Defending and Reclaiming the Resume Gap 


Ah, the dreaded resume gap.

It’s unfortunate that I’ll have to account for every single second spent at home raising two children under three years old on my resume. I’ve been told that anything over three months must be accounted for, that I’ll only be able to “get away with” staying home with my kids for so long before it “looks bad.”

Get away with? I’m going to have to get away with taking care of my children? I’m going to have to get away with managing a home, taking care of a family, cooking, cleaning, laundry, daycare prep? Get away with?

It’s pretty messed up, isn’t it?

So I’ve been diligent in keeping on top of work-related things. There’s a whole list I have compiled to satisfy whoever is going to review my resume. Well, to pause any interrogations, anyway.

There you go, naysayers who are probably the same people who ask how my “vacation” was when I return from maternity leave. Are you happy? I provided a detailed summary that spells out my many endeavors whilst “relaxing at home with my newborn.” Ha. Ha. Hahahaha.

As I stare at the list, I’m proud that I was able to do other things while keeping the tiny humans alive and thriving. Still, it’s bittersweet because the list in no way reflects what I’ve really had to do to make it all work. There’s nowhere to put that stuff, the stuff that doesn’t “belong” or “fit.”

What a list that would be if I could get it all down on paper. It would look something like this:

  • potty trained a stubborn two-year-old
  • exclusively breastfed a baby for six months (and am still breastfeeding at 12 months)
  • fed my family healthy meals that I shopped for and prepared myself
  • packed lunches, walked kids to school and back, and kept laundry reasonably together
  • stayed home with and cared for sick children who averaged some kind of illness about every four weeks (if not more frequently)
  • administered first-aid on a regular basis
  • organized an entire family’s schedule down to the minute for months at a time
  • ran interference re: middle of the night awakenings/nightmares
  • managed family finances, including paying the bills and doing our taxes

It’s hardly a gap, right? There is plenty to be done, and the working world needs to see it. Then let them try to say our skills aren’t transferable.

I want to be clear: I like the work. It is the hardest job with the least amount of extrinsic reward. I am happy to do it. I just wish I didn’t have to prove why it matters.

What would you add to your resume gap if you could?


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