Planning Maternity Leave Can Be A Challenge. Here Are Some Tips to Help!
In approximately 9 weeks, my maternity leave from my job starts. Working while pregnant is a blessing for me. It keeps me busy and pre-occupied so that these pregnancy symptoms don't remain my top focus.
Over the next several weeks I have some major planning ahead to make sure all is smooth sailing for my team and co-workers while I'm out of the office enjoying our new little baby.
This being my 4th kid- I've had my fair share of maternity leave planning. There are a few things that have helped me and those I work with that thought may be useful to other working moms or soon to be working moms!
Tips for Planning Your Maternity Leave
Here are 5 tips for planning your maternity leave. These are things that I have utilized over the last 3, now 4 babies and hopefully, you will find them helpful.
Know Your Rights
The most important thing is to know your rights. You may have heard FMLA - but have no idea what that means. FMLA stands for The Family and Medical Leave Act. Read more about it here, you must know your rights.
Talk to Your Human Resources Department
Talk to your HR department and find out what your company's benefits are. The company I work for offers disability. I hate that maternity leave is considered a disability, but whatever. All that said, disability has strict rules for what I can and can't do. Also, my benefits vary depending on if I deliver the baby naturally versus a c-section. Make sure that you get all of the paperwork needed for maternity leave. My maternity leave forms included one that my doctor has to fill-out stating how much time you should have off.
Find Out What Your Co-Workers Need
I have a small team of developers and creators working under me. With me being out, there are certain needs that my team has that I just won't be able to accommodate. I need to make sure that they know who to turn to while I am out with the baby.
Make sure that whoever needs access to your files have it! The last thing you want is your work calling asking where a logo file is!
Write Out an Action Plan
With each leave, I write out a document with anything and everything that any of my co-workers may need to know. Who handles the web servers should the website go down? If we need to run a last minute web campaign, who does that and how? Where is the budget located and where are we with that budget? It's a lot.
I did this with the last pregnancy and this pregnancy and it has helped massively. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I created a Google doc with random notes. Thru-out the months, I jotted down all things that I know that someone else may not know. It may be information overload, but again, I would rather provide this than have someone call me while I am on leave.
Plan on Doing Nothing
I am the worse at this, but if I can impart wisdom from what I have learned as a working mom going on maternity leave, I leave you with this. Leave work at work.
Hopefully, you have the 3-months off (or hopefully more) that you can enjoy bonding with your baby, setting up new routines and adjusting to your new life with a kid (or an additional kid.) During this time, it's not just your baby that needs you, but your family needs you to. Plus, you need to heal. Your body did what is was made to do, but that said - it may hate you for it. Relax and enjoy your new baby love. They grow way too quickly, enjoy this small lull.
Don't forget to turn your out-of-office autoresponder on! Enjoy your baby, don't worry about work. You will have PLENTY of time after your maternity leave to think about those things! Enjoy this time. Again, it happens ALL too quickly.
What advice do you have for someone who is planning maternity leave?