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So, how’s it going, mom-to-be? Looking for more tips on preparing for maternity leave? Well, I don’t have all the answers, but here are some of the things that worked as I got ready for maternity leave number two.
Did you miss round 1 of this maternity leave fun? Check out some of my successes in preparing for baby #1. All right, mom. You’ve got this!
1. Keep building relationships
Many of us keep pregnancy and maternity leave matters to ourselves as long as possible in our professional lives. There are a lot of considerations, from the fear of a job loss to worry over lost professional opportunities.
Before talking to colleagues, supervisor or HR department, take a minute to think about what level of information you feel comfortable sharing (about your career plans and anything baby-related), and stick to that.
It’s okay to draw a line in the sand and not cross it.
At the end of my first maternity leave, I had decided not to return to work.
I struggled with the decision, it really felt like such a loss of my own self, as I had spent so many years focused on my professional growth. I was lucky and had a very supportive boss, who I was able to confide in and keep updated about my plans as they changed.
I also continued to work to the best of my abilities, and did my best to head out on maternity leave on the right foot.
Within six months, my former supervisor contacted me to arrange a flexible, part-time work arrangement that continued for several months during my second pregnancy.
A year after the birth of my second daughter, we set up another part-time, remote work arrangement that went on for over two years.
2. Keep track of your priorities (and share!)
With baby #2, I went back into the office shared drive, pulled up the Maternity Leave Hand-off Worksheet from the prior year and went back to filling it out. It’s pretty straight forward but click here to see my original explanation.
Just sign up for my newsletter right here to receive a copy of this spreadsheet for your own use!
2. Don’t always buy new
While baby two will end up with plenty of hand-me downs from big sister or brother, that’s not the only way to score free and low-cost stuff.
After your first round with parenting, you’ll know about all sorts of seasonal sales (lots are hosted by or at churches), second hand stores and local Facebook mom swap groups.
If you are a first time parent, just start asking any friends that are parents. There is a whole world of second hand stuff!
But, sometimes you just won’t have time to run around looking for the best deal… time is money, right? So, then, we just do our best to find decent prices, right?
Hanna Andersson and Zutano were my two favorite boutique and special buys for my babies… so soft and awesome but oh so pricey! Here are a few small Hanna items that I love and are on sale.
As items sell out or go back up in price, I’m going to try to keep this list updated so you always see some cute sale items!
Baby two definitely didn’t get (or need) much new stuff, but any things that she did need, I probably bought it off Amazon.
There are also a ton of wonderful frugal mommy resources online, so do a quick google to find one that you like and follow her blog or Facebook feed, if you’re looking to save money during your maternity leave!
4. Plan activities for your older child
My older daughter was 17 months when baby two arrived. If you’re preparing for maternity leave with more than just your new baby, then do what you can to make a plan for your older child(ren) as much as possible.
I found a wonderful, amazing preschool program for my older daughter to attend two mornings a week, starting the week before new baby was due. I had two mornings a week where my older daughter to could be a “big kid” and go to school, and I could just be with new baby, and that was awesome. I would have happily sent her more days, but I had to keep the budget in mind!
Other awesome low-cost options include finding a local moms group with meetups at play areas, a middle or high school neighbor to be a “mother’s helper” for a few hours a week, or setting up a mom’s babysitting co-op. I didn’t have the energy for that last one but always wished I had found a good network.
5. Sleep training for your older child
Before my second maternity leave, I resolved to finally get my first child sleeping better! I won’t bore you with all the details, but getting her to sleep on her own was a disaster. Even though she would go to sleep on her own for her babysitter (when I went back to work part-time), it was a different story for mommy. And, then, I found this book.
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Now, I had already found several other books, and none of them had really worked. A friend recommended Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, 4th Edition: A Step-by-Step Program for a Good Night’s Sleep by Dr. Marc Weissbluth, and I dutifully bought it, and oh, I loved it! I’ve loaned it out to friends. And, it still has a place on my parenting bookshelf.
Why did I love this book? Well, first of all, it solved my problem! My first baby was sleeping on her own, finally! So, I could go into my second maternity leave with several months of my daughter sleeping on her own. Months later, during maternity leave, I discovered more reasons to love the book!
My two kids were completely different sleepers and the book has all sorts of descriptions of scenarios across all sorts of age ranges and sleep behaviors. My copy is seriously dog-eared and i still reference it periodically for my preschooler and kindergartner.
I didn’t follow through on sleep training our first child until very late and it was awful. I wish i had figured this out sooner, but when i did at about 9 months, it was life changing, so i count this as something that I (finally) did right!
Now, you don’t have to buy this book, but have some resources at your fingertips once you have baby, because getting the baby fed and to sleep will be two of the biggest things on your mind during your maternity leave! (Although I think this book is pretty amazing – so, see if your library has it, if you don’t want to buy it!)
Wow, if you made it this far, thank you! And, you must really be craving some more pregnancy and maternity leave stories.
P.P.S. and there were plenty of things I screwed up, too.
How about you? Where are you at in your pregnancy and maternity leave planning? What are your biggest concerns? What are you looking for on this blog that I’m missing and should write about?