By Heidi Hamm
Dear Potential Employer,
No, you are not seeing things. Yes, there is a gap in my resume. A great white empty space where the past eight years of my life has been. No, I was not in prison or on a mission to Mars. I was neither frittering away my lottery winnings nor lost on a desert island. Nope. I was at home, raising my kids.
I get it, eight years is a big, fat, gaping black hole. Sure, I’ve worked hard over the past eight years, done what some consider to be the most difficult job on the planet. However, I can’t put that on my resume.
It is true that over the past few years my world has silently shrunk down to being wholly centered around my children, but with that I have grown. I am not the same person I was eight years and three kids ago. Oh, don’t worry. I still possess the same education and expertise that I had when I was climbing the corporate ladder pre-kids, but now I am so much more. That old me has been upgraded to someone softer, more nurturing, more patient, more understanding and with some bad-ass skills. Skills that you, dear potential employer, would be remiss in ignoring.
Of course there are the obvious ones, the ones that all parents possess. Leadership skills. Organizational skills. Time management skills. Multitasking. The ability to reach your vomiting child, bucket in hand, in a single bound. But let’s take a look at some of the more overlooked ones, shall we?
First and foremost, I bore children
Can I just say that this is no small feat? I grew human beings. My body carried and sustained them. I am strong. Like Superhero, kick your ass strong. I can also lift over 50 pounds, have been conditioned to function at a high level through intense sleep deprivation training and have the stamina and endurance of any well-trained athlete.
I am poised under pressure
I have kept it together in the midst of temper tantrums of epic proportions (my kids, not mine) in grocery stores, restaurants, and malls. I have endured boot throwing, hysterical tears, deafening screams, and flailing bodies flung to the floor. While those around me stared, made nasty comments or threw me dirty looks, I managed to stay calm and focused. I am capable of diffusing a ticking human time bomb as efficiently as any highly trained bomb squad technician.
I have worked with some of the most unreasonable people in the world
Every.Single.Day. They are not even consistent with their unreasonableness. They change their minds like you change your underwear. You never know which way the wind is going to blow. You know the ones. Yesterday, Cheerios was their favorite food. Today, it’s the grossest food on the planet. They have a meltdown when you cut their grilled cheese sandwich the wrong way. Which, by the way, was the right way last week. They are difficult, obstinate and generally unpleasant to be around, and yet I have survived. Prevailed even. While lesser reason-loving mortals would have gone running for the hills, I have taken a deep breath and persevered. I have listened to their demands without giving in, shown empathy and helped them to resolve their issues while keeping my own sanity (mostly) in tact.
I am a team player
I am reliable, flexible and committed to doing what is necessary for the betterment of the group. This includes sacrificing my personal goals and even a bit of my sanity as I read “Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site” for the thousandth time. Just don’t ask me to sacrifice my double chocolate brownie. I don’t think I can do that.
I am a jack of all trades
I have had to learn on the job, flying by the seat of my pants, without a manual or instruction booklet. I have been a teacher, motivational speaker, nurse, psychologist, protector, confidante, team leader, financial wizard, negotiator, chauffeur, detective, crisis manager, the sun and the moon.
So dear potential employer, don’t discount me. I am a powerhouse, physically, mentally and emotionally. I have borne the weight of three little people’s worlds on my shoulders all while molding the next generation, scrubbing toilets and cooking dinner. I am more than just a mere SAHM.
About the Author
Heidi Hamm is a writer, wife and mom of 6-year-old twin boys with the alter egos of the Hulk and Spiderman and their 8-year-old sister, who is in training to rule a small (or large) country someday. She has been published on Sammiches and Psych Meds, Scary Mommy and Mamalode. You can also find her on Facebook.