Due to the pandemic, Maggie Mundwiller was laid off from her job last April — just as her six weeks of maternity leave was ending following the birth of her son Mylo, now 1. She's been looking for a new job ever since, so when a company offered her a second interview this week she jumped at the opportunity. There was just one catch: Nobody was around to babysit, and her husband had to work.
When the St. Louis mom broke the news to her prospective employer that she'd have to miss the interview because she didn't have childcare, she got this response: "We are child-friendly," followed by a heart-eyed emoji. And so, on Tuesday, she and an "interview-ready" Mylo — looking sharp in a hand-me-down seersucker suit and armed with a résumé touting skills like "can take off own diaper" — showed up at the office as planned.
"Of course when we walked in, everyone was just mind-blown and just thought he was so cute," Mundwiller tells Yahoo Life of her Mommy-and-me interview experience, which she documented in a TikTok that's gone viral for highlighting the realities of being a mom juggling a career and childcare.
Mundwiller says she's had to decline interviews in the past because of childcare, particularly as lockdown life amid the pandemic ruled out getting even a grandparent in to babysit.
"I would try to schedule interviews during Mylo's naps on Zoom, and I had to miss several because it's really hard to predict a nap schedule," she says. "You can try and do your best, but it doesn't always work out. And so I finally decided, I'm just going to be honest and say, 'I'm here with a toddler. I don't have childcare.' Because it really was just Mylo and I at home for the last year."
Since her video — in which Mylo pulls the ultimate power move of nabbing a pickle from the owner of the company — was released later that day, Mundwiller has scored more than 24,000 new followers on TikTok, though no job offers just yet.
"I think it's important to interview a company as much as they're interviewing you," she notes, adding that she's being careful to not disclose too much about the company she interviewed with as it's still early in the process and they're determining if "it's the right fit for everybody."
Mundwiller was a national sales trainer for the corporate offices of a senior living facility prior to her layoff. While she's interested in remaining in that field, but says her skillset is "diverse." Indeed, she started a fashion business, 314 Handcrafted, while unemployed as a way to keep busy and bring in some extra money.
"My heart is open to the right opportunity, and the right company," she says, adding that the right company is one that can offer her some flexibility.
"I definitely want a company who's family-friendly," Mundwiller tells Yahoo Life. "Now that this video is out there, it's kind of been an 'aha!' moment for me and seeing how many people are feeling the same way that I am. You kind of have to put on a work face and then your family face, and you can't really mesh the two together in a lot of places of work."
The pandemic has made it even harder for women to gain a foothold in the workplace, she says, noting that, in addition to Mylo, she has a 21-year-old son from a previous relationship. A first-time mom at age 16, she managed to climb her way to a leadership role, but feels knocked back by the events of the past year or so.
"I feel like with COVID we've taken a big step backward," she says. "There are so many more women that have gone back to being stay-at-home moms because of the pandemic. I think it's a shame, because we had taken so many strides and now we're decades behind where we were... So I feel like this TikTok is truly an opportunity to have those discussions."
And, she hopes, eventual employment.
"I definitely had a lot of people in the comments that said they would hire him — 'and I guess you too,'" she says, laughing. "But he's so cute, I get it."
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