Transcript: Prepping for Maternity Leave


Megan Martin 0:00
This is talking small business with Kat Schmoyer and Meghan Martin, a podcast for creatives who like to keep it real about what it actually takes to grow an online business.

Kat Schmoyer 0:09
We’re competitors turned to biz besties, who chat daily and now we’re bringing you into the conversation

Megan Martin 0:20
all right, friends, Welcome back to Talking small business. Today we are going to talk about maternity leave. This is such a big conversation to have as women business owners, and as of today, recording this podcast cat is 37 weeks pregnant with baby number three. And so maternity leave is definitely on the forefront of her mind. Cat. How are you feeling right now, when you’re about to step away?

Kat Schmoyer 0:49
I mean, first of all, I feel very pregnant. So there we go. If I get out of breath in any of these recordings, and you know, that’s just like, like, you’re just sitting down and you just can’t breathe. But no, I mean, I am at that point where I can see the finish line, you know, it’s like, Okay, here’s my final list of to do’s the final things I would love to ideally accomplish before she arrives. But also on the flip side, there’s also this part of me that’s like, Come on, baby. Yeah, I’m, you know, I’m 37 Weeks Pregnant like that. I feel like anybody who has been that pregnant before understands the feelings at that final month. So yeah,

Megan Martin 1:29
that’s where you feel like you’re like 39 months pregnant?

Kat Schmoyer 1:32
Yes. Yeah. Like I’ve been pregnant my whole life.

Megan Martin 1:36
Yeah, I know, I feel like you’re like right on the cusp of like, I am not quite ready. But also, like, if you just choose to come I’m not gonna be angry about it either. Right?

Kat Schmoyer 1:47
Right, for sure. For sure. Like, again, I really want to get some of these vinyl things done for the business. But again, at the same time, it’s like but I’m not really sleeping that well at night anymore. And you’re just like uncomfortable and also just anxious about birth and just kind of like ready for what life with three kids is going to look like when we are outnumbered. So there’s that.

Megan Martin 2:10
Yeah. Tell us about when did you start thinking about maternity leave was like like literally when you got pregnant? Or has this been like was there a certain date on the calendar that you were going to start preparing for this? Like, when did you start thinking through this process?

Kat Schmoyer 2:25
I started thinking about it really early on, but I mean, that’s in my nature, I’m such a planner that it’s yeah, it’s just comes naturally for me to think through like okay, we’re having a baby. Now what do I need to do both in prepping like our family but also in prepping the business and so I definitely started thinking about it really early on. For me it was more of getting out of the first trimester and then I started really focusing on okay what I want this to look like I started letting my clients know that I was expecting and just trying to think through what life would be like for them when I’m on maternity leave as well.

Megan Martin 3:04
Tell us about what planning what all went into planning for maternity leave for you this time.

