When thinking of your maternity leave, you’re likely focusing on spending time with your new baby. Bonding with your baby is very important, but taking certain steps to prepare for maternity leave will ensure that your time away won’t be spent worrying about work. Here are some ways you can prepare for maternity leave.
Have a discussion with your boss
It’s best to inform your boss of your pregnancy first, as early as you can. This will ensure that both of you have enough time to prepare. For you, this can mean thinking about your tasks and responsibilities and how they can best be handled in your absence. For your boss, this can mean strategizing which of your coworkers can take on some of your duties, and beginning the search for a temporary replacement if necessary.
Together, the two of you can create an action plan for your role while you’re on maternity leave.
Look for child care
Although returning to work may seem years away right now, getting child care arranged as soon as possible will mean you don’t have to worry about it during your maternity leave. Look for a child care center that is licensed (if applicable in your state), has clean and safe facilities, and is staffed by educated and caring caregivers. Read our list of 28 must-ask questions before choosing a daycare to help you find a child care center that will be best for your infant and your family.
Think about finances
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 49% of mothers did not have paid maternity leave between 2006 and 2008. Sit down with your family and figure out your planned expenses during your leave, as well as any expenses you think could arise – even ones unrelated to your baby. You may want to set up a savings account specifically to create a financial cushion for your maternity leave. U.S. News has more advice for preparing financially for maternity leave.
Document your processes and systems
A few weeks before your leave, start documenting all your tasks, responsibilities, systems, and processes. These notes will help your temporary replacement to handle your tasks without getting confused or needing assistance. The way you organize these notes is up to you, but consider it from the perspective of someone who may have little knowledge of your daily, weekly, and monthly routine.
You may also need to train your coworkers or temporary replacement on how to perform your regular duties. Set some ground rules for contact during your leave if they have a question your documentation doesn’t cover.
Planning for your maternity leave involves many factors, including creating an action plan with your boss, looking for child care, planning your finances, and working with your coworkers to handle the transition. However, starting as early as possible will ensure that you don’t have to rush, and will have everything set up so that you can spend your maternity leave bonding with your new baby.