Here are a few ideas for staying marketable in the work force while you raise your family:
Work Part-Time In Your Field
If time permits, try to find part-time work in your field. Your first stop should always be your old job. Let them know that even though you're at home, you have a few hours here and there to help out. Maybe your old boss is looking for someone to cover some extra cases or run a few numbers. Even if it's just a few hours each week, every little bit helps.
If you old company isn't looking for anyone, you might consider doing some freelance work for other companies in your field. Call or visit local companies to introduce yourself and your services.
Stay Up-To-Date on Your Skills
Many professions and fields change drastically over the years – software update, technology change, more efficient methods are found. It's important that you stay on top of those changes so your learning curve will be minimal when you return to the workforce. You can do this by subscribing to professional journals, taking classes, attending seminars, or even keeping up on the news via the internet.
Experts say that networking is one of the best ways to find a job these days. Save yourself some hassle - make it a point to stay in contact with your old coworkers and professional contacts. These developed relationships will be extremely helpful when you start looking for a new position, not only as quality references but as ways to open doors at new companies. So, make it a point to stay in contact with them through email or periodic lunches out.
You can also use online forums and discussion boards to network with peers that are outside of your area. A simple Google search may come up with multiple websites for your profession – check them out and see what is available!
Another good place to look for networking opportunities is with professional associations. Many sponsor conferences, committees, meetings, and training sessions for their members. Attending these can help you make new connections while getting you out of the house and around other adults.
Many SAHMs use volunteering opportunities in their local community to fill in "gaps" in their resume. I'm not talking about shelving books at your local library or handing out food at your local food bank (though these are great ways to help out) but rather volunteering opportunities were you use your organizational and leadership qualities to help out. These opportunities can include heading a committee, organizing a community festival, or leading the local PTA. You'll get extra brownie points if you can find volunteering activities that are close to your career field.
Starting your own business, even if it's not in your original career field, is another great way to fill that gap in your resume. If you have the writing skills, you could write for online publications and websites (like Infobarrel), or create your own blog. If you're a cook or baker, you could sell cakes or be a part-time personal chef for people in your neighborhood. No matter what you decide to do, a home-based small business is a great way to keep yourself marketable.