My wife and I were lucky.
My career and income had picked up just enough steam, that by the time my wife and I were having our first child we were in a financial position for my wife to leave her job and stay at home.
For my wife, it was bittersweet. She wanted so much to be the best mom that she could be, but she has also worked since she was 15. She enjoys being productive, and so while staying at home was a huge blessing, it was also a big change.
Stay at home parents have the hardest job in the world. Full stop.
Fast forward six years later, and staying at home turned out to be the hardest job in the world.
I know many stay at home parents will all commiserate with this. It is a non-stop whirlwind of a job in which there are few thanks and much crying.
You have no time to yourself, ever.
You see fellow adults less and less.
You miss the watercooler conversations from your job.
And on top of all that, much of society seems to think that being a stay at home parent is a breeze, and thinks that stay at home parents are sitting around drinking frappuccinos, watching 90 Day Fiance and sun tanning.
All of that, can’t be further from the truth.
While I have always done my best to work 40 hours or less, it still didn’t make the challenges of raising kids to be any less work for my wife.
So I want to thank my wife for kicking ass for the past six years. She is the real hero! She is the one who made most of the sacrifices for our family, and now both of our kids are old enough to head out into the world of elementary school.
Stay at home parents are nervous to re-enter the workforce
Now imagine being at home with our kids for several years.
Your entire life has changed.
You don’t have to commute, attend meetings, deal with a boss, etc.This is certainly a perk of being a stay at home parent. But it also mean that you are rusty.
I know that my wife certainly falls into this camp.
She is nervous.
She also would want to switch careers. And all of this is daunting to someone who has been dealing with a babies and toddlers for the past many years.
But I also know that she is extremely motivated…
Who is more motivated to prove themselves, than a stay at home parent?
So now our youngest is heading off to school for the first time. It is a big moment for our family.
Both of our children will now be in school full-time, and my wife who has stayed at home with our kids for the last six years, will now have some well earned freedom.
And this got me thinking…
The answer is no one!
Well maybe that isn’t true, but consider the following:
- stay at home parents have been out of the workforce for awhile, so they will want to come in an prove themselves
- they may be switching careers, and if so will want to hit the ground running to prove themselves
- they have more life experience than those just starting their career, so even if they lack some professional experience, they’ll figure things out fast
- being a stay at home parent is the hardest job in the world, so working is actually going to be a relief to the parent in so many ways
So all in all, you are hiring someone who is going to come in being a hard worker, who has some perspective, and who is motivated to kick ass.
Yes, I have hired stay at home parents!
As a former CEO, I have some anecdotal evidence here to support all of the above.
I’ve personally hired two stay at home moms. Both of those hires turned out to be instrumental to our business.
One of the hires was a mom who had started her own freelance marketing business while her children were younger, but had burned out of the freelance lifestyle. I brought her in and quickly realized that she was under titled and under utilized. She eventually rose to the VP level of our organization, and was a truly exceptional manager and leader.
Another hire, was a stay at home mom who learned to code, and was coming in as an entry level developer. She was calm, cool and collected. While she wasn’t the best developer at first, she continued to learn on the job and at home. She was always respectful, prompt, and flexible. Now, she is now a mid-level developer who is crushing it.
These are just two examples. I am sure there are many many more examples of successful stay at home parents being brought back into the workforce and I’d love to hear your story!
How to make better hires
When hiring, you still AWLAYS want to hire the best person for the job.
For a long time I was unknowingly using “voodoo hiring methods”. Sure some hires turned out great, but others not so much.
Late in my career, I stumbled upon Who: The A Method for Hiring, by Geoff Smart and Randy Street.
The book pointed out all of the various flaws in the previous hiring methods that I had been using.
This led me to restructure our company’s hiring processes and the results were that we had more clear cut roles, made better hires, and had a better process for evaluating and promoting talent.
For any/all hiring managers out there, I strongly urge you to read Who: The A Method for Hiring.
I’m honestly not sure what my wife will do next. I know she is still just trying to figure it all out. And I think she should take her time, enjoy her newfound downtime and pamper herself a little.
But I also know that if she was to re-enter the workforce, she would be a really great hire.
So if you are in a position to hire a stay at home parent. Don’t be afraid. Assess their talent and give them a shot. Let’s hire some stay at home parents!
I know that you won’t regret it.
Thank you for writing such an encouraging article for all the stay-at-home moms out there. I find it uplifting. I do hope more employers can see the positive attributes of stay-at-home moms instead of diminishing them for lack of current experience.
No need to thank me. I hope so as well. Lack of experience can be made up for my motivation. I find that often times the more experienced, the more you tend to rest on your laurels. I’d rather hire someone who is constantly pushing to improve themselves and others around them.
Great point–who is more motivated to prove themselves than somebody who has been out of the workforce for a period of time–but working twice as hard and receiving half the recognition? I don’t have kids and I can hardly keep my own life together.
In general being a parent adds to anyone’s skillet. Patience, problem solving and mental toughness are some of the benefits I can think of. And yeah, I can barely run my own life, thank goodness for my wife. I haven’t had to think about groceries, dinner, or plan much of anything for a long time…