Kat Schmoyer 3:10
This time around it was very different than my last two and I love for you to weigh in to Megan with like your like because you add crew and Claire I know for sure when you had like the business is up and running and lots of things going on with mica with my first I was such a naive like first pregnant you know, like first time with like, we’ve had some miscarriages leading up to him but in terms of like, we didn’t have any other children. It was like just Matt and I in the business. And I just had I mean I was I planned it great. I’m not gonna lie like I did great. But I didn’t have any other distractions. I didn’t have any other children that I needed to take care of. And yes, we had a like thriving business but even the business was leaner like there wasn’t quite as much going on in the business back then. So with mica I was I had like a three month maternity leave like blocked out and planned and I’m I’m proud of that I did great with Mei COVID hit. So she was born in April right after lockdowns happened. So her maternity leave was basically non existent. Because we were like coming home from the hospital having to cancel the conference just having to like jump into things. And thankfully, I work from home where like we could still operate the business with a newborn, you know, versus me having to like go into an office or something like that. But maternity leave was very weird, like very, very, very strange and lots of postpartum emotions and things happening with her that I definitely don’t want to go back into. And a lot of that was again, external pressures because of COVID and like life for everybody and 20 Right, so this time around, I feel like I’d had a really great maternity leave and not so great maternity leave, so I was like, Alright, can I at least meet in the middle like I don’t need it to be perfect, but I need to find something. However, this time around. I have client work and And with my previous pregnancies, I didn’t have the integration agency, I didn’t have a mastermind. I wasn’t coaching as many students as I was. And so thinking about well, how do I prep for leave, when I have contracts like we are have contracted work every single month with our agency. So how do I operate this where my customers feel cared for? Right? Like my clients feel like, they aren’t just, I’m not just dropping them while I’m gone. But I want time with my family. And I want time to go birthday party, and not worrying about someone else’s launch or somebody else’s, you know, funnel or anything like that. And so it was really, really interesting. And I think the month of January, I hit my like, I’m super stressed, there’s no way that I’m going to be able to do this. But that was just the hormones of pregnancy and like all the things happening. And so I did what I tend to do when I feel stressed out, and that’s just make a list of like, okay, what are all the things that need to happen? And how can I set really clear expectations with my clients, so they know boundaries? Right? They know, like, okay, she is having a baby. But they again, feel supported and encouraged throughout that process. And thankfully, so far that’s gone really well, not obviously maternity leave hasn’t happened. We’ll see. You know, and when I come back to work, how that looks, but so far, all my clients were just incredible about Yep, what do you need? Here’s what here’s what I need. Here’s what you need, like, let’s try to meet in the middle. Let’s try to make this work. And I’m really, really pleased with how those conversations went and kind of operating what their contracts and what that client work with look like while I’m gone?

Megan Martin 6:42
So are you going to fully step away like you are not looking at business at all the entire time?

Kat Schmoyer 6:50
I’m like smiling as Megan’s question because I mean, hello. Obsessed with work every year. I can’t say that. I will know like that. That would be such a lie. Oh my gosh, y’all. I this is something that I did with Micah with my first that I enjoyed about maternity leave, I had three months of planned leave. But I told myself, you know, what, if something if like, I feel like working, if I want to jump in and do something, why not do it like it is my business and my life. And as long as it doesn’t feel like a pressure if I’m just having fun? Let’s do it. And so I kind of have that same mentality this time around with if there are if there’s something that I want to just jump in and do because I’m like, hey, why not like the baby is sleeping, and I’m sitting here and like, Let’s do something fun, like, let’s do it. But I don’t want to have any deadlines to meet. So I have no deadlines. I will have no client communication. My team will be handling all of that. So I’ll coordinate with my team a little bit here there with a handful of things happening while I’m out. But nothing, nothing really big. Nothing that should need me to actively do something on. Yeah,

Megan Martin 8:04
I feel like that’s the exact same way that I was when crew came along. And so crew is my third child. And with Kennedy, I was like, Oh, it’s fine. So I was that was when I was a wedding planner back in the day. And I had a wedding six weeks after Kennedy’s due date plan like and again first time mom, I didn’t know what to expect. I did not plan out the maternity leave clearly I had a wedding six weeks after but it was like contracted and I didn’t want to give this wedding up. It was a very dear friend of mine. So I’m like I can do this. It’s gonna be fun. It fail. I did the wedding. I went through with it. But it was it taught me a big lesson about like, why, like the three month you should at least plan for three months in my mind. But so I didn’t have a plan at all for her. And then when esslli came along, I I was like in a season of Breaking from my business anyway, so I didn’t really need to plan for maternity leave. But when crew came along, I had that experience of like having two children already. And I don’t know about you, but I like figured out this pattern with newborns that the six week mark is like the peak of the really difficult phase of living with an infant like the six week mark for some reason I found with all of my children the same exact thing it’s like they’re out of that like sleeping newborn face so they’re really starting to like wake up and stay awake longer but they don’t know what to do with their body. And so they’re just like crying a lot and they’re like trying to figure out how to function as humans in the world. And so I found for me that like I need to like plan to get past that six almost at least like nine weeks I feel like is necessary. Just from like literally being a new mom with a new baby who’s trying to figure out the world like you can’t Yeah. Like, I feel like it’s such an American thing for us to like, feel like we’re going to birth a baby and then like, teach that baby how to be like a perfectly routined human like,

