Take a moment to pat yourself on the back. Switching roles--from at-home mom to working mom, or vice versa--is a challenge. Be proud of yourself for taking it on (again!). Next: Start info-gathering. Even if you only stepped out of the job market for a couple of years, there will have been changes in your field. (And if you mailed rather than e-mailed your last résumé, this is doubly true.) You'll want to familiarize yourself with this "workplace 2.0" so you can assess what you need to feel confident and well-equipped. Ask yourself:
Does your résumé need an overhaul? A career counselor or a trusted colleague in your field can give you feedback.
Are you feeling out of the loop? Join an industry group, as well as online networks like Linkedin.com and Naymz.com. Set up meetings with helpful individuals. Websites like Janehasajob.com and Womenforhire.com can also get you up to speed, while Momcorps.com can help you find employers who don't mind flexible job options.
Do you need to take a class, buy new equipment, set up childcare, upgrade your wardrobe, or renew any work licenses? You can start this before you begin scanning the want ads.
Do you know what you're worth? Aim for a salary that will cover work-related expenses, with plenty left over. Happy job hunting!
ASK THE MOM SQUAD
MP Dunleavey Our financial expert is author of Money Can Buy Happiness and mom of a 3-year-old. Send her questions at firstname.lastname@example.org