Short & Sweet: Modern-Day Rules for On-Ramp Moms


Invest in yourself before you leave the work force. The better your education and the more impressive your career achievements, the more options you will have when you return to work.
Be realistic and determined; don’t expect the job market to respect, validate or reward your decision to stay home with children. 
Stay in the same city. Returning to work is simpler if you remain in the same geographic area or in the same field and can leverage your prior contacts and professional reputation.
Be decisive about returning to work. No one wants to hire someone who projects ambivalence.
Go back full time. Part-time and flex-time jobs remain elusive for anyone at any stage in their careers.
Keep up your network. This jaded advice holds true, but it doesn’t mean an awkward call to your previous human-resource manager every January. • Keep up with your friends from work and your industry. Maintain professional connections in ways that feel comfortable to you.
Stay (somewhat) current on major new technology trends. Lawyers need to read up on Sarbanes-Oxley. Marketers need to keep tabs on Internet marketing. Certified professionals should keep accreditations current.
Go back within 10 years. “There’s probably a curve that slopes negatively with more time,” says recruiter Rob Browning. “A three- to five-year absence is now relatively easy to explain. Ten-plus years is a lot harder.”

Leslie Morgan Steiner, editor of “Mommy Wars: Stay-at-Home and Career Moms Face Off on Their Choices, Their Lives, Their Families,” and work-family columnist