It’s so weird to think that in just a few short weeks our little lady will be here. We’re just over a month out, and I know that she could come literally at any time. We’ve been wrapping up a lot of baby prepping that we need to do including finishing up her nursery, and I’m getting ready for my maternity leave to start in a few weeks.
As crazy as it may sound to some people, I decided to give myself just over three months off so I’m not forcing myself to come back to work to soon or work too close to my due date. I know that I’ve been curious how other people have prepped for things like this, so I figured I’d share with you guys today how I prepared both in business and personally to have so much time off.
Decide how long I was going to be gone
Probably the hardest thing to figure out was how long exactly I wanted to be off. I’ve had such a relax year in terms of client work, that it didn’t seem all that crazy to take off a little extra time. However, I certainly didn’t want to officially close the doors to my business. The primary thing that I knew was the biggest curveball was taking off plenty of time before the baby actually gets here so I’d be in the clear in terms of work.
I ultimately decided to take off starting a month before my due date and extended the leave two and a half months after my due date. That might not work for everyone, and I will be the first to tell you that by the time I come back to work I may be dying to get my hands on some design work. However, I knew that giving myself that much room would help me feel a little more in control of when this little lady is coming and how prepared I felt.
Let everyone know and set expectations
After I decided how long I wanted to be gone and things got a little closer, the next thing I needed to do was to start letting people know and make sure everyone had the right expectations for while I was on leave. I decided instead of avoiding my inbox like the plague that I would just get back to people when I could, so I wrote my autoresponder with lots of “here’s what to do” for almost any reason someone would be emailing me, and I made it clear that I would get back to them as soon as I could.
For current ongoing clients, I let them know a month and a half in advance that I’d be off, for how long, and gave them the option to outsource their work somewhere else or just pick things back up once I got back. I was fortunate enough that everyone was willing to pick back up when I got back. I also had a client project that had to be put on hold in September, and we ultimately decided to just finish it in February instead of trying to squeeze it in.
Prep as much content as possible
Probably the biggest task I had to do business wise was get content done. As most of you know I co-own Coded Creative and am the co-host of the Get Back to Design podcast. Each of those things has content going out once a week, with every other week being my week to publish content. Of course I also have this blog, and since I finally started getting excited about writing here again, I didn’t want to just go MIA for who knows how long.
I started working on trying to get ahead on the CC + GBTD content in August. My goal with these two brands is to get content written at least through the end of February so I can ease myself back in to writing. For this blog, I left it until the end to work on since I’m a lot more relaxed about it. I just wanted to get as many blog posts written and scheduled as what felt good and as long as I was still enjoying writing.
Cook + freeze easy to prepare meals
Aside from all of the business prep, I’ve also been taking my personal life into consideration. That’s looked like trying to automate bill paying, researching / testing out food delivery services, and freezing meals to avoid having to do so much cooking at least in the first month after our little lady is here. While it’s not so much that I don’t like cooking (though some days it’s literally the worst), it’s more so that I didn’t want to let myself eat junk food or too much fast food if I didn’t feel like cooking.
I started this prep in September, and I’m happy I did because I now have a few different meals already frozen and ready to go. My rule here was to make things that we were already eating so I wasn’t doing any extra cooking and just instead of having a ton of leftovers, I’d freeze about half of what I made. My other rule was to freeze smaller portions so I wasn’t forcing myself to eat the same thing or throwing out perfectly good leftovers because I didn’t feel like eating them anymore. I also had my husband cook things like chicken, which I hate dealing with, so I could throw it into whatever I wanted to cook.
Set expectations for coming back to work
Last but not least, one of the most important things for me to do was to set expectations for myself when it comes to starting work back up after being off. I knew I didn’t necessarily want to try to go back to full steam ahead, nor would I be able to. On the other hand, I read a great blog post from Rhiannon that talked about wanting to come back to work earlier than she had planned and feeling guilty about it.
I wish I could say I know how I’ll feel once the time comes for me to sit back down with my computer on a regular basis, but since I don’t I’m setting low expectations and reminding myself that even if I have another relax year in terms of client work, it’ll be totally okay.
Any tips for this soon-to-be mom?
I’m sure I have a lot to learn and probably a few things I’m forgetting in terms of preparing for time off, so I’d love to hear from all my mom friends out there. If you have any tips for me, please share them in the comments!