I was honestly in a tizzy when planning for my mompreneur maternity leave. The minute after finding out that I was pregnant (okay, maybe the second or third minute) I was thinking, “And now what about work?” With all the business decisions on my shoulders, taking time off for baby seemed daunting and dare I say, impossible. I was like a calculator only outputting “does not compute” whenever I even thought of it.
To tackle the task, I took a lot of time to seek out advisors and do some inner work thinking about what success looked like for me.
I wanted a plan that I could share with all stakeholders, and that would give me the needed peace to go into motherhood calmly and confidently.
Your approach will be determined depending on the type of entrepreneur that you are. For example, a solopreneur, or service provider, has all the tasks to think of, whereas someone running a company may have employees that can absorb extra tasks. That doesn’t change the hardness of the issue, but it is something to think about. If there is one single takeaway that I have right off the bat, it’s this:
There is no right way to do this; there is only the right way for you to do this for you.
When I started creating my maternity leave plan, my main goal was to answer this question, “What can I do to give the highest love and respect to my family, my employees, and my clients?” In that order.
Here are my five pieces of advice for creating your mompreneur maternity leave plan:
Review your why.
Why did you start this company of yours? What lifestyle did you want when you created it? For me, I realized that I had wanted to run my own business for this exact season of life. For flexibility when I had a family. It was time for me to tap into that and cash my hard work in for some time off. Funny enough, being an entrepreneur is much less flexible and much more time consuming that I had originally thought, but it’s also a role that affords you the ability to create change as needed.
Bulk up, or lean out.
For most entrepreneurs you’ll either need to bulk up your staff, or lean out your workload. If you’re removing yourself, then someone either needs less of you or more of someone else – so think about which you prefer and which the company could benefit most from. I personally scaled back my client load and let go of any stressful or unneeded accounts. I went back to basics so that I could focus my limited attention on meaningful work. I even let go of staff, which was so hard, but so necessary.
Control is an illusion.
Your baby will teach you this from day one, but control is an illusion. Get your mind ready for on-the-fly decisions, days that go completely sideways, and nights that are… nevermind. You’ll learn about that as needed.
Find someone supportive that can be your go-to should you lose control of your day, and need help on things that are easy to delegate like printing, quick email responses, social posting, etc.
Give yourself an adjustment period before baby, not just after.
One of the best things I did was ramp down about a month in advance of the baby. That is a huge luxury that not all people get, but if you can create a new normal in advance of the baby, it will make the transition to a slower pace much easier. I have a hard time transitioning and was used to working around the clock, so I really needed to learn that it was okay to have boundaries, not check my phone, and just be less busy.
Procrastination is not a strategy.
The best thing you can do is prepare your business, clients, staff, etc. for this season. Give them a lot of warning, ample time, and an exact plan. Front-load as much work as humanly possible. I did about four months of work in advance so that I could take a long leave and sprinkle timely work in as needed.
Overall, I believe that knowing ourselves is the most powerful way we can prepare for little ones.
Reflect on who you are and what your personality needs to thrive. If you need quiet and space, get that. If you’re going to be dying to get back on email, then allow yourself that too. It’s all about what creates a happy heart for you and that baby - nothing else. Remember my personal motherhood motto: there is no right way to do this; there is only the right way for you to do this for you.
Photos by Buena Lane Photography