For the last few weeks, I’ve been telling any brands that ask me to collaborate with them that I’m currently “winding down for maternity leave” and unable to help.

Then I’ve been quietly panicking just in case they look at the blog, see that I’m still publishing regular content on it, and assume I just hate them, and don’t want to work with them: and then they’ll hate me, obviously, and will tell all of their friends how awful I am, and I’ll end up having to go and work down the mine, or as a chimney sweep, or something.

(In other news, my therapist tells me I have a tendency to catastrophize. I wonder where she gets THAT from?)

The thing is, though, when you blog for a living, you don’t actually GET “maternity leave” as such. Or you DO – but you have to plan for it well in advance, and probably continue working as much as you can, both before and after the birth – something I suspect is probably true for anyone who’s self-employed in some capacity.

(This isn’t a complaint, by the way: for me, there are so many positive to blogging for a living that I’m willing to live with the occasional negative: I just wanted to write about this one, because it’s something I think a lot of bloggers have to grapple with at some point, whether it be around maternity leave specifically, or anything else that people in “normal” jobs would generally be able to take paid leave for…)

blogger desk flatlay with Ban.do planner and laptopHere in the UK, for instance, most women are able to take up to 12 months maternity leave: not all at full pay, necessarily, but at least with the security that comes from knowing their job will still be there for them when they come back to it, anything up to a year later.

In my case, I CAN also claim maternity pay from the government: not a lot of people know this, but although I work for myself, running this blog, I’m NOT technically “self-employed”, but an employee of the limited company Terry and I own together. (I believe there’s also financial help available for people who ARE self-employed, but I’m absolutely clueless about that, I’m afraid…) The problem is, though, that even if I were to claim maternity pay, I still wouldn’t be able to just take 12 months off work – or not without seriously damaging my business and future livelihood, anyway.

This is something I’ve found a lot of people struggle to understand. I’ve had a few people telling me that I should, “just take some time off!” and that it’ll be fine, because my readers will totally understand. Which I’m sure they would, of course, but the problem is that my regular readers, as awesome as they are, account for only a small percentage of the daily visitors to my blog – and while I know they WOULD understand me needing to take some time off once the baby is here, what they WOULDN’T do would be to continue to visit my blog, anyway.

So, my traffic would plummet, my advertising revenue would go with it, and by the end of my maternity leave, I’d have a real struggle on my hands to build my income back up to where it was before. As Terry put it when we were discussing this last week, if my business was a shop, say, rather than a blog, then no one would expect me to just close down for 12 months (or even two or three months) without it having a huge impact on my business, which I’d essentially have to build up from nothing again once I went back to it. Blogging – when you’re doing it full-time – is no different, really: which means I’ve had to think long and hard about how to handle maternity leave, and how much time off I can reasonably afford to take.

Because, the fact is, I DO want to take some time off once the baby’s here: of course I do. I absolutely hate the thought of bringing this new little person into the world, and then just continuing to be glued to my computer or phone for the first few weeks/months of his life – I mean, how miserable would that be?

dealing with maternity leave as a bloggerNo, I want to be able to enjoy the baby: to take some time to get used to our new normal, and, of course, to recover from the surgery.

At the same time, though, I know myself well enough to know that I’m ALSO going to want to blog about a lot of the huge life changes I’ll be going through. I know a lot of people will turn their noses up at that, and tell me I SHOULD be spending every spare second with the baby, and not even THINKING about opening my laptop, but honestly, it’s just who I am. If something happens to me, I have to write about it: always have, always will,  and I can’t really see this being any exception, really. Why would it? One of the hardest things about my first trimester, for instance, wasn’t the fact that I felt so ill for most of it: it was the fact that I wasn’t able to write about it and share it all with you guys (Er, not literally, obviously: I didn’t want to actually share my NAUSEA with you all, although, if someone had been offering to take it off my hands…), the same way I do with everything else in my life.

So, I’m not going to put any pressure on myself to blog once the baby is here – but I’m not going to put any pressure on myself NOT to, either. I’ve already written a bunch of posts which are ready to be published in January (or whenever he turns up), so you can rest assured that I won’t be sitting here hammering out blog posts, as if nothing has changed. I’m also, however, planning (And I use that word in its loosest possible sense – I’m very aware that I’ve no idea how I’m going to feel once the baby arrives, and, well, the best-laid plans, and all that…) to supplement those posts with new ones that I’ll write as and when I feel like it: so, no pressure, no set blog schedule, and absolutely no guilt if I decide that, actually, I’d rather catch up on some sleep rather than writing that blog post I was so sure I’d be dying to get out of my system.

