5 Ways Motherhood Prepared me to Re-Enter the Workforce

Recruiters and folks in the talent acquisition space, take note! What was once seen as a “gap” in a resume can be reexamined in these innovative times as time spent learning life skills that can be extremely purposeful in the workplace.

1. Patience

I have four kids, and at least once a day I feel like getting in my car, driving away, and never coming back. Harsh sounding? Yes, but I bet I’m not alone. The truth is, even with a solid relationship with my partner, healthy kids, and thankfully at least one income, momming can just be HARD at times. When my husband comes home with stories about workplace drama, they cannot and DO not compare to my home life drama. Sorry, but I just win. Someone’s hogging all the credit for a presentation? Try doing your job all-day, every day, without anyone ever thanking you. Your commute is long? So is watching Frozen for the 199th time. Boss in a bad mood? How about my kid just smashed a yogurt stick right in my FACE because I handed him a Strawberry flavor instead of his favorite, Blueberry. The reason I don’t ever leave is because A, I’m not a psycho, and B, I have a huge, heaping dose of patience. Workplace shenanigans? Ha! I eat workplace drama for breakfast.

2. Multi-tasking

Do you still pack a diaper bag when you take your baby out? I sure did, for years. (Now I just throw a diaper in my purse and hit the street). I’d methodically gather formula, bottles, fancy spring water, teething rings, diapers, wipes, squeeze pouches, and a change of clothes, and head out to the great big world. I did all this while spooning applesauce into my toddler’s mouth and bouncing my newborn on my hip (my sons were 15 months apart). And what I did isn’t any more amazing than what 10 million moms out there do every single day. Moms just HANDLE it. Putting together a presentation while writing an email and simultaneously chatting on Zoom with your boss? Easy.

3. Tolerance

My children are perfect angels whom never fight, always get along, and have not once drawn on their brother’s entire body with a blue magic marker. Okay, I gave myself away there, with six people living in a small house feelings definitely can spill over, and as you know, kids have BIG feelings. I don’t always get this momming thing right but I am proud that I’ve taught my kids that they come from a large, boisterous family, and can’t always get everything they want. When I go back to work, I’ll bring those same ideals with me. I’m low drama, get along with almost everyone, and I think that’s a good type of person to have on a team.

4. Kindness

My nine year old has spent a lot of his time in school being in trouble. I believe most of this trouble stems from being simply a boy, and one that doesn’t necessarily adhere to boring rules like sitting still. However, when a new kid joined his class this year I was thrilled to hear he offered to give her a tour, showing her the ropes. We believe in kindness above all else in this family. We believe in treating people with respect. We don’t always have our shoes tied or our homework done on time, but my kids are nice, and that’s the thing that matters most to our values. I have always tried to be kind to others. When I was an English teacher I had a “safe space” rainbow sign on my laptop (it traveled with me from room-to-room) and I want people I will work with to know I respect them. Whenever I am lost in life or not sure what my next step should be, I try to reach out to someone and offer help because showing others kindness actually helps me internally.

5. Kick-ass Jedi Mentality

This morning my one year-old choked on a hair bead. He choked, and I managed to stick my finger down his throat and get the bead out. It was truly one of the most horrible moments of my life, and I didn’t even help him correctly; sometimes doing the hook down a baby’s throat pushes the object down further, which was the case here. (You’re supposed to put them over your knee and thump them hard on the back, dislodging the object.) However, I did save him and his color returned to normal and he is fine, but the point is I would do anything to save any of my kids. I would jump in front of a train, lift up a car, or turn into Jackie Chan with my moves if anyone threatened them. Having the capability to handle anything that gets thrown your way, having a kick-ass Jedi mentality, can only serve moms well in the workplace. I used to be so intimidated by other people in my twenties. Now? After having four c-sections, I can handle anything that gets in my way, and so can you.

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Kate Gillan

Kate is the author of “150 Pounds,” a pretty terrible novel. She has also written for the NY Times and Yahoo, and needs a job so she can shower.