Maternity leave made these 25 things a reality for me
Maternity leave, maternity leave. I can’t believe I waited so long to take one with Daniel! Okay, well I actually can believe that because I was 100% convinced that I couldn’t take time off work.
When I was just a few weeks from maternity leave this time around, I was starting to wonder if it was worth it. It was a fight to keep Hannah from coming too early (not that you really have much control over that aside from agreeing to not go on walks and such) and I just wondered if getting work done in advance would even matter. It was so hard for me to even picture what getting to maternity leave was going to look like!
But we made it! We made it to maternity leave, had a handful of check-in calls in January and February just to make sure everything was running smoothly, and then I checked out completely!
In fact, while we were in the hospital with Hannah, one of the systems I use just stopped working and it wouldn’t send our preset customers access to their membership area. I was in the hospital and getting a ton of Instagram direct messages and my business manager completely handled it. It was even on a weekend!
My business manager just hopped in and handled the issue, took care of people, and I was able to be with Hannah. Isaac was on day #1 of having the flu (and the rest of us weren’t far behind) and Hannah was having blood draws and crying because she had to sleep under the lights. It was kind of a scary time for her and for us.
The doctors were concerned that her high bili counts had presented so late and there was a question that lingered about whether or not there was another underlying issue. Thankfully that wasn’t the case! And thankfully we were able to take care of Hannah and just be with her and not troubleshoot a tech issue.
Maternity leave made these 25 things a reality for me
Other than taking Hannah to the hospital and going to the ER and a gazillion doctors appointments for high bili counts and the flu and constant throwing up because she had a dairy allergy, here’s what we did on maternity leave!
Let me just say it again: I’m so grateful for maternity leave. When you run your own business, you can’t take maternity leave without a lot of support. There were so many late work nights, pep talks from Isaac, so much work that my business manager took care of (and still takes care of), and there was preschool for Daniel twice a week and there was my incredible Mother-in-law watching Daniel whenever I needed. It takes a village!
Maternity leave changed me. It made me refocus on what really matters. If you’re pregnant, take maternity leave! It doesn't’t have to be super long, but just take maternity leave. You will not regret it.
1) Celebrated maternity leave with Isaac
December 21st was Daniel’s last day of preschool and Isaac had the day off, so we went to the Aviary (an amazing creperie in Springfield), drank cafe bon bons, and shared a dessert crepe. And then we celebrated with Starbucks and long visits in the car. It’s one of my favorite memories leading up to Hannah’s birth!
2) Had a baby!
Haha! I had to include this because it was… like the whole reason I was even on maternity leave! Hannah’s birth was super fast and I can’t wait to share the story with you!
3) Learned to change a newborn’s diaper again
This was intimidating! Changing a 1 month old diaper is no big deal to me, but when they are so little, it’s just intimidating. I remember standing there, changing the diaper and thinking “Robyn (our midwife), you can’t seriously leave us alone with her yet! We’re not ready!” Haha! I laughed at myself and changed her diaper… all by myself. Ha!
4) Made a secret pinterest board
I knew my business manager would be in the middle of making my Pinterest a bit more biz legit, so I kept the board secret, and added a bunch of sections. I ended up using the Dairy Free, Daniel, Smoothies, and Self Care sections the most!
I just used this board to brain dump all of the things I wanted to do or thought might be fun!
5) Flew our drone
Creating videos is something that makes me come alive! So on a snowy day, we flew our drone just north of our hometown (click here to see the footage) and I made a little video. More of this coming in 2018, but I couldn’t think of a better way to kick it all off!
6) Took photos of the kids every month
And I edited them! I’m all about that 10 second editing life and the L&A presets! Taking photos and videos of Daniel and Hannah is one of my big goals for 2018, so I just put this under the weekly or monthly section of my powersheets so I don’t forget.
7) Read a lot of books to Daniel
I cannot get enough of the Jesus Storybook Bible! Have you read this thing?! Tears. Just tears. Please get a copy for every child you know and yourself. I actually have a friend who uses this as her devotional which is brilliant!
We read a lot of books before naptime and bedtime and while we were snuggling and while Hannah was nursing.
8) Took naps by myself and with Daniel
Pretty sure snuggling Daniel to sleep is the best thing ever. There were times when I’d turn on Daniel Tiger in the living room and just snuggle him until he fell asleep. And let’s get real… sometimes I’d fall asleep first.
9) Learned to cook and bake dairy free
I’m no pro, but I love cooking and baking and I’ve learned a thing or two about going dairy free. We eat a lot of soups (we’re on a lentil soup kick) and salmon with roasted veggies these days. Smoothies are an everyday thing in our house and Daniel thinks every smoothie needs “Allllllmon milk, leaves and eww-cini.” Leaves = spinach. Eww-zini = zuccini.
That’s really the base of our smoothies (sometimes we do cauliflower instead of zuccini) and then we will add fruit, flax seed or chia seed and maybe some carrots.
So. Good. I am also pretty obsessed with smoothie bowls. You just take the smoothie, pour it into a bowl and add your toppings. I love granola, hemp seed, and pumpkin seed. Eat it with a spoon and call it a happy day!
10) Made a lot of vegan banana bread
This is the best banana bread ever. We make this a lot!
11) Read books
I love reading and it’s something I wanted to make more time for in 2018! I focused on staying away from business books on maternity leave and of the books I read, these spoke to my heart so much: No more faking fine, Basic Training for the Prophetic Ministry, and Present over Perfect.
12) Made a pillow spray
Add 20 drops of lavender essential oil to an amber spray bottle and fill the rest with water. Spray your pillows before you go to sleep.
