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Part 4 - From Material Girls To Maternity Girls: Planning For and Enjoying Your Maternity Leave

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Whether or not you “planned” your pregnancy, the one thing you WILL (now) have to plan on is your (and your baby’s) future. Pregnancy is ALL ABOUT lifestyle change, from how you feel, to how you look, to new and rewarding responsibilities, and even a different set of priorities. For many women it also means making the transition for worldly, independent career woman (with a calendar full of appointments and client meetings) to stay-at-home mom (with a calendar full of appointed feedings and play dates), while others will make only a temporary transition before heading back into the workforce. Whatever your personal choice, at some point you will find yourself home alone with your newborn, a time that can be most rewarding and sometimes most overwhelming, especially if your not use to staying home. So, whether or not your “prepared” for your pregnancy, experts assert that it’s a good idea to think about and prepare for maternity and your impending maternity leave. A few key considerations include:

Out and About and Around The House: Getting Ready For Motherhood and Maternity Leave:

1. Polishing Up On Policy: Familiarize yourself with the (maternity) benefits your company/organization/place of employment offers. Acquaint yourself with your legal rights and get to know what the government has to offer and what you are entitled to and how. Ask about additional benefits such as accrued sick days or vacation time and have your partner/spouse do the same. Remember, today’s dads are often also entitled to some pretty nifty benefits too.

2. Adhere To Office Etiquette: Let your boss soon after you confirm your pregnancy and when you are comfortable with it, but before it becomes obvious and apparent. Discuss your options and your entitlements. Make inquiries as to who will replace you while you are “leave”, and if you can have a say in the interview and training process. Discuss the option of working from home, how long the company can hold the position for you, if they are willing to create another position that will serve both your needs, perhaps their flexibility with your hours, and come prepared with ideas and suggestions of how to address your workload while you are out.

3. Honesty Is The Best Policy: Be honest about how much time (off) you’ll need after delivery. Expect needing more time than you anticipate. Professionals point out that you’re better off returning to work early than asking for additional time off.

4. Know Your Benefits: Consult your insurance provider and get an itemized outline of your coverage and benefits. Determine what your plan does and does not cover. From doctors visits to doulas, you’ll want to be informed as to which of your and your baby’s needs are taken care of. Examine both your and your partner/spouses plan and identify which offers better benefits. Remember to account for deadlines regarding dependent children and make sure the plan covers baby visits.

5. Doctor Notes: Because you’ll want the best care for your baby, you may want to start thinking about choosing a doctor your feel comfortable with and whom you feel you can trust. Make inquiries of trusted friends and family members (with young children) and start perusing the names your insurance company provides to see which doctors participate and to find a qualified and certified pediatrician.

6. Outsourcing Inquisitions: If you plan on being a working mom, you may want to investigate childcare alternatives for your child. Remember, today, many companies offer on-premise childcare, which may be your best option. Otherwise ask family and friends for suggestions and recommendation.

“Time-Out” Tactics: Some essential pointers for making the most of your maternity leave

1. Terms and Conditions: Every job has it’s own terms and conditions, so why should your new position, as a mom, be any different. While you want to remain available to and for your employer, you don’t want to be on call 24-7. Make sure you outline your boundaries and parameters.

2. Get By With A Little Help From Your Friends: Your adorable new addition will no doubt warrant everyone’s attention, especially that of the grandparents. While you may want some time to be alone and bond with baby, don’t hesitate to take advantage of the extra offered help, you really will need it.

3. Pamper Yourself and Your Baby: Make sure you both have all your necessary essentials for a happy, HEALTHY future. Learn to relax with your child, eat right, and make sure you consult your baby’s doctor regarding sleep, nutrition and vaccines.

4. Give Yourself Peace of Mind: Make your job of going back to work easier knowing that baby is caught up on doctor visits and immunizations. Try to adjust your work schedule so that you can have some additional time with your child and also to take care of all his/her needs.

Official Business: Preparing For The Road Back To Work:

If you thought it was difficult leaving your job to stay home with your baby, many (experienced) moms say it’s just as difficult to part with your child to head back to work.
Experts offer the following suggestions for making this transition easier.

1. Scheduling Secrets: Initially it may seem difficult to “abandon” your baby and head back to the office. Experts advise going back to work later in the week, so that the weekend and time (again) with your family doesn’t seem so far away. You may even want to consider starting out slowly (part-time) until you once again gain confidence and assurance you need to be a full-timer.

2. Remember that “Time Heals”: Experts acknowledge that your first few weeks to potentially first few months at the office will be need some getting use to. They advise that you accept this fact and relinquish any and all guilt about it. Try to address issues/concerns openly and honestly with employers and superiors and give everyone a change to make the necessary adjustments.

3. Get Outside Support: Develop friendships/liaisons with other new or experienced working moms. Talk to them and don’t be shy about revealing your feeling and concerns, or about asking for help and advice. You may wind up doing a bit of supporting of your own.

4. Baby Steps: Take one-step at a time, especially when it comes to entrusting your child to someone else. Find someone you like and trust and whom you’ve researched has a credible and flawless reputation. Be specific about how you would like your child “parented” and perhaps even start out with a part-time arrangement and slowly graduate to full days and full weeks.

5. Go With The Flow: Everything new promises some challenges. Being a new parent, nonetheless a working one, simply offers a few more. Keep a positive attitude and disposition and don’t expect too much of yourself (or your partner) and make it clear that other’s will also need to cut you some slack, and in time, everything will be just fine.

Long Island Money & Careers Articles > Part 4 - From Material Girls To Maternity Girls: Planning For and Enjoying Your Maternity Leave

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