Kat Schmoyer 10:12
right, right, though, like,

Megan Martin 10:13
immediately, like, that’s where there’s tons of books on it, you know, and I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s also another human being that is unpredictable, right? Just like we’re unpredictable. And so I, I feel like when crew came along, I did the same thing. I was like, I’m gonna have zero deadlines. But if I want to work, I will do it. And I loved that freedom. Like I actually did work stuff. When I was on quote, unquote, maternity leave with crew, I like designed a new website, I feel like I remember I hosted a Black Friday sale. And I designed a new website when I was on maternity leave, but I did it because I wanted to do it. And it was fun, right? Like it wasn’t, it wasn’t someone needing something for me on a certain day at a certain time. And that pressure, like having that pressure was way too much with Kennedy. But it was freeing to not have that pressure to but be able to do what I want to do with crew and I loved it.

Kat Schmoyer 11:11
Absolutely, absolutely. And honestly, like, I’m kind of looking forward to that of just like the break from the client work and the client deadlines. Getting time to again, if I have I have a list, obviously, it’s me, I have a list of like, if I feel like it, here’s like some things that I’d love to be able to tackle, like while I’m on leave. But again, knowing that it can be like, on my own time, and whenever I want and everything that quote unquote, has to be done will be done. So like all the client deadlines are done, like we’re batching these podcasts so that like you and I aren’t going to jump on and record while I’m on leave. I’ve got YouTube videos, you know, all of that stuff is ready to go. So hopefully my audience still feels like really served. clients feel well about, you know, this system and the processes that we have in place. But then I have my little my little list to tackle if I want to

Megan Martin 12:03
what beyond client work? What kind of preparation did you do for maternity leave this time?

Kat Schmoyer 12:12
Prepping content for sure. And this was something I did with the past ones as well. But if you’re consistently putting out content that needs to be a priority for when you’re still away, now I’m doing it different, I’m scaling back on how much content I’m putting out while I’m gone. But I’m still putting out consistent content, whether it’s through the podcast or through YouTube emails to my you know, email list, things like that. Something that I learned from Mike at for my first maternity leaves, I did really good with having all that content prep for when I was gone, and did not even think about when I came back. And the fact that like, I’m gonna come back into work and first baby super naive, like I was like, I’m gonna come back into work like full throttle, ready to go, I’m gonna have all of these things lined up. This is what I need to be working on. Oh, yeah. And now I also have to focus on blogging and email and insert, the actual marketing of that, and that was very, very stressful for me to go from everything was done and like had been batched. Well, in advance to oh, now I’m jumping back into work. But I also have to, you do all of this content creation. And as we all know, that takes time. So this time around, I’m trying to plan so that when we come back, I have a month of content already planned. So I don’t have to stress about at least that part of it. As soon as I jump back in.

Megan Martin 13:34
That’s so smart. Do you feel like do you feel like the consistency with Micah the consistency of content while you are gone? Do you feel like that was super beneficial for your business? Or could you like, what if someone is like I don’t have the ability to pre plan and pre batch all of this stuff with my already like full schedule before maternity leave? Like what would you tell somebody who’s in that,

Kat Schmoyer 14:00
I don’t think it’s as it was as beneficial as I thought it was going to be, which is why this time around, I scaled back. So rather so for example, I’ve been doing weekly videos on YouTube, it’s every other week for my maternity leave, and like I’m perfectly fine with that. It was way easier to batch record. And like have that last for three months than to be thinking through double the amount of content that I needed to create. i So don’t stress if you’re you know, not able to maybe create as much content ahead of time as you want. I do think having some content even if it’s like once a month, like having something that’s still there for your people. The great thing though is I’m I’m sure for a lot of you guys listening definitely and magnetize businesses like our brands are so personal. Like my audience they know I’m having a baby like they’re you know, they’re following along on Instagram like they know like they’re gonna see Insta story when the baby’s here and like then for the next like two months life is going to be good All about baby girl on my like Instagram account and I’m okay with that. Like, my, my brand is very, very personal. And so I think, you know, again, I want to have some consistent content that’s specific to what I teach and what I love to educate on but also knowing that I’m gonna have that personal stuff infused in there too.

