Adding ‘Mom’ to my resume

Portia Oduro Morrison099 Portia Oduro-Morrison Communications Officer, Stanbic Bank Ghana

Fri, 6 May 2022 Source: Stanbic Bank Ghana

I have been a student. I have been an intern. I have been unemployed and searching. I have been a full-time mom. I am a full-time employee now!

This basically describes my life-work journey. Every stage of these five roles undoubtedly brought me different heights of skills, expertise, and experiences that could be helpful to an employer.

But is the employer interested in my parenting skills? How will I handle the contemptuous and scornful eyeing from the panel at an interview if they get to the part on my CV that says, ‘I’m a Mom’? – Will they like that part of the most amazing job that I didn’t apply for?

I am responsible for every information on my resume; a formal document itemizing my qualifications for a role/position. Emphasis on ‘qualifications’, which include my skills, achievements, experiences, proficiencies, and all positive attributes.

Who comes to mind when you think of these qualities: great listener, skilled at time management, team player, and calm under pressure? Whether you thought of a mom or an employee, you're absolutely right! Becoming a mother helps us develop new skills and hones the skills we already have. The experiences at home and work complement each other more than one might initially think.

Of course, the ultimate power still lies in the hands and opinions of recruiters and HR departments. Though the advocacy for motherhood to be recognized as a legitimate job that builds employable skills, hasn’t attracted the needed attention, it is a call in the right direction.

Will it is weird to add ‘mom’ to my CV?

Whether motherhood ‘belongs’ on a resume is, of course, subjective. The question, instead, lies in whether mothers can reap tangible benefits from the addition of the title. Or whether some systemically entrenched biases around mums could produce the opposite effect.

There is a perception that women with children don't work as hard and are less committed to their jobs because they are distracted by their caregiving responsibilities. 41% of employed folks perceive working moms to be less devoted to their work, according to Bright Horizons 2018 Modern Family Index. This stereotype hurts not only women but also the companies who fall victim to believing it.

Do you know about the motherhood penalty? A term coined by sociologists, the concept of motherhood penalty argues that working mothers experience systematic disadvantages in the workplace, like less pay, decreased benefits, lack of perceived competence, and lack of commitment when compared to women without children.

As a mom, I can testify that some of my best negotiation, prioritization, strategic thinking, problem-solving, and organization was done in my personal life. All these transferable skills help in my working life too.

I am fortunate and beyond grateful to still have a job and a career in Communications that I love. But tell me, who communicates better than African Moms? Verbal or otherwise, all body gestures of theirs send a message to the children, for which they need no assistance decoding!

Careers and motherhood are both work. Although the responsibilities are clearly different, both day jobs and parenting require experience and expertise. The skills learned in one facet of life can often be used to complement the other. These experiences at work and at home are a powerful combination and can be seen as an advantage for employing working mothers.

Moms are the hardest workers I know. They’re loyal, intelligent and devoted to their work and their children. If an organization trusts an employee to get the job done, employees will trust them, thus being loyal and supporting the company's goals and objectives.

I have three years and five months of professional experience as a childless worker, and I have nine years of professional experience as a professional with a daughter. That makes twelve and a half years of relevant experience and expertise to bring to an organization.

My experience as a mother does not in any way devalue my experience as an employee. I plan to continue adding value through my learned experiences as a working parent because I love being an employee, but I love it more than being a mom. It is not easy having to choose between the two.

Are we ready as a society, to start conversations around normalizing practices that would help mothers address employment gaps due to parenting or family caregiving responsibilities?

The term "Mom" is universal except in the workforce, what can we do to move the dial forward? Should we advertise from the get-go that we are working mothers and that we have additional strengths as employees? Motherhood is unambiguously positive, not to mention a common life choice; skills mothers use to keep families afloat are transferable to the workplace.

Unless it is required of dads to use this statement, it puts the bias directly back on women. Not to mention the folks that took breaks to care for elderly parents, deal with mental health, or just couldn't land a job in a bad market.

What we may need to address is how hiring managers will see motherhood/fatherhood when positioned on a resume…if any wo(man) dares to add ‘Mom/Dad’ to a CV. Will it make a difference to add the prefix “single” - Single Mom or Single Dad!

It takes a lot of resilience, patience, problem-solving, agility, energy, and more to be a mother. Until it becomes acceptable to list motherhood among our professional qualifications, can we keep doing what we do best? - managing schedules, teaching our children, excelling as household nurses and family financial controllers.

To the moms reading this, will you list out your mothering skills when next you’re updating your resume? Let the discussions continue within and outside the four walls of our offices.

Who knows? – the right ears may hear us!

Source: Stanbic Bank Ghana