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At the end of your pregnancy, there is a lot of uncertainty. But your maternity leave is not something you need to freak out about. Unlike childbirth (how will that pan out, exactly??) there are many things about your maternity leave within your control.
During the last few weeks of your pregnancy do these things to make your home well-equipped for your maternity leave.
Set Up Your Bedroom For Good Sleeping Conditions
The advice “sleep when the baby sleeps” will start to annoy you, but it’s the truth. If there’s one thing I wish I had done during my maternity leave it would sleep more! Because over the next few years you will be sleep deprived and working so enjoy some shut-eye while you can.
Find an eye mask that isn’t too tight around your head and begin sleeping with it. It helps block out the light and can help you fall asleep faster. If your window shades do not block out sunlight this eye mask will help. Although picking up sun blocking window shades would be beneficial, too!
Do you already have a little one running around? Then napping may be a challenge. While your spouse watches your children turn on a sleep machine to drown out their noise. Or next time someone says “You should rest when the baby rests.”, you can say, “You know what? I’m going to go lay down right now.” Then go listen to the ocean surf.
Get Ready to Be Frugal for Three Months
If your company offers paid leave you can skip this part. But if you’re like the rest of us you will get about 60% of your pay if you’re lucky to get Short Term Disability. So, your first paycheck on maternity leave can shock you so plan ahead. It’s easier to crunch numbers without a baby crying and then your chest hurting because their cries make you let down milk (Breastfeeding 101).
Review your expenses now and determine where you can cut back. The first place to look is monthly subscriptions like Netflix, Amazon, Stich Fix, or your gym. Next, look at your grocery bill to see what items you could go without for the next few months. You’ll be so tired that drinking alcohol won’t be enticing so you’ll save a few bucks there, too.
Websites That Offer Alternative Baby Shower Gifts
If you don’t want a basket of lotion, share gift ideas on Babylist.com. It takes a village to raise a family. When your baby is born people are going to want to help you, but they may not know how. This site can be their answer.
You can request babysitting coupons, meals, or blank coupons where people can write in what they’d like to give you (like some sessions with me!). To set this up, create a register and click on “Help & Favors”. Even after the baby is born, go back to babylist.com and ask for what you need.
Because the U.S. doesn’t offer paid leave you may need some cash to supplement your income. BabyList gives your family and friends the chance to help you out financially while on maternity leave. Clever, right?
Here’s how it works: you give BabyList your checking account, people make a donation, Babylist takes a small percentage of that for credit card fees and with a push of a button BOOM! the money is transferred to your account. Check out their FAQ for more information.
Another site to check out is www.mealtrain.com. A Meal Train is when loved ones can sign up to bring you a meal! They can select the date and let you know what meal they’re bringing or what kind of take out is coming your way. This is a great idea if you aren’t the type of person who wants to make meals ahead of time and have a large support group that wants to help.
Enable a Clear Out of Office Auto Response
One last thing, be sure to enable a really effective, true to your work culture, out of office auto response. You need to be left alone while on maternity leave. It’s called “leave” for a reason.
If your work culture is strictly professional keep your reply short. When you’re composing this email your return date will be unknown so do not mention a date. Do share your backup person in case their matter can’t wait until you return.
If you’re expecting I know the anticipation is killing you!! Hopefully, you’re almost ready to pop and your bundle of joy will be with you soon. Until then be sure to get your home and office well-equipped for your maternity leave so you can truly “leave” and welcome your baby into the world.
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