13) Created a new morning routine
I like to keep it simple and I also know that certain chores need to happen for our family. Things like laundry and dishes. So here’s our morning routine and it just happens when we wake up. There’s no pressure to do any of it in order and I really consider it a success as long as everyone eats and hydrates!
7:00 am -11:00 am (or somewhere in there)
- Oils (I use progessence plus and bergamot on the daily)
- Make smoothies with Daniel
- Load of laundry
- Empty the dishwasher and load the dishwasher
- Yoga (it’s on the list, but it hasn’t happened yet!)
14) Decorated Hannah’s nursery
The night before she was born, I hung some artwork above her crib, but I didn’t really have time to decorate her nursery before she came. Now, I love decorating and it’s another creative outlet for me, but if that’s not your thing, don’t worry about decorating!
Having a decorated nursery has nothing to do with whether or not you’re a good mom — neither does meal prep or a clean house. In fact, we miss out big time on motherhood if we value those appearance-driven things over the heart things.
Back to decorating! I love it and actually really enjoyed doing it after Hannah was already here. When I was ready to be creative again, it was nice to have a nursery to decorate instead of using that energy to run a business!
15) Re-arranged Daniel’s room
Isaac and Daniel built the bed together (from IKEA) a couple of months before Hannah was born, so the big bed was in there, but the space wasn’t really working for him. The way our house is laid out — we have an open space and then a hallway that leads to all of the bedrooms and Daniel is a pretty light sleeper.
I moved his bed to the opposite side of the room so that he wouldn’t hear Isaac and I walking down the hall as clearly. We have white noise going for him, but the sound just carries into his room and makes it hard for him to sleep. The way we have it set up for him now is working so much better!
I also made a few gallery walls for him so that he could hang pictures of his family and friends! I can already tell that will be a huge hit as soon as I get those photos printed!
16) Reorganized all of the cabinets and drawers
The process of organizing isn’t really all that fun to me, so when I feel like organizing, I jump on it! Ha! I organized the kitchen drawers and made things a little easier to find — nothing fancy.
17) Drank a lot of tea
This is my favorite thing to do in the afternoons! I brew a little H&S Vanilla Comoro, put in a little coconut sugar and yum!
18) Started subscribe and save through amazon
Time to save on diapers and wipes and all of the things we buy on a regular basis!
I’ve been keeping a close eye on the prices though because they seem to go up after you’ve been subscribed for a month. But overall, so far, so good!
19) Took a sabbath every week
Let’s talk about something that will change your life: taking a sabbath! We took one every week my entire maternity leave and we walked into every new week feeling rested and restored. It was more than physical rest… it was soul rest.
This is something you have to fight for! Maybe it’s a culture thing or a personality thing — or both — but if I want to take a day to rest, I have to fight for it.
I try to meal plan so that we can just eat leftovers on that day. Not that it’s bad to cook or take care of your family on your rest day. That’d be crazy! You need to eat and you need to love on your people — whatever that looks like (soccer games, moving them into the dorm, etc).
But on our rest days, I really enjoy being able to eat leftovers and the whole process of dinner taking 10 minutes max.
20) Found a laundry system that works
We bought 5 of these metal laundry baskets from Target. The plan is to use 2 for dirty clothes since we need to do about 2 load of laundry a day and also use one for each bedroom.
What do we actually do? Well, I’m pretty sure we have 2 baskets full of dirty clothes right now. So we’ve got that down. Haha! And then in addition to that we do have clean clothes in the rest. But those clothes have been there for a couple days… or weeks. I can’t remember.
What can I say? I’m just not going to stress about having a “perfect” house — who said that was perfect anyway? I’m going to focus on making sure we all have clothes to put on, and if you’ve gotta go dig some undies out of the basket of clean clothes, then you gotta do what you gotta do.
21) Made homemade laundry detergent
Not as fancy as it sounds! You don’t have to grate soap or anything. Just measure the ingredients and throw it in a blender. I love this recipe from Emily. If you kind of hate spending so much on detergent and softener, this is for you.
22) Prayed for a group of young moms I could do life with
I prayed for this in my Val Marie prayer journal (more on that in a sec). Then, a couple weeks later, a good friend of mine texted me and said she was starting a life group for young moms with one of her other friends. This group has been the biggest gift to me and it reminds me to just ask the Lord!
Okay, so that Val Marie prayer journal? Well, this girl prays over these journals. You don’t need a prayer journal to pray! But I don’t know… something about the structure has helped me to create a lifestyle of prayer that is much closer to what I envision when I’m 90 years old.
24) Started shooting video again
It’s a long story that I’m not ready to share just yet, but the point is that I’m shooting video again! And I am feeling led to do a lot of youtube videos this year! Here’s my first one. Here’s some drone footage. Here’s the story of God awakening my heart.
25) Found a nanny!!
Ahhhh! This whole process was something that used to scare me! And now I wonder why it ever did. Hiring our sweet nanny was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made business-wise and I’m so grateful for her.
If you’re considering hiring a nanny or just curious, here’s my process for hiring our nanny!
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I want to mention that it would not have been fun to me if I had made a giant list of things I wanted to do on maternity leave! It was just fun to look back!
I really enjoyed everything we did, but I think if any one of these things had come with pressure to keep up or check something off a list, then I would have dreaded whatever I was doing!
So I share this and hope it encourages you to do the things that fill up your heart! Maternity leave isn’t about anything other than snuggling your babes and learning new joyful rhythms. Everything else is just bonus.