Congratulations on your soon-to-be bundle of joy! Expecting a baby can understandably be overwhelming as there are numerous changes in your very near future that will require in-depth consideration. From your work life to this new life that you are entirely responsible for all while dodging the unsolicited advice from Karen one, two, and three. Will you stay at home? Will you return to work? Undecided? You don’t have to have the answers right out of the gate, but the sooner you have a plan the better. With a baby boom on the horizon, we found it necessary to offer steps in preparing for and returning from maternity leave so we can hopefully ease the weight on your shoulders.

To start, it’s always a good idea to let your superior know as soon as you are able. Nine months can seem like a long time but in the grand scheme of things, it goes in the blink of an eye. The sooner you are able to let your superiors know, the closer you are to solidifying a plan of attack. A good rule of thumb throughout your pregnancy (relating to your work life) is “the sooner the better.” Your boss likely understands that some flexibilities may need to be provided throughout based on the status of the pregnancy at that time. Nobody, including you, knows how the weeks to come are going to go but being open and honest step-by-step is recommended. It is a good idea to schedule a meeting with your boss to go over how you see the leading months to go. You will want to discuss the many doctor visits leading up to the birth that you will need to attend, as well as your plan (once you know it) to either return to work or not. Do not make promises that you cannot keep. In other words, do not promise that you are coming back to work up until month 8 and then decide that you have changed your mind. Let your boss know of your plan and take it from there.

Then we come to discussing your period of leave. You will want to familiarize yourself with your company’s policies on maternity leave. If you feel like you would like to negotiate for an extended leave time and your boss approves, be sure to get it in writing to prevent confusion in the future. Unfortunately, though some people may like to take an extended leave, the pay, or lack thereof may not allow them to do so. In fact, over 80% of people do not take extended leave due to finances, so if you know you might like to do something like this, plan accordingly.

We recommend getting a list together of your job duties and responsibilities. This will help your boss get an idea of how to attack your workload in your absence. It may be decided to divvy it amongst your coworkers, or they may see fit to hire a temp. If you carry a large workload, be proactive in getting work done ahead of time to alleviate your peers. Keep in mind it is your job to plan ahead of time and keep all necessary parties up to date. It will be assumed that you are not deviating from the original plan discussed with your boss unless you state otherwise.

Now we move to your return from leave. Before you come back you will need to give your boss a definitive date of return. As the delivery date of one’s baby is not for us to decide, that date will likely not be set until after the birth of the baby. Again, the sooner you can make your boss aware the better. Once you have returned it is a good idea to schedule a touch base with all necessary parties to update you on any potential changes or updates that may have occurred in your absence. Depending on your role, you may also find it necessary to send a “back in office” email to any client, or coworkers if you are remote.

Probably our favorite suggestion yet – caffeine, caffeine, and more caffeine. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a baby who sleeps through the night, have a cup of coffee, you deserve it. Remember to not overwork yourself. Your life has just been uprooted, and it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Maybe you have some catch-up to play upon your return but remember it’s okay to ask for help.

If you are looking for a temp to cover a maternity leave or you are coming back from maternity leave with the drive for a new career, please give us a call at (518) 275-4816 as we are happy to help find your perfect fit!