I’ve been working since I turned 16. Not because I needed to, necessarily, but because I enjoy it! (Plus, the discount at Delia*s was totally worth it!) Now, marriage, 2 dogs, 2 kids, and almost 15 years later, I’m about to see what it’s like to not work and to focus on my family instead while on maternity leave. My next short-term assignment: Stay at Home Mom.
No, I’m not stepping back from my career, and, yes, I will remain the bread-winner in our household even during this time period. I am embarking on this journey because I am fortunate enough to work for an amazing company with an outstanding maternity leave policy. I’m viewing these upcoming 5 months as a short-term assignment because I know it isn’t forever. I know that although it seems like a long time now, it will certainly fly by. I understand that this time is so precious, I have to make the most of it.
Therefore, as with any short-term assignment in one’s career, I also know that I want to set goals for myself during my maternity leave. I want to grow as a person, as a mother, and as a woman. I want to learn something new and take it with me to every “assignment” in the future.
- Be Present
Especially as a full-time working mother, I feel like I’m generally rushed. I’m usually balancing what feels like a million things (Did I send in the check for pizza day? When does the dog’s food need ordered? What am I cooking for dinner? What meetings do I have tomorrow? How am I ever going to get back into shape?) and I have approximately 72 “browser tabs open in my mind” at any given point in time. These 5 months of maternity leave, I want to be present for my family and for myself. I want to soak up all the little things that would usually go unnoticed or unappreciated.
- Connect with Other Women
Though this time is primarily for my healing and bonding with the new baby, I can’t help but set a goal to connect with other women (something that usually gets moved to the back-burner). I am excited that there are 4 of us at the office on maternity leave at the same time, so that will be a great start! However, I have SAHM friends that I don’t get to spend enough time with while I’m working as well as friends that don’t have children that I miss. I want to connect with, learn from, and support as many of these awesome women as I can!
- Instill Peace and Harmony in My Family
Not that my house is any more hectic than anyone else’s with a toddler and a newborn, but couldn’t we all use a little extra peace and harmony (especially during a significant transition such as adding a new member to the household!)? I genuinely believe that if I focus on my first two goals above, this one will come naturally. However, I’m still making it a goal of my maternity leave to ensure it is realized.
So, there you have it. In addition to the standard newborn-mom survival goals of “brush your teeth” and “don’t forget the lunchbox for preschool,” I have intentionally set these three goals for myself during my maternity leave. The hope, however, is that I will be able to apply these practices even after my short-term assignment has been completed.