I Am Just a Worthless Stay at Home Mom
Sometimes the world fails to recognize the most important job of all.
A couple years ago I needed to get a job. After looking through the wanted ads and checking out all the job listings in my area, I realized to my shock that I had no marketable skills whatsoever. I was a grown woman in my late thirties and the only place I was qualified to work turned out to be a retail store for little more than minimum wage. You see, I had been a stay-at-home mom for the last 15 years.
Even so, I made a résumé and applied to any job I thought I could do. No, I didn't have any formal education or experience, but I had tons of real-life experience and knowledge. Future employers would see that, right?
Nope. I admit I was a little naive, but I was totally unprepared for the way I would be treated in an interview. As soon as the words "I have been a stay at home mom for 15 years..." were out of my mouth I could see my interviewer dismiss me. The plethora of skills and experience I had gained in those 15 years meant less than nothing, I was an uneducated bumpkin that was only capable of getting kids dressed, fed, and dropped off at school so I could watch reality shows and drink wine all day. Mothers obviously never use their minds when raising kids, after all.
But here's the part they didn't know.
I got married at age twenty and had my first child just before my 22nd birthday. I graduated high school with honors, but because we started having kids so soon, we decided my husband would go to college while I had the babies.
By the time my husband finished college, we had three kids. Over the next 8 years, as he got his career started and we moved from town to town to build his career, we had two more kids.
That's right. Five kids. I bore them, birthed them, and raised them. I managed the housework, laundry, budget, and cooking for them. I saw to their educational, emotional, spiritual, physical, dietary, monetary, and social needs. All this while on a shoestring budget, usually in tiny, rundown houses. Oh, and I ran a day home for 5 years, too.
If that weren't enough, I homeschooled my kids as well. This meant that I was finding curriculum and writing education plans for up to 4 different kids in different grades. I was learning the curriculum so I could teach it. I was making daily school schedules for each kid and adapting my schedule so I would have individual teaching time with each of them, each day.
I could go on but my interviewer stopped listening at "stay at home mom."
Somehow, I had managed to accomplish so much, yet remain an uneducated, unskilled, unemployable person.
The thing is, I think there are a lot of moms just like me out there. Women who have put their own lives and dreams and ambitions on hold to serve the needs of others; their families. Society doesn't see them, the world does not value them, but they are more valuable and essential to our world than anyone else.
When a parent loves their child and invests their time and effort, pouring themselves into them and ensuring they are good, decent people, they are not just making good kids. They are making good teenagers, good adults. Good future parents, who raise good future kids. Good grandparents to good grandkids who were loved by those good kids. Good parenting can be passed on for generations.
When I pour my heart and soul and blood and tears into my kids, I am investing in something that will ripple through time, 25, 50, 100 years into the future. What I am doing is important. What I am doing is crucial.
So the next time you pass over me for a job interview or ask what skills or value I could possibly bring to a workplace, I will just smile and say "I'm just a stay at home mom" and go back to doing what is really important.