 And speaking of sleep, I guess I should probably go and try to get some of that while I still can, huh?

14 Comments
  1. I sure wanted to talk about/discuss/remember my birth experiences right after and I’m not even a blogger. Its so fresh and you want to keep those memories safe somewhere. Blogging about it is the perfect way to do that. I had a surge of energy after each birth where I wanted to record what happened; I bet you will too. God bless!! I love how excited you are about your baby.

  2. Yeah, good idea to try to write some posts now which you can just publish in January. Then maybe once baby is here and once you are up to it, every few weeks you could post some updates on how life is with the little guy. And maybe some posts on comfortable outfits for breastfeeding/hanging out with baby! And which products you find useful or not.

  3. You will know how much you can do once baby arrives. The best advice I can offer is to sleep when baby does, irrespective of time of day.

    1. “Sleep when the baby sleeps” is good advice, obviously, but in my opinion, it would be better framed as “do a thing that makes you happy/feel better when the baby is sleeping”. If sleeping is that thing, do it! If it’s a shower, do that! If it’s writing for an hour, go for it! If it’s binge-watching Parenthood, that’s what I did!

    2. I wish I had a £ for every time I’d been told to sleep when the baby sleeps. It was the only time I had to myself to catch up with everything else that needed doing, or just take some time to unwind, no way was I sleeping through it!

  4. I mean, obviously you are correct about the best-laid plans and all of that, but I would be really surprised if you didn’t keep blogging at least some of the time. Blogging/writing is clearly something you love to do, and you make time for the things you love, even with a new baby. I took a break from a lot of things I used to do when my kid came, but damned if I didn’t keep reading a book a week, because that’s what I love and I could no more stop reading than I could stop breathing, basically.
    I also felt, and still feel 18 months later, that you need to make time to do things that make you feel like yourself, instead of just New Mom, and for you, I really think writing is one of those things.
    And, like, this isn’t to pressure or guilt you, I just honestly can’t see you stopping for any lengthy period of time!

    1. I’m a bit confused – I didn’t say I was planning to stop for a lengthy period time? I actually thought I’d said the opposite of that, i.e that I wouldn’t be able to take a lot of time off, and probably wouldn’t want to, either?

      1. Oh, no, that’s not what I meant at all, sorry it came out wrong! I was just trying to express support for what you said here:

        “At the same time, though, I know myself well enough to know that I’m ALSO going to want to blog about a lot of the huge life changes I’ll be going through. I know a lot of people will turn their noses up at that, and tell me I SHOULD be spending every spare second with the baby, and not even THINKING about opening my laptop, but honestly, it’s just who I am.”

        I am not one of the people who will turn up their noses at you blogging about your newborn, is all I meant to say. By “lengthy period of time” I meant more like several weeks, haha.

  5. Could you explain a bit about your blog traffic? You say that the regular readers account for only a small percentage of the daily visitors to your blog. And that you have to publish something constantly to keep the blog running. How does this work together? Non-regular readers come to read only the blog posts that are new? Why wouldn’t non-regular readers discover your blog from the old posts?

    1. Non-regular readers discover the blog through Google searches which take them to older posts, mainly: they can continue to do that, obviously, but if the site isn’t being updated regularly, Google will not rank those articles as highly as it once did, so the traffic to those older posts will start to tail off, and, if the site continues to not be updated, will eventually dry up. I also didn’t actually say I had to publish something “constantly” – it doesn’t have to be daily posts, but I do have to have regular content going on to the site for it to continue to thrive, just as any business has to remain open if it wants to continue trading.

  6. I’m a self employed writer currently contemplating how I’ll keep working when kid #3 arrives in May. Like you, I’m planning to get some stuff written and ready to publish after the birth, but I’m also considering other ways to make writing easier with a newborn. A voice recorder and good translation software sounds like it could work, as I’d them be able to write while breastfeeding. Basically, I didn’t manage to write much after having the last one, and my income has really suffered. I’m sure it can be done, though! Hope it works out for you. I’ll be following with interest to see how you manage the juggling act.

  7. Such an interesting post, I’ve never thought about this before. Like you said, your regular readers will be happy to wait for content but I suppose it is more of the advertisement revenue side that’s the trouble! Maybe try a light schedule – a blog post once a month maybe? Or get some blog posts prepped and ready to go so all you have to do is hit the publish button! I’ve never been in this situation, but I do feel for you. You just have to trust that everything will work out and you have the talent and skill to make it work. Good luck with everything xx

    Georgia Megan

    1. Yeah, as I said, I’ve got some content pre-written and ready to go: posting once a month wouldn’t be enough, though, unfortunately, so it has to be quite a bit more than that!

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