Are you pregnant and preparing to take maternity leave? This can be an exciting time, but it can also be a little daunting. In addition to the physical aspects of pregnancy, the mental load can be heavy. How do you make the most of your time off? What should you do to prepare financially?
As The Humphreys Group’s very own Katie Kneuker has just given birth to her baby boy, we have been thinking a lot about the steps that parents can take to set themselves up for a successful and intentional maternity leave. Let’s dive in.
10 Ways to Make the Most of Your Maternity Leave
1. Get organized: Before you take off on maternity leave, spend some time getting your affairs in order. This means everything from making sure your bills are paid and your house is clean to stocking the freezer with easy-to-prepare meals. Once the baby arrives, life is sure to get hectic, so taking the time to make sure you’re as organized as you can be is critical. Your future self will thank you
2. Set some goals: What do you want to accomplish during your maternity leave? Whether it’s spending time bonding with your new baby, getting in shape, or reading a stack of books, setting some goals ahead of time will help you to intentionally spend your time off. On the other hand, it’s important to remain flexible. If your goal is to home make all of your baby food, that’s great, but if you decide at week three that you just don’t have the time or energy, try not to be too hard on yourself. This is a time of learning and adaptation.
3. Make a budget: One of the most important things you can do to prepare for maternity leave is to make a budget. This will help you ensure that you have enough money to cover your expenses while you’re away from work. Additionally, babies are expensive! Thinking through your finances will help to ensure that you’re not totally caught off guard once you have another mouth to feed.
4. Get some rest: It’s important to get as much rest as possible during your maternity leave. After all, your body has just been through quite an ordeal! This doesn’t mean that you have to spend all of your time in bed, but it does mean listening to your body, taking it easy, and not overdoing it.
5. Take advantage of family and friends: One of the best things about maternity leave is that you have more time to spend with family and friends. Make the most of this by scheduling regular get-togethers if you’re feeling up to it. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to accept help when it’s offered! Your loved ones are your support system. Whether it’s your partner, family, or friends, allow yourself to lean on the people around you.
6. Set realistic expectations: Just because you’re on maternity leave doesn’t mean you have to stay at home all the time. Get out and explore your city or town, take your baby for walks in the park, or visit some of the local attractions. On the other hand, don’t put pressure on yourself to do it all — you are taking care of a new baby, after all!
7. Pamper yourself: This is a great time to focus on taking care of yourself. Get a massage, sign up for a post-natal yoga class, or just spend some time relaxing at home.
8. Use your time wisely: Remember that maternity leave is a limited time and you’ll want to make the most of it. Don’t waste your time on things that don’t matter, like watching TV all day or scrolling through social media. Bond with your baby. Sing to your baby. Cover your baby with kisses. This time is precious.
9. On the flip side, take breaks: When you need a break, take one! It’s okay to put your feet up and take a nap or watch an episode of your favorite show.
10. Appreciate the small moments: One of the most important things to remember is to sit back and appreciate this time you have with your newborn. A great way to do this is to keep a journal. Write when you get up in the morning, before you go to bed, and whenever else you feel the urge. Document your emotions, as well as your baby’s; their first smile, first giggle, first tantrum… This time goes by quickly, so savor every moment.
At The Humphreys Group, we know that starting a family is one of life’s biggest and most exciting transitions. Whether you’re looking for financial tips for starting a family or are interested in a tailored financial plan, our team is prepared to help. Reach out to continue the conversation!