So, Do You Have Kids?

To the working moms,

You’re not less valuable to a company because you’re a mom. You’re more valuable.

When I went on maternity leave, I was employed. A few weeks postpartum, and a major meltdown about returning to a job that just didn’t fit me (after multiple conversations to address concerns and work environment that resulted in no improvement), I sent in my resignation (essentially four week’s notice) and was instantly jobless.

Now what? I’m not in my “prime.” I have a new baby to care for. I’m sleep deprived. My jugs are leaking. I can’t fit into any of my cute work attire. Annnnnd I have no job.

Brilliant move. Brilliant.

I knew my resume and qualifications were solid, and I’ve been told I give “great phone,” so I dove into the land of submitting tailored cover letters, double checked 30 times for typos.

Now, I had heard before of women who found it more difficult to secure a job once they had a child, but it had never been an issue that affected me, and so I suppose I gave it less thought than I should have.

Early on in my job search, I came across a posting that could have been written from my resume. I met every qualification and desire (on paper), and instantly submitted my resume. Within five minutes, I received a phone call in response.

The first words out of Dick’s (yes that was his real name) mouth were, “I can’t believe it. We received your resume and it seems like we wrote this specific job posting for you!” He was enthusiastic. We chatted for about thirty minutes. He was impressed by my experience, my skills, my overall demeanor, and my personality. He expressed that he felt like I’d be a perfect fit for their environment- just what they were looking for! We were talking salary and location…. And then, the conversation shifted.

“So, do you have any kids?”

I stuttered. My baby was barely three months at the time, if that. “Yes, I do.” And then I scrambled and added quickly –“But we have really reliable day care!! My mom will be watching her so there are no specific hours I would have to leave by and it has always been in the plan for me to work.”

“Hmmmm. Your baby is young! That must be hard to have to go back to work.”

Me: “Yes, but we have a mortgage to pay for, so, I will be a working mom, which has always been planned, and I enjoy working!”

The conversation wrapped up quickly from there. “Ok, well, to be honest, we have a lot of very qualified candidates, some even more qualified then you, so I will have to talk to my supervisor and call you back tomorrow.”

I never received a call back.

Sure, you could say, “Maybe there really were more qualified candidates!” Certainly, that’s a possibility. But, let’s be real here for a second. We all know exactly what happened. I know. You know. Dick knows.

You know what strikes me as “off?” This idea, that as mothers, we are less reliable to a company. That we are less valuable employees. That we are, in some way, less dependable than other employees.

We have fantastic troubleshooting and interpersonal skills. I mean, we get up in the middle of the night with our children- often multiple times. We feed them, soothe them, care for them. We know what to say to our children. We know how to calm their tears. We make everything better and prepare for the next round. And we do it again, and again, and again. Who wouldn’t want this asset in an employee?

We are the queens of multitasking.

We can hold the baby in one arm, while breastfeeding, while returning work emails, while cutting up carrots, while continuing to be all around bad-asses, while singing “Itsy-Bitsy-Spider.”

We also know how to prioritize.

Have you seen how much we can get done on the weekends in a 45 minute to two hour time bubble while our children our napping? Not only were we up four times in the middle of the night, we made breakfast, read books, played games, put down the baby for a nap, and then got two loads of laundry going, did the dishes, made the market list, and put away the toys. Honestly, can you even begin to imagine what we can do for you with eight hours of time, uninterrupted from baby’s needs?!

We don’t call out sick for petty nonsense.

You’re not going to get a last minute “call-out” because we are hung over. Our time off is VERY precious and we hoard it. It’s used for planned family time or baby doctor’s visits and emergencies. We can’t afford to just not show up, or show up late. We’ve got mouths to feed and groceries aren’t cheap!

We’re pretty much the ‘jack of all trades.’

We are the best researchers you’ll find. Trust me. Moms will research everything to the death before making a decision. Your company is in good hands when it comes to decision-making and information gathering. And they can tell you exactly why you should be making the decision they make. Hellllllo presentation pitches!

We are quick learners.

We are raising a human being for crying out loud. And (so far), they haven’t set anything on fire – well, anything serious, anyway. Well most of them haven’t anyway. Ok, forget this last point.

So, to the working moms, wait – SCRATCH THAT.

To our potential employers: We aren’t less valuable because we’re mothers. We’re more valuable. Thank you for your consideration.

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  • A few months before I changed jobs, my boss (a woman) said that if I had been pregnant or had a kid, she wouldn’t of hired me… I thought it was bad at the time but didn’t realize that it was illegal… I know better now…. Now thinking of it makes me sick.. It’s not just men that do this, women do too…

  • Author of this post here— It completely caught me off guard! As you all have pointed out– it is illegal so I never expected to be asked! I had another interview where someone asked me "Will you have any problems with our work hours? Like, you don’t have a daycare you have to rush to?" — Sneaky– but I was more prepared for that one! Lesson learned 🙂

  • Glad I’m not the only one who wanted to high-tail it over here to point out the illegal interview question. An appropriate answer would be "I’m sorry, that’s actually not legal to ask in a job interview." If the person balks at that … maybe you don’t want to work for them.

    • It’s such a catch 22, isn’t it? If you say, "I don’t see how that’s relevant" you come off as a snot that took offence to someone making conversation and might not get the job because of it.

      The more I read this, the more I dislike Dick. 🙂

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