It’s been a while since I had to prepare my home business and clients for the arrival of a sweet bundle of joy, but I can clearly recall the planning and preparation involved. Unless you’re planning a caesarean birth, there’s really no way of know when the little bugger will make an appearance – only Allah t’ala knows.
Even so, planning ahead for your hiatus is important when there are others depending on you. It may not be such a daunting task when you’re planning for your second or third baby, but figuring out how to manage time off with a first baby can be downright intimidating! Well, no more worries. Here are some tips to help expecting moms plan ahead for time off with baby and ensure you still have a business to return to when you’re ready.
Be Realistic about How Much Time You’ll Need
I’d tell you how much time I took off when my youngest was born, but I really don’t think it matters because everyone is different and your own unique circumstances will ultimately dictate how long you’ll need to set aside business to focus on bonding with baby. One mom may need a month or two away from work, while another may be able to bounce back into work mode within a mere week of giving birth.
Do you have other children? Will someone be on hand to help take care of you and the new baby after the birth until you get settled? Do you have a VA or people working for you that can maintain certain aspects of the business in your absence? Can you outsource temporarily? Did you have a normal delivery and healthy baby or were there complications? Consider every possible scenario as you decide how long of a break you’ll really need.
Set a Deadline to Stop Taking Clients and Prepare Them In Advance
Around two to three weeks before the baby’s due date is a safe time to stop working. Around 38 weeks a baby could choose to make her appearance at any time. Your plan should include alerting clients/customers and any workers that you will be taking X amount of time off. You also need to prepare your clients/customers about your extended absence in advance. Don’t wait until the last minute to do this – it could destroy the trust and credibility you’ve worked so hard to cultivate. Customers appreciate honesty and will feel much more at ease knowing you have a plan.
Delegate and Outsource
If you have a virtual assistant, (VA) now’s the perfect time to utilize her services to the max. Make sure you start any training a few months before she needs to take the reins. Depending on your business and you VA’s skills, she may be able to fill your role temporarily. If not, email management, customer service, web/blog maintenance and other tasks are quite useful.
As a writer, I have a group of colleagues I can turn to when I need to outsource work. I’m familiar with their skills level and I trust them to treat my people right. Someone once asked me, “Aren’t you afraid you’ll lose your clients to that other writer?” Not really. We’re all professionals and act as such. It’s a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” understanding.
What I do find is that my clients appreciate the effort I’ve put into making sure they’re needs are taken care of in my absence. Also, you’d be surprised how loyal clients/customers are when you treat them well.
If motherhood has taught me one thing, it’s to stop trying to have everything be so perfect. Life gets complicated and messy sometimes; and believe me, you don’t know complicated and messy until kids enter the picture! It’s a tough juggling act at first – especially since you’re working at home. Be patient with yourself as you balance your role as home business owner with motherhood. Eventually you’ll find your rhythm.