Disconnecting During Maternity Leave? — The Bump
November 2014 Moms

Disconnecting During Maternity Leave?

Haven't noticed that this has been discussed yet- but feel free to point me towards the thread if it has! I'm just wondering how disconnected you working ladies are planning on being during maternity leave. I work at a really small organization and am the only one that does what I do (and the only one that knows how, for the most part). I'm trying to prepare others as much as I can to take over the basics but there are undoubtedly going to be questions and issues that come up. I'm thinking that I'll WANT to be kept in the loop... and I really can't imagine just not checking my work email for 8 weeks. I'm also the person that checks (and usually responds) to work email on days off and during vacation, for whatever that's worth. I also feel like if I'm somewhat accessible during my leave, I won't feel as badly asking for flexibility when I come back. They don't expect me to be working at all, in fact they keep saying I shouldn't worry about it and just enjoy the time with baby. But it also seems less stressful to know that they can just email/text me a question rather than having to try to think of every single little situation that could happen while I'm gone and document what they're supposed to do ahead of time.

S+TMs, what has your experience been? FTMs, what are you thinking?

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LongIslandMama1114mander82[Deleted User]runningmama22NunyaBennis

Re: Disconnecting During Maternity Leave?

  • It's only me and my boss in my office. I've been training a girl to replace me since my contractions started at 32 weeks (5 weeks ago). My duties are done daily, weekly, every 2 weeks, and monthly. Therefore, the monthly things I've only been able to do with her once thus far. If I make it til next week, I'll be able to do one of the monthly tasks again but that's about it. I keep telling her (and my boss) that my phone will be on and to text/call whenever but they keep saying they won't. Honestly, I'd rather them call/text me to find out how to do something or how to fix something than try to do it on their own, mess it up, and then I have to try to fix it when I come back in 8-12 weeks. Pretty much everything I do is in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Access...lots of formulas to adjust and lots of mistakes can be made by messing up ONE thing in a formula. Like you said, it's impossible to plan for every possible situation.
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  • I have been delegating duties and training others how to do my daily tasks since I announced my pregnancy at work.     I am trying so badly to not even give my work a single thought during my maternity leave.

    Luckily for me,  I have someone here at work that can kinda cover for me while I am out.   We cover for each other when we go on vacation and such.    Most of my daily duties will be taken over by my employees during my leave though.  

    I am sure they would yell at me if I even tried to answer emails during my break.    If they have any questions for me, they can text or call my personal phone.    That way I won't feel like I need to keep an eye on my inbox for odd requests.


    Nov. '14 January Siggy : Work Sucks!


    Me 32-DH 38

    Married July 14, 2007  ----- TTC # 1 October 1, 2013
    BFP   March 7, 2014  -----  EDD November 17, 2014 ---- Baby boy born November 16, 2014

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  • I plan to keep up as well and have told my employees that my plan is to be on email and text but that may change. They are all parents have told me I won't want to stay connected. I'm more like the OP though abd can't imagine the stress of not checking email for 3-4 months. I think it's good to.keep your plan open ended and transparent that way you have options!
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  • Aside from what I hear through friends (co-workers), I'm 100% disconnected
  • I am not good at disconnecting. It's usually just me and my boss but while I am on leave a lady that usually works just a few hours a week will be coming in for me. She has not done legal work in over 15 years and my boss is kind of helpless lol. Anytime I am out I will usually still respond to text and email. I have even responded to work emails while on my honeymoon shopping in St Thomas. I will be out for a little over 2 months but I see myself checking in here and there just to make sure things are going well. Boss love kids so I might even bring LO up to the office a couple of times so I can check in on some of my cases. We will see how it goes. And, if I don't feel like doing any of the above, then I won't.

    Me 32 and DH 40

    Fur-baby named Bella

    1 MC Nov. 2013

    DD born Nov. 2, 2014

    Little 2 EDD Oct. 1 

  • I quit my day job at the end of June.  (YAY)

    But I still own a company.  Fortunately, I have a partner that is slowly taking over right now.   So I plan to do VERY little for the first three months.  I will check email, and forward anything that needs dealing with to her.  

