The Fact Behind Why I Put ‘Mom’ on My Resume
There is no question that the workforce has not always worked super mother-friendly. We face a very real cultural bias in the workplace that is almost impossible to ignore.
But seriously, I don’t get it.
Being a mother is a professional asset. Really. Motherhood trains a woman to be a leader in an almost ruthless, bootcamp-esque way.
However, when we are honest with ourselves, we sometimes shy away from accepting that idea. Isn’t your reaction reflex to apologize when one of your kids bursts into a Zoom meeting? Have you never worried about your coworkers seeing you as inflexible when scheduling calls around dinner or afternoon nap, or feeling guilty about checking out early to take kids to their after-school activities?
Trust me, I know that the desire to be the consummate professional at all times is real. Before I became a mother, I was a lawyer and practiced commercial litigation in a renowned international law firm. (Translation: I got paid to go to court on behalf of big corporations and argue for money all day). I fully understand what it is like to shoulder the pressure of being “on” all the time.
And then I had children. After two years as a housewife that ended when I finally admitted to myself that I would never be the woman or mother I wanted to be if I didn’t have something that was only mine, I decided to go back to them Job. But this time I had a completely different perspective. Don’t get me wrong – I was definitely initially concerned about explaining the gap on my resume to employers.
I am no longer marketable. My skills are not sharp. I’ve been out of the game for too long.
And then I remembered my education. I am the manager of my entire household, making sure that everyone in it stays healthy, fed, bathed, dressed, loved, educated, entertained, and active every day. I am responsible for managing schedules, deadlines and settings. There were times when I had to do all of this with less than three hours of sleep, with dirty hair and teeth and spit on my shirt. And all for a whopping annual salary of zero dollars.
This truth bomb helped me realize that I am extremely valuable in the workplace – not even though I am a mother, but because I am.
So I own it. That’s why I put “mother” in my résumé (and why should you):
1. Being a mother means we know how to juggle important tasks.
Motherhood is a constant act of juggling (not to be confused with “multitasking” which is the wrong premise that we can do two things at the same time). As mothers, we have to pay full attention every day to various balls that represent the most important areas of our life, such as maintaining our marriages, taking care of our minds and bodies, keeping our houses (something) clean and our laundry (somehow) done – not to mention keeping our children alive.
This innate ability can easily be transferred to the professional world, where as a bonus the environment is relatively calm and probably nobody threatens to pee on the floor. Yes, I can prepare this dismissal motion, do some research on consumer law, and find time to review the documents, and no, I am not going to freak out.
In other words, when it comes to managing more than one project at work, we can say with absolute certainty, “This won’t be a problem. Bring it. “
2. Nobody spreads conflict like a mom.
Preventing our children from killing each other and choosing what is “fair” is a routine part of motherhood. Have you ever come across people who argue more violently than siblings about an iPad or what can be seen on PBS Kids? I don’t know about you, but I’ve been leading fights from the moment my elder could say “mine”.
At work, of course, we act as the voice of reason when stress levels are high. We can resolve disputes between employees, we know how to calm down angry customers. As arbitrators in disputes between our children, we have received very valuable skills – and we sharpen them. Everyone. Single. Day.
3. We think on our feet.
I’ve never met a boss who doesn’t love an employee who can quickly work out Plan B when Plan A goes sideways. Thinking quickly is equally important during client proposals, courtroom presentations, and product launches, and it’s a skill that all moms use on a regular basis.
Having children means dealing with unpredictability. We know better than anyone that things don’t always go according to plan. (Seriously, all you have to do is lose power or the internet once to become a professional selling “which we’ll do instead.”) Putting a contingency plan out of our back pockets if something goes wrong is a given to most moms.
4. Mothers are super prepared.
Perhaps because we often suspect that our well-thought-out plans will be thwarted, we mothers automatically prepare ourselves for all “just in case” scenarios. (After your kid puked in the back seat for the first time, you remember ginger ale and barfbags every time you drive, right?) That’s why our wallets are so heavy and our cars are ready for an apocalypse.
That is why we are also the women you would like to have on your team. We’re thinking of things like loading a backup copy of the PowerPoint presentation into Google Drive in case something goes wrong during the customer meeting with the laptop. We’re bringing additional case law to our hearings in case the judge gets into a rabbit hole and asks a random question. And of course we always have a snack ready to hand.
Obviously “mother” deserves a place on all of our résumés. We should emphasize the fact that we are mothers and not gloss over it. It is time not to apologize for the unique skills motherhood has given us. Let us celebrate that living in this world improves our ability to pursue our professional goals and dreams, and gives us the most beautiful, messy, exhausting, revered position we will ever hold.
Nikki Oden is the founder of Your Ideal Mom Life and host of the Love Your Mom Life podcast. She teaches working mothers how to make their day and crush their goals without the mother’s fault. She is also an attorney, happy wife, mother of two, and the creator of the Super Mom Starter Guide. Download it for free to learn the three things all mothers who rock it know!