One of the most amazing things we get to do at PCAT is empower parents to believe in themselves. A young mom I work with in our Healthy Families program had her precious son 18 months ago. At the time, she knew this was her first child and that she wanted to give him her best love and care, so she left her job in order to stay home with her baby. Fast forward a year and a half and this mama is ready to get back to work!
At first, she didn’t know what she wanted to do or even where to begin. I helped her navigate some online resources like Indeed and CareerBuilder as a starting point. We talked about what to look for in job listings and I showed her how to upload her resume so she could apply to positions she is interested in. After applying to a few jobs together, I noticed she was starting to voice a bit of anxiety over the interview process.
What if they actually give me an interview? What will I wear? What will I say? How will I take care of my baby if I start working full-time?
We talked about her questions and I reassured her that so many other parents wonder the same things. I suggested working towards her goal one step at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed and she felt like that would be helpful. We came up with some steps that are realistic for where she is at and a game plan for how I could support her in those steps.
During our next visit just one week later, she told me she had been applying to jobs every day! She said she felt like it was easy. Since she felt like she had a good handle on applying to jobs, I challenged her to go after her next step and practice for interviews with me. I started asking her some questions that are frequently brought up in a job interview. She had a difficult time coming up with answers at first - she felt silly and didn’t know what the “right” thing to say would be. I saw this as an opportunity to help build up her confidence. I talked about the strength I have seen in her as a mother and as a woman. I told her that I believed in her and that I knew that she had what it took to get a job. Once I saw how encouraged she felt, I started to ask her what she thinks her strengths are, what she feels she would be able to contribute to a company, why people enjoy being around her, and as we kept talking this young woman realized that she has a lot to offer the world! Not only does she love to help others, but she is funny and compassionate, and she wants the absolute best for her son.
The next day she texted me and told me she already had two interviews set up! She was so happy because one was at a daycare and if she worked there, she would be able to take her baby with her to work! Even through just a text, I could feel the confidence and excitement this mom was experiencing.
Sometimes the only thing a person needs to hear is a simple “You can do this.” This is the transformative power of our work. As home visitors, we learn about a parent- what they enjoy and what their strengths are, and we get to encourage them and connect them to resources so they can work toward their goals. This family is stronger and the children will grow up more resilient and ready to face the world because of this mom’s courage and her desire to give her children the best life possible.