How to make the most of your maternity leave

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Our baby is 10 weeks old, it’s hard to believe that if we lived in the States I would have been back to work for 1 month now (average maternity leave in the US is 6 wks). Yikes. My heart seriously goes out to everyone with short maternity leaves. We are spoiled rotten in Canada to get 1 year off and even then many of my friends really struggle to go back to work.

The thought hit me a couple of weeks ago that I’m so very blessed to get a year off with my baby. It’s truly a gift. My philosophy in life is that we are blessed to be a blessing (it does us no good to hoard). With that in mind, I want to make the most of my time while off on maternity leave. I want to give back and be a blessing to others as a result. I gave myself the first 6 weeks as “survival” weeks. Nothing expected or required of me. Just keep baby alive. I then decided that if women in the States were returning to work after 6 weeks, I had better start doing something. It was time to challenge myself to make the most of maternity leave.

Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s still very hard to do much of anything while taking care of a young baby. She doesn’t have a regular schedule by any stretch. But by 6 weeks, I figured I could start adding little things to my week that may enhance my life and bless others. At 10 weeks, I’m still figuring this out. I haven’t arrived and will have to do an updated post at the end of my maternity leave. But for now…here’s what I’ve been attempting:

1) Make time for my spiritual health each day. Instead of reading a children’s book to our baby, I’ll read a very short devotional (Our Daily Bread). It’s starting the process of reading to our child and making time for my batteries to be re-charged. Every so often, I’ve also watched a Christian or motivational on youtube while feeding her and been encouraged.

2) Encourage one person per week. This is the minimum. This can look like going to visit someone with our baby, writing someone a card, sending someone a “thinking of you” text that’s meaningful.

3) Journal. I have a personal journal in addition to blogging. Between the two, I hope to capture this time and to grow personally as a result. Some days I don’t get to write at all, other days I jot down a thought really quickly, and other days I have the time to write. I feel it’s important to write both as a means of remembering, processing, sharing, and growth.

I’d love other ideas in regards to how to make the most of maternity leave. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below!