Now that your baby has arrived, it’s time to focus on your family. Hopefully, if you are a working mother, your company has granted you a couple weeks or months of maternity leave. Unfortunately, those weeks or months are going to fly by and pretty soon you are going to find yourself back at work. So what are some ways that you can live it up and have the best maternity leave ever? That is exactly what we will be discussing today.
Especially if you are a first-time mom, you are going to need some extra hands those first couple of days. I would suggest asking your mom, a family member, or your husband, to take off work and help you out the first couple of days after your baby is born. So in those moments when you have no idea what you are doing, and you’re just a terrified new mom, you have someone to help you out. You will appreciate their help so much in the long run. Your husband and your sanity will thank you as well.
Get As Much As You Can Together Before The Baby Arrives
If you are a first-time mother, you may have grand plans for how you are going to spend your maternity leave. You may have books you want to read, friends you want to visit, and gear you want to set up for the baby. Unfortunately, you are not going to have as much time as you think when that bundle of joy arrives. Your whole life is suddenly going to be consumed and tied to your infant. Because you are not able to predict how much your baby is going to sleep, how fussy they will be, or how well they will eat, it is better to be prepared far in advance. Set up that equipment and nursery before the end of your pregnancy. Have some freezer or crock pot meals ready to go for that first week. The less that you have planned, the better off you will be.
Be Prepared For The First Week To Be Rough
After you bring your baby home, all of a sudden your life is completely changed. You are no longer able to sleep in, workout, and do whatever you want when you want to. This is going to be a hard adjustment for both you and your husband. There are going to be days that you are so exhausted that you can’t remember what real sleep felt like. You will have days when you are sore and bleeding, and just feel like you are unable to move. Remember that the first week doesn’t last forever. And, with help, you can make it through. Soon you will be adjusted and the nightly feedings and four hours of sleep a night will be part of your standard routine.
Spend Time Being A Family
Because you are a working mother, you do not have the luxury of being off with your child always. That means that you need to be fully present during the time off that your company has granted you for maternity leave. Have long snuggles with your baby, walk around your neighborhood, notice every adorable little thing that your baby does. I know that it is cliche to say that they grow up quickly, but they do. Get the most you can out of the stage of life they are in right now.
Rely On Other Mom Friends
Mom friends are the bread and butter that keep women together. During this time of difficulty and transition, reach out to other moms for support. If you find that you don’t have any other friends that are moms, make that a priority in this coming season. Even just stopping to comment on someone’s pregnant stomach or new baby can open the door up to a new friendship. Let these women help you out, give you advice, and assure you that what your baby is doing is completely normal.
Document The Little Things
Now, I am not saying to blow up your friend’s feeds all over social media, but take some time to take some great pictures. Even if you just keep them or send them to your mom, they will be worth it. Now is the time to capture those early mornings and late evenings. To capture your baby as he or she is trying to make sense of the world. It is also an excellent opportunity to get some pictures with your current kids and family with the new baby.
Get Out Of The House
You are going to go crazy if you are holed up in your house for the many weeks, or months your maternity leave lasts. So, plan some outings. Start small, like going out to eat once a week, or walking down the street to visit a neighbor every other Monday. Yes, it’s great to have people come and visit you, but that isn’t going to subside your stir craziness. Even small trips like getting gas or going to Starbucks can be great ways to relieve stress and get out of the house. If you feel like you don’t have any time to leave, reevaluate your schedule. Or, my favorite method, get your husband to help you out.
Celebrate The Little Things
I think that we can all go into our maternity leaves with different thoughts and expectations about what we are going to achieve or get done. Unfortunately, as working mothers, we can be very goal-oriented. You may have a long list of things you want to get done by the time you have to return to work. Give yourself a break from those expectations you’ve put on yourself. Celebrate when you cross small things off your list or if you get done more than you expected. Celebrate every morning that you wake up, and the baby wakes up unscathed. Even reaching tiny milestones can be a reason to get yourself some Starbucks or let yourself eat a cookie. Just don’t be too hard on yourself. Even when everything feels like it’s going wrong, keep pushing on. You are doing a fantastic job, and your baby thinks so too.
Transition Slowly Back To Work
Now, nobody likes to think about actually going back to work after their maternity leave ends, but it’s inevitable. It is going to be much easier for you and your family if you prepare in advance for going back to work. For example, if you are taking your child to a nanny or having grandma watch him or her, why not try a trial run during the last couple of days before you go back to work. This can help you and your baby to feel more at ease. Remember that leaving your baby is going to be extremely difficult at first, but then you will get into a routine.
Returning to work after your maternity leave is never a fun time, but I hope that these tips can help you make the most of the time you have off. Best of luck and happy maternity leave!