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“A mother’s work is not just invisible; it can become a handicap. Raising children may be the most important job in the world, but you can’t put it on a résumé.” –  Ann Crittenden

A few weeks ago, my husband  and I had a friend over for dinner.  While we were eating, I made mention that my little son would soon be turning five.  Once he turned five, I vowed to start the process of job hunting.

I have been a full-time parent for sixteen years.  It is a long time to stay at one job.  I have no regrets in staying home, for the entire time all my children were young.  However, transitioning to the workforce part-time or full-time will be hard.  Not only will I have challenges finding a job, but the family and I will have growing pains.

I have begun the process of job searching.  The first step has been to update my résumé.  As you can imagine, it is not easy.  The information for writing resumes states, I should not list being a full-time parent on my résumé.  This creates a huge problem.  Potential employers want to hire people who are active in the workforce.  By not being able to explain my current job, I am at a clear disadvantage.  It is as if, the years of staying home to care for my children were not valued.

The following is an excerpt from the book, The Price of Motherhood:  Why the Most Important Job in the World is Still the Least Valued, by Ann Crittenden.

The idea that time spent with one’s child is time wasted is embedded in traditional economic thinking. People who are not formally employed may create human capital, but they themselves are said to suffer a deterioration of the stuff, as if they were so many pieces of equipment left out to rust. The extraordinary talents required to do the long-term work of building human character and instilling in young children the ability and desire to learn have no place in the economists’ calculations. Economic theory has nothing to say about the acquisition of skills by those who work with children; presumably there are none.

My résumé does list my current volunteer work, recent academic achievements and memberships to professional organizations.  But if I cannot state what I do on a daily basis, won’t it look as if I do nothing all day?  Is there a way to explain to someone sorting through  resumes, how hard I have worked all these years?

My approach toward finding employment outside my home will need to be creative.  I will need to be creative in my résumé writing and creative in finding an employer who is willing to hire someone, who has not followed a traditional career path.

Will I be successful?  I certainly hope so.

But I have to tell you, I think I have a long road ahead of me.