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I woke up in a panic one day during my maternity leave.

I felt like I was wasting it.

I just had my second child and am in the throws of a glorious HARD maternity leave.

Leading up to this time, I did so much planning – and preparing – and couldn’t wait for the “lazy days” of enjoying my new baby – and not working.

We are also doing a house renovation, and I just thought “I will spend all day napping and going to Home Goods!” FALSE

No mother wants to “waste” her maternity leave. Going back to work after baby is tough enough. To actually enjoy your maternity leave, you need to focus on yourself, give yourself one goal, start a small project, do something seasonal for fun, listen to an audio book, and prepare your home for your return!

For anyone blessed enough to get a maternity leave – and I know it’s a true blessing – you know that your “break” is hardly full of resting and having free time.

In fact it probably goes something like this:

  • 8-9 hours of feeding + burping + diaper changing
  • 1-3 hours of possible nap time, if it goes well
  • 4-5 hours of nighttime sleep, if it goes well
  • 3-4 hours of feeding everyone else

That leaves a possible THREE HOURS for everything else – showering, sitting by yourself on the toilet, doing dishes, laundry, checking the mail, sitting down.

I wouldn’t call that relaxing.

If you are lucky, you will have a few minutes of bingeing a new Netflix show at 2 am before you have to think about going back to work after baby.

Here are my top 10 tips for enjoying your maternity leave. Scroll down for a free checklist!

1. Do something that you can’t do when working

My favorite way to enjoy a rough patch is to take advantage of all the things you can do during that time – that you can’t normally do.

For example, my favorite advice for women whose husbands/partners are out of town is to eat all your favorite food and watch all your favorite movies that he normally hates.

Think about all the things you can’t normally do when you are working.

Like napping.

And eating candy.

And listening to cheesy romance novels.

You need a maternity leave bucket list.

Even if the list is full of “Sleep, don’t cook, play with your baby” – it helps to write down your goals.

To get your free printable maternity leave bucket list, just sign up below and I will send you a free printable!

Can’t see this form to sign up? Click here for your free bucket list!

2. Focus on Yourself

With so many hours keeping everyone alive, it seems silly – nay impossible – to focus on yourself.

But, even if you just pick one thing to focus on during your time off, you will thank yourself later.

With my first pregnancy, I was really frustrated with my skincare, so I spent a lot of time researching new face washes, and I began using Dermologica. I really loved this – and because I didn’t have time to do much makeup – I felt like focusing on my skin was a really healthy way to use my time.

With this pregnancy, I have been really sore since my labor and delivery. I began trying Earth Mama Perineal Spray, and let me tell you guys, it’s MAGIC. Maybe my body was ready to just heal anyway (I started using it about 3 weeks postpartum) but immediately my pain went away and I noticed DRAMATIC healing. This might seem like a really small step to take to focus on myself – but I am thankful for even the little things!

Use a corset

Another favorite postpartum product that I love is the Bellefit Corset. I have used this now for two pregnancies.

This company sells the leading postpartum girdles and corsets, and has RAVE reviews. You can see all their video testimonials here.

I love my corset because it is sleek and it doesn’t have any velcro that sticks out from under my shirt. It is VERY tight – and sucks me in which is perfect when I want to fit in my pre-baby clothes. Also, it does an amazing job tightening all my muscles that have gotten stretched out.

Check out their current sales here and grab one of these to feel your best.

Get new postpartum clothes for FREE

I started using the Le Tote clothing subscription box when I was pregnant – and I fell in love!

There are a lot of fashion subscription services out there – but not many for just renting clothes.

That’s right – you don’t have to buy the outfits they send you! Instead, you rent their clothes for a month – with an unlimited number of boxes per month.

This is an excellent service for moms whose bodies are still “bouncing back”. I love borrowing a few pieces each month that will stretch my wardrobe until I can fit in my pre-baby clothes.

Or, if you are still pregnant – their maternity boxes are AWESOME! I made sure to rent some dresses for baby showers and nicer events. Definitely try it out – Enjoy 30% off Your First 3 Months with code 30FOR3.

Photo books for going back to work after baby!

3. Create a Photo Book

Nowadays, all our photos are all on the computer. But don’t you miss old fashioned photo books?

Now, I know when you are on maternity leave, it is hard to find time to create photo albums and baby books. But, I have found the perfect easy photo book solution that you can create from your PHONE.

I discovered Chatbooks last year and it has changed my photo-sharing game.

Chatbooks is an automated service that will automatically print your latest photos (from Instagram, your computer, social media) and send it to your subscriptions. So, as often as you like, your recipients will receive an automated book of your latest photos.

BUT – I have discovered how to use Chatbooks to directly pull photos from your phone – and to manually create photo books for yourself and your family members.

To see this EASY HACK, check out my tutorial here!

4. Enjoy one seasonal thing

My first maternity leave spanned the Thanksgiving – Christmas season. And this maternity leave is during the glorious fall season.

Whether your maternity leave is around a holiday – or the beachy summer months – find ONE thing that you LOVE that you can enjoy.

