So LinkedIn recently has announced they will now allow users to add stay at home parent to their digital CVs.
The global social media platform with a focus on professional networking and job application is attempting to reflect the work stay at home parents do and allow them to avoid having gaps in their CV.
Part of me shouted, ‘about bloody time!’ Now if only there was a similarly easily clickable button you could select for the entire world to equally recognise the work stay at home parents do’, because in my estimation there’s still a long way to go.
I’m a stay at home mum, who also works from home. On paper it’s the dream scenario. In reality it’s the combination of the two hardest jobs in the world. I know it won’t always be like this. One day the boys will be in school and I’ll have more structure to my working day. But right now, it’s hard. It’s very hard in fact and I constantly burn the candle at both ends fitting in work and parenting. I often feel like I fail at both.
The truth is, I never really understood how hard being a stay at home parent was until I became a mum myself. I’d heard the old adages of ‘it’s the hardest job in the word’, yadda, yadda, yadda and yet never really thought about what it was actually like. Until I lived it.
It goes beyond any ‘job’ you’ve ever done before. You launch into it with no real preparation, bar some naff books and airy fairy ante natal courses. You are on call 24 hours a day.
There is no off button, no down time and even if you do get into a routine of sleep, you’ll likely lie awake thinking about the things you did wrong that day or worry endlessly about the future of these tiny humans who are dependent on you for everything. It’s not all sunshine and playtime, it’s hard work.
So while part of me delighted at the LinkedIn announcement, another part of me said, hold the phone, my kids aren’t a job, are they? Do I really want to add stay at home parent o my LinkedIn profile? They are my children and I love them. Can I really consider being a stay at home parent, ‘work’ in the strictest sense of the word?
I think, yes, you very much can.
I mean does being a stay at home parent give me the necessary skills to cut in the workplace? In truth my computer skills might need upgrading, but in every other way I’m over fucking qualified!
Let me put it to you this way, I could give most hostage negotiators a run for their money, the amount of times I’ve talked down an enraged toddler. For example, my diplomatic approach to conflict within my team goes a little something like this -
‘Me want yogurt!’
‘Here’s your yogurt my love.’
‘Me NO want yogurt!’
‘Okay I’ll pop it back in the fridge for later.’
‘NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! ME WANTED Yogurtttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt!!!’ Cue on-the-floor tantrum and epic meltdown to put 1990s Elton John to shame, while I breath deep, allow the storm to pass and get on with keeping a tiny dictator on an even keel.
What about multi-tasking? Every employee needs to be good at that? Well every day I take multi-tasking to a whole new level. Have you ever carried a baby in one hand, held a toddlers hand with the other, while heaving a mountain of changing bags, toys and coats on your back? Check!
Have you ever had to reach behind you on the floor of the car mid drive to find a soother, whilst not crashing or taking your eyes or other hand off the wheel? I have.
Have you ever had to hang a picture on the wall with a hammer in your hand, a nail in your mouth and a toddler hanging from your legs, while a four year old drove around you in circles on his ‘beep beep?’ Guilty as charged.
Each day I manage to dress two wriggling octopuses and prep everything they will need for that day, each and every day; snacks, nappies, changes of clothes, hot wheels, favourite teddies, a myriad of coats, layers and footwear, as well a balancing naps and meals – if that’s not forward thinking and strategic planning I don’t know what it.
What about problem solving? Well have you ever had to get a beloved Lego block out from behind the back of the couch where no human being is ever meant to go? Or have you ever had to repair a broken toy train with no proper tools to hand or even a notion of what you’re doing? Welcome to my world love. It’s a fascinating one.
Attention to detail, you say? Well if you’ve ever given a toddler the wrong colour Sippy cup or forgotten to cut the waffles into triangles, you’ll understand I practice a forensic level of attention to detail.
Leadership? Oh please, I’m a mum for Christ sake, as far as my kids are concerned I’m the CEO of life!
Need I go on?
While part of me thinks it’s a bit ‘too woke’ to include stay at home parent on your digital CV (because anyone who’s ever been a parent knows the skills you learn along the way more than qualify you for any job!) I do think it’s about time that the contribution a stay at home parent makes is marked in a more formal way especially for those who have never lived in the shoes of a stay at home parent.