Your Last Steps Before Taking Maternity Leave
Are you ready for a good laugh? My plan for taking maternity leave with Daniel was to blog between contractions. Laughing so hard right now after… you know… birthing a baby. Blog posts were the last thing on my mind!
So on the day he was born, after everyone had gone home, I blogged for the next day. That set in motion a habit I’d have for 8 months. I continued blogging 5 times a week because I thought that’s what you had to do to be successful. I had thankfully trained our photo editor and she was killing it, but I had no help on the business side of things.
So in order to continue booking weddings, I had to be in my email inbox. And did I mention that I shot 8 weddings by the time Daniel was 8 weeks old?
I’m so grateful for each and every one of those weddings and after 4 months of sleeping 1-3 hours total every night (he wasn’t the best sleeper), I remember a conversation I had with Isaac. We were driving somewhere — maybe home from a wedding and he was trying to convince me that I was sleep deprived.
I argued and argued and it wasn’t until he pulled up a scientific article on sleep deprivation that I realized something needed to change. I was running on adrenaline and it wasn’t going to last. Isaac encouraged me to take maternity leave and sleep. And once a friend of mine did the same thing, I made plans to take maternity leave later that year.
Your last steps before taking maternity leave
If you haven’t read your first steps to taking maternity leave, you’ll definitely want to read that. We’ll talk finances, the hire you’ve definitely got to make, and the length of your maternity leave. Click here to read Your first steps to taking maternity leave.
7. Set a financial goal and start saving for maternity leave
Now that you know your numbers — expenses, what you’re paying yourself, what you’re paying your team, and the list goes on — it’s time to start saving for maternity leave.
You could stress out about the numbers while you’re away and wonder if everything you’ve set up is really working. You could get nervous anytime sales or bookings dip or…
You could have the money in savings that you need to not worry one bit about maternity leave. Before I onboard any team member, I like to have 3-6 months of their income saved up. So if you’re going to be paying someone on your team $1,000 a month, a smart move would be to have $3,000-$6,000 in savings before you brought them on board.
But if bringing them on is what would free up your time so that you could actually start saving, then make a numbers plan where you write out every penny and create a deadline for having that savings in place.
So you’ll want to have savings for all of your expenses (including your team’s paychecks) and your personal income for the weeks and months that you’ll be on maternity leave.
Something I’ll do differently next time around? As soon as I come back from maternity leave, I’ll start saving for my next maternity leave. There’s something about the savings process that tends to snowball, so I’ll just lean wholeheartedly into that. Haha!
8. Use maternity leave to catapult your business forward
To take a maternity leave, you’re going to be spending more than you’ve spent in the past — even if you’re just looking at what it will cost to pay your team while you’re out. But because you’ve built the savings, you won’t have to scale back after maternity leave.
Use this to your advantage. You’ve just created systems that are designed to take a ton of work off your plate. Keep those systems in place. Roll with these new processes.
Use maternity leave to catapult your business forward. When you return, take a birds-eye view of everything that happened while you’re away.
Don’t jump into get-it-done mode just yet.
Look at what worked and what didn’t work. How can you make those systems better?
Then look at your goals for the year. Where is your business going now that you’re back from maternity leave? What’s the first thing your business really needs when you come back into the office?
Do those things first. Even if you just spend one day focusing back in on the vision for your business, spend one day doing just that. Then you can get to anything that needs your attention.
You know, since you just took months off work and it’s time to make it happen again. Proud of you, momma.
9. Embrace the truth that you are a good momma
Instead of complaining about how the world sees working moms, we’re going to change it.
And it starts with us.
Mommas who “work” come home and mommas who “stay home” do work.
It starts when we choose not to condemn another mom’s choice to be a stay-at-home mom and when we choose not to condemn another mom’s choice to work outside the home. The less judgement you put on other moms about their choices as they raise their kids, the less shame you’ll feel about your own choices.
The best thing you can do, momma, when choosing where to work and what that work will look like is pray through it. When you know what you’ve been called to do — when you dig deep and unearth those God-given dreams — there’s a confidence that follows. You can make decisions based on what you know you’ve been called to do. There will still be challenging decisions you have to make, but you can pray through those, too.
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There are some things that are wise across the board in motherhood. Things like choosing not to parent in a shaming way. Things like making sure your kids are fed and loved.
And there are some things that are wise based on the individual. Things like whether or not to eat a vegan diet. Things like whether or not you work at home, out of the home, or you don’t work at all. But still… working moms come home and stay at home moms still do work.
There’s a whole lot of freedom in motherhood and business. It’s time to step into that freedom yourself. And who knows? Maybe the world will follow.
How are you getting ready for maternity leave? Do you have any lingering fears about taking maternity leave?