How to Rock Your Mat Leave
Hey you! Congrats on this amazing and exciting milestone in your life…having a baby! You will quickly see that this baby thing is a major game changer on sooooo many levels in your life! One major game-changer is mat leave; we are pretty lucky in Canada to get a whole 12 to 18 months off and well I want you to have the most epic experience, so read ahead to find out how you can ROCK it! I have laid it out for you in terms of 12 months, but you can adapt it based on the number of months you decide to take off. Good luck and enjoy this wild ride! Keep in mind there are some COVID friendly ideas and some not so COVID friendly but they are there in case you live in an area that is more open.
0-3 months: Objective Survival & Find your League!
Hopefully, you already know this but survival is the most important goal in those first few months. If you manage to put on something more than pyjamas you are a hero! However, once you are ready for more and once you have the confidence to change a diaper in public without fear of getting poop on yourself then I suggest you go out and find your League! For clarity, what I mean by League is your people, your crew, your mama posy!
How to Find Your League
- Join a local mom group through mommy connections, music classes or fitness classes
- Post an ad on your local moms Facebook group; this was my approach! I posted what sounded like a personal ad that went like this ‘new mom, love long neighbourhood walks’ – I met one more and then another and another and before I knew it I had a crew!
Your Homework: Write a list of things you can do with your League…here are a few to get you started!
- DIY music class,
- DIY workout classes
- Recipe exchange
- Park picnics
- Museum dates
- Crafting parties
- Baby Photoshoots
- Swimming playdates
- Visit local parks and walking paths
3 – 6 months
Objective: Find yourself
Ok you’re at maybe the 3-month mark, if you are breastfeeding things might be leveling out a bit, enough that you can actually maybe leave for a little bit? This is where I want you to find yourself….again. And by that I really mean – play hookie from parenting! If you are lucky to have a partner, parents or in-laws that can step in to babysit, if not, check out League for a bunch of awesome babysitting services. Get a massage, go for lunch, do anything that makes you feel like you again! My first night off was memorable; I went to a see an amateur improv comedy show and I got gelato and I actually cried, I was so happy for that little bit of freedom.
Your Homework: Follow these steps
- Write down your favourite date ever
- Write down your favourite friend ever (other than your baby or partner)
- Call friend (see #2 above) and go on date (see #1 above)
Optional (but not really) – make sure you have a babysitter lined up!
6 – 9 months
Objective: Think about What’s Next?
What are you doing for future you? Does future you want to take a trip to Spain? Take a Spanish class! Does future you want to run a marathon? Start training! For some it may be a hobby that is your goal and for others it may be career-oriented. Side note; I launched League of Moms while on matleave and then I didn’t go back to my job. If you are thinking of making a change in your career, you can get some support from a career coach that specializes in moms, whatever it is that is next, use this time to explore!
- Write down your future goals (ie after mat leave)
- Break down the necessary steps to get there. Set dates to achieve those steps.
9 – 12 months
You are going to thank me for this one, trust me! Start a sweet family tradition with an annual birthday letter to your baby! Get your partner involved and each of you writes a letter to your baby on their birthday to reflect on their year. Include what they have learned, how you have changed and your wishes for them. You will love reading these over the years! You can decide when you plan to give them to your kids. I am thinking I will wait until my kids turn 18 (assuming I can wait that long!). You can also reflect on your experience, how you have grown, what you have learned and how you have changed!
So there you have it – your mat leave! Go rock the heck out of it!
League of Moms / 04/04/2021