    And after the three months?  I hope I can get away with working just a few hours a week...  from home...   Not sure if I will ever spend much time in our offices again.  
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  • I am in the same boat. I am the only one at my job (a small company) who can do what I do. I have been training a girl for a few months now to cover for me while I am gone, but I have told her to text my personal phone if she has a question. I will be checking emails but only to keep my inbox clean and to stay in the loop. Honestly, I am a control freak and I like to stay in the loop. It actually makes me feel more relaxed knowing that I know what is going on. Staying at home this winter on my couch for 12 weeks with my baby is going to be good enough for me..I can stand checking my email occasionally and answering a text here and there. 

    IAmPregnant Ticker

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  • I wish I can log in during my maternity leave. It will be hard to completely cut off from work after six years and only taking one week vacations every other year. I asked if I could work a little but while on std I'm unable to. It's been very stressful letting go and trying to remember every single thing I do. I'm taking the full 12 weeks to use up my sick days.

    One fear I have is what if I like not working. I know it's not an option but the transition to go back to work will be very hard.
    Bfp #1: 2/20/2014 Baby girl born on 11/3/2014
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  • abbyful said:

    I will not keep up. Those 12 weeks are for my baby, and they go by way too quickly. Work will still be there when maternity leave is over. I'll probably email a picture of
    baby to my coworkers, but that's it.

    DH is taking 2 weeks FMLA, his company completely locks you out. They shut off all network logins and deactivate access badge for the duration of leave.

    THIS!!! And what @kyliedaniellexx said!!!
    As a STM I am already dreading going back to work in March/ April and I'm going to enjoy my leave as much as possible with DD and baby#2!! I look at it this way...if you got hit my a truck (God forbid) they would have to make due without you so... for the time during your leave they'll just have to make due as well! I know tons of people always say this but it is soo true...they grow up VERY Quickly and before you know it you're chasing a toddler and no longer cuddling an infant!!
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  • So, I got pulled from work one week early on Monday, so my coverage knows she can text me this week, although my theory is I've been trying to train my backups for 3 months now even though my boss is made it impossible, but once Noob is here, I am off limits. I only get to take 8 weeks, which is a gazillion weeks too short anyways, so they can make do. Any problems they have in my absence, well, that's what they get paid the big bucks to figure out!
    I'll likely log on so I can clear out my emails, but have no plans to respond or initiate anything, it'll still be there on January 2nd when I return.
  • I was just thinking about this today (prompted by eating yogurt on my couch instead of working on my transition plan).

    The thing is, there's really no way to know this ahead of time. How you've behaved on vacation is not an indicator of how you'll behave postpartum. I can't say, JUST YOU WAIT, because some women really do stay connected during mat leave. So maybe you will. But for many women, the intensity of the transition to motherhood is pretty consuming. And of course, you don't know what your baby will be like. I have friends who were bored on mat leave because their babies slept all the time. My baby, on the other hand, screamed when he wasn't being bounced in a yoga ball 24/7. It's hard to do work while bouncing an infant on a yoga ball. I did stay very minimally connected, but for the most part my leave was all about launching motherhood.

    But maybe it will be different this time around. I just don't know. I'm trying to set things up so that no one is counting on my input, but if I want to have some low-level involvement I can.
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  • My maternity leave consists of me using 4 weeks of vacation time & then working from home part time for 4 weeks.  I figure there will always be something pulling my time & attention away & I'm feeling fiercely protective over those first 4 weeks so I'll be 100% disconnected.  
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
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  • I was just thinking about this. It's going to be very difficult for me to fully disconnect, both because they need me and because I need to be involved. I work for a small (<15 people) consulting firm so I don't have set tasks, every project is different. But we're in the middle of a really big litigation (my boss is an expert witness) and we're turning in a huge report in January. I'm sure everything I do can be done by someone else, but it won't go smoothly and they've already threatened to call me every time they need help.

