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Maternity Leave 101 For Entrepreneurs As a mother, one would want to carve out a significant chunk of their time to spend with their child and take care of their own and their baby's health

By Vanshika Goenka

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With the ushering in of a new era, we've seen women rise in the economic sphere in India, many going on to become entrepreneurs and hold high positions in corporate structures. While the change has been welcome, it has seen its fair share of struggles as well. Be it gender parity at workplaces, the still apparent lack of women in boardrooms, or the societal expectations that a woman must juggle it all. Along with these struggles, how does a woman entrepreneur manage if she has a baby on the way and has to take some time off from her business, which she has treated like her own child as well?

As a mother, one would want to carve out a significant chunk of their time to spend with their child and take care of their own and their baby's health. What that means though, is that one would also have to spend some time away from their work, and that can be disconcerting for some, especially if they are an entrepreneur. However, there are certain ways a woman can enjoy motherhood, ensuring neither their professional, nor their personal lives are in jeopardy. Following are some tips for women entrepreneurs to consider and implement before taking maternity leave and make a smooth transition from work to motherhood and back.

Chalk out a plan in advance

Pregnancy is an important yet an exhausting time for any woman. To avoid further anxieties and stress caused by you worrying over work, make sure you think of a structure much in advance so you have time to prep and modify it if needed. Working in advance will not only give you reassurance but also prepare the person who's going to be looking after your responsibilities.

Master the art of delegation

When you're missing in action, there has to be someone who can take your place and ensure seamless functioning of the workplace. Figure out what makes the most business sense when it comes to division of responsibilities. Sometimes, handing over different tasks to different people leads to a better system where each team member can take on smaller portions of extra work, without burdening one person entirely. This holds especially true for smaller companies where hiring a new full time member may not be a financially viable option.

Avoid major changes or upheavals

Even though no entrepreneur wants to go through a period of stagnation, if you're planning to step away from being on top of your business for a bit, make sure there are no big changes lined up in your absence. Already undergoing a big change with your baby's arrival, leave the business changes to be tackled later when you're ready to get back into action and can give those decisions your complete attention.

Fill the missing gaps

An extremely crucial part, this is something that has to be taken care of much before the mom-to-be goes on leave. Most often, there are certain aspects of the business which the business owner knows are dependent on them. To avoid such a situation, either tackle those instances in advance wherein you set a process in place to ensure smooth functioning despite your lack of availability or hire a substitute or support staff member who could assist with the tasks in the absence of your presence.

Set boundaries

As an entrepreneur, stepping back completely isn't a feasible business option sometimes. The anxiety of being a business owner usually plagues new moms despite their busy schedules with their child. Therefore, it is crucial to set boundaries and keep a certain "connection period' for yourself and others. Dedicate specific times to checking emails or responding to calls. Ensure you communicate this set time frame to your colleagues so that they know when to connect and meanwhile you can be aware of what's happening at work as well.

Get ready to get back

As you join back, you may find it overwhelming to be a mom and a business owner with massive responsibilities on you. At such a time, it is important for one to be extremely mindful of their capacity and work on easing into these roles without putting too much pressure on oneself. Try taking it slow and let it become seamless at its own pace. Taking care of your emotional and physical well-being is crucial not only for you, but also for both your babies.

An entrepreneur has to work very hard to build their business from ground up. Women excel at being business owners as their inclination to work hard and an ability to multitask places them ahead of the curve. But one must take the time off if the situation, like a pregnancy, demands it. Take the time off, bond with your baby and get ready to get back into action full swing when it's time!

Vanshika Goenka

CEO and Founder, Kool Kanya

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