This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
So, how’s it going, mom-to-be? I remember all the anticipation and also a little bit of horror at all the loads of stuff I felt like I had to learn! Not to worry, mom. You’ll figure it out. In case it helps at all, here are my top five ‘wins’ in the countdown to maternity leave.
1. Load up your phone with good reading
While the first few hours and days holding baby are filled with wonder, at some point it sure is nice to be able to pull out your phone and find an article, a book or an email subscription that catches your interest.
My best free find was a subscription to Lucie’s List, an email alert series with content delivered based on your due date / baby’s birth date and a weekly email series.
I found so many things that I loved and recommend myself based upon her reviews.
2. Slow your schedule down
I’m an introvert, so the fact that I excelled at this task was not really a surprise. If you can, start to turn down social engagements in favor of small tasks that will help you in the long run.
If you’re an extrovert and this sounds like punishment, just ignore this suggestion. 😉
I was able to really slow down and start my maternity leave a few days before my due date and got all sorts of mini-projects taken care of before baby arrived.
I organized electronic files and photographs on our home computer, purchased last minute baby items and spent a lot of time back and forth to the bathroom.
3. Keep your body moving
Within reason, just keep doing whatever you are doing and are able to keep doing during your pregnancy and post-partum. Plus, it may keep the doctor from nagging at you…
With my first daughter, I kept going to a pilates class 3-4 times each week right up to the day before she was born! I know, I’m amazed myself.
I was never the best student before that, but there was something about the stretching and strengthening and also the routine of going to that class that I really enjoyed.
The poor teachers, they were all probably just grateful each time I walked out, and didn’t have my baby right there in the class!
Having a challenging time finding workout clothes for your pregnant body? Here are some options from Nordstrom and Shopbop.
4. Sign up for Amazon Family
While you will probably end up with a lot of diapers from your baby shower, you will eventually need to buy more. Trying to wrangle a crying newborn in their car seat plus an oversized box of diapers: not fun.
More fun? The 20% discount on diapers subscriptions, baby registry benefits and all the usual good stuff from Amazon: the two-day shipping, instant streaming of video and audio.
Tip: Don’t order the newborn sizes in large quantities! You just won’t need the smallest sizes too long, and every kiddo is so different (and different brands fit differently! Really!) If you get a bunch of diapers at your baby shower, ‘shop around’ for free first!
The Amazon link that follows is an affiliate link, which means if you make a purchase I may make a small commission at no additional cost or work for you. Here’s my full disclosure policy.
So, if you haven’t already jumped, here’s my push to suggest you consider joining Amazon Family at least for the 30-Day Free Trial. Five years later, I’m still loyally (and gratefully) paying my annual fees. #diapersareTHEAmazongatewaydrug
5. Write it down
Between 2-3 months before my due date, I started a spreadsheet of my job duties, slowly adding in names as my duties were temporarily re-assigned. Keep everything on a shared drive and be sure that your boss and colleagues know where to find the information once you start maternity leave.
Tip: Start early. Just leave the spreadsheet open on your desktop, and add in tasks as you start them (hello, pregnancy brain). As your due date approaches, you’ll be so grateful that you’re not in a mad rush to think of all your recurring or quarterly tasks, but instead already jotted them down and reassigned them!
Just sign up for my newsletter right here to receive a copy of this spreadsheet for your own use!
For federal government employees preparing for maternity leave: If you work in an environment where your annual reviews (and any promotions or raises) are officially based upon on your performance to a set list of duties, you may wish to keep track of your official duties and notes about how you are continuing to complete these tasks during pregnancy.
If you have a combative work environment, it will be good to have data available on hand for reference. If you have an ideal and supportive work setting, it is still always good to have clear examples and performance metrics to present during any annual review, especially if one falls months after your maternity leave, when a lot has been forgotten!
Tip: Keep any records related to your performance measures in a separate file (not in the same file as your Maternity Leave Hand-off), and saved in the same electronic folders as your other personal HR and performance records. This may also be relevant for any employee in a larger company, with formal review processes.
Wow, if you made it this far, thank you! And, you must really be craving some more pregnancy stories.
P.P.S. and there were plenty of things I screwed up, too.