July 30, 2021
If you haven’t heard the news, I’m pregnant!
At the time of writing this blog post, I am 32 weeks along and in the throes of preparing for maternity leave (and decorating the nursery and deep cleaning our house. Nesting is such a real thing!)
If there is one thing that I’ve learned in preparing for maternity leave, it’s that stepping back from work as a business owner can be a little overwhelming, but not at all impossible!
In this post, I’m going to outline what I’m planning for my maternity leave to look like and what I’m doing to prepare to take off from the business. If you’re a preggy business owner too (or just curious!) I hope that you find reading my game plan to be helpful!
Our little man’s due date is in September. We’ll have a pretty busy fall finishing out shooting our weddings and learning the whole “parenting thing.” What’s great though is that after that busy season we have a nice long stretch over the winter where we won’t have any weddings/shoots–– aka slow season! *Praise hands*
For my maternity leave, I decided to take as close to 8 weeks off from my business as possible, starting at two weeks from my due date. (I took this advice from Kat Schmoyer’s blog post about taking a maternity leave!) So, my official dates are August 27-October 24th. Then, my goal is to take 2 weeks after that to adapt to working mom life– figuring out some semblance of a schedule, getting into a routine, and giving myself some (ahem, lots of?) grace transitioning back into work a few days a week.
I wanted to break up my maternity leave into two parts: 8 weeks of not-checking-my-email, no work at all, totally focusing on baby time, and then 2 weeks of more of an “adjustment phase.” This is because I have a few fall weddings that need to be shot while I’m on leave, so I know some editing/gallery work will be required once my official leave ends. However, I won’t be putting myself on a strict schedule during those two weeks I start working again. Merging this big life change with work will hopefully like something to explore and embrace rather than fight and get frustrated by!
Here are the main goals I wrote down as I started planning my leave:
I felt like these goals fit my main needs for time with the baby AND time to figure out the transition to being a working mom (without being unrealistic.)
The hardest part I’ve discovered? Definitely batching extra content and making marketing plans months and MONTHS ahead of time! But I’ll dig into that more here in a second.
I tend to dream big, so when I first made a list of how I wanted to prepare for maternity leave, it was pretty unrealistic and long. At this point with less than two months now (!!!) until our little man’s arrival, I have really narrowed down what my priorities are and are not. Here’s what I came up with:
So really, preparing for maternity for me is all about marketing and content prep! Knowing that content will still be going out and that my social media outlets won’t suddenly be dead gives me a lot of assurance that the business will still be hot and ready when I come back to work.
As far as batching that content, here is what I’m doing:
I will say… batching additional content on top of your normal amount of tasks is much harder than I thought it would be. I wish I would have estimated more time to slowly chip away at my content list. However, I’ll feel so much more relaxed stepping away from the business knowing that content is still regularly going out, so it’s worth it to me.
Aside from that, I have been preparing for maternity leave by:
My maternity leave automated email response:
Thank you so much for your email! I am currently on maternity leave until October 24, 2021. Jared and I are so excited for this sweet time with our little one! We’d love for you to follow along with this new season on Instagram… but only if you are okay with lots of baby boy cuteness!
If you are an inquiring or current SB couple, you are very important to us! Our lovely assistant Autumn will be replying to your message within 72 hours.
If you need an immediate response or have an emergency, you may email Autumn directly at [Autumn’s VA email here.]
For all other emails, I will get back to you after October 24th or you’re welcome to email me again after that date!
Thank you for your patience and kindness as we transition into this new season of parenthood!
**This was another great tip I picked up from Kat’s blog! Kat mentioned having things as ready to go as possible to step back into work post maternity leave. Looking ahead at November, I picked a few tasks and set them into batch work blocks I can choose from based on how much time I have during my week when I get return. This will save me from wasting time trying to figure out what I need to be working on (which I doubt I will have with a newborn in my care!)
All in all, learning how to take maternity leave as a business owner who likes to be in control has been a learning curve. I had to accept that this is something I can’t do this without outsourcing help. By delegating tasks, I have minimized my work load and had the time to prepare things to the point that I know with total confidence that I can step back from my business and return with flexibility.
I know there are many more learning curves to come once the baby gets here! The way I’ve been looking at it is that it’s just a season– it won’t last forever! Right now though I’m hustling really hard to get things prepared, soon I’ll have our little one in my arms and get to totally focus on him for a season while the business runs itself. How cool is that?
I hope that if you’re an expecting momma or learning to take a break from work that this was helpful! We will see if I get everything done before I take off or not. Let’s hope I can do it!
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