Lessons From My Maternity Leave

By: Shannan Buckley

Many of you know I’ve been out on maternity leave for the past two months after giving birth to my baby boy, Bram. I’ll be returning to work full-time next week! 

Here are a few things I learned over the past few months that I’ll be bringing with me to the workplace. 

  1. When you know something is temporary, remember that it’s temporary! The first few weeks of parenthood were…wow. The baby was adorable, but the sleep deprivation was not! A couple of weeks in, a character in a show I was watching was recovering from a stab wound, and my first feeling was jealousy of how much she got to rest – that is how tired I was. I knew that eventually he’d sleep more than two hours at a time, but I had trouble believing that day would ever come. But after six weeks, he started giving us a solid seven-hour stretch each night, and all of a sudden Mom and Dad started to feel like they had a handle on things. I find that with work, and with life in general, the most stressful periods are usually temporary. A big deadline, a major event, etc. When you’re at your most stressed, don’t lose sight of the finish line! It makes it easier to power through, do your best, and enjoy the good parts. 

  2. Take smart shortcuts so you have time to focus on what matters. We have been embracing anything that makes our lives easier and saves us time: prepping all the overnight bottles at once, buying precut veggies at the grocery store, and using technology wherever we can (I could start on my deep love of the Snoo, but I will spare you). All these hacks put together really add up. Is there a way to automate something that keeps taking up a lot of your time? Or existing resources you can utilize to complete a project faster?  

  3. Prepare when you can, and adapt when you can’t. The only way I am able to get things done is to make clear to-do lists for when Bram is napping and do the most important things first, and the only way I manage to stay sane is to expect that he will wake up before I’m ready. In legal we all work in reactive environments – focusing on my most important tasks first means that I’ll still be on top of things if something unexpected comes up and I need to switch gears.  

We’ve had a lot to learn these past two months, but we have loved watching our son grow and explore the world. As we move out of the newborn stage, we are excited for all the chapters yet to come!

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