Not Prepared for Maternity Depart? This Skilled Recommendation Will Assist
My business has been my baby for 3.5 years. I quit my TV news job and with nervousness and excitement brought out a daily news podcast. Amid the googling and on-the-fly learning, I felt the highest highs when things were going well and pretty low when things were going wrong. It was like after giving birth – after all, I was entering a whole new world of entrepreneurship.
But at some point I’ll get the hang of it. I felt more confident, made money, and recognized the positive impact I was having on my podcast listeners. Now my former business “baby” is learning to walk alone. I was able to hire a team ready to take on the takeover during my maternity leave. And yes, I take maternity leave without feeling guilty. It is important not only for my mind, but also for the example I want to set.
Still, it feels like I’m starting from scratch. So many of us have spent years building our confidence as badass in the boardroom and all of a sudden we find ourselves in a kid’s room without knowing what to do next. That is why I am summarizing the expert advice on maternity leave for both of us.
Whether you own your own business, work 9-5, or do something completely different, I hope these expert tips will help you prepare your workplace, finances, and mental health so that you, too, can confidently take the much-needed time can take off and embrace this new journey called parenting.
Warming up your workplace
Ideally, you should start “warming up” your workplace for your absence at least two months before your planned vacation.
“The more opportunities for others to fill aspects of your role with you, the smoother the transition will be,” said team and leadership coach Shelli Warren.
Warren led projects and people at a Fortune 500 company for 26 years and is now chief people officer at BizChix, where she helps small business owners hire, fire, and inspire teams of high performing people. She encourages expectant mothers to be less people-centric and more process-centric about their business or the company they work for. In other words, help your bosses, co-workers, or team members rely a little less on your individual mastery by preparing them for success while you’re away. That means creating clear processes that your team can follow.
“It’s much more than just knowing the passwords and the status of key projects. There will be less confusion, errors, and restrictions when workflows, standard operating procedures, and troubleshooting expertise are documented and tested before the mother leaves, ”Warren said.
She also encourages you to tell your coworkers or team members to ask questions, questions, and then more questions. Now is the time – before you go on vacation. Consider worst-case scenarios and create troubleshooting guides as much as possible.
“The clearer you are about your new responsibilities, the more effective your team will be,” said Warren. “Let them use your knowledge and expertise before you go.”
Forecast your finances
How much time you can ultimately take depends on both your personal financial situation and the family leave arrangements offered at work. Understanding both of these is the first step in properly calculating and forecasting your maternity leave finances.
“Sit down and take the time to understand and budget,” said Jamila Souffrant, money coach, podcast host and founder of JourneytoLaunch.com, where she shares her journey to achieve financial independence and helps others to do the same.
For U.S. workers, Souffrant says there are a few important things to know about your employer’s policies:
- The Family and Sick Leave Act (FMLA) gives certain employees the opportunity to take unpaid time off. Yes it can be unpaid, but this option is all about job security.
- Short-term incapacity for work can help you to replace part of your income during your absence. Coverage likely won’t cover your full salary, but employees typically receive around 40 to 60 percent of their regular salary for a period of time.
- PTO can often be saved up and added to your maternity leave to give you more free time while getting your regular paycheck.
Once you understand these guidelines, you can begin to assess how long you can realistically not be in the office and still have enough cash to cover your expenses.
Remember, your expenses now include these one-time labor and childbirth expenses, as well as all essential baby items. Souffrant suggests creating two columns for baby products: “One can have your ideal or best baby products that you want, and then list the more economical and budget-friendly options in the other so that you have a number of things to consider that will ultimately work for you.” and your budget work. “
Master your mindset
According to marriage and family therapist Tristan Coopersmith, it’s common for ambitious women to incorporate their identities into their careers. When we take a break from work, those familiar feelings of confidence and self-worth can become quite fragile.
“You don’t always get medals, degrees, or pats on the back from bosses for parenting, but you can approve and validate yourself,” Coopersmith said.
It starts with you having your own choices. There is no need to apologize when you have opted for motherhood and taken maternity leave. Ultimately, you are allowed to do it. Entering into self-advocacy, regardless of what other people think or not, can go a long way in helping you feel prepared and empowered before you leave.
Coopersmith encourages women to “view these stretch marks as a reminder of how incredibly strong and capable our body, mind and soul are to expand and to cope with the situation.”
It’s also important to be flexible when figuring out your new normal. To be clear, this does not mean that perfection is the goal. In fact, it’s important to push perfectionism to the curb. “Having reasonable and fair expectations of ourselves helps avoid an uncomfortable emotional cocktail of fear, shame, and fear, especially when you’re doing something completely new,” says Coopersmith.
Of course, regardless of your postpartum experience, you are not alone. Having a great therapist or reaching out to other trusted friends, family members, and experts can have profoundly positive effects.
At the start of my own maternity leave, I feel satisfied and confident with the processes I have put in place. Despite some inevitable nervousness about taking a break from my business for the first time, I am confident that my team will not only survive but thrive too. I hope this advice helps you too, planning maternity leave that will work well for your business, family, and yourself.
Erica Mandy is the founder and presenter of the daily news podcast, The NewsWorthy. With its unmistakable “fast, fair, fun” approach to the news of the day, the show keeps listeners updated on a variety of perspectives and stories in just 10 minutes a day. The NewsWorthy was named in the Top 25 Daily News Podcasts by Apple Podcasts, named “Best Podcast” by Harper’s Bazaar, recommended “Best News App” by Fast Company, and more. In 2018, Erica was named one of the “50 Women Changing the World in Media & Entertainment” by the non-profit organization Take The Lead.