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Planning for My Self-Employed Maternity “Leave”

I love being self-employed.  I think I will enjoy retirement even more in the future, but if I’m not financially independent, self-employment is the only craved income path for me. 

My Pros of Self-Employment

I enjoy the flexibility, the control, and the income diversification that comes along with having 150+ clients in pet sitting and a few streams we have for making cash online.  When I worked for the car dealership software company from 2005-2011, they could have fired me at any moment and I would have had my personal main income stream cut off all at once.  Being self-employed has, strangely enough, made me feel more financially stable overall.

My Cons of Self-Employment

BUT, there are some WHOPPING downsides.  I truly miss the 100% matching up to 6% in my old 401k.  I also miss being able to take a vacation without coming back to a pile of things to do since everyone in my old department could cover each other’s work.  And, I definitely don’t have any paid maternity leave options now (I’m not sure if my old job had them or not because I left WAYYYYY before we ever thought we even wanted to have kids).

Planning for My Own Maternity “Leave”

All of that said, I’ve already needed to start making plans for June-August for my own maternity leave.  I’m also looking to work out a way for my husband to have as much time off as possible from our jobs during those months too.  We won’t be able to literally do nothing with the businesses, or they would crumble.  But I am working out the details to doing as little outside of the home as possible while maintaining the online and record-keeping parts of our businesses in as little time as possible. 

So far, most of this plan means leaning very heavily on our one other pet sitter.  I’ve been preparing for that by giving her more and more of our schedule each month since late last year.  She has proven that she can handle a full normal schedule, and Mr. BFS can handle the minimal overflow from June-August since he won’t have any sports officiating and is going to want to get out of the house. 

That will leave me with needing to take a few hours a week to deposit our checks, update our Excel records, submit payroll, and balance the books on the easy end.  Mr. BFS will need to keep up with all of our Quickbooks record-keeping.  We’ll both be checking in on our online work a few times a week while the other person has baby duty.  I’m planning for us to fall behind a bunch in the month following our daughter’s arrival, but we’ll hopefully have some general routine in place after that and can make it work from there.

Plans Have to Be Flexible

Are all of my plans bullet-proof?  Nope.  But I’ve found that very few acts of planning go without a hitch since life is messier than usually anticipated.  Calendar reminders will hopefully keep us on track.  Fingers crossed.

Have you had a baby while being self-employed?  How did you balance it all?  Or what suggestions would you have for someone in those shoes?

FYI:  I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year.  I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $70,000-$90,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home.  If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!).  Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!
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6 thoughts on “Planning for My Self-Employed Maternity “Leave”

  1. I wish I had helpful advice!

    You’re way ahead of me – I had wanted to be self employed and more in charge of my own decisions when we had a baby but instead I was still with a company. It’s not bad but I did feel pressure (self imposed, likely) to return before I was truly ready and that wasn’t great for me or the kiddo.

    In any case – you got this!

  2. Sounds like fairly good plans are in place! I hope you’re able to disconnect from work enough to really bond with your little one. I bet spending a few hours a week running the businesses will be a nice balance in those early months. Definitely try to take almost completely off for a month or so, I think!

  3. I STARTED working from home when my second was 4 months old haha. Naps are your friend, for sure. And until they get mobile, you can do a LOT when they are just lumping around 😉 I would absolutely start looking into waiting list times and daycare options JUST in case you might want them, even if you wouldn’t want them for a couple years. They can be really crazy to get into, FYI. Because right now at 5 and 7 (since I homeschool them, too) I basically can only work when they are asleep 😛 and possibly when they get some screen time. But overall they are at the age where they cannot figure out how to play nicely together for very long. Sigh. Anyway, I guess I wasn’t very helpful LOL BUT you will totally make it work. Just don’t plan too much or too far ahead because it changes with the wind.

  4. It is totally doable to do light computer work from home during your “maternity leave”. Babies sleep a lot at the beginning and your online schedule would be flexible. If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll probably get comfortable enough to work on a laptop while baby eats/naps on you. I did lots of catching up on TV shows and books during my maternity leaves.

    For the second and third kids, having a Moby wrap or infant sling was really nice when I couldn’t just lie around with baby all the time. You get the closeness of cuddling but still have hands free to be productive. I know you’ll have a lot of help from Mr. BFS and friends, so you totally got this!!

  5. One thing you should consider is coming up with a game plan to lose weight after the baby is born within 9 months. Being morbidly obese for much longer is not good for you or your lifespan or your child’s lifespan. It’s hard to stay in shape, but do it for your baby.

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