Hey friends! Welcome back to another episode of Behind the Business with Touch of Whimsy. I am 20 days from my official due date and even fewer days from my scheduled c-section. (I could have possibly had our baby by now but I am prepping all this content in advance — hello this is a planning for maternity leave blog lol) With that being said, I am going to share with you the steps I took over the last few months to prep for baby number two.
When I had Jameson three years ago a maternity leave plan was virtually non-existent. I was answering emails two days after giving birth and kept working through every feeding. This was a process that I did not want to repeat. This time around I am giving myself and my family the time we need and deserve. On the other hand, my Director of Planning has virtually the same due date so my plan this year also needs to be sensitive of the time her family deserves, as well.
Ok, let’s get into the good stuff – here is my overview for planning for maternity leave.
Set the dates. These need to be flexible as your health and the babies may change. Come on down to the bottom of the tips list for more info on this topic. This is super important so I want to give it a little more attention.
- Know your limitations. Due to complications with Jameson, I am having a scheduled c-section with baby #2. I know that my body will not be able to handle much physical work for 4-6 weeks. I also know that I have large floral order 4 weeks after my due date…Cue #3…(This order was booked before I found out I was pregnant, otherwise I would have blocked out my intended maternity leave for more flexibility and time for recovery).
- Ask for help. Daycare (and my personal beliefs) will not allow me to take the baby in at 4 weeks. So I plan to have assistance with the baby and another assistant to help with the flowers due to my physical limitations.
- Prepare your clients and vendor teams. This is especially important for your clients the month or two after the baby. Make sure all of their prep work and meetings are completed by your 30-35th week of pregnancy. The last thing you want is to go into early labor and have client meetings hanging in the balance. It is also really important to talk to each client during your maternity leave about who they can get ahold of in case of an emergency and how long they should expect radio silence from you.
- You can’t plan enough but hold those plans loosely. My doctors and I both thought Jameson would be a standard delivery, but I ended up being that 1-in-a-million scenario. My plan to go right back to work was suddenly made a LOT more difficult due to complications. Looking back, I wish I would have been more careful about booking clients during the intended maternity leave. On the other hand, I tried to keep a rotating block of two months blocked out as we tried for baby #2. This made trying much more stressful as the state of my company and our income was based on the success of conceiving. Long story short, I finally gave up blocking out our schedule which is why we have events right after the date.
- Meal Prep. This was a lifesaver for our family. I made 6 weeks worth of frozen dinners. Talk about a lot of work. Mom and I were cooking all weekend long, but it was SOOO WORTH IT! We were blessed to have a meal train from our bible study that got us through the first two weeks and then we went on to our frozen meals. Again, LIFESAVER. Also, stock up on household and pantry staples (think quarantine style lol). That way you can avoid a trip to the grocery store for at least the first two weeks.
- Allow yourself to work when needed. You will have a lot of time on your hands during feedings. Allow yourself the choice to decide if you want to work or if you want to simply enjoy that little cutie in your arms. Try to avoid feeling guilty and just do what feels right to you. For example, if I am 10 days post-delivery and still don’t feel ready to work, I am going to extend my email reply until I am ready. At the end of the day, your health and the well-being of your family is more important than your business.
- Prepare your team with their responsibilities. We will discuss this in greater detail in part 2.
- Batch your content. Again, we will discuss this in greater detail in part 3.
Setting your maternity leave dates
Setting your maternity leave dates is controversial and will be based on your health, the baby’s health, your to-do list, your finances, how many kids you have, and your beliefs. Carefully consider all of these things when selecting your dates. For example, let me lay out our specific scenario and why I chose my dates:
Health: High-Risk Pregnancy which means I need to be flexible and prepared for early delivery. My doctor advised me to start my maternity leave at 37 weeks. Ask your doctor what their recommendations are as you go through your pregnancy.
To-Do List: I am the owner of a company with my only full-time employee on maternity leave, as well. I will have to be flexible and open to answering emails here and there.
Finances: Luckily, my husband and I are great savers, so we have some cushion, but working makes me feel more secure in our finances.
Kiddos: Jameson is my one and only right now. It is so important to me to spend quality time with him doing fun things like the Zoo and Sea World before he becomes a big brother.
My plan: I am planning to take off two weeks before the baby arrives to allow quality time with J.Boyd and Jameson. Post-baby, I plan to take 10 days off entirely from my work to adjust to this new life. After that 10 day period, I am going to slowly start working my way back into my email account. This will be very minimal and mostly for our December clients. If I was the only one on maternity leave, I would take 2 1/2 weeks off before jumping into anything.
Your Action Plan
- Talk to your doctor during your second and third trimester about your health and the babies to decide on the best maternity leave dates before and after birth.
- Make a financial plan and start saving.
- Start pinning your favorite frozen dinners. (Or start meal prepping if you are close to your due date)
- Prepare your clients.
- Prepare your team.
- Batch your content.
That is all this week! Thank you for joining me. You mean so much to me and my family. I’ll be back in two weeks for part two, Prepping the Team for Maternity Leave. If you missed it, be sure to check out the last episode on what to do and how to find your way in the world after graduating! Eek, what a fun (and crazy) time in life!