One in five American parents stay home after having children and mothers are roughly four times as likely to be the stay-at-home-parent. I created “Resume of A Stay-At-Home-Mother”, a series of images, to dispel the stereotypes and show the depth of the stay-at-home-mother role, forcing employers to rethink what they seek in a resume from stay-at-home applicants. The images display ordinary moments that evoke an emotional response and demonstrate the immense value in opting out of the workforce and the myriad of skills acquired.
The US is among the only industrialized countries without mandatory paid family leave. The national requirement for employers is 12 weeks off, unpaid. Currently, the average family with at least one child under age 5 spends roughly 13% of their income on child care, making it unaffordable to most families.
When the time comes to re-enter the work force, one study from American Sociological Review says stay-at-home mothers are half as likely to get a job interview than unemployed mothers. Employers said they viewed stay-at-home parents as less reliable, less deserving and less committed to work than unemployed parents.
Mothers who do find a job after a gap are often penalized. According to a study from Harvard Business Review, women who spend three years or more out of the workforce lose 37% of their earning power.
In “Resume of A Stay-At-Home Mother” I put my camera on a tripod and use a remote to capture candid self-portraits with my children. The process of editing the images and choosing a title that corresponds to a skill on a resume caused me to re-evaluate my role as primary caregiver to my children. I’ve been a stay-at-home-mother for over 10 years and never felt like it was enough. I was always ashamed when asked “what do you do?”. I’d share about my hobbies and volunteer roles but leave out my primary role of taking care of my children. After going through the process of creating this series, I proudly share about my role as a stay-at-home-mother and hope that one day soon it will be regarded as an asset on my resume.