It felt a little like Father’s Day today over at The Wall Street Journal: Three articles in two days related to Fatherhood! Thanks for the tip Jared.
I am a full-time stay-at-home dad and have been for the past two years. Fortunately, I had the opportunity of an unpaid childcare leave from the NYC Department of Education. I am planning to re-enter the workforce at the end of the summer. Well, at least in a limited capacity, doing part-time work. Excited at the opportunity to increase my adult interaction and enable my son to spend a few days per week in a group setting, this will provide me the opportunity to continue being home with him often to bond. As you can understand, work-life balance is something of paramount importance to most people, especially stay at home dads looking to re-enter the workforce.
Daunting Task For Mr. Mom: Get a Job by Sue Shellenbarger (who often writes great stuff for the WSJ Juggle) in the Work & Family section of The Wall Street journal focuses in on the “outnumbered and Often Isolated, At-Home Dads that Face an Extra-Hard Slog Back Into the Work Force.” There is so much to dissect in this lengthy article. Yep, still can’t shake the “Mr. Mom” terms in the media!
Let’s start with a significant statistic: “A record 7.4% of fathers in married-couple families with children under 18 were home in 2009 while their wives worked, based on unpublished Bureau of Labor Statistics data set for release next week.” It may not sound like much, but that is up two full percentage points from 2008!
The article details information from the interviews of four different fathers from the East Coast: a photojournalist from Columbia, S.C., a former operations manager from Salem, Mass., a former creative director at an ad agency from Wayland, Mass., and an architect from McLean, Va. These interesting excerpts from two of the dads speaks to one common challenge they faced during their job interviews:
he learned not to mention “stay-at-home dad” on his resumé…At first, he proudly put his fathering role on his resume. “I thought it could be an asset,” Mr. Montague says. But like Mr. Hallowes, he found interviews “went off on tangents, talking about how lucky I had been and what a great experience I had,” he says. “I would leave thinking I had made good connections” but then would hear nothing.
“I’d be there with a resumé with almost 12 years of professional experience, and I wanted to talk about what I could bring to the job. But instead, I’d spend the hour talking about what it was like to be a stay-at-home father,” he says
Based on these responses, not surprisingly, career coaches advise not including stay at home fatherhood prominently on a resume and to be “ready with a quick, confident explanation of why you decided to stay home” before shifting to topics more suited for the job being discussed.
Let me leave you with one more classic excerpt before you jump into the article on your own:
“At a cocktail party, the conversation turns to, ‘What do you do?’ Someone says, ‘I’m a lawyer, what do you do?’ If you say, ‘I’m a stay-at-home dad,’ the conversation ends. What are other men going to talk about with you? ‘Do you like Velcro on your diapers?'” he says. Instead, he always answered, “I’m an architect.”
This is not the first time I have heard about this scenario. Even so, I have a hard time getting my arms around that. For one, I have not attended a business cocktail party for quite some time. Two, I personally would try to find some commonality to bridge the gap to a more lengthy conversation. Three, I am proud to be a stay-at-home dad so why not share the love! That said, I guess it could make sense if your entire identity is in your work (even though I feel sorry for those fellas because there is so much more to life)!
Lastly, if this topic hits home with you, check out Shellenbarger’s tips for at-home dads returning to work.
At-home parents, feel free to share some of your experiences in returning to the work-force.