It might not be a huge outing to a pumpkin patch – but pumpkin spice creamer on your next grocery run?

Or a new autumny blouse via Amazon Wardrobe that delivers straight to your door?

These are some of my favorite easy seasonal treats that don’t involve leaving your house:

  • Add yummy breakfast items (muffins, scones and coffee creamers) to your weekly grocery delivery
  • Add seasonal scents to your house (candles, essential oils)
  • Use DoorDash or UberEats to get your favorite lunch delivered to your house
  • Play new holiday playlists on Pandora and Spotify

Currently I am eating my weight in Candy Corn. Don’t judge.

5. Plan ahead for your children’s seasonal clothes

Speaking of holiday seasons, now is the perfect time to stock up on the next season of clothes for your kids.

First, make sure you sign up for your favorite store’s mailing lists to be alerted for all their sales.

If you have extra time and energy, head to your favorite stores – or even consignment stores – and spend time planning ahead.

I just went to my favorite store – Once Upon a Child – and got all my daughter’s fall clothes in 2 hours – and under $150. That is a huge win for this mama.

If you can’t leave your couch, test out Amazon Wardrobe and get kids clothes delivered to your house so you can try them on before committing!

Can’t see this form to sign up? Click here for your free bucket list!

6. Listen to an audio book

I wish I can say I read new books while on maternity leave. But you know that didn’t happen.

What was possible during this leave was listening to audio books. Even if I just have 5 minutes between feeding the baby and making dinner, I have enjoyed listening to a book!

I won’t be like every other social media influencer who promotes Audible. We all know that exists. If you want to sign up, here’s the link.

Instead, you need to try the Libby app!

The Libby app connects to your library card, and you can get audio books to download and listen to for free.

I love it for me – and for my toddler daughter. Listening to the Pinkalicious books is her favorite.

Just connect your local library card – search for any book or author – and “borrow” to listen. For free!

I wish this post was sponsored by them because I love this app SO MUCH. It’s been one of my favorites for going back to work after baby – but also just working from home. It’s great for every member of my family.

Download it for free here.

7. Tackle one (small) house project

We are currently renovating our house, so every project is large and overwhelming. But now is the time to tackle even just one house project!

For instance, when I had my daughter, I spent a lot of time researching “organizing under your kitchen sink” and I bought awesome organizers to completely update under my kitchen sink. It’s still organized the same way now and I love it!

Currently I am organizing my linen closet and my small laundry room. It’s so freeing to actually intentionally organize it – and buy out The Container Store. SO FUN!

To check out my easy home decor hacks on Pinterest, follow me here!

postable thank you notes - for going back to work after baby

8. Write your thank-you notes

This is the time to write those thank you notes. All those adorable baby clothes and diapers are sitting in your new nursery – but those thank you notes? Are the piling up?

BTW, if you gave me a gift, and are reading this – and I haven’t written you back. I’m sorry – it’s coming!

The best way to do this? Postable!

Just pick a card, type a message, and they mail it! This is not sponsored – it’s just REALLY COOL.

Y’all, they aren’t ecards – they are actually handwritten!

9. Stock up on household items – just like you prepared it for your labor and delivery

Remember all the preparations you did to have your baby in the first place? Make freezer meals? Clean your bathrooms? Have a year’s supply of toilet paper?

Do those things again!

Starting work again is HARD. And emotionally draining. You won’t want to cook, clean or buy toilet paper. So make sure you have those paper products stocked up so your home is the easy part of your transition.

Better yet? Use Amazon Subscribe and Save to put EVERYTHING on autopilot.

Subscribe and Save is my eternal lifesaver. I use this Amazon monthly subscription to order everything – diapers, soap, makeup, coffee, toothpaste, toilet paper… I love that some items come every month – some every 6 months. Also – if you have Amazon Family – diapers and baby products are up to 20% off when you use Subscribe and Save. It is EVERYTHING.

10. Prepare for going back to work after baby

All the sad faces here.

Who wants to go back to work? But – there are some things that will REALLY help you make the transition.

For instance:

  • Pump a supply of breastmilk
  • Sleep train your baby (or at least work towards a sleep schedule)
  • Potty train an older sibling
  • Line up childcare, baby sitters, etc.
  • Schedule your first few weeks back – take into account any doctor’s appointments, etc.
  • Talk to HR to finalize your schedule, time off, etc.

That time is coming whether you like it or not. So make sure you do all the thinking ahead to make the transition so much easier!

Can’t see this form to sign up? Click here for your free bucket list!

Remember – you can do this.

Just think – in 4 months you will be working, raising this beautiful child, keeping house and doing it all JUST FINE. You won’t even bat an eyelash when you need to make a meal or buy toilet paper.

You can do this! The transition will be hard – but your family and life will be beautiful. You got this.

Do you have any pregnant friends that could use this maternity leave bucket list? If so, please share this post! Every mama needs a little help during this period!

Don\'t forget to do these 10 things - before going back to work after baby

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