    My manager was out for six months last year while going through chemo and recuperating from her mastectomy. I basically took over her job the whole time but it won't work as well the other way. 
  • lissydee said:
    I clean out my inbox and that's about it.
    This is my plan. I can't imagine how fast my 12 weeks with baby will go by, and I want to spend as much time with him as possible. Work will survive just fine without me. 
    [Spoiler]Me:32 DH:32
    Dx: PCOS - on metformin
    DS born 11/2014
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    1 IUI ending in mc & d&c at 9.5w - girl with trisomy 16
    Pursuing IVF with CCRM - ODWU done - IVF set for May-June
    Surprise BFP 3/5 - Rainbow baby due 11/9/18 - Team Green[/spoiler]

    silverwings72hidingangel82[Deleted User]hollystoybox
  • I will probably get yelled at if they catch me responding to my email. I have a coworker who has pretty much stepped up and been doing EVERYTHING for the past month since everyone is so paranoid about me leaving, so I imagine he'll have it handled. In fact....I am sitting at work right now looking for things to do. He's that good :-) Probably not the best for job security....

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  • I'll be checking e-mail periodically for the rest of this semester just in case one of my students has a question or complaint.  I also told my sub to call or text if she has any questions.  She has 2 kids, so I know she won't unless it's absolutely necessary.  Once this semester ends, I'm out until I start work again in either summer or fall.  I'm being too nice, but I feel bad leaving my students right at the end of the semester like this.  I also plan on bringing in the baby for a visit so that no one forgets about me while I'm on leave (I'm a part-timer, so I have no guarantee of work unless they give me a new contract)!

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    [Deleted User]silverwings72
  • I'm horrible at disconnecting. This is my last year in my position before I go up for tenure, so I have a number of grants and papers I am working on, but these are things I can do in my own time. I don't have unrealistic expectations that I'll get a ton accomplished while I'm off, but I will work here and there when I can fit in time.
  • I'm definitely not planning on staying connected any more than sending an email with some baby pics to a few people once we're home.  12 weeks is going to fly by and I'm already dreading having to go back to work.  I generally like my job, but there's no way I'm letting it take another hour away from the baby- when I'm on leave, I'm on leave.  I've made lots of lists and gone over things with various co-workers for coverage, so it will be fine and if something happens they're capable of dealing.

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    Baby boy arrived 11/13/14!

  • turtles7 said:

    I wish I can log in during my maternity leave. It will be hard to completely cut off from work after six years and only taking one week vacations every other year. I asked if I could work a little but while on std I'm unable to. It's been very stressful letting go and trying to remember every single thing I do. I'm taking the full 12 weeks to use up my sick days.

    One fear I have is what if I like not working. I know it's not an option but the transition to go back to work will be very hard.

    One fear I have is what if I like not working. I know it's not an option but the transition to go back to work will be very hard.


    IAmPregnant Ticker

    First Met: March 13, 2009
    Married: September 13, 2012 
    BFP: March 4, 2014
    EDD: 11/25/2014 
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  • I'll be able to pretty much disconnect. My boss will take care of my patients. I don't really see anybody needing anything. I do sit on the board of our local professional organization and we have a big event in 10 days. I'm the one who planned it, so I'll be a bit involved with that. I hope I got it set up to basically just run on its own!

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  • I will be somewhat connected. I am an associate, and while I have a partner on all my matters, I really handle the day-to-day grunt work and I am senior enough to run certain things without much supervision. I am transitioning my matters to other attorneys, but I will still need to be somewhat available for questions that will pop up. Fortunately, I have wrapped up a lot of matters, so there is not much to transition and I don't think I will be bothered too much. I am going to turn off the push notification on my phone, so I won't be reading my email constantly like I do now, but I'd be lying if I did not say I'll check it once a day or so.

  • lissydee said:

    I clean out my inbox and that's about it.

    This is my plan, too. I'll just review my inbox to delete spam. Otherwise I am off the radar for FMLA - will be doing no work.
    [Deleted User]silverwings72hidingangel82
  • aragosta said:

    Email off, phone off. Nope nope nope. Unless they want to pay me, then I will respond to stuff.

    This! I can take up to 6 months of leave and no one will touch my work when I'm gone. I'm a unit of one, no one else does my job and everything will be there when I return. I've done it before and I'll do I again. It takes a while to catch up but I fully intend on making the most of my maternity leave. Especially since it will most likely be my last. It all goes way too fast!!


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  • bethas said:

    I will probably be checking e-mail and grading papers, sending in lesson plans if I need to. I have a really hard time letting go, especially because this is the year my kids take their graduation tests.  I know how I expect things to be graded and evaluated.  That being said, if he proves himself worthy, I might let the grading/planning go. 

