References can be a big stumbling block for the mother who wishes to return to the workforce. Most employers wish for you to have several recent professional references. One way to deal with this is through volunteer work. If you hold a leadership position in a volunteer group, that is ideal. I have volunteered for the last year at a local hospital, and I see the Volunteer Manager when I go in each week. I have enjoyed the volunteer experience,and now also have a professional reference.
On the other hand, I also volunteered for many years with the PTA, and with our local swim club. I held no leadership positions,and I was one person in a very large pool of volunteers. I did stick with those jobs for several years, so they do deserve to be included in my resume, as was pointed out to me by a blog reader.