Returning to work after the kids? Here’s how

There’s a new trend of women in the workforce known as “comeback moms.”  Having put their careers on hold to stay home with the kids, they now want to get back in the workplace. Mary Quigley and Loretta Kaufman, authors of “Going Back to Work: A Survival Guide for Comeback Moms,” were invited to appear on “Today” to share their advice.

What moms want
The number-one thing comeback moms want is flexibility. They are saying, “I don’t want to go back to what I had. I want an emotionally satisfying job, but not at the frantic pace I had before.” What a lot of them are hearing is that they’re overqualified for a job. One of the arguments you can make is to say, “Give me a shot at it. Give me a project to show you I can do it. I would not apply for a job like yours. This is what I am looking for at this time in my life.”  What employer wouldn’t want more bang for their buck?

Fear factor
Lack of confidence is the biggest obstacle for most women thinking about returning to the workforce. That’s why the first priority is to program your psyche to overcome the no-confidence stumble. That alone will increase your chances of getting what you want. Women commonly fear that they're “too old” or will get a negative reaction to “I don’t want to work a rigid workweek,” or that they'll be seen as out of touch with the new workplace.

Career or job?
If you can’t do the long hours and frequent travel, it behooves you to take a position at a lower level with a lower salary than what you had previously. You may need to take a step back before you can move forward again.

Don’t wait
You should be networking the entire time you’re out of the workplace. Don't wait until junior steps on the bus for kindergarten to start looking for a job. Trying to get back in the workforce after years of no contacts is a big mistake.

Don’t apologize for time off
Using words like “All I ever did was tend my garden and change diapers” is a mistake. Take part-time jobs, no matter how low-paying they are, so you’ll have something to put on your resume.  You can also volunteer. Do something with measurable work, something quantifiable. Get out of the school bake sales and get into community government. The contacts will get you places.

Strategic plan for comeback moms:
1. Take part-time jobs
You need something to put on your resume so there’s not a huge gap. Don’t be afraid if it’s not lucrative. The experience and the contacts will help you in the long run.

2. Volunteer like a man
Forget the bake sales. Think like a man. Make it measurable work. Sit on a school board or do community projects to develop contacts.

3. Education is the magic bullet
It’s a great idea to expand on your education, even if you can only go part-time. By the time your last child is in school your degree could be accomplished. It shows an employer that you’re serious and that you are willing to invest in yourself and learn new skills. It’s a great resume filler.

4. Start your own business
Small at-home businesses can grow into big strip-mall businesses.