Congratulations! You are expecting a baby. This is a very exciting time in your life and things are going to change drastically from here, I can assure you! Now what? As a mother who has experienced the wonderful maternity life twice, here are my tips to maximise your time off and make the period work for you.
The minute you find out you are pregnant start saving. Babies are expensive, especially the first one because you have to buy everything! Reduce your outings and both you and your partner should put away baby fund. This will become so necessary when you are buying the nursery furniture, the buggy, feeding essentials, and so on.
Work hard in the office
This is not the time to put your feet up. Yes, you need to take it easy in the first 12 weeks, but do ensure that you are on top of your work. You do not want to be seen as a liability, especially if you want to return to work. A lot of women get managed out the minute they inform their company that they are pregnant. Do not be a victim to this. Work as hard as possible.
Build a ‘Mummy’ friendship network
Join communities for expectant mothers, these can be found online via a forum. In the UK we have ‘New Parent Support’ (NCT) which is fabulous. You get to meet with other expectant mothers, join classes for breastfeeding and yoga. It is such a great way to meet other people in your neighbourhood. Trust me. when you are off, you will realise that the whole world is not and you need people to keep you sane; so, make mummy-friends!
Become a ‘Mompreneur’
Yes, you want to go back to work but do you really only have one skill? Nurture your skills: those things that you love, but don’t really focus on. This is the perfect time to develop them and you never know what it can turn into. There are so many successful women who started their business whilst on maternity. We all know Mary Kay. She already had extensive experience in direct sales, but after years of being passed over for promotions in favor of her male colleagues, she decided to start her own business. So in 1969, with $5,000 in savings, Ash and her 20-year-old son started Beauty by Mary Kay
Use your KIT (Keeping in Touch) days
Most companies offer 10 KIT days for you to use whilst you are on maternity. It’s an opportunity for you to keep informed of the business. So, if there is a team building day or strategy day then use your KIT day and the best part is you get paid for it so it comes in very handy. You can also use it for regular meetings with your manager to discuss role and weaning yourself back into the business! Do not get left out, girl!
Create a routine at home
You are home bound now for several months so put routines in place for the cleaning, cooking, ironing etc. This will serve you well when you get back to work. Yes, you are looking after a new born…but, you need to keep the place tidy too. I hear so many say “oh forget about cleaning” but if you do, who will help you? Exactly! You can do it, so get a routine in place.
Date your partner
I know that the first thing on your mind when your partner gets home is “here! take your child”, or “I need a break” and I hear you on that, believe me! But, it is so important to bond with your partner and outside of the home. Being a mother is a full time job and you need a break so decide on a day in the month or fortnightly or weekly if you are lucky, but make it special and spend time together alone.
Enjoy your baby
For many women this is the first time they have had a long break from work so please make it count! The time goes by so quickly and before you know it, you are back at work. Make sure you do enjoy your baby, go out and do fun activities together.
I would love to hear some of your stories, so share them!
Photo Credit: Joana Lopes | Dreamstime