Maternity leave can be both a blessing and a nerve-wracking nightmare for many career mothers who have been sidelined by a baby. Having those precious weeks with your child gives you not only irreplaceable bonding time but time to heal from the miracle of birth. It also, in most cases, leaves you plenty of time to worry about the giant hole in your family finances maternity leave brings.
Tips for New Moms to Survive Maternity Leave
Discuss Finances Upfront
If you can, make sure that you have an upfront conversation with your partner about finances. Not just who and how, but the nitty gritty of where the cents go every month. Having a healthy understanding of your outflow will let you better keep to your standard of living when money is sparse. Trying to figure out exactly how much you spent at drugstores before the bundle of joy is not going to benefit either you or your spouse when you have 3 a.m. Feedings. Make a budget, practice sticking to it before the baby arrives.
Tighten the Budget
Tighten up your finances beforehand if possible. Get rid of anything ‘buy now, pay later’, because ‘later’ will be halfway through your maternity leave. Abstain from things on payments, try to pay off or downgrade to an affordable bought and paid for vehicle. Try to consolidate your debts you can’t get rid of by locking in good interest rates and developing a good relationship with your credit cards and banks. That way, if you do have to ride into that overdraft at some point, it will a) be there and b) be allowed to run a little high.
Set up a Support System
If you’re used to interacting with people all day long, you can’t cut yourself off from the outside world entirely during your maternity leave. You’ll go nuts! Make sure you set up a support system before your baby comes. Have a handy list of friends you can call for grown-up conversation, coworkers to keep you in the loop, and so on.
Revel in simplicity
Most of all, acclimatize yourselves to the idea of having fewer ‘wants’ fulfilled. Enjoy the simple things in life if you can, like baby’s firsts, and quiet evenings just the two of you when baby is at grandmas. Enjoy your maternity leave. Understand that you’re doing a different thing now, and it’s more important than just your fiscal bottom line.
Maternity leave is a great chance for you to bond with your baby, recuperate from delivery and just spend some time enjoying being a new mom. Yes, it can be tough when you’re used to a “go, go, go” lifestyle, but you may also find that you never want to return to work after maternity leave too!