About this iReport
  • Not verified by CNN

  • Click to view Debwk's profile
    Posted January 10, 2014 by
    Clayton, North Carolina
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    First Person: Your essays

    More from Debwk

    To the Anonymous Person Who Probably Will Not Hire Me


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Debwk was a stay-at-home mom for many years. After her son entered college, she started looking for a job and is still currently searching for work. She wrote an open letter on CNN iReport to hiring managers explaining why stay-at-home mothers like herself should not be overlooked in the hiring process. She was inspired to write this essay because of the current state of the U.S. job market and her attempts to get back into the workforce at the age of 53. 'Motherhood is often devalued in our culture, and treated with abject disdain. I also believe that the term SAHM (stay-at-home mom), is maligned with a kind of "cultural shorthand" that allows people to make unfair assumptions about the choices women make,' she said.
    - Jareen, CNN iReport producer

    Dear Anonymous Person Who Probably Will Not Hire Me:

    I am writing to you as a job seeker who is ten years out of the workforce because of my personal choice to stay at home and raise my son, who is now a college freshman studying to become a bioengineer. I realize that this is not a typical cover letter, but I feel that the role of mother has become so devalued and maligned in our society, and that the title “Stay at Home Mother”, or” SAHM”, has become so needlessly politicized and trivialized, that it doesn’t begin to actually describe me as a person, or what I have accomplished during my time at home. In fact, I believe this tired, and clichéd misnomer has instead become a kind of ready-made shorthand used by detractors, both male and female, to describe women whose primary “mistake” has been to spend their time raising their children themselves, rather than turn them over to a daycare facility.


    Because I am often online looking for work, and relegated to filling in blanks that constrict my responses to the bare, but ever efficient, business minimum, I thought I’d try to flesh out my experience as a SAHM for you, since the workplace, even in the 21st century, hasn’t yet adapted to the stunning fact that women sometimes like to raise their children themselves. But let me back up a bit, and explain my specific reasons for opting out of daycare and raising my child. When my husband and I first talked about me staying home to raise our son, the decision was a fairly simple and economic one. At the time I had been working t a job that paid $12 an hour, which would necessitate finding a daycare that would likely charge $300 per week.


    To us, it was a simple math that made the decision. We chose to cut corners, along with all of the necessary sacrifices that go with it: we bought an affordable home, owned one car, made all of our meals ourselves, and guarded our monthly spending like a pit bull with a bone.


    My husband and I come from families who were sorely deficient in keeping their own lives together, let alone raising children. While I packed my suitcase early, and managed to escape from my volatile family home just two weeks after graduating from high school, my husband spent his youth dodging street gangs, and earned money by cleaning and painting neighborhood houses. After we met and married at 21, he steadily built a solid career as an IT professional, and now works for a large corporation.


    And so, our decision that I stay at home to raise our son, was not just a financial one, but an emotional decision as well. We wanted to give our son every opportunity for the happy and stable family life that had been denied to us. And largely we have succeeded against all odds. Believing that education was the key to success, I taught my son to read and write when he was four years old, so that by the time he entered kindergarten, he was helping his classmates to read.


    While my son moved through his elementary school years, I renovated our modest fixer and painted it inside and out. I taught myself how to lay floor tiles in both the kitchen and the bathroom, built an outdoor deck, installed new landscaping, and a fenced vegetable garden, and also constructed a barn-shaped chicken coop that housed three productive, but cantankerous, hens.


    You can look down your nose at me all you want, and denigrate me as a “Stay at Home Mom”, but this SAHM, earned a 234% profit after selling our home myself, without the services of a realtor - to the first person that looked at it. During that time, I also went to college and completed a degree. I got published. I have never been on welfare, or collected food stamps , nor have I ever been arrested, or spent time in the prison system, or have done anything remotely illegal in my entire life. So when you pause to “tsk-tsk” over my less- than- stellar resume, and ponder over the “questionable gaps” in my employment history, please do not automatically assume that I’m on a day pass from sing-sing. Like many other SAHMs, the only “crime” I’ve ever committed seems to be the decision to raise a competent and productive person.


    So, if you’re a HR hiring manager, please don’t look down your nose at me, or openly boast about your double MBAs, your BMW, and the new granite countertops you’ve just installed in your gourmet kitchen where you microwave your frozen entrees. You only make yourself sound like the biggest ASS that ever lived. Granted, I’m happy that this stuff make you deliriously happy, but they’ve never been my focus. I also realize that gone are the days when I could walk into a place of business and get hired on the spot for my cute looks and pleasant demeanor, but no, I will not be your “office mom” and “listen to the romantic failures of your heartbroken, younger staff”, like not one, but two batty, or possibly highly inebriated, HR professionals have recently suggested. In fact, if I had a dollar for every time that an interviewer has said something absolutely bat-shit crazy like that to me lately, I wouldn’t need a job!


    And yes, I know that I’m probably “over-qualified” for your entry-level position, and that I would “be the oldest person there”, and “may not fit in” with my lack of tattoos, but I’m self-taught in everything that I do, and try to be a decent person while I’m at it. So that’s it, Anonymous Person Who Probably Will Not Hire Me, that’s my story as a SAHM looking for work. Try fitting that into your blankety-blanks!

    Add your Story Add your Story