Stay-at-home moms get this question – or some variation of it – a lot: “Do you think you will return to work?” or “Do you miss work?” To clear up some misconceptions, I never stopped working. I stopped working for money. I do not miss work. I work an overwhelming amount. Every day. Every night. In fact, my three bosses are relentless. They are overly demanding, whiny, and some days they do nothing but yell at me. But I digress…back to the subject at hand. Will I return to the work-for-pay world? One would hope, right? But first, I will need to update my resume. Here are a few SAHM skills I am thinking of adding.
Adept at foreign languages: Candidate speaks toddler, twin, and in the not-far-enough-off future, will speak teen.
Skilled at juggling multiple projects for multiple bosses. Candidate can prepare a three course meal, while racing trucks with toddlers, supervising art projects with a kindergartner, making calls to the handyman, and keeping the ever-growing Mount Laundry from reaching the ceiling. At least on some days.
Excels in physically challenging work environments. Okay, candidate doesn’t excel in them, but she can function in them. For example, candidate can manage no less than three underlings on zero (yes, zero) hours of sleep a night. She can do this while looking, feeling, acting refreshed and put together. While her work product will not be perfect in such an environment (she has been known to walk into walls, drop dishes, and lose her keys), her many years of intense training in this area put her head and shoulders above other candidates.
Promotes team building initiatives. Candidate is a team player. She has watched team sports (albeit of the pee-wee kind), coached team sports, washed team uniforms, and cheered team sports. She would be a valuable asset to any team-centered work environment. A word of caution, however, candidate has been known to cheer a little too loudly, be a little too enthusiastic, and otherwise embarrass herself and those who report to her.
Expert at anger management. Have you ever had balls, trucks, and other various and sundry items thrown at your face? Or at expensive breakables? This candidate has, and she AND her children have lived to tell about it. With this candidate, you can rest assured that tantrums thrown by the higher-ups in your workplace will not trigger an angry outburst. In fact, candidate has had years of practice suppressing curse words, the urge to spank, and the desire to hurl toys in fits of rage (even when she broke her foot on one). The most anger this candidate will show is demanding that co-workers be put in timeout. One minute for each of their years on this earth, please.
Dominates in the realm of menial tasks. Candidate does not cringe or turn away from any task, even those tasks that others might find too repulsive or beneath them to undertake. Bodily fluids? No problem. Cleaning food off the walls? No problem. For this candidate, no job is too big (cleaning up a basement flooded with foul water) or too small (cleaning up a kitchen that is littered with tiny sparkly sequins after a craft disaster).
Possesses unparalleled work ethic. Candidate has honed her skills in a 24/7 work environment. No matter what the emergency or when, she can be counted on to help. Due to years of isolation with small children, you can rely upon her never to gossip (it is unlikely she remembers how to converse with adults) or to waste valuable work time primping in the bathroom (it is unlikely she remembers how to primp after years of showering in five-minute increments every second or third day).
Willing to work for cheap. The candidate’s current work salary is $0. Enough said.
These are just a few of the skills I am considering for my resume rewrite. Now I just need to find a job that fits these qualifications. Unfortunately, I think the only one out there is Mom, and I already have that one. So when will I be returning to work? Since I hear the sound of little feet and intermittent hysterical laughter upstairs (always a bad sign), I’m going to say now. When will I be returning to paid work? When one of the following occurs: a) it is no longer a financially viable option, b) my children stop needing me to protect them from themselves and others, or c) when I stop being able to laugh (in retrospect mind you) at things like my children pulling all of the stuffing out of the couch pillows while I am distracted by cleaning up foul-water floods in my basement.
Until then, I am going to keep honing my SAHM skills. They may not be a perfect match for most of the mainstream jobs out there, but if something like zookeeper comes up, I can say with utter certainty that I am the ideal candidate for the job.
Shannon Hembree is the co-founder of Mamas Against Drama. Mamas Against Drama is a website dedicated to supporting mothers in their parenting efforts. Learn more by visitingwww.mamasagainstdrama.com