Many mamas-to-be experience the nesting phase – that overwhelming urge to clean, tidy and organize every inch of their home. It’s said to happen in the later weeks of pregnancy.
Over my two pregnancies, I can’t say I experienced it.
But, I do remember the almost manic excitement of a former colleague of mine who had dedicated her entire weekend to overhauling her house for baby.
Every outlet was plugged, every corner was covered, doors and drawers were locked. She even brought in a professional organizer to help her better plan her apartment so it could house a high chair, stroller and everything else that comes with baby.
Just as important as it is for our homes to be ready for baby, our careers need baby proofing, too.
Sure, it may seem like a good idea to wrap yourself in a safe, cozy bubble wrap. And, the urge to lean back at work may seem like the right thing to do when you have so much more ahead of you. But, being cautious with your career during pregnancy can have some tricky effects that can impact you further down the line.
One of the best ways to baby proof your career is to take practical and strategic steps to stay in the game once baby arrives.
Keeping Doors Shut
Don’t allow key doors to close on you. Keeping baby away from drawers and cabinets will be a priority later, but today is the time to make sure you’re not excluded from important conversations at work.
You’re in your current position because your knowledge is valued and trusted, and managing your time by opting out of ongoing dialogues and new opportunities will only act to undermine you down the road. The more engaged you are before you become a career mama, the more your voice will be missed when you’re on maternity leave.
Covering Electric Sockets
Saving your energy for baby? I regret to inform you that it’s just not possible. Sadly, we are not majestic maternity camels who can simply store away unused energy in our humps for later use.
Instead of winding down your energy at the workplace, try to keep it up as best you can. Listen, some pre-baby days are going to be tough – you’re carry a tiny (or not so tiny) human wherever you go – but it’ll feel amazing to start your mat leave knowing you’ve given your all. Plus, you’ll have walked away with your professional reputation in tip top shape for your return.
Navigating Sharp Corners
Sharp corners can be scary. Especially if they’re at head level and you’re only two feet tall. But, now isn’t the time to hold off running. It’s time to embrace those tight curves with all that you’ve got.
If you’re considering a position or career change, don’t hesitate going for it before baby. Your return to your career after mat leave will be one of the biggest transitions in your professional life. Don’t add pressure by trying to switch careers, too. Or worse yet, returning to a job that is no longer fulfilling or worthy of your time away from baby. Sure, it may be tough and you’ll get a bump or two along the way, but your future career mom self will thank you later!
Did you take steps to baby proof your career before you left for mat leave? Share them in the comments below – I can’t wait to hear about them! Are you worried about baby proofing your career in the future? Tell me what makes you the most anxious! We’ve all been there.
P.S. If you see a fellow career mama pulling back before baby, be sure to ask her how you can help baby proof her career, and feel free to send her this blog as encouragement!