If you’re anything like us, you need a game plan for going on maternity leave.
It’s almost like you are starting over again. Many of us have spent many years building our confidence in the boardroom. Then suddenly we are walking into a nursery without any idea what to do.
These expert tips can help you set up your finances and mental health to allow you to take time off and enjoy this new journey of parenthood.
Steps to plan your maternity leave
Workplace Warming Up
You should aim to begin the process of “warming up” your workplace before you take leave.
Shelli Warren, Team and Leadership Coach, stated that “the more opportunities for others to deliver aspects of your role alongside you, the smoother will be the transition.”
Warren worked 26 years as a leader in projects and people for a Fortune 500 company. She is now the chief people officer at BizChix. This helps small business owners to hire, fire, and inspire high-performing teams. She encourages future moms to see their company or business as less people-driven, and more process-driven. This means that you can help your coworkers, bosses, and team members to rely less on your individual mastery. This means that you should create clear processes for your employees to follow.
It’s more than just knowing passwords and status of key projects. Warren stated that there will be less confusion, errors, and constraints if workflows, standard operating procedures, and troubleshooting knowledge are documented and tested before mom leaves.
She encourages you to share your questions with coworkers and team members. This is the best time to ask questions, before you go on leave. As much as you can, think about the worst-case scenario and create troubleshooting guides.
Warren stated, “The more clear you are about your new responsibilities the more effective your group will be.” Let them use your knowledge and expertise before they go.
The amount of time you are able to take off depends on your personal financial situation as well as the policies you have regarding family leave at work. Knowing both of these factors is the first step to properly forecast and calculate your finances for maternity.
“Sit down, and take the time to understand and budget,” said Jamila Souffrant. She is a money coach, podcast host, and founder of JourneytoLaunch.com. Here she shares her journey to financial independence and assists others.
Souffrant suggests that US employees learn a few things about their employer’s policies.
- Certain employees have the option to take unpaid time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act. It may not be paid, but it is about job security.
- You may be eligible for short-term disability to replace your income while you are away. While the coverage won’t cover all of your salary, employees usually receive between 40% – 60% of their regular wages during a specified period.
- You can save your PTO and add it to your maternity leave. This will allow you to take more time off, but still get your regular paycheck.
These policies will help you to determine how long you can afford to be out of office and still make enough to pay your bills.
Remember that you will need to include labor and delivery costs as well as other baby-related expenses in your expenses. Souffrant suggests that you create two columns for baby products. “One column can contain your ideal or best-case baby products, while the other will list the more affordable and cost-friendly options. This way you have a variety of products to choose from that work for you and your budget.
Mastering Your Mindset
According to Tristan Coopersmith, a marriage and family therapist, it’s not uncommon for ambitious women to lose their identity in their careers. It can cause a loss of self-worth and confidence when we press pause at work.
Coopersmith said, “You won’t always get medals or degrees from your bosses for parenting but you can tap into yourself-approval, self-validation, and that’s what we are all looking for.”
It starts by making your own decisions. You don’t have to feel guilty about choosing motherhood or taking maternity leave. You’re allowed to do what you want. You can feel prepared and empowered by taking a step into self-advocacy regardless of what others may think.
Coopersmith urges women to look at their stretch marks as reminders of how strong and capable their bodies, mind, and spirit are to rise to the occasion.
It’s also important to be flexible while you establish your new normal. This doesn’t necessarily mean that perfection is the goal. It is important to let go of perfectionist tendencies. Coopersmith says that having realistic and fair expectations of yourself will help you avoid an emotional cocktail of shame, fear, anxiety, and fear when you do something new.
No matter what your postpartum experience is, you are not the only one. A great therapist or other trusted friends, family members, and experts can make a huge difference.