Last month, we helped Sarah and Dave Hattman welcome the newest member of the Clairemont family into the world. In the weeks and months leading up to Mary Lawrence’s arrival, I helped Sarah begin planning for maternity leave, since I had already done it twice. Reliving this process got me thinking about how much is involved in transitioning your entire workload to other team members. As PR account managers, there are just so many details. And so much resides in our heads…where do you even begin!
When it was time to plan for maternity leave with my first child, I had never taken more than a few days of vacation except when I got married. So the idea of preparing to be out for three months seemed daunting to say the least! I find that whenever I feel overwhelmed, the best thing for me to do is get it all down on paper, so I used the same technique to begin preparing for my maternity leave. Here are a few tips that really helped me navigate the process:
Seek assistance. For those of you who are like me and love a checklist, there are plenty of resources out there to help you get started planning for maternity leave. I found this one from BabyCenter to be very helpful. Also, ask other moms who have been through the process for advice; they will help you think of things that never even occurred to you.
Start early. Nine months seems like a long time, but it really goes fast! I began this process approximately four months before my due date to be sure I captured everything. This allowed me the chance to walk through the details with team members and prepare clients for the transition. Also, you never know when the baby will actually arrive, so I wanted to be sure everything was in place in case I delivered early. Alas, I was still sitting at my desk on my due date.
Write down everything. I started outlined everything, including client contacts, contact info, schedules for weekly calls and weekly trackers, monthly reports, upcoming events, personality nuances, etc. Essentially, I wrote a manifesto for each account (which was no doubt overkill), but I wanted to ensure the transition for those jumping in was seamless. Having everything in writing eased everyone’s minds.
The good news is that even though you think the world will stop turning the minute you deliver, it won’t. Your coworkers will keep the train moving so you can enjoy that precious time home with your baby. And that three months will go by very fast; so enjoy every minute!