Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Mommy Penalty

Spend your days on Capitol Hill in a cozy office?
I'm paying the price for staying home and raising my kids myself instead of sticking them in daycare. I'm paying more than I ever dreamed imaginable. I am being discriminated against for my choice to be a Mom while my kids are young. I thought I was leaving the corporate ladder behind temporarily. I had no idea that having a family meant falling completely off of the radar screen of potential employers. I am a victim.

Rejection. Another rejection for yet another job for which I'm certainly qualified. I'm a professional, and I have been searching for a job in my Communications field for nearly two years. Hundreds of resumes and cover letters sent out, scores of interviews for which I was either over or under qualified, and hours spent networking and contacting friends and colleagues. All leading up to today. Rejection by yet another employer who is too afraid to take a chance on me.

Or spend your days with a cute baby
who eventually grows up.
For a long time I refused to take this personally. Yes I've been out of an official "office"setting for over a decade. Yes I have three kids that take up a ton of time. But I am not an idiot hoping to waltz right up and pick up where I left off in 1998. I have gone back to school—retrained in the latest graphic design software and techniques. I have my own communications strategies and design company. I volunteer throughout my community and at the kid's schools. I write this blog. I am NOT sitting home on the couch eating Oreos, drinking Chardonnay, and watching Dr. Phil!

This is now personal. I am a victim here! I have a feeling there are many more women like me out there. All of you employers, listen up . . . you have a whole lot of untapped talent out there that you are letting slip away. Women like me who are trying their hardest to get back into the workforce and having every door slammed in their faces. I for one am sick of it!

Why won't anyone take a chance on a woman who did what she thought was right and stayed home with her kids? Believe me, there were plenty of days when I would have happily traded being a stay-at-home Mom for the quiet sanctuary of an office. I'm not slamming women who are working and juggling a family. It's just a choice a woman must make when that baby arrives.

I made an honest choice for my children, and I stand by it. I am just surprised that in 2012 people cannot get past the fact that women do stay home to raise the children. And guess what, those same women actually do want to return to work someday. That someday is now. Open up your minds, look past the years spent chasing kids, and consider hiring a woman with a depth of experience and intellect.

I am not looking for sympathy. I want you to know that women are being discriminated against for their choices. I am not alone. I know there are plenty of Moms out there who are just as frustrated as I am, paying the unspoken Mommy Penalty.


alyssa said...

The job market is still not the best right now. There are many people who are unemployed and in the same situation as you. Too many people looking for work and not enough jobs. Maybe you could work for yourself or freelance?

pat29 said...

Amen. Your family is lucky and soon the right, sensible employer will be, too. Keep fighting.

Christianna said...

Precisely my point . . . I blamed my bad luck on everything except for the fact that I have stayed at home with my kids for the past 12 years. Hence, the Mommy Penalty.

For the record, I do work for myself as well as freelance.

Marilyn Boock Schmidt said...

Christi, you never know when a job offer will appear. When we moved to Toronto the best I could find was substitute teaching. After years of subbing a VP came to me and asked, "Are you Mike Schmidt's mother? I taught him in Middle School and thought the world of Mike. I'm needing one more teacher for my staff and wonder if you'd be interested?"

So, thanks to Mike, I enjoyed a number of years as classroom teacher and in retirement enjoy benefits & a pension.

So, be patient, keep trying, and one day that dream job will be yours!

Christianna said...

You are so right that I just have not yet found that perfect job. Like so many things in life, those jobs just weren't meant to be. I see it as their loss anyway!

I know that there are many reasons why I'm still searching for full time employment, and I cannot help but feel that being a stay-at-home Mom for so long is hindering me.

I love that Mike helped you land a job . . . maybe Jack will do the same for me!


Kristie said...

Hi Christi, I'm sorry you're struggling to find a full-time, out of your house job. I want to encourage you to hang in there. I stayed home for 8 years (during the same time you have been home) and when I returned to look for a full-time job in 2007, I didn't have any trouble with that gap on my resume. The 3 job interviews I went on were understanding and focused on my previous jobs in the interview. I got a full-time job that turned out to be a promotion of sorts for me, better pay than I had earned before I quit. Notice the year was 2007, before the economy went south. I really and truly believe that the reason for your struggle is the economy. My husband has been looking for a job for a longggg time and there are thousands of applicants for the jobs in education or foundation/development work that he is applying for. It is very disappointing to him as well. There simply aren't enough jobs for all of the qualified people. Even here in Texas where our unemployment number is low, many people are underemployed and are searching for something better, to no avail. I'd encourage you to make sure your kids know that you're not blaming them individually, though. They may read this and not understand the whole dynamic behind your decision to stay home with them, and the dynamics of why your are discouraged. I know what a good mom you are and you made the right choice to spend these years with them. :)