How to Build Work Boundaries When You’re on Maternity Leave

You’re primed to live on deadlines and thrive on all-nighters. But then, your little one arrives and you can’t even imagine opening another email ever again. If you’re looking to spend quality time with your baby sans work interruptions, here are some tips on how to build work boundaries when you’re on maternity leave.

Set yourself up for success.

Before going on maternity leave, make sure that you coordinate with everyone, including your boss. If a person is hired to replace you while you’re home, be sure to train the temp so she’ll be able to take over for your seamlessly. Try to finish up big projects before you go, and put the files that your coworkers will need access to in Google Docs to avoid urgent calls from colleagues looking for particular files.

Have clear, consistent communication.

Let everyone know when you’ll be away on maternity leave, and more importantly, when you’ll be back. Share the info on Google Calendar so that everyone is aware of it. And don’t feel guilty about your maternity leave. In the U.S., you’re entitled to get up to 12 weeks of unpaid (yes, unpaid) maternity leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. So make the most of that time snuggling with your little baby.

Stick to your own rules.

If you find you have time to read emails while baby is napping (and want to), that’s fine but don’t respond to them. You can save the email responses in the draft folder and send when you are officially “online” again. This way, when you are in baby mode, the glow of your computer screen won’t tempt you to check in to work. And remember, it’s just a few short weeks until you’re back full-time.

When work ends (temporarily) and maternity leave begins, the transition can be a little tricky for some working mothers. Build work boundaries for your maternity leave so you can focus on what matters most — bonding with your baby.

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