If you are an executive, entrepreneur, business owner or any other version of a boss babe, AND you are a mom to be…this is for you. You have been planning for months to welcome your first baby and now sh*t is about to get real. You’ve got all of the things, but emotionally, you’re a wreck. You can’t avoid it any longer. It’s time to start really mentally preparing yourself to be a mom. You’ve done everything the books and blogs say you need to do and you feel ready, but you don’t feel prepared.
And if you’re the type that’s used to planning your days and sticking to a tight schedule, the thought of taking maternity leave might be a completely foreign concept. Especially, if you are a soloprenuer or manage a small team. The idea of taking a chunk of time away and/or leaving others in charge might worry you or seem impossible. You might be afraid that your business will suffer if you take maternity leave.
But I’m here to let you know that taking maternity leave as an entrepreneur is totally doable and you and your business can thrive as a result.
Here are some tips to help set you and business up for success as your embark on the journey to becoming a parent.
ADD SOME STRUCTURE
First things first ADD SOME STRUCTURE to your maternity leave.
Define your maternity leave with a clear start date and end date. Some new parents feel just fine working right up until they give birth. Others may want to have some time off before baby arrives. For example, you can decide to take 4 full weeks off from work starting after you give birth. Or you could choose to take time off starting before your due date. Either way, schedule time off and take it seriously.
Can you take 4, 6, or 8 weeks off from your business to give yourself the time to recover and care for your newborn?
How will you return to your work? Many new moms find that they like to ease themselves back into working. If possible, making your first couple of days back, half days, can help you get back into the swing of things without being overwhelming.
Be ready when its actually time for your maternity leave to start. The structure of your business will play a huge role here.
If you are a solopreneur, think about the systems that you have in place to keep your business running smoothly.
If you have a team, think about who your point person will be, what are the crucial tasks that must get done on a day to day basis, and the situations that you should be notified about. Make sure each member of your team is clear about their roles and your expectations while you are on your leave.
Either way, you should also think about how you will communicate important details about your leave with your clients or customers. They will appreciate you being up front about what is going on with you and your business.
READY YOUR HOME
Next it’s time to READY YOUR HOME, not just your body.
In addition to getting your body ready for pregnancy and birth, it’s also very important that you get your home ready. Prepare you home for baby but also for lounging, resting and nursing/feeding your baby. You may have also begun to prepare a nursery or sleep space for your baby. Don’t forget to create a cozy space for nursing your baby and for you to lounge and rest. This should be outside of your bedroom, if possible.
When preparing your registry, add items with readying your whole home in mind. You might be surprised at which typically registry items actually go unused. Talk to real moms to find out what are the absolute necessities after giving birth.
HONOR YOUR BODY
HONOR YOUR BODY and your experiences in pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
Many entrepreneurs learn the value of self care and investing in your physical and mental wellness as a part of their entrepreneurship journey. Pay special attention to your body after birth and prioritize your physical recovery. Your physical recovery and how satisfied you are can impact your overall postpartum and how your bond with your baby.
Take the time to document and track important details of your birth and physical recovery. Allow your self the space and time to process your birth so that you can let go of any pain or trauma from your experience. There are lots of different ways to work through the hard feelings that can come with birth and postpartum. You deserve to find the method that works for you.
FOCUS ON POSTPARTUM
Get real and FOCUS ON POSTPARTUM. This is not a time to take lightly.
Many business owners and first time parents look at the time as a vacation. They plan on outings and trips with their new baby. And I get it. You probably haven’t had a non-work vacation in who knows how long. But this is not that. Your maternity leave aka the early part of you postpartum, is not a get out and explore vacation.
It’s more of a stay off of your feet and let others take care of you kind of vacation. And I see that when I put it like that, it sounds pretty effing awesome. But don’t forget that during this time you will recovering from pregnancy and birth in addition to caring for a brand new human being that cannot meet any of their own needs.
Postpartum and maternity leave is really a time to focusing on resting, recovering, and learning your baby. Things like housework and workwork kind of fall to the way side temporarily. This is when you lean heavy on your circle of support to maintain those things, so that you can focus on getting motherhood of to a great start.
Give yourself time and grace to rest and recover. And when you feel ready, start connecting with your local mom community. Being an entrepreneur can have its lonely moments, especially if you are a solo boss. The time after birth can also be similarly isolating. With the intersection of those two lifestyles, the sooner your find your mom gang or mom bestie, the better.
So there you have it. A postpartum doula’s take on how to rock maternity leave as an entrepreneur. Some thing that taking maternity leave will hurt their business but its actually the opposite. When you chose to focus on your self and your new family after birth, you allow yourself the space and clarity to step away from your business and return eagerly and confidently.