A very good morning it was. No irritating alarm clock, no hasty breakfast and no traffic woes. Being a Stay-at-Home-Mom seemed to be off to a relaxing start. By now buddy baby and I had made a secret pact coz we both shared one more common interest - sleeping in. Thank god! I could finally enjoy the morning and point to the suited-booted people and think 'glad that's not me'. With my cup of coffee and newspaper, I was just about to get myself comfy when buddy baby awakes. (It's like he always knows). In perfect timing, my day with him kicks off.
Being a Stay-at-Home Mom wasn't turning out exactly how I had planned (feeling of déjà-vouz). It is actually more demanding and physically challenging than my full time job. My new boss was stubborn, spirited and immature (obviously :-)).
However, his occasional nap time made me feel like a mischievous school child with a missing teacher. That was my precious critical 'me time'. I charted out the daily activities with baby in a time schedule. I needed to maximize my output with the limited woman hours. With a couple of color coding, calendarizing & excel tricks my master sheet was ready for execution.
Here's what I have discovered on how to make the best of your maternity break! (apart from bonding with baby)
1. Stock up on positivity with family and friends.
Ever wished for those tension free college days? The parents who take up your work to give you rest, the sibling you miss watching TV with, the friends you forgot long ago. An extended vacation at home will fill you up with all the love and positivity which you would soon need desperately.
2. Self Assessment.
Spend time in assessing your goals and interests. Career change or continuation, entrepreneurship or consultancy or just mommyhood; whatever makes you happy. Only a happy mommy can make a baby happy as well.
3. Upgrade your skills.
Working long hours gives us plenty of on-the-job training. However, it leaves us little time for formal and useful education/skill development. There are plenty of online distance courses which can be pursued. Or pick a hobby of your choice – baking, learning a language, arts n crafts. Not just for the CV but for one's brain nourishment. I like feeding mine something nice occasionally. This opportunity is great. Oh and …Google baba ki jai!
I hated this word coz somehow it seemed to be a selfish task. But it does help to maintain existing contacts and establishing new ones. Find resourceful online groups on social media that can help you find your next calling.
5. Plan Your Next Move.
Try assessing the duration of your sabbatical. It may be 6 months, 1 or 2 years or even much more. Accordingly, frame your step by step action plan. Making decisions like hiring a maid, choosing a day care or finding a work from home job would be critical. (yup I am a total plan and list gal)
Some argue that a maternity break can hamper one's career progression. My rebut would be an opportunity needs to be discovered and it will be what you make of it. My sabbatical was my opportunity. Not only did I spend time in my new loving avatar but I also got a chance to refresh, re-assess and equip myself for my next move. This mommy wasn't giving up. This Mommy will be right back to be the role model for my son, to be the self-accomplishing woman I always envisioned to be.