Making the Most of My Maternity Leave

March 25, 2011 / By

Two months ago, we welcomed our second child – a little girl – to our family.  Let’s just say, I was WAY more prepared the second time around.

Knowing what to expect from a mothering standpoint, I put together a strategy on how I wanted to spend my time away from the office.

Balancing my life at home during this leave made a big difference for me this time around.  By adding more of my professional life into the mix, and not completely abandoning it, I was more at ease throughout my leave.

Let me preface this with my opinion that every mother should make her own choice about what she wants to do on maternity leave.  I have yet to find two women who react to motherhood the same way.  Therefore, you should choose the path that fits you best during this emotional and exciting time.

Here’s a look at how I wanted to spend my maternity leave:

Baby & Family Time

This was easily the bulk of my time – taking care of our little girl and the family.  I’ll also include house work here as well. We completed a few big projects while I was at home and could oversee the work and I also did a lot of those small projects you put off when you’re in the normal routines.

Knowledge

While away from the office, I wanted to dive in and continue to build my long-term knowledge base in two areas: parenting / professional.  Building up my parenting knowledge now will help me in the months to come when our two kids will be transitioning to new phases of their lives – which always comes with new challenges for parents.  Professionally, I wanted to continue to stay abreast of key trends in our industry. During any breaks with the baby, I read books and blogs related to these two areas.

Escape

I am a firm believer that a physical and mental escape from day-to-day life will help you see things differently.  On this maternity sabbatical, I feel that I’ve gained more patience (helpful with two kids), and perspective into the “bigger picture.”

Stay In Touch

While I did value escaping from the day-to-day work, I didn’t want to totally disappear off the face of the earth during my leave.  So, I caught up on emails every few days – replying to a few here and there.  Also, I met my colleagues for lunch and visited the office.  This certainly helped me feel connected to work and wanted in the office!

I’ll be back at my desk in a few weeks – sitting there with a feeling of accomplishment from my time away.  This was a feeling that I missed following my first maternity leave.  It also led me to “burn out” when I returned.  Having the knowledge and experience for this round has made all the difference.

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