Motherhood Discrimination

If you take time away from work to become a stay at home mom or dad, you will, inevitably, show a giant gap in your resume. This gap would, in most cases, be alarming to a potential employer. They may wonder: What did you do during that time? Were you institutionalized? Drugged out? Jailed? “Taking a break?” (By the way, if you have kids, you probably wished for any number of those things at some point during your time at home.)

Seriously, how do you answer what you’ve done with your time? Oh, and my favorite question on the application: “Reason for leaving previous position.” Heck, that’s not a question. It’s a statement. Anyway….

When a place you are applying to asks something like that, I know they can’t legally turn your application down because you took time off to have kids. BUT, don’t you kind of feel like they mentally do? Like somehow having kids has melted your brain? As if you’ve lost the ability to perform simple tasks because you have to make breakfast for a throng of hungry children and the boss you answer to is a screaming toddler. (Whoo. Kinda lost it there.) Yes, those things may be true, but you, as a stay at home mom or dad, can still function in society. Hell, multitasking takes on all new form when you have a howling baby in your arms.

It feels like motherhood discrimination when you hand over your resume with a “mommy gap.” Shouldn’t we be allowed to put that on a resume?

MOST RECENT POSITION: Stay at home mom

SALARY HISTORY: Nothing. Wait. Do hugs and kisses count?

DUTIES OF POSITION:  Wait for it…. Feed, bathe, water, care for, transport, manage, entertain, love, teach, contain, and any other verb… three children.

REASON FOR LEAVING PREVIOUS POSITION: Just like Hotel California, You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.

I’ve been applying for a few jobs, here and there. Every time I do, I can’t help but wonder if they’re weeding through the pile, picking over mommies and daddies. My resume gap is less than a year. In my “mommy gap” I’ve listed my freelance work, but those things are just odds and ends.

What would you put in your resume/cover letter/application to explain your “mommy gap”? And, is it any of their business? Also, have you ever felt discriminated against because you took time off to stay home with the kids?




4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. stace8383
    Jun 29, 2011 @ 07:55:26

    Ugh, I know exactly what you mean! I applied for a few jobs, before deciding to have a second child instead, and even though I’d been out of work for only just over a year, it seemed like prospective employers almost always saw that as a terrible huge negative.

    I’m pregnant now, but I’ll have to go through all this again once #2 is a year or so old, I suppose… I think what I might have to do is aim lower. It’s easier to find work when you’ve already got work, for some reason, so I’d be happy to take a less-suitable role for a little while just to get my foot in the door for something better! That’s my only tip. hehe


  2. Tara
    Jun 29, 2011 @ 23:11:06

    Well said.
    Love ya girl!


  3. Christy
    Jul 02, 2011 @ 21:32:00

    I stayed home my kid’s first three years, worked for three years, am taking time off at home with them again. I just keep tithing and trusting God to have the work there for me when I am ready. Works.


  4. julie
    Jul 02, 2011 @ 21:47:04

    Nice article, but I have to say it has undertones of apology. For myself, I have a completely engaging career, am being paid at rates adequate for my experience in the profession, yet stayed at home to raise four children for a twelve year gap. And I am just your basic mid-level career person, no extraordinary talents to have made the transition easy. I do not find that I suffered in any real way. I remind myself, as I look around at colleagues who had a far smaller mommy gap than myself and seem to frantically work to prove they can juggle it all or miss out, and ask, what did I really miss in taking the hiatus I did? Nothing, in my book. I still work, 40-60 hours a week like anyone else, have a fulfilling career and will continue to work, like anyone else. I don’t have the guilt of dual focus and believe me, I know the work involved in raising a family. I left an early career but made sure I left with a solid educational foundation behind me (ba and mba), did the most important job of my life with dedication and focus, and then slowly entered back into the work force in a way that suited my family needs, and worked very quickly up from there because of my performance and perhaps confidence that a gap is no measure of a ‘lack’, just a choice. Perhaps the confidence we exude over our choice to focus on family-rearing will make a difference. I am grateful I could even stay home (yes with sacrifice), but realize I did not miss anything, really, but additional stress and frustration thinking I had to do it all, or miss out. As I grow older I see more and more how many professional advancements are irrational, or just being in the right place at the right time. We should relax, enjoy each sector in our life as it comes and remain confident as smart professionals, a whole career and hard work is still out there, don’t worry about missing out. Perhaps discrimination is also a choice, I know empowerment is.


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