Returning to work after doing the whole ‘MOMMY THING’

job-interview-momI have written articles about my struggles when I was a stay at home mom. I have also expressed the chaos that has taken over since I started working outside of the home. What I’ve failed to discuss was how hard it was to transition back into the career world. Now, this is going back a few years ago, but I thought I would share my experience and thoughts with all the moms out there who have struggled to get back into the workforce and also for those who are about to embark on this new challenge. The biggest advice I can give is to NEVER apologize or make excuses for the time you spent at home caring for your family.

After my youngest was born, I decided that I would stay home for 1-2 years while I cared for our two children. When I was ready to go back to work, I updated my resume and sent it off to a bunch of contacts I had within the industry. Within a few weeks I had an interview lined up, and I was ecstatic. I felt confident, talented and ready to take on any challenge that was put in front of me. And then… I experienced my first post baby job interview.

‘So I notice here that you’ve just been doing freelance for the past few years?’ asked the man interviewing me, while his feet sat on the desk in front of him.

‘Yes. I have a portfolio of the work I’ve done recently, including the companies that I’ve done both contract and freelance work for,’ I respond as confidently as I can manage. I reach for my portfolio.

‘So, were you at home doing that whole mommy thing or something?’ he snarked back at me.

I had no idea what to say. Suddenly my confidence had dissipated and I was lost for words. I fumbled to pull my portfolio out while I searched for the right response. I wasn’t sure what the right response was. I felt like I needed to apologize for the short lapse of time I didn’t have a so-called job title. Looking back, I wish I had been angry. If I could go back in time, I would have responded as such,

‘Yes, I am a mother. I have been caring for my children in a full time capacity for the past year and a half. I manage the schedules of four people, multi-task with my eyes shut, and balance a budget that is tighter than any ship you’ve ever sailed. I run my household successfully and I make it look easy. I believe the available position at this firm would give me the perfect opportunity to show how I could accomplish all the tasks at hand, while making it look easy.’

How I wish I would have had that response in my back pocket. The fact of the matter was that I just wasn’t ready to be defending my stay at home mom status, or ‘mommy thing’  as that arrogant prick put it. Oh yes… I almost forgot, I totally would have thrown in a little name calling at the end of my speech too, just for dramatic effect.

I did respond to the question that day. I made excuses. I emphasized how much design work I had been doing while I was at home. I feel like I probably ended up apologizing for being a mother. I assured them that I was ready to do the job. I left that day feeling like I had left that confident and talented women behind.  I ended up not getting the position, and it was the best decision that was ever made for me.

I learned something really important that day, to never apologize for being a mother. I have had many job offers since that day, and I’ve gone into each interview ready to give my awesome response to the question, ‘Were you busy doing the whole mommy thing or something?’ Naturally, I’ve never been asked anything like that ever again. So to all the moms out there ready to get back into the workforce, be ready for the mommy question and even more prepared to say, ‘you’re damn right I was doing the whole mommy thing!’


Returning to work after doing the whole ‘MOMMY THING’ — 1 Comment

  1. I wish you could go back in time and be angry at the arrogant interviewer, too. It’s different for me because while I have been at home with my kids for the last 10 years I have also worked full-time for those years without a lapse except for last year when I was unexpectedly laid off. I completely agree that explaining any type of gap in a resume is hard to do in an interview!