Yay! You’re pregnant!
Now you can freak out about everything you need to do. I say need, because these things will have to be done before that baby graces the world. With or without your opinion.
This is excluding any of the fun stuff, like designing a beautiful nursery or organizing baby clothes into a closet that trumps any one that I’ve had for myself. Most repeat moms complete leave that out of the baby process, from what I understand. But there are still some business sided things-to-do.
Here I am (or at least my swollen feet) with 20 days to go before baby! I am so lucky to be near some of the World’s best beaches.
I mean seriously, LOOK AT THAT SKY (and water, i guess)
I want you to be prepared for REALITY, and everything it has in store. As modern moms, we need to know what we are missing out on.
Here is your chance to plot out your ‘Before Maternity Leave’ necessities:
1. Save some $$$
This goes without saying. With a pitiful guaranteed family leave like we Americans have (a whopping zero weeks), you better get saving. 9 months isn’t forever, but it’s a good while. Besides, pregnancy never goes fast for the pregnant.
Even if you have paid leave (fully or partially), starting a baby fund was the greatest thing I did! I am still sitting on thousands of dollars I saved for maternity leave almost 2 years ago!!
This money was saved for things like:
- Hospital Bills
- Takeout lol
- Surprise baby necessities
2. Seek out any incentives and policies with HR
Your company may offer some awesome benefits for expecting women. I waited so long to expose myself, and did not research enough. Basically, I missed out on a $200 Visa giftcard……. Ya, don’t be like me. People love pregnant ladies! You might just get a literal cookie. Who knows?!
Figure out your benefits, and talk to HR about adding a newborn to an insurance policy. NOTE: Babies are charged delivery fees. Don’t forget insurance!
3. Decide on when you’ll leave
This is tough, because you have two options:
- Begin leave pre-baby and waste leave time you could spend at home with your baby
- Wait to stop working until your water breaks/labor starts
I went with the latter, and would recommend it (with contingencies). Waiting for a baby, alone, at home, can be mind numbing. Not to mention, wasting precious leave time meant for that precious babe!
However, since I was working right up until the very last second, I was running around being too busy to take care of myself. I ended up breaking my water and going to work until an appointment that afternoon… I wasn’t even 39 weeks! Not the worst thing in the world, but my May Babe was born in April ha.
Being so busy kept me from doing a couple things left on this list….
creeping close to your due date? check these out!
4. Work out when you’ll come back/communication plans/establish lines of communication with your stay-at-home friends
Coming back is a big deal. And the first step is getting the date on your calendar (more on this later). Human Resources will provide you with an end-of-leave date, and it is somewhat flexible. Any details need to be discussed with anyone you report to. Maybe you come in for 2 days a week starting at week 8 of Maternity Leave, and work your way up to 5. There are options!
Most importantly, when does leadership expect to hear from you? Once a week? Hopefully not, but you need to know and discuss what you determine to be reasonable.
And of course, who the hell is out of office and can keep you company?! Find some fellow moms or reconnect with old friends that dropped off the radar after their baby came around. Now is the time to start finding mom friends! The friends that know EXACTLY what a recovering mom & baby need.
5. Take some time
Of the office. Of your house. Of your routine. Things are going to change…. Even if this isn’t your first baby, You need some “you” time. Indulge! Pamper yourself. Have that ONE glass of wine. You will be wishing you had.
seriously, take a day off work.
Take TEN! Any days off after the baby will not be for you.
No matter how hard you try to convince yourself otherwise.
6. Prepare potential visitors/Plan for pet care
This is huge for me, but not everyone.
Prepare upcoming visitors with guidelines. i.e. call before coming, bring fooood
I absolutely could not handle the prospect of unannounced visitors during my maternity leave. They probably wouldn’t have bothered us, but I couldn’t stand to think about it. Call me neurotic. I don’t care.
Whatever you expect out of your maternity leave, you need to communicate your wishes. No one can read minds (i hope) so prepare for disappointment when someone does EXACTLY what you don’t want them to do. If you’ve found yourself with an overbearing relative, you need to get those issues settled! It can be incredibly toxic, but is easily resolved in most cases.
Find the boundary-breakers in your circles, and remind them of mama bear instincts. Any calm and sweet demeanors will change after baby sucks all the sleep out of your night!
7. Arrange home/pet care
Who will bring in your mail? Feed the cats? Take the dog? Maybe it’s your husband, but these details need to be ironed out before that labor window opens (at 36 weeks).
8. Establish assigned chores
I don’t want to say “establish chores” because I’d sound like a dictator. But everyone should hold their weight around the house.
I’m an open opponent to housework, but I think it should be evenly distributed. None of this “woman’s work” garbage.
Before maternity leave, we established the basics. He does dishes. I do laundry. Etc. Most importantly:
- we grocery shop together
- he puts the groceries away
- walking the dog is out of my hands until 6 weeks after
- I handle feedings and most diapers
- I order the takeout lol
You get the gist…
9. Find that pediatrician
This is one of those things that is on every list, but I blew it off thanks to my busy schedule.
You don’t need to interview them, but if you get a few friendly referrals, I’d go for it! Don’t just wing this one. Changing your pediatrician is easy, but it’s reassuring to know that this doctor has seen them since birth.
I ended up choosing the doctor closest to my house and switching before her 3 month appointment. I could’ve known it wouldn’t work if I had just taken a field trip or gave them a call.
Bedside manner is easy to gauge with the simplest interactions.
10. Get showdeas (show-DEE-yah-s)
For all those late nights. Keep a mental list for life, as a best practice.
I HIGHLY recommend Game of Thrones. Along with every other person in the world. Get on it!
Winter is coming….
11. Pack a damn bag…!
This was discouraged in every blog I found! Or it at least sounded hard. The tricky part about packing is what to wear. Any pregnant woman can tell you, there might be 5 items of clothing that fit in those final weeks. How the hell are you supposed to pack them away?!
You are NOT. Let me break it down…Your prepared hospital bag doesn’t need clothes in it. (Maybe just a delivery robe for instagram worthy photo ops)
As soon as you show up to the hospital in your last pair of pants, you upgrade to a hospital gown and live in it for 2-4 days.
Just prepare the things you won’t need while you’re waiting around for contractions to hit.
- Cute robe in case you aren’t digging the hospital look
- Refillable water bottle
- Snacks for you and dad!
- Nursing pillow (for practicing with the newborn)
- Car seat (installed)
- Spare chargers
- Minimal makeup essentials
- Baby’s going-home outfit….!
- Backup shirt for mom!
annnnnd wear the same pants you got to the hospital in! Done!
creeping close to your due date? check these out!
Don’t forget your FREE copy of the PRE-Maternity Leave Checklist! With an additional 10+ items to get done before you run out of time!
I know it can be hard to make everything happen. Trust me! But if you can make any of these happen, you’ll be glad you did!!