If you’re taking time off your regular job for maternity leave, get ready for a new kind of full-time work, that no one can truly prepare you for.
Life with a new baby is crazy, wonderful, exhausting and rewarding…all at the same time. Maternity leave is a well-deserved break from work, and an important opportunity to bond with your newborn, and embrace the beginnings of motherhood.
However, it can also be a shock to the system for working women who are used dedicating themselves to their occupations.
In fact, this post is for those Type A, goal-oriented women who thrive off checklists, todos, and a busy schedule.
But it’s also for any new mum taking maternity leave, wondering how they’ll fill their days, mostly on their own, with a new little person.
Remember, it’s totally okay if you don’t manage to do each one of the suggestions listed below. But give it a shot nonetheless, it’ll be worth it.
1. Get dressed for the day.
I know, it can be hard sometimes. Particularly in the early postpartum weeks, I remember days when I really just wanted to stay in my PJs all day. I wouldn’t even bother doing my hair. But all that amounted to was keeping me feeling more lethargic and I was much less likely to get much else done during the day.
Soon enough, I realised that the little act of getting changed into fresh clothes for the day (something comfy of course!) was enough to spark up a little more energy and I’d feel more ready to tackle the day ahead.
Try to find the time to take a shower or freshen up, put on a clean outfit, brush your hair, even put on a bit of makeup if that makes you feel more normal. See the difference it’ll make.
2. Write a short to-do list
Whether it’s on a scrap of paper or your phone, every morning spend a couple of minutes putting together a short to-do list for the day. Set yourself reasonable and achievable goals.
This will help give direction to your day, but more importantly, allow you to feel like a sense of achievement as you check things off as you go.
Make sure you include things like showering and eating breakfast on your list. Life with a newborn can be a challenge, so the little things do count! Give yourself credit for them.
3. “Me time”
The amount of time suddenly taken up by feeding/changing/rocking/settling your newborn baby can seem overwhelming. It’s really important to get a little time to yourself, for your own sanity.
Whether you’re picking up a new hobby, or just reflecting on life – time on your own can be refreshing and rejuvenating, even if it’s just 15 minutes each day.
How to find some “me time”? Let your partner take over for a half hour or so while you take a walk by yourself, or run the spa bath, or read out in the backyard. Got a family member coming over to help out? Let them watch baby while you do something you enjoy or pop out of the house for a little while.
4. Focus on your current full-time job.
If you only do one thing from this list, pick this one.
Your current full-time job is to care for your new baby. Embrace this new role, and don’t let your previous job creep in and take over your time that should otherwise be spent with your little one.
Perhaps you’re used to checking work emails before you sleep at night, reading up on industry updates and news as soon as you wake up, and working on presentations and reports on the weekends.
But when you’re on maternity leave (depending on your employer arrangement of course), your priorities shift to the new little person in your home.
Don’t worry about what’s going on in the office, or how work assignments are going without you. Your employer knows you’re on maternity leave so turn off the work email notifications, and resist temptations to keep checking in.
Just remember, you only get this one chance to be with your newborn baby. Make it count.
What’s something you aim to do every day during maternity leave? Share a comment down below!