to take a week to conduct a study. Yes, perform a basic study = of what items you use and eat on a daily and weekly basis. (How to apply the "The Scientific Method" to your home is for another post. Again, I digress.) Don't over complicate this. Just write down how much you use each week, then figure out how much that is per month. I was shocked at first. This did give me a chance to see where I could cut back and change. At any rate, divide that by how many times you go to the grocery store.

    Here's an example. We consume 1 box of Simply GoGurt tubes / week = 4 boxes / month. I complete my grocery shopping 2x's / month. That means, I need to buy 2 boxes of yogurt tubes / trip. Now, I know that I will have enough yogurt for the boys every day. Plus, I know how many coupons I need to keep stocked. Note: my next cost-cutting measure is to make my own yogurt. However, I'm learning to being gracious with myself and be happy in taking baby steps.

    The stores are your vendors, and your home is your business. As you become more aware of prices, you find out which stores have the best deals on each product. Then, you have to weigh that against how much it will cost you to drive there (if gas is too high).  As we learn how to make good use of our homes and assets, we are learning the same basic skills of those in the supply-chain management field.

    Computer skills
    I'm not talking about surfing the web, but I have seen job postings for good researchers. At any rate, I'm talking about the basics: word processing and spreadsheets. If you had to use these in school or college, you can still use them at home. You can use spreadsheets and pivot tables to track your spending habits and budget. Yes, there are all sorts of cool software for making shopping lists (I've been tempted to design one), but we need to use our computer skills regularly. Even if you're not a list-maker, you can use it to add up your Christmas shopping list. Plus, you can use a word processing program as an outlet for ideas. I use a combination of good ol' pen and paper and word processing (I can type faster than I can write). If you have skills in graphic design and have access to software, use it. Create pictures for your home. Design your own invitations for parties. Design fliers for your library's next book fair. Just use your skills. When you're interviewing, don't they ask you how often you use the software? Well, if you've been using it weekly, you can feel confident and say so. 

    Good communicator

    With children, we're always learning how to communicate effectively. I want you to realize that, as a parent, you have to learn how to clearly communicate to multiple audiences: children, young adults, and adults. Obviously, you would explain to a child how a lawn mower works differently than you would explain it to a teenager. With children, you have to remove jargon and add patience. In the business world, you will meet people with many different levels of knowledge. The point is to effectively communicate the same piece of information in a way that each person can understand it and take action.

    I hope you can see where I'm going with this. There are countless other skills that parents, especially stay-at-home moms, learn. Here are a couple more: arbitrator (breaking up fights and finding common ground) and trainer (teaching ABCs and how to clean).

    As mothers, we can use these skills in volunteer positions: church, community center, library, food pantry, or shelter. My parents were an amazing example of how to help those in need. I pray that I can be an example of compassion to my children, as well.

    1 comment:

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