Can I Put “Mom” on My Resume’s List of Skills?


After ten years as a stay-at-home mom, I’ve begun taking steps towards my dream career. Three years ago I enrolled in a graduate program, and course by course, credit by credit, I’m making my way towards those letters I’ve always wanted to put next to my name. It took us a while, but once we found our “mom’s back in school” groove, we settled in quite nicely. At the start of a new semester, I’d print a few syllabi, we’d clear the calendar as needed, and away we went for another few months. I’ve loved every second of the craziness, but the chaos is starting to die down and internship is just around the corner. Forget the homework skills; it’s now job hunting time. Cue the insecurity.

motherhood skills

The “Mom” Resume

I knew writing my resume would be challenging. Since its been over ten years since I’ve endorsed and deposited a paycheck, there was going to be a significant time gap on that document. How do I describe the amount of growing up I’ve done in these ten years of being home with my three kiddos? Shouldn’t the job of “Mother” get at least three or four sentences on this thing? Every time I’d sit down and attempt to write, I’d feel the self-doubt and comparison creeping in. This was going to be even harder than I thought.

Since going round and round about how to actually prepare my resume wasn’t getting me anywhere, I decided to seek the wisdom of Google. I typed, “How to write a resume when you’ve been a stay-at-home mom for ten years” (I’ve got laundry to do, I can’t waste my time with general searches). Up popped about a dozen blog posts and articles on ways to make one’s resume look competitive after years of being out of the work force. Some of the ideas were helpful. Some felt a bit condescending. But what grabbed my attention almost immediately was one of the “similar searches” which popped up on a side bar reading, “What skills do stay-at-home moms have?”

This Mom’s Got Skills

When I initially read the question on the side of my screen, the tone felt sharp and sarcastic. That was my own stuff bubbling up to the surface. It wasn’t until I reread the question a few times I began to hear it differently. Here’s my answer: All of the skills

If you look up at a step-by-step guide for writing a resume, the word “skills” is used often. As I reflect back on all the lessons I’ve learned during my years at home with my kids, I can see pages and pages worth of skills I’ve acquired and mastered. Here’s the thing: There is nothing on those pages which isn’t also on the pages of the moms who work full-time outside of their homes. The same skills I’ve gathered as a stay-at-home mom have been gathered by the work-at-a-bank moms and the teach-first-grade moms. We’re all doing the work. We’re all learning as we go. We all get to put “Mom” on our resume.

Motherhood is legit work and every mother is a full-time mother. If I can navigate and manage three kids and a household and a marriage and volunteering and grad school homework and soccer practice and piano lessons and “we’re out of toilet paper” ALL AT THE SAME TIME without losing my mind, you better believe I’ll be a capable and successful intern. My resume may look padded (because it is), but give me a face-to-face interview, and you’ll see just how qualified I am. Move over Impostor Syndrome, this mama has a dream career to build!

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Amber is wife to her elementary school crush and mother to three kiddos, ages 10, 7, and 4. Having recently moved to Portland from California, Amber is embracing her “new normal” as she navigates parks in the rain (bring a towel), the line outside Pip’s Donuts (it’s worth it), and where to find good Mexican food (still searching). As bio mom to her two oldest and adoptive mom to her youngest, special needs child, Amber understands and appreciates the importance of “mommy-time." Amber is also a grad student and soon-to-be Marriage, Couple, and Family Therapist. She shares the highlights and gems of what she's learning on her Instagram: @learnandliveproject.