I’m trying to be better about following up on posts. Since it all seems to be a continuing saga these days, sharing what I’ve learned and where I messed up or succeeded seems the most helpful. Before taking my self-employed maternity leave, I shared my plan as well as the advice I’d received from friends. Now that I’m “back at work” (more below), I wanted to share my wisdom of hindsight on my blogger maternity leave stint…
My Maternity Leave Experience
So as planned, I pretty much stopped working one week before my due date. I scheduled out content for the remaining weeks of June and through July, buying me basically 7 weeks of maternity leave.
Our little guy showed up a week after his due date (full disclosure – we evicted him! : D). But right there was two weeks out of all my planning. What I didn’t expect (and could never have predicted) was how insanely difficult those first few weeks of his life were for us.
A lot of that struggle for us related to my low milk supply and the general difficulties of breastfeeding (if you haven’t read this post, I can’t encourage you enough to do so). I will reiterate here that though low milk supply is not a problem for everyone, those first few weeks of a baby’s life are basically insanity. There’s really no way to avoid it (no matter how fabulous you are at life)…
So now we were 5 weeks in when life started to not seem like a Jackson Pollock painting!
With only two weeks left of my scheduled content, I started to stress out. Though I, in theory, had two more weeks, I had to start creating content for that next week. And the week after. And so on…
Easing Back Into Work
While I was struggling to transition out of the postpartum/newborn life, I was struggling to get back into my professional life.
Now while we threw a MAJOR wrench in this smooth transition by moving 400 miles away and buying our first house (and I wouldn’t change a single thing still), those stresses would have been there all the same. And, another side note, the dreams that soon-to-be first time parents have of napping and reading while your little one naps are really rather hilarious once you’ve been there. Free time doesn’t exist without familial or hired help.
The other very difficult part of this was coming up with content to share. In my postpartum body, I didn’t have many outfits to share that weren’t repeats and/or just postpartum comfortable as my body was figuring itself out. We weren’t traveling with our newborn. So besides a recipe each week (which someone else helps me with), I was reeling to figure out what the hell to even post let alone making it happen.
So anyway. I realized in all of this that while I tried my hardest to schedule out my content, seven weeks wasn’t enough maternity leave. I don’t know that I could have done a whole lot more given my content restraints. I couldn’t really do any fashion posts considering how pregnant I was and we weren’t traveling as I edged closer and closer to my due date.
Recreating My Professional Life
What I’ve been doing now – because I’m still in this transitional phase – is finding ways to depend more on others. I have an assisitant who helps with digital stuff. I started asking for more from her, teaching her how to do what I needed along the way.
I’ve also started coming up with new content ideas to share (mainly on the eco-friendlier front), started asking my husband to take more photos for me, and I now have someone come over two afternoons per week for 2-3 hours so I can cram as much work as possible into that short timeframe.
It isn’t perfect, let me tell you. My best piece of advice for pregnant women and new parents is to relieve as much stress as possible in all aspects of life. Being self-employed/freelancer, however, makes this a difficult setup.
I would be remiss if I didn’t note that my freelancer life is wonderful in that I’m able to stay at home with our son and sneak in work as I can. On the flip side, however, I think being independent from watching him and being a professional does wonders for me as well. So I’m still trying to find that balance between being the mom I dream of and the blogger/writer that I once was.