Motherhood: how mompreneurs prep for maternity leave
I was texting with one of my friends in Canada.
We were updating each other on what was going on in our lives.
Being midway through my 3rd trimester of pregnancy, I told my friend that I had to prep for maternity leave.
She replied, "I haven't thought about the extent of planning around expecting children as a solopreneur … have you done content on that?"
Did she want me to?
"Yeah." How does it work?
Well, let me tell ya 🙂
Tada: a blog on prepping for mat leave—thanks to my lovely friend.
It all starts with planning
The first thing I had to decide was the duration of my maternity leave.
In Canada, I had the privilege to take 1 year off, but in the Netherlands, the standard is 4 months.
I decided with Ronald (my hubby) that we could manage to take a bit longer than the standard, so we opted for 5,5 months.
Once you know how many months you'll be gone from your business activities, the actual planning can start.
There were a couple of things I did to be able to draw up a plan for planning:
1. I checked my yearly and quarterly goals.
What did I envision for my business in specific parts of the year? How much could be done before my leave or what can be automated while I'm off?
2. I examined my weekly activities.
What needed to be automated, delegated, or simply put on hold?
3. I informed my clients.
Who wanted me to work ahead, who wanted a replacement, and who was okay with pausing activities?
By gathering all this information, I got a sense of what I needed to prepare before I hit week 36 of pregnancy.
Tasks I prepped and automated
The beginning of 2023 forced me to think about the course of Born to Fly. At first, it seemed I had to find hosts to run events such as FaithConnect (a networking event) and Pitstop (an accountability meeting).
But God told me to prune Born to Fly, and by that, He meant canceling the premium membership (and its activities) and the network events.
This freed up space and meant less prepping.
What replaced this, though, was the creation of extra content.
I created an extra monthly newsletter, needed to reach my quarterly goal of adding another Bible plan on YouVersion, and I committed to blogging once a week for the Borntofly.faith platform, next to the already bi-weekly podcast and monthly newsletter.
And that's just stuff for Born to Fly. There were things to do for my freelance writing as well.
Ultimately, this led me to prep and automate/schedule or delegate the following:
Write 4 devotional newsletters
Create a schedule and delegate the writing of 5 other devotional newsletters
Plan, record, edit, upload, and schedule 13 episodes of the Born to Fly Podcast
Brief and delegate the making of the Practical Ministry episodes for the podcast
Create 29 blog posts for Born to Fly
Write a Bible plan, hire and work with an editor to complete the plan in time for submission before April
Write 9 Tips&Tools newsletters
Create content for LinkedIn for the rest of the year (2 posts a week) and schedule it on Buffer
Finish assignments for clients
Reach out to prospects with offers they can think about so there's stuff lined up when I'm back from leave
Create 14 blog posts for JaneTrapman.com
Prep my VA for the tasks she has to do when I'm on leave (creating a Trello board and adding tasks, making briefing videos on how-to's, etc.)
And other things. I'm sure I'm forgetting tasks at this point, but you get the drill
Until what week to plan?
It might be me or it might be strategic: I planned even further ahead than the end of my mat leave. That is why I wrote newsletters covering all months of the year and recorded some extra podcast episodes.
The main reason for that is: I don't want to have to rush back into things.
Perhaps that's key in planning: don't plan until your last week of leave.
Plan 2 weeks extra, so you have time to get back in the saddle and adjust to life as a mom with two children (one who's building a platform and writes as a freelancer).
As I'm writing this, I'm still prepping for my leave. I am driven to get everything done but there is an order in which I'm completing the tasks.
Certain content or tasks need to be finished, such as client work or content that people expect in their inboxes every month.
Then there are the "nice-to-have-done's" that are lower on my list. I know what I want to focus on and what needs to be prioritized because I created yearly goals.
Another good way to know what to prioritize is the 80/20 rule.
What task takes up 20% of your time but results in 80% of the results (this can be impact or income, etc.)
There's a great episode on this with Shay Cochrane on the Born to Fly podcast by the way.
Be prepared to stop
The day, marked as the last day before mat leave starts, is coming up faster than you think. Thoughts like these begin to arise in my mind quickly:
my first baby was overdue, this one will probably be too
- or -
I will see how I'm feeling and work just a little bit more until I'm coming closer to 38 weeks
- or -
babies hardly get born before 38 weeks
I don't know if those thoughts come from a place of insecurity—whether I need more time to get things done.
Or if it comes from not wanting to let go.
Or if it gives me a sense of control…
All I know is that at some point, I need to stop.
I know that surrendering everything to God is what I need to do, and I try to every single day, though this feels bigger.
That's probably why it's so hard to really stop. Apart from the fact that I like what I'm doing.
So the message here is:
Stop on the right day.
Close your laptop at a wise time (not when you're 38 weeks).
And surrender everything into His hands.
Unlike people who are employed, mompreneurs have to go about a lot of planning, decision-making and letting go in preparation for maternity leave.
It's a fun process to map out what you are working on, how much you need to prepare, and what you can automate and/or delegate.
But start in time with the process!
Make sure you don't need to rush when the last weeks of the 3rd trimester hit.
And with everything that you do, never forget that there's One who's always in control.
If things don't get done while you gave it your best, He will take care of it.