Now that I’ve been a mom for two weeks and know everything there is to know about parenting....
...There are a few more tips I’d like to share about preparing for maternity leave!
If you read my first article on the topic, you’ll find out how my husband and I tackled the financial aspect of an impending, partially unpaid leave — and how at times, this “financial aspect” was the only thing I felt like I had control over during my pregnancy. This new chapter of life has certainly been a lesson in trusting the universe.
I'm not sure I achieved "trusting the universe" at any point while pregnant -- okay, I definitely didn't -- but once Baby arrived, many of the fears I'd been having instantly melted away. I know it sounds cliché, but what people had told me about the first time you hold your baby... Well, it wasn't fake news. The medical concerns we were expecting turned out to be on the less severe end; we all came home from the hospital a day and a half after Baby was born, and the little family is doing great!
Now that Baby is actually here, I'm really glad we did things like making a will and setting aside extra cash savings before he arrived -- less to worry about now, so we can just focus on him! (I'm also grateful that we had the resources to do those things.) Still, there are a few items I would add to the first article about how to prepare finances for maternity leave:
Set bills to autopay. It took me five days after getting home from the hospital to open any mail -- and with postal service delays, my mortgage bill didn't even arrive until two days before it was due. With so many things to keep track of (Did we have tummy time yet? How many times Baby poop today??), having bills pay themselves means one less thing on the to-do list.
Stock up on household necessities. I didn’t think of that one myself; it was a blurb in What to Expect When You’re Expecting. And boy was I glad that I picked up coffee and kitty litter about two weeks before Baby was due -- especially because he arrived a week and a half early!
Sign up for any rewards program that Target has to offer. Apparently, Target is where my paycheck goes now lol... Heavy Metal Husband and I have made several Target runs in January, both before and after Baby’s arrival. The store has a good selection of baby supplies and grocery basics, so it’s convenient to cover both those bases in one shopping trip. I just got the Target Circle app, which has coupons and cash rewards, and the Red Card (debit version), which gives a 5% discount on purchases.
Speaking of those Target perks, there are plenty of other reward programs directed at parents; for instance, Pampers has a rewards app and Huggies gives points through Fetch. (I haven’t paid too much attention to those yet because the best diapers we’ve found are — believe it or not — the Aldi’s Little Journey brand!)
Just beware before going rewards-crazy, though. I’ve noticed while scrolling at three in the morning that a lot of information directed at new moms is from some entity trying to sell you something. “Here’s a problem you didn't know you had... And you can buy the solution from us!” Thanks, I guess?
That being said, there are a few products that have made life with a newborn easier for me:
Boppy Pillow -- this was a shower gift from a friend. I hadn't registered for it, figuring that since I wouldn't be nursing with Baby's cleft issues, I wouldn't need a "nursing pillow." But this friend swore it was a game-changer and that I had to have one. I opened it around Day 9 of Baby's life, and it turns out she was 100% right! It's great for propping Baby up while giving him a bottle -- a lot more comfortable than trying to construct a pillow fort under my arm.
Dr. Brown’s Formula Mixing Pitcher -- a suggestion from another friend, which has eliminated the need to do math when making up individual bottles. Anything to streamline a process that happens at least ten times a day is worth the money.
Dish Gloves -- yep, 1950s-housewife yellow dishwashing gloves! Washing bottles and breast pump parts God-knows-how-many-times was quickly doing a number on my hands. $3 kitchen gloves from CVS have been quite a relief!
Back to the topic of maternity leave, now that I'm spending this amazing, irreplaceable time with Baby, it's become even more mind-boggling that the United States doesn't guarantee paid maternity leave. How has the "greatest nation in the world" screwed this up?? These are our littlest citizens...
I don't know what else to say on the topic, except that Baby's arrival has made many past decisions in my life seem much more purposeful. Before he was here, I did things that seemed like good ideas, but didn't matter so much in the Grand Scheme. Now it all has a reason -- and the reason is him. <3
What steps would you recommend to a person preparing for maternity leave? Leave a comment!
This post may contain affiliate links. Order Money Hacks for Metalheads and Old Millennials in paperback and ebook formats: https://amzn.to/3lCsFdq
Love these posts? Subscribe to exclusive content here!