When and how to tell people you have quadruplets...

I cried today. I literally broke down in tears and cried. Twice. 

For most people, crying is natural but for me, in everything I've experienced the past 3-5 years, crying is not a natural response. Especially, when it's for something as silly as a kind man telling you the job he's hiring for isn't a job for you.

For the last few months, my life has been a disaster wreck calamity.  Life kind of exploded on me in several different directions all at once and the kids and I ended up moving back home to Texas. My Uncle and Aunt were sweet enough to give me the old farmhouse that he and my Mom grew up in along with their older brother and parents. I've been trying to paint and update the house on my own for several months and I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle. I've gotten the kids enrolled in school and we spend most of our time at my Dad's living a completely disorganized mess between three places: his house, his motor home where we sleep, and our house to be. It's stressful to say the least.

In all of this, I'm faced with possibly one of my biggest stresses: finding a job that suits my crazy lifestyle. Now, as much as I'm quite certain I have a made for TV story, selling my life story hasn't presented very many income generating opportunities. Thus, while I'm trying raise quadruplets, help my Dad around the farm, and fix up an old house with my own two hands, I've also been searching for a job.

Every night, I stay up incredibly late after the kids are asleep searching through job postings, updating my resume, sending out networking emails and applying to jobs. I've generated a few phone interviews, and a lot of nos. The nos generally don't bother me. But today, I had a phone interview for what I feel is the perfect position for me and hearing it wasn't was a hard pill to swallow for a few reasons.

Because of my unique situation, raising quadruplets alone, I require a little bit of a unique employment situation.  I have a need to work remotely, require a degree of flexibility, and I have to make enough money so that when school is out, I can afford to pay help to watch the kids so I can work. (In other words, when I'm working and my entire paycheck goes directly to childcare because hello four kids at once, it's doesn't bode well for me). Working at home is a need due to our geographic location. We're about 60 miles from a major city and being the only parent with very few hands on deck to help out in a bind, means I have to be accessible in the event of an emergency and spending two plus hours of my already hectic day, is really not an option.

My passion is recruitment and selection.  My favorite job ever was working as corporate recruiter for a global real estate company. I loved the thrill of the hunt searching for the perfect person to help my hiring manager meet their needs to be able to get the job done. I loved talking to people and looking at their experience along with their soft skills and determining how well they'd mesh with the other people they'd be working with. I loved when I would talk to one of my hiring managers in person about a job opening they had on the horizon and I'd be able to tell them "Oh - I have the perfect person for you in pipeline. Let me reach out to them and see if they'd be interested".

Thus, I'm applying to executive recruiter positions, mostly 100% commission ones. Today, my interview was for one such position. And this is where the point of my post comes in to play.

I struggle with when is a good time to tell people I have quadruplets. The reactions that people have when you tell them or when they see for themselves that I have quadruplets vary so broadly on the scale and you never know if it's going to be a positive interaction or a negative one. (Seriously, who wants to hear "I'd shoot myself if I were you".)  During the handful of times that I've been in the grocery store alone, and a mother or grandmother of twins has made comments about their twins and their struggles, I've always smiled and said politely that twins must be fun. But when do you tell a potential employer that you're a single mother to quadruplets? I would imagine this gets even trickier when it comes to dating but that's a chapter I'm not ready to even attempt at this point.

Today, the owner of the recruiting firm I wanted to work for asked me about my business building experience (read: sales) and how I felt about going commission only or working on a "eat what you kill" basis. I'm really not interested in sales but I do want to recruit and I have a strong need to make a lot of money recruiting so the commission structure seems to suit me well. I took a deep breath, and I told him: "Sir, I'm going to level with you, because I would hope someone would do the same for me. I am in Mama Bear mode. I am a single mother to quadruplets. I took my kids and got out of a bad situation after enduring it for quite some time. I do this completely alone. I tried working for someone else for about a year but I ended up drowning because no matter how hard I worked, I couldn't make enough to pay for daycare and support a family of five alone. I think it's completely fair for me to work on a commission basis because if I don't make my commissions, then it's only my fault and nobody else can take the blame. I only have corporate recruiting experience and aside from a few essential oils, I've never sold anything in my life, but I'm a Mama Bear looking to provide for my kids so if I have to go out and sell something, if someone can point me in the right direction, I'll figure it out".

I knew I took a risk by divulging the truth and the severity of my situation. As you can probably guess, he told me that the position was not what I am looking for. He said he wanted to hold on to my resume because his hopes are that he'll need someone like me in about six months, however, in six months, if I haven't found a position, we're going to be at def-con 10 over here.  So as this sweet man told me that I was a "badass" and that he was raised by a single mother even though there were only two of them and his dad was still around to help out financially, I started to cry. I was kicking myself as I did it because I felt so stupid and completely unprofessional but I cried.

In case you're still reading this far, and your wondering why I cried the second time: not ten minutes after I got off that call, I got another decline email in my inbox, this one for a larger recruiting firm.

And in case you're still here through all of that, I'd love to hear from you. When do you think is the best time to tell someone you have quadruplets?

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