Grow your career while on maternity leave
Maternity leave is a time off active work given to mothers to raise and spend time with their new born babies. Most women look forward to this time but the daily routine can be boring and tiring.
Whereas some women use this time to learn about their little ones, others delve into re-designing the house space and many spend their day’s binge-watching Netflix series.
Manuela Pacutho Mulondo, the founder of The Cradle, a childcare education service and an Early childhood mentor says that spending time with the baby is as important as not giving up your career while nursing.
“As a working mum, I’m intentional on being a present mother, constantly learning from my children on how I can parent them better but also, I know when to stop,’’ she says.
With a fast-paced world today, letting time just pass by is an immortal sin. Besides fulfilling your parental roles, you must keep your brain sharp, active and ensure you add new skills to keep you competitive in the work space.
Here are some skills to increase your value and aid productivity, making it easy to negotiate a raise after maternity leave.
- Content Creation
40% of YouTube and TikTok content is of mothers sharing recipes, secret hacks, marriage advice, mothering skills and home management expertise. All these apps pay a certain amount of money, depending on viewership, clicks and follows.
With a big social media following, one can even become a brand ambassador for various companies, and get paid for advertising. All you need to do is choose a niche and be perfect at it. For example, a certain housewife on tik tok makes content baking and tending to a horse farm and she is one of the most followed. With content creation skills, you can return to work ready to introduce new ideas, and revamp the team. In all you do, ensure you don’t waste your maternity leave just gaining weight and tending to the newborn baby.
- Learn to code
It is never too late to learn. The world of coding and computer technology has various programmes that even a child can learn. You can learn a kindergarten coding program and coach children after work or over the weekend.
- Knitting and Crochet
This was a grandmother’s favourite activity in the old days, it was actually very exciting to receive a knitted baby cloth from grandma. Now that you have too much time on your hands, it’s time to make those favourite warm baby socks and sweaters yourself.
As the baby latches, grab your yarn and make something out of that time. You can customise baby clothes and start selling to other mothers who appreciate aesthetics. You can specialise to a category like socks or baby sweater, just anything that is quick and convenient and doesn’t require a lot.
- Learn a new language
As any communication expert would tell you, learning a new language is one of the best ways to add value to yourself. A foreign language enhances listening skills and memory; expands your thought circumference and presents mundane opportunities as well as making one more effective in a multi-cultural world.
- Teach a community class
Everyone has a sole purpose to contribute to the community in which they thrive. Maternity leave can be a good time to fulfil that purpose. It could be giving homeless kids a chance at learning the ABC’s, teaching the market women about how to increase sales or equipping single mothers with money making skills to provide an extra income. It all depends on the community you live in and what gaps need to be filled.
Overall, maternity leave is an amazing time to develop new skills as you are exposed to new experiences. Most likely you will develop more skills faster at your work desk, once you recognise that you can grow outside your boss’ pay, the higher you value what you hold.
New skills will improve self-confidence, improve your employer’s confidence in you and put you at a good competitive scale with the rest even after many months away from the work space.