May 2, 2007 -- Salary.com has just released its annual take on what stay-at-home moms would be paid for their work in the business world. The symbolic figure: a whopping $138,646.
While it's hardly a breeze for moms to leverage diaper duty for the big bucks of the boardroom, there are some key steps home-based moms should take to prepare for a possible return to work.
Unfortunately, I've worked with and witnessed thousands of stay-at-home moms who never imagined they'd be going back to work. But because of divorce or financial necessity, or even boredom, they wound up needing or wanting to get back to work. And when that moment comes, when she hasn't kept a hand in the professional ring, she has great difficulty making the transition, especially in a timely manner. It is for this reason that I'm a big believer that every mom -- even those who never anticipate a return to the workplace -- should maintain a big toe in the professional arena.
Moms should avoid lots of short-term stints volunteering. Employers would rather see a long-term commitment to one or two volunteer groups. That shows you've maintained a track record of responsibility whereas short-term stints here and there aren't able to paint any kind of picture of loyalty and depth of responsibility.
Stay-at-home moms must stay connected with professionals. The whole world need not revolve solely around other stay-at-home parents. Keep socializing with moms who are active in the workplace now. If or when the time comes to go back to work, these people are the best source of job leads and referrals. You will need to lean on professionals for help and support, so keep them in your inner circle at all times, not just when you need them for workplace help.
Keep Up on Industry Trends.
Business challenges and trends change rapidly. Keeping up with your field is key. It's very difficult to suddenly go back to work when you're in the dark on the players and issues impacting your line of work. Don't put yourself in the unenviable position of needing to cram five years of business knowledge into a single weekend when you decide it's time to get back to work. Keep nourishing your brain even while you're at home. Once a week, read a newsletter, magazine, Web site or journal that is specific to your industry. You'll be back to keeping track of trends, and the knowledge will be a natural part of who you are. This makes it much easier to talk and think intelligibly should you decide to get back into the workplace.
Johnson is the workplace contributor on "Good Morning America" and the CEO of Women for Hire. Connect with her at www.womenforhire.com.