A few weeks ago I posted an article on Medium entitled “Whither the Dying Roses? Crises of Confidence & Identity on the Mommy Track”. The central question was this: “We [stay-at-home mothers] may be fatigued, frustrated and, yes, fed up by the daily grind of caretaking, but who are we without it?” Later in the article, I talked about the job prospects for women who chose the “mommy track,” saying:
In our society, a job is one clear way to define yourself, while also providing some degree of financial independence. But after so much time doing work that is unacknowledged, unpaid, and of no tangible value in the real world, we’re unsure of our capabilities and skills, of what we really have to offer. We don’t even know how to start.
Unacknowledged, unpaid, and undervalued. That’s the reality for stay-at-home parents. (My original article talked about moms, but is just as applicable to stay-at-home dads.) None of the myriad things we do on a daily basis is considered an actual job skill, which is astonishing when you think about it. And I did think about it. A lot.
Stay-at-home parents are managers of the highest order. We have to think on our feet and adapt quickly when things go sideways. We must be on the job 24-7, carrying out multiple tasks simultaneously. Yet we can’t put any of what we do on a resume.
Or can we? That was the jumping-off point for this post. I wanted to present a stay-at-home parent’s skills in the same way any job applicant would, with titles and a list of responsibilities. I tried to have a little fun with this, but I am totally serious about changing people’s perspectives on the work stay-at-home parents do. We are, in the parlance of today’s job ads, rock stars, and it’s high time we were seen that way. So, without further ado, here is a resume based on my experience that shows the true value and skill set of stay-at-home moms and dads.
Since 2002, I have managed a small residential facility, holding the simultaneous roles of COO, CCO, CBO, UPN, Dietitian, Facility Manager, and CRO for the residents. As my work experience shows, I have a proven ability to learn new skills quickly, as well as exceptional communication, time management, and service skills.
Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Manage the operations of a residential facility and its occupants. This demanding job includes but is not limited to:
- Managing all junior residents’ schedules for scholastics, athletics, and leisure time.
- Sending out reminders of events to ensure punctuality.
- Sending verbal and electronic reminders of deadlines to ensure projects and assignments are submitted on time.
- Maintaining a written, colour-coded calendar of all schedules.
- Arranging transportation for all events.
- Holding time management workshops for the junior residents of the facility.
Chief Communications Officer (CCO)
Communication is carried out through online and print documents. Tasks include but are not limited to:
- Handwritten correspondence for friends and relatives of the residents, including invitations, thank-you cards, and greeting cards.
- Online communication, as necessary, with junior residents’ teachers, coaches, and friends’ parents.
- Managing all paperwork for junior residents, including completion of forms for scholastic and athletic organizations.
- Maintaining connections with residents’ extended family and friends.
Chief Budget Officer (CBO)
This job consists of multiple roles: budgeting, inventory control, and procurement.
- Budgeting includes being aware of the cost of all items needed in the areas of food, clothing, school supplies, cleaning supplies, athletic equipment, art and music supplies, and gifts for various occasions; reading promotional materials from retailers to ensure cost-effective purchases; discussions with residents about budgetary limits and the reasons certain purchase requests are denied.
- Inventory management includes: knowing the whereabouts of everything in the facility; maintaining a mental list of new items that may be required; and managing disposal/re-use of old stock, including food stock that is readily visible or hidden in the back of cupboards, refrigerators, or freezers.
- Procurement includes purchasing: new food stock; clothing, games, toys, and general supplies as existing stock becomes obsolete, breaks down, or gets lost; clothing for special occasions; cleaning and paper supplies; various products for physical hygiene and oral health.
Unregistered Practical Nurse (UPN)
This position requires on-call service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and a diverse set of skills and knowledge, including:
- Basic first aid for cuts, bruises, and insect bites.
- An understanding of the distinction between viral and bacterial infections and the correct course of treatment for each.
- An ability to determine the cause and treatment of various rashes, headaches, and congested sinuses, and to answer the question “Is this strep throat?”
- Assess whether bed rest is needed and, if so, alert others to the resident’s absence from daily activities.
- Flexibility to deal with sudden illnesses or infestations like lice.
- Management of inventory for first aid and general medical supplies, ensuring no disruption in the supply of analgesics, band-aids, and antibiotic ointment.
- Booking consultations as needed with other professionals. e.g. general practitioners, dentists, orthodontists, and optometrists.
- Providing counselling services for stress and anxiety e.g from overloaded schedules, unexpected failures, grief, or general fatigue.
- Reminders to residents about the management of screen time and the importance of regular bedtimes to ensure good sleep hygiene.
This role is essential to the healthy functioning of the residents of the facility and involves:
- Comprehensive knowledge of food guide recommendations for healthy eating, portion size, and recommended daily allowances for all major nutrients for people of different ages.
- Maintaining inventory of healthy food options, accessible to all residents at all times.
- Coaching residents in preparation of healthy snacks and lunches.
- Preparation of healthy meals including all of the required food groups in the correct amounts.
- Daily or weekly consultation of online and print sources for recipes and new ideas for healthy meals and snacks.
- Educating residents about the various nutrients they need to ensure optimum mental and physical health.
This role ensures that the facility is in good repair and a basic minimum standard of cleanliness is maintained. It covers such areas as:
- Multiple daily cleanings of the food preparation area.
- Regular cleaning of washrooms.
- Regular mopping of floors, vacuuming, sweeping, and dusting.
- Instruction to all residents in how to complete the chores listed above themselves.
- Reminders to residents of the necessity of completing these chores so the COO, CCO, and CBO can carry out the tasks required of those positions.
- Coordinating repairs to any parts of the facility, as needed.
Chief Research Officer (CRO)
Because research is required in all of the other roles listed here, CRO is an ongoing job that includes regular reading of print and online sources to gain knowledge in the areas of health, nutrition, food safety, first aid, meal planning, and any other topics where further insight is needed.
- MS Outlook and Gmail for contact with teachers, coaches, friends, and family.
- WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram as additional communication tools.
- Google Docs and Sheets for correspondence, budgeting, and scheduling.
- Google Slides to help with school work when needed.
School of Life
There is no official training program for the positions listed here. In lieu of formal training, education is attained on the job in an extended apprenticeship that requires attention to detail, patience, compassion, discipline, assertiveness, time management and organizational skills, and the ability to multitask and adapt quickly when circumstances change.