With the world buzzing about Kate Middleton’s third pregnancy, we’re taking a closer look at how to prep for maternity leave as a small business owner. What are the dos and don’ts surrounding the process? We chatted with a couple of expert mompreneurs to share with us their advice for prepping how to handle your business and career as your life transitions.
1. Cover all of your medical bases.
“Balancing career and family life can be quite challenging when a baby is on the way.” Kat Bowd, Founder of Mumsy & Bub says. She advises that before you leave, even when you first discover you’re pregnant or begin planning to get pregnant, ensure that all medical aspects of your maternity leave are covered including your birth plan and medical records.
2. Make sure your entire team is prepped while you’re out.
Whether you work from home as a solopreneur or in a corporate office setting, absolutely no maternity leave is a disappearing act. Start prepping your team in advance for your absence with the following tips.
- Train a team member to ‘keep the wheels spinning’ while you’re on maternity leave. Kimmie Marek, MS, PHR and CCO and Co-Owner of 7 Charming Sisters, advises having a trainee shadow you for a couple of weeks and to create a task list of everything you do, not just rely solely on your job description for training purposes.
- Stop multitasking and start time blocking. As the senior professional of human resources, mother of triplets and founder of her own company WeGo Kids, Supna Shah is all too familiar with the fact that multitasking 24/7 with a new baby can leave you exhausted, frustrated, and feeling like you can’t do anything right. “Start time blocking, one task at a time. If it’s time to feed the baby, focus on that task, leave your phone in another room. If it’s time to check your email, do it, act on it, feel good about it, and then don’t think about it again. Time blocking will leave you feeling like you’re an actively engaged parent, while still being an effective entrepreneur.”
- Touch base with your employees and let them know of the duration of your leave. If you can’t fully train someone else to take over your position, Bowd says to use this time to allocate and delegate important tasks to designated team members. “Ask them to provide daily reports on their progress and set a time window for yourself each day — once your baby is born — to check on those.” While you’re checking in on these daily reports, stay in touch with your team regularly to better maintain your connection together and with the business.
3. Reconnect with your boss a few weeks before you return.
Priyanka Prakash, Managing Editor at Fit Small Business, took a recent maternity leave this year from February 3, 2017 through June 7, 2017. As an editor at a fast growing business, she made the time to check in with her boss 2-3 weeks before she returned. “Your job when you return [from leave] is going to be different than the job you left. Instead of being caught off guard by this, have lunch with your boss a few weeks before you return to see how the business has changed, learn about new hires on your team, and discuss new responsibilities. You will then feel more prepared and excited to get back to work.”
4. Prep to pump.
Planning to pump at the office? Prakash knew she would be breastfeeding her baby and that pumping milk would be a necessary requirement three times a day while at the workplace. If you’re facing a similar situation, she advises emailing your boss to let them know what times you’ll have to pump and, if possible, to book a private conference room during those times.
5. Reach out to a supportive community of moms!
Georgene Huang, CEO & Co-Founder at Fairygodboss is currently pregnant with her third child and planning for her maternity leave at the end of the year. Through her experience, every woman’s leave is a different situation which is what makes Fairygodboss, a career community for women to share their workplace experiences, such a valuable resource for women and moms to connect.
“One of the things that women in our community talk about a lot is the importance of paid parental leave and whether maternity leave is supportive (or even exists) at their company.” Huang explains. Here, this community provides tips from Huang herself on delegation and time management, but there’s also plenty of crowdsourced advice on everything related to prepping for maternity leave — from their very earliest weeks of pregnancy through to the last-minute checklist type items. There’s a good reason why the idiom goes it takes a village to raise a child and why your tribe is your vibe — and this particular tribe has got your back through the maternity leave experience!
Mompreneurs, we’ve got you covered when it comes to starting or maintaining your own business. Give us a call at 877 692 6772, or visit us at mycorporation.com.