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.
Related: Ways Working Moms Can Spend Quality Time with Their Young Child
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!
19 thoughts on “A Working Mom’s Guide to Surviving Maternity Leave”
finances can be so stressful especially when you combine them with a newborn but I love your tips on how to handle both in a less stressful manner!
I never experienced maternity leave before, but I can see how it can have its ups and downs. Until now, I had thought that all maternity leave was paid…
These are great tips for someone going on maternity leave. Unfortunately I got didn’t get to continue working when I revealed I was pregnant (because I called out and missed so many days because of morning sickness). If I ever had another kid I would definitely keep these in mind.
I wish this post had been around when I was on maternity leave!
I’m a stay at home mom but I’m so glad companies offer maternity leave. It’s so important especially so early on for parents to be with their babies.
I loved maternity leave with my first son. I didn’t get much of maternity leave with my second child which was disappointing.
I remember that feeling of worry when I was on leave, we really wathed our expenses. Great post and tips for new moms
Maternity Leave was my favorite time of my life. I loved spending my days with my baby and I had a puppy at that time as well. I almost considered quitting my job at that time, but we needed the money.
i cant imagine being with my daughter and then just having to leave her after maternity leave. i always wondered if if it was harder for women who get like a whole year off… sort of drags it out… idk though. i am lucky enough to be able to be a sahm so my heart always hurts for new mommies who have to leave.
These are all so great. You don’t want to not plan ahead of time and get yourself stressed!
Great tips! Planning ahead is key. Looking at your finances before your baby is born is super important.
My maternity leave was so hard. At the time, I didnt know, but I was suffering from postpartum & it was baaaaad! But I always tell people now, if you don’t feel yourself – ask for help.
I never even thought of tightening the budget. That is a great point. I didn’t work with my daughter…with the next one I will be. I am very nervous about that when the time does come. LifeAsLex
Great tips!! Sometimes our best laid plans change! I had planned to work until my due date, take my 12 week maternity leave and jump right back into work. Well… none of those plans included having twins, 6 months of painful bed rest, 1 year of physical therapy and diagnosis of thyroid disease. Whoops! I thought I’d stay home the first year, then just one more year which then became OK when they turn 5. They turn five in a few weeks. I’m still home. ;)
Tightening the budget is difficult but imperative to survive, little income means less luxuries.
It was tough being a working mom. With a chronic illness and 3 kids, I just had to take it one day at a time. The hardest part was realizing I needed help and had to ask for it. I’d been raised to be an independent self sufficient woman so asking for help was a hard lesson to learn but now I do it all the time!
Amen to the support system. You definitely need one during that time!
Planning ahead, especially financially, is the key. Great tips. Thanks for sharing
I can remember crying every single day when I had to leave my little girl. I did not want to go back to work. It was a hard transition, but I finally made it.