With a baby on the way, it’s hard to strike a balance between your work and your family. This is why parental leaves exist. It’s a time to really focus on your personal health and your baby, without worrying about your financial situation as much. Still, being on parental leave doesn’t mean you have to just relax and do nothing.
If anything, the early stages of maternity leave are a great time to prepare for the future. Do note, however, that rest should still be your utmost priority. No preparations are worth the safety of your health and your child. Now, let’s talk about some things you can do to make your parental leave worthwhile.
Look for Light Part-Time Work
This might seem counterintuitive, but the emphasis on “light”. One of your enemies during parental leave will be boredom. Part-time work could help you get your mind off the boredom, but not so much work that it stresses you out. In fact, if you can negotiate a flexible part-time work setup with your employer, all the better. The evolution of parental leave allows such setups.
Without your employer, however, you could try looking for remote worker options. Writing, photoshop, virtual assistants, there are tons of flexible job options on the market. Don’t rush finding a job, of course. The whole point is to provide a goal for yourself. You are unlikely to stay on this path, so stick with short-term projects or one-off commission work.
Get Your Insurances Ready
Now that you have free time, it’s important to make sure all of your insurance and loans are in order. A safety net should be your utmost priority. For your baby, there is a short period of time where most insurance providers cover them. Set reminders on your phone about this, because obviously, the excitement of a baby pushes out everything else in your mind.
Getting your insurance out of the way now will be a godsend for your future self. Once you get back to work and parenting, you’ll barely have time to do it. Not to mention, that safety net really cuts down the worries later down the line. If an accident happens, you won’t be kicking yourself for procrastinating.
Baby Proof Your Home
It’s exciting to have a baby, but the only thing that rivals that excitement is the worry for their safety. Your comfortable house will suddenly look like a Wipeout course. Now’s a good time to start babyproofing your house. Remove small objects that could be reached. Put up gates wherever appropriate.
Most importantly, make sure all the edges in your house are covered with safety padding. This is where most bumps and scratches will come from. Afterward, make sure your first aid kit and baby essentials are within reach in every room. If you can afford it, nanny cams are also a great idea for when you have to be somewhere else in the house.
Plan Your Baby Shower
A baby is a cause for celebration. After all the months of worry, it’s important to reward yourselves and the baby with fun baby shower ideas. It’s a great time to catch up with all your close friends and family. This is doubly important as it’s unlikely you had time for much else before the baby.
Do Light Exercise
Whether it’s before or after birth, it’s important to stay fit. While mothers obviously shouldn’t be doing any heavy lifting, they can still walk and do chores around the house. There are also specific baby exercises that could ease the birthing process later down the line.
Being healthy also lessens the risk of any complications. For the non-pregnant side of the couple, they can do some more intense exercise. Might as well use all that free time to get your gains. Once you get back to work, you’ll have developed a healthy habit.
Participate In Parent Communities
Whether it’s your first rodeo or an encore, parental leave is a good time to get connected with other parents. It’s good to have others who share all your worries. Not only that, many parents can share advice with each other. It certainly makes parenting easier when there’s a place you can clarify stuff on.
It doesn’t even have to be communities. You could simply connect more with other parents in your personal life. Friends who had kids before you would love to give their advice. Goodness knows, some parents didn’t get any at all when they had kids. Spreading that knowledge around is important.
Kids grow up fast. You’ll even undergo some changes during your parental leave. In the modern age, taking a picture with your phone takes mere seconds. Take this time to save all your memories. This may not be anything “productive” in the short term, but you’ll love looking back when your child is all grown up.