Going on mat leave for the second time this past winter was bitter sweet for me. On the one hand, I was very excited to meet my new daughter and looked forward to spending time getting to know this brand new person. On the other, I was anxious to leave a business and job/clients with whom I loved to work.
Would my clients be angry that I was going on leave? Would they be willing to take me back after almost a year off? How would I cope with two kids this time around? All of these questions were swirling around in my head.
Well, it’s been almost 8 months since my daughter was born and I am so thankful that self-employed women in Canada are able to contribute to EI (employment insurance) and take mat leave just like women who work for someone else. I have truly enjoyed this time with her and with my son who is so proud to be a big brother.
So, now I’m facing another bitter sweet moment. I am planning to start working again in a few months and have a million more questions about how things will change for her and for me.
To prepare my family and my brain (which I feel like I haven’t used in a while) for what’s to come, I’ve devised a strategy to make the transition smooth for everyone.
Here it is for other self-employed moms to see:
- Make a plan with my child care provider for how I’d like the transition to go with my kids as I build my business back up.
- Reach out to clients a few months in advance of my return to work — so they have time to figure out if, how and when they’d like to begin working with me again. I’m happy to say that one of them has already confirmed that we’ll be working together again. I want to give them enough time to get budgets approved so I can hit the ground running as soon as my mat leave is over.
- Develop a new marketing strategy to get my name “out there” again.
- Work with my accountant to plan for the year ahead and develop a budget for future expenses.
- Build out a schedule for how I’d like my workdays to flow — knowing that things need to remain flexible because, let’s face it, life is unpredictable when you have kids.
Since this is the second time I’ve built my business back up after a mat leave, I feel more confidant this time around that I can make it work. The biggest challenge is always managing my time wisely and ensuring I build in enough of it to spend with my family and integrate my home life with my work life.
Do you have any tips for transitioning from mat leave back to work — especially as a small business owner? If so, I’d love to hear it. Please share your sage advice below.