Sweet relief! You get at least six weeks, maybe longer (lucky girl), to be with your ridiculously adorable newborn and get paid for it. It doesn't matter who you are; that time will fly by! You'll be dealing with a lot of new things that will leave you feeling pretty exhausted, emotional, maybe overwhelmed. Once the timer sounds and your boss is looking for you, you might feel like you didn't make the most of your time. Take some advice from the been-there, done-that moms:
"Make small, obtainable goals for the week — don't try to make each day a mountain of tasks. Make mom dates and play dates. Make sure your partner helps with the house chores. Just because you are home, doesn't mean you need to do it all. Get out at least twice a week. The mall is a great place for exercise, like walking indoors. Have people to come over to watch the baby so you can sleep. 'Sleeping when baby sleeps' usually doesn't work. Re-watch or start a new TV series." – Jamie, HRIS Data Administrator
>> WATCH: Body After Baby: Core Workout
"Find a local mom group and do Mommy and Me classes. I found a mom group who did crafts, Mommy and Me workout classes, learning activities and met up for mommy time. I did a breastfeeding class weekly, too. So I guess find a group because it does take a village to raise a kid! Clubs that might be in every state:
- Fit4moms: Offers stroller stride classes workout for you while you interact with baby in stroller. When baby is older they have just mom classes.
- My Gym: Mommy and Me class for you and your little one. You can start them as young as six weeks, and they work with moms on leave! So ask for offers for a few weeks. First class is free.
- Library story time: All libraries offer a story time for you and your little one.
- Yoga: Most yoga studious have Mommy and Me classes.
- Hospital breastfeeding class: Most hospitals offer a class to help you out with breastfeeding." – Meredith, DC Admin
"If you have an older child, find something for them to do two or three days a week. I loved maternity leave! Also, I made all my plans last minute so I didn't feel obligated to visit people. I just went when I got the urge. I ended up getting cabin fever and visited my mom five hours away when my son was only two weeks old. I went to a children's museum with my older son when newborn was like a week old. I didn't think I'd have any energy but I actually felt fantastic." – Amy, Lead Toddler Teacher
"Be lazy and enjoy it. Obviously you have the baby and house to take care of but try to turn off the Type A for a while and just slow down and enjoy the baby. To that end, I somewhat disagree with all the activities. Take it easy; it's over too soon!" – Jenifer, Attorney
In order to make your maternity leave easier, begin prepping for in the last weeks of pregnancy:
- Prep freezer meals for the first two weeks; always accept free food. Click here for 10 easy freeze-ahead meals.
- Catch up on laundry.
- Set up bi-weekly meetings or email check-ins with your employer to make your re-entry to work smoother. Click here to stay sharp and avoid mommy brain!
- Have childcare set up with a backup plan. Easier said than done!
- Have a date night planned with a sitter lined up about two to three weeks postpartum.
- Employ a system for visitors.