Your life is about to change. Whether you work full or part-time, a new baby changes everything. That’s why it’s important you plan your maternity leave sooner rather than later. From the legalities of maternity leave to the ups and downs of your newborns, first days should be accounted for. While there are plenty of logistics, the physical and emotional aspects shouldn’t be neglected either. Here’s a maternity leave checklist that will help you keep you and your budding family safe and healthy.
Exit and Re-entry
Don’t just plan maternity leave before the baby comes, plan your re-entry as well. Communicate with your immediate supervisor or the HR department and leave no doubt that you will be returning to work. Also, stress that you will stay on course for the next advancement opportunity. Make a spreadsheet of the responsibilities you have at work and show your employer how they can be covered when you are gone, as well as how you can pick up those responsibilities as you phase back in. While you may not know the hurdles a newborn might pose, a strategy that balances your re-entry into work life is essential for stress management.
Sometimes it helps to be kept in the loop, even when you’re not at work. You can ask for daily, weekly or biweekly updates from work while away. This keeps you connected with the larger picture of your life outside of motherhood. While reports from work can be helpful, it can also intrude on your time away. Often, new mothers make themselves overly available to their employers while on leave. Set a day and time limit you will spend connecting with work and stick to it. When you see work emails pop up on your phone, archive them for later and address them in the time you allow yourself.
Create a Safety Net
As your family grows, so must your safety net. Keep your insurance company in the loop, and make sure your family has access to affordable health insurance. This may require finding a new insurance plan or even company. If you receive insurance through your or your spouse’s employer, check your active plan and compare it to other insurance plans. Having an affordable health insurance plan could be essential to your family life.
Stress is can be a real factor while on maternity leave. Though the prospect of having hours of time every day may seem like a luxury, issues such as isolation, boredom and failed expectations can all affect your mood and mind negatively. So, make sure you get out of the house and connect with other adults, even if you take your new little one with you. Join a parent group of other new mothers. Commiserating with women who share similar experiences can counter feelings of isolation. Destress with physical exercise as well. Whether you go for a walk or do some internet yoga routines, physical activity can keep your balanced just as much as your social connections.
A newborn baby takes a ton of time, so set yourself up for low-stress maternity leave. Organize your exit and re-entry strategies for work, stay in the work-loop, but set boundaries as well. Create a safety net for your family with a healthcare plan that fits your family’s needs as well as budget, and manage your stress with a variety of outlets. With all these tips your maternity leave will be a magical bonding time with your new arrival.