    No. Elsa had it right. Let it go, let it go. I might check my email and respond to students (they can ask the new teacher for help, but we often have students send messages about current events they found interesting, etc.

    But I will not eat green eggs and ham, and I will not mark.
    silverwings72[Deleted User]hidingangel82tamarnina
  • As much as I would like to disconnect , I am self employed so that doesn't work so great.

    I'm not taking work until January but I will still be doing lots of client communication.
    cutest ever copy Mom to Elenore(5), Solomon(3), and Rosalie(6 months)

  • Email off, phone off. Nope nope nope. Unless they want to pay me, then I will respond to stuff.
    Soo much this!!! F you Pay me! I'm soo in need of a break and really it won't be a break because having a baby (and a toddler) is hard work!!
    Yes, this!  The coworker who I've already given all the handoff stuff too and met with that's going to cover for me (and who's pretty useless, but not my problem, it's the company's fault for hiring him and keeping him) said, 'I'll just call you when I have questions.'  Realize here, he's not talking emergencies, he's just trying to get out of doing anything because he barely does his current job (which is probably why our boss is trying to saddle him with this).  I looked him straight in the eye and said, 'no, if they're not paying me for the 6 months I'm out, then I'm not working.'  He was shocked because he thought I was getting paid the whole time!  He's dropped the whole idea since then.  I will probably try to delete useless emails on the down-low once a month, but I am NOT answering them.
  • I do not plan on doing any work at all and will not feel bad
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  • Like @lilwatz, I will be more of a lurker than a participant. I want to keep up with what's going on in the workplace and not have a million emails when I come back, but I feel like I should be getting paid if I am expected to respond. I'm also on a list for internal promotion, so this is another reason why I cannot completely disconnect from work while I'm gone.

    I told my boss that I will likely be "reading" but not replying and that she can get in touch with me via personal email with any leave or timecard questions and she said that I should definitely avoid making myself available for conversations, but it is up to me whether or not I read my email.
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  • Ummm...I've been on maternity leave for 4 days and I've worked at least 3 of them partially. I DO plan to disconnect soon, but I'm in sales and didn't get a chance to fill everyone in on my accounts because I went into labor early and just was a complete slacker in the weeks leading up to it.
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    [Deleted User]LilwatzNunyaBennis
  • I plan on being 100% completely disconnected just like I was with my first db.  My maternity leave is unpaid.  since they dont feel they have an obligation to pay me, I dont feel I have an obligation to stay connected.
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  • Similar position as @JamieK1882 (go Ladies of Tenure 2015-2016!!!)

    I had a NSF proposal with the due date of 10/31, son born on 10/29, making phone calls to the grant office from the hospital on 10/30. Sigh.

    I am doing my best to phase out. Not doing anything else for teaching, emailing with research students, and working on papers when I can....

    TTC #1 since 12/2010 DH: MFI, cancer survivor Me: Resected septate uterus, lap treated mild endo, tubes open, ovulate on own, autoimmune disease 3 Failed IUI's (2/2012, 4/2012, 6/2012) 
    IVF #1 August 2012. BFP! Beta #1 56.7 Beta #2 150 One baby, one heartbeat on 9/20/12! no h/b @7w6d. dandc @8w0d
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  • Isn't it illegal for work to contact you while on maternity leave? I think you can initiate contact, but they can't
    [Deleted User]
  • @Elizbeth13 maybe if you're on short term disability? I'm not sure. At my work maternity leave is separate from that... And paid which is why I'm anticipating staying somewhat connected. If they weren't paying me, hells to the no I wouldn't be working! Thanks to all that responded- was helpful to see what everyone else has in mind!
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  • My work emails are on my ipad so I'll see and delate as needed.  I put up my out of office reply including listing my substitutes email address for parents because it would seem that they don't know how to contact her despite her being my teaching partner for the first 9 weeks of school and having the students for 2 classes.

    The weird thing is because she is just adding to my lesson plan file I can see all my principal's comments. I'm still having a hard time letting go of my classroom but I'm sure that will change after my induction tomorrow and LO arrives.
  • Last time (and plan on this time) I am unaccessible through e-mail.  If it's important enough that you need to bother me, you can call or text me.  I took my work e-mail off my phone and my ipad and was so happy I did.  I've had enough experience on vacations to know I can't just say I won't check it, I need it to be gone.
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