Recently inspired by the story of a good friend who publicized her career choice to stay home with kids, I re-wrote my Linked In profile. Purely because it makes me proud to see an accomplished, successful career woman like my friend, make this choice, I wanted to share some ways in which the choice to stay home with kids might be seen as a continuation of career, rather than a departure from the same.
This is what I came up with:
Home Creation and Innovation Leader:
Leads development of values-based vision for family growth
Devises family growth strategy from values and vision
Leads implementation of growth and development strategy in collaboration with all family members
Researches human growth, development, and education and continually revises growth strategy as relevant
Maintains awareness of local and global issues to cultivate relationships and build connections to community
Five full years into the transition from corporate to SAHM, I am realizing that skills I worried I would lose, are not only utilized, but continue to add value and develop everyday. The main difference is that the value I am creating is something we chart the course of as a family and will (hopefully) live the benefits of for years to come.
It leads me to fully internalize the age-old question of our times, being if we, as a society, value the work of raising children to be future leaders, why is it perceived as "pausing" one's career to take this work on?
The responsibilities described above are ones that I have thoughtfully considered and enacted in a way not much different to which I did for corporate clients. Vision boards are documented and carefully stored as part of our family history and metrics recorded are proudly reported as part of annual tracking. I have realized that the same methods used for corporate growth and development applied to family life can lead to similar "building, growing, and thriving" outcomes in a way we can choose to define. Is there value in applying similar rigorous strategy for impact developed in the corporate world to developing our own families and leaders of tomorrow? My kids are still young, so at this point it's hard to know. Maybe it is purely fulfilling my own need for structure and feeling "useful." Maybe it is wasted breath and time on a topic previously debated at length, but new to a new parent. Or, maybe there is validity in re-considering the potential and impact of structured parenting as a "career" or even "profession" whether in a full-time context or otherwise. Maybe there is value in applying a standard methodology for achieving results:
What are your family's core values that will drive growth and impact? (e.g., health, connection to nature)
What direction do you wish growth for your family that supports values? (e.g., regular outdoor activity)
In which specific avenues will growth be pursued? (e.g., building physical fitness and health, connection to nature)
What specific activities support this growth and will be given time? (e.g., walking in a natural setting as a family, taking a course on ecology and incorporating knowledge into discussion on walks)
In what ways will your family measure success? (e.g., number of walks per week, number of hours outside per year, completion of nature course)
Research and Development:
Which areas do you want to continually grow in / how can you feed new ideas for growth, strategy, and innovation? (e.g., early childhood learning, benefits of outdoor activity for children, risk-based play)
Professional Development / Mentorship:
Which specific organizations, clubs, etc., can you plug into to further learning and development in targeted areas?
How can you connect with and support others with similar goals? (e.g., blogging, networking)
What are your thoughts? Is there more method behind what you do "naturally" to raise your kids than you thought? Do you see value in using professional tools applied to "home creation" and or "innovation"?
"Stay at home mom at work":