Pausing your career in order to have kids is a blessing for many moms. However, many moms decide to take the plunge and return to the workforce a while later. Here are five things to consider as you consider your return to the labor market.

Choose your Direction

Are you excited about returning to the same work you did before you became a mom? Are you interested instead in a new career field or industry? Maybe you want to only work part-time? Spend some serious time really answering these questions and choosing what you really want to do.

Practice your story

Having a gap in your employment history is a common barrier when trying to reenter the workforce. Many employers expect a clean succession of jobs, so being prepared certainly helps. Why are you a great fit for this job and company? Practice telling your story out loud and explain why you are excited to be working again. Practice until it’s natural. Don’t let yourself be caught off-guard.

Spruce up the Resume and Cover Letter

Let’s face it—if you haven’t worked in several years your resume might be pretty stale. Spend some time really nailing down your background and what makes you special as an employee. Make sure to customize the resume to the industry or type of job that you want. Don’t forget to write a cover letter that tells your personal story and then customize it for each potential employer when you apply.

Network, network, network

According to 60-80% of jobs are landed through a personal connection. Break out the old Rolodex and dig through your phone contacts to find potential leads. Consider joining a social network like LinkedIn to help with your search.

Invest in the Best Childcare

Things are different since the last time you worked. As a new mom you are now responsible for another human life. It’s important that you’re comfortable with the accommodations you leave your child in each day when you go to work. If you’re not, you’ll spend every day distracted and worrying about your child. Spend some time considering all of the possibilities.

A nanny may be the answer if you can fund the one-on-one attention for your child. A childcare center or facility may be the answer if you want your child to have daily interaction with other kids. Leaving your child with a relative could be an option if you feel uncomfortable with other options and have a close family member willing and able to provide care. Whatever it is, find the best decision for you and your child regardless of what others say or think.

Being a working professional can be tough. Combining that with the obligations of a mom can be downright intimidating. But both of these experiences add fulfillment to our lives in very different ways. If you can manage the balance, being a working mom can be incredibly satisfying!