What it’s like to be a freelance work-at-home mom with no maternity leave

Maternity leave of a freelance work-at-home mom

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I’m wading into unchartered waters in a few months. I’ll be welcoming a new baby in late spring but taking no maternity leave.

That’s because I’m a freelancing work-at-home mom. My business is responding daily to my clients. There’s only me and no backup to cover a maternity leave. I don’t have short-term disability insurance to pay the bills and my toddler will still need me to be his mommy throughout the process.

Instead of worrying or feeling bad for myself, I’m in serious preparation mode for what the late spring and early summer months hold.

Caring for my little ones is my motivation. So I’m busy interviewing other digital marketers to see if I can offload some work temporarily. I’m calling in family and friends to help out in caring for my toddler and being disciplined in time management.

The preparation and time I put in now will pay off in dividends when my baby arrives and I’m able to keep all my existing freelance clients. So here’s a look at how I’ll be a new mom, take no maternity leave and avoid losing my sanity. 

Accepting help from family and friends

I’m so blessed that my husband gets three weeks of paid paternity leave. Many families do not have this great luxury. Instead, new moms just have to figure it all out while they heal from childbirth.

My number one support network will be my amazing husband. He took fantastic care of me and our little guy two and half years ago when we welcomed our first child. 

The big difference for me will be that back then, I was working a corporate job and got 12 weeks of paid leave to just bond with my baby. But then came the hard part of the daily daycare visits and constant preparation for the next day. 

I keep telling myself that all this work will be worth it in providing a more relaxed environment for our second baby than our first baby experienced going to daycare. The baby will get to sleep in (and so will my toddler) and spend the day in a way that’s best for them.

I’m also very blessed to come from a large family. This sweet baby comes into the world with so many aunts and uncles ready to greet them and provide all the snuggles. So I’m prepped and ready to accept all help that my family offers.

Friends are also offering a helping hand. Other stay-at-home moms in my network have already offered to host playdates for my toddler and provide quiet space for me to go work for an hour while snuggling the baby. What a gift! 

It’s so important for freelancing work-at-home moms to accept these kind gestures and not feel like a burden to family and friends while going through such a huge transition. 

Time and project management as a work-at-home mom

Since the start of the year, I’ve been evaluating my clients and taking stock of my time management skills. Slowly, I’m weaning myself off social media and wasteful habits that steal my time and attention from what really matters.

Instead of trying to make all these changes once the baby arrives, I’m doing it now. I’m focusing on caring for myself, my work, my clients and my little ones to prepare for a smooth transition.

Even if you don’t have a huge life event like welcoming a second child looming, I encourage you to do the same. Take stock of where your time is going and whether projects are profitable.

Do what you need to do, but don’t get so wrapped up in your work that you forget your main purpose is caring for your family. 

My work drives me, gets me out of bed in the morning and provides a healthy way to engage my brain while being a mom. But ultimately, it takes the back seat to caring for my family. 

That’s why I’m transitioning out of certain clients and projects now to prepare for breastfeeding, late-night soothing sessions and more with our new baby. Having less work will help me stay calm and focused during these stressful early days of having a baby. And that will help me be a better mom.

Finding backup freelance resources

Even with the best planning and support from loved ones, I know there will be days where I just can’t get it all done. The baby will need me, my toddler will want me to play kitchen with him and I’ll feel stretched too thin.

That’s why I’ve been looking for backup freelance resources to cover some work in those early months. Having a backup person to help out could be great for vacations and other busy weeks or months in life moving forward.

And I’m so glad to have found another mom who also works from home with her littles around. I get to support her in her work while she supports me in new motherhood. It’s a beautiful thing. While she can do what I do, I don’t feel threatened by her in any way. In fact, it’s a great connection to make because you can always learn something new from a new contact.

Have tips on how to work-at-home with a new baby? I’d love to hear them! We still have a few months left to prepare for this little one, and I’m trying to take full advantage of that.