Friday, January 29, 2021

Working Mom - August 2019

A year ago I had a mid life crisis. No, not crisis, revelation. And who am I kidding? It wasn't just a year ago. I have had this revelation for the last several years and it always hits me about the time the kids go back to school.

I have been a stay home mom since 2003. Yes. Sixteen years. I would not trade those years for anything. Being a homemaker is at the core of my soul. Preparing nightly dinners, baking, sewing, cleaning, and making homemade play dough makes my heart happy. (I have also taught fitness classes for the past twenty years. They kept me sane). Although I have always been happy and fulfilled, I regret not keeping one foot in the career door. If my older self could tell my younger self anything it would be to have worked part time or steadily volunteered in my field. It would have paid off years later.

When my kids were little, I was so busy being mom and relishing in the fact that I could be home I didn't think about the gap that was growing in my resume. However, it's there. I always thought I could go back to work whenever I wanted. I have a degree. I have experience. I'm teachable. Who wouldn't want to hire me? Lots of people, that's who!

A year ago, I began my quest to find a part time job. But. There were stipulations. Hours needed to be week day - during the day. I still wanted to teach my classes and take and pick up from school. I also wanted something in my field and make a difference in the world. I was pretty much asking the impossible.(I became more flexible as the search grew). I applied for dozens of positions. The worst part? The business world has changed. Gone are the days of personally delivering a resume with a firm handshake and smile. Everything is computerized. I kept thinking to myself, "if they could just meet me! I know they would see I am perfect for the position!" It was very frustrating. I finally got two interviews. One with Marriott (because I had a friend who had a contact with HR) and the other with Nordstrom, (which my daughter convinced me to apply for). The Marriott position was full time with a commute. He asked if I could work from 7-4. When I said no he said it probably wouldn't work, but he would let me know. He called before I even got home saying they would accommodate my hours! (See? If they could just meet me they would see I would be a great employee)! As flattered as I was, I knew it was not the right fit at the time, plus Nordstrom had just called offering me a part time position which, turns out, was the best fit for me.

Ironically, I didn't think I got the job at Nordstrom. I left my interview thinking, "well, I will chalk that up to experience". It was a group interview and the other interviewee was a boutique owner with years of current experience. (The last time I worked retail was in college over twenty years ago)! It was the first interview I had done in seventeen years. As soon as I hit the button to the elevator that would take me to the meeting room, I got nervous. It dawned on me I was a little rusty. All I could do was be myself. Be real. All of my answers revolved around kids, volunteering in the schools, and being mom. I can handle unhappy people and fix problems. I can multi task like nobody's business. I know how to find the best outcome or ask someone who does. Well, apparently it worked and I got the position. I fell in love with the company immediately. 

They have worked with my hours (giving me those mom hours) and have given me some different purpose in my life. After a training I attended a few weeks ago, I got to thinking about the demographic I fall in and why we are ignored when it comes to the job market. I left this training on a high. I was so enthusiastic and ready to tackle my job. It's fresh for me. It's like starting a new career after sixteen years. This excitement and thirst is why we, 40/50 year old stay home moms, should be at the top of everyone's interview list. Forget about those gaps in the resume. Running a household, raising kids, volunteering, budgeting, etc. should be regarded as current experiences in life. Moms know how to get things done! And those power moms that have been building a career and raising kids? They are super women! Stay home moms, outside of the home working moms, part time working doesn't matter! We get it. We are organized go getters. We can move mountains! Just let us hear those empowering words, "we would like to offer you the position."