This may sound ridiculous, but the main reason I’ve not wanted to start a blog before is the worry that my future employer will discover I’m a single parent. I’ve always kept it quiet during interviews, because of the fear that they will somehow interpret this as extra time off and not being flexible like single employees. Like it’s somehow a distraction and will hinder my ability to perform as well as others at work. It may or may not be paranoia, because lets face it no employers would admit to thinking this way. It’s only in the last year that I’ve decided I don’t actually care. I know how hard I work and I know it doesn’t affect my ability to do the job.
I don’t doubt that some hiring managers do judge the situation as negative, because I’ve experienced being hired and fired in the same 10 minutes when they discovered I was a mum. It wasn’t illegal, because there were no contracts in place, but it was definitely morally wrong and I was too naive to question it. Even so, now I have a few years of experience as a working mum, I can promise you that most employers would not base their decision on whether you’re a single parent, or not. Most of my colleagues give nothing but support and praise. Maybe I’ve been mostly lucky, but I do genuinely believe that most people want you to do well and realise it does take hard work to get there.
I once included a link to my beauty blog on a CV, which I had forgotten I mentioned my daughter on. After my interview, my boss went on the blog and the truth is, he actually admitted a few months later that it was one of the reasons he hired me, because he also had a child the same age and thought I was inspiring. I had tried so hard to hide it in the interview and when talking about my personal life, but as I should have known, it’s so easy to find things out online (especially if you actually give them your blog link which states “I’m a single mum”). My boss saw that I had achieved so much on my CV, and that alongside all of that I was raising a child too, and that took determination. And it’s true. It’s not easy to be a single parent, study and work full time but you can do it.
I can tell you with absolute certainty that being a parent doesn’t make you work any less, as any other parent will tell you. In fact, as a single parent, it’s so important to me not to jeopardise my career by taking too much time off, or arriving late. I don’t just want to do well for myself, but for my daughter too; to set an example and ultimately ensure we have a roof over our heads. I’m sure other parents would agree!
Of course, being a parent also doesn’t mean you work any better than anyone who doesn’t have children, but it doesn’t affect your ability. It also doesn’t mean that because you didn’t get a job, that it was because you have children. That’s also ridiculous to suggest. It’s likely because someone had more experience than you, and that’s all.
If you are a single parent and are worried about an interview coming up because of your situation, I would remember the following:
- They probably have children too. Being a single parent can definitely feel isolating sometimes, but it’s very likely that your future boss is also a parent. Many people are parents, single or not. Despite how some people may make you feel, having a child won’t stop you from doing the job any worse or better than someone without children. Most decent employers know that, and if they don’t, they probably aren’t the kind of people you want to work for anyway.
- You do not have to mention you have a child. The same way you don’t have to mention that you have an illness, or anything about your personal life. All employers want to know is that you can and want to do the job.
- Is your social media private? If you do want to keep it to yourself (which you have every right to), or even for privacy concerns, remember that many employers look up prospective employees on social media, so make sure your accounts are private. That goes for people without children too – drunken pics are never a good look!
- Believe in yourself. Most importantly, they offered you the interview because they can see you have the right experience or skills. Believe in yourself! You know you can do the job! There are enough people out there that you will judge you and make you feel bad about your situation, give yourself a bit of credit! 🙂