Megan Martin 15:20
Yeah, I feel like that does help a lot from a personal branding perspective, like people know what’s going on in your life. Tell me about from a financial perspective, I feel like one of my friends the I don’t feel she did ask me the other day. One of my followers the other day asked about, you know, I feel like we put so much emphasis on preparing for maternity leave, like getting the content done, you know, getting your clients ready to go, which is obviously an obvious necessity. But I loved how you brought up about how you don’t think about what happens when you come back from maternity leave. And I feel like that should be a part of this discussion. Right? So like, yes, you’re preparing for leave. But you also need to think through like, like you said, if you’re not thinking through what happens when you come back, you can step into a really chaotic, stressful situation. Absolutely. And you don’t know what your infant is going to be like, like, for example, I had to colicky babies. And it didn’t just magically end because maternity leave was over. You know, right. So the other day, I was talking on Instagram DM with a friend who recently had a new baby. And she was She’s now in the position of like, I didn’t think through from a financial perspective. What does life look like after having a baby? Like? What if my business doesn’t bring enough money in for daycare? Like, how do we manage? Like, how do we prepare for stepping back into work? With a new baby in tow, like, have you thought about your schedule? Or what life is going to be like, at all? When you come back?

Kat Schmoyer 16:57
I have I do think that it is hard. I mean, anytime you add a baby into the mix, just like you said, there’s a level of unknown like, what is this baby gonna be like? If especially if it’s your first it’s a whole new world, like truly a whole new world of you know, just getting into rhythms and getting used to what that looks like for your family. I feel like with number three, it’s like, oh boy, like what is three, like realistically going to be like, when we have a four year old and a two year old like it just and I’m like, of course and like my son is going to end school like right after the baby’s born. And then it’s like, Oh, yay, like, we’re all home. Um, but anyway, I so I think there’s always a level of unknown. First of all, like, that’s just that’s life when you’re bringing another human into the world. I do think that in terms of income, this is where thinking about maternity leave earlier on in your pregnancy can be really helpful. Because you want to look at well, what’s your projected income? What is your revenue that you’re planning on bringing in? And how does that need to be adjusted because of maternity leave? That was something that again, I told you the month of January was kind of this, like stressor month for me of oh my gosh, like, this baby is actually coming this year, like what is happening? And meeting I needed to sit down and I again, I’m such a list person, and I need to see things in black and white to then really, almost make a make a smaller list of well, how do I accomplish this? Like, if this is the goal, you know, what am I doing here? I had to do that with our revenue thinking about okay, well, obviously client contracts, they’re going to change. Because yes, for some of our clients, I’m like, our team is still doing the work. But I’m not doing as much like they’re not getting quite as much hands on or strategy or implementation or whatever. So that needed to adjust financially, what was coming in, per those contracts. And so I had to sit down and really look at our numbers and figure out like, okay, what can we project then over maternity leave? And then what would this potentially look like when I get back? And does this still meet our family numbers? If it doesn’t, then where can we fill in those gaps? Or if it does great, we’ll just know maybe it’s a little bit of a lower year, because this is what like our life looked like. So I say all of that to say I do think that when you’re thinking about maternity leave, thinking about it earlier on in terms of income can be helpful. So you know, what to project and what to have those allowances for, whether it’s childcare, whether it’s a longer time off, something like that, so that you don’t come back and feel like shocked at what was what used to be versus what is the reality right now.

Megan Martin 19:46
Yeah, and I think also to like, we talked about the beauty of small business, that’s what we’re talking about on this podcast all the time, you know, but also like realizing and accepting that you can’t predict everything like Right, and a small business, just like you with COVID, you could have never predicted that, right? You know, you with a newborn, like you don’t know what, and I tell this to moms all the time, I’m like, you can lay a perfect plan, but you don’t know what your baby is going to be like, you don’t know how you are going to feel like, and I don’t I don’t know about you. But I felt different after each baby was born, like I felt, you know, super energetic after Kennedy. And then with s Lee, I went through essentially postpartum depression. And then with crew, I, you know, I’m not gonna lie, having three children is like, I just was exhausted from trying to like figure life out. And so I feel like, you know, do do as much planning do as much like projecting as you can, but also realizing that you need to give this a little bit of grace to it, you cannot pre plan everything, you know? And I don’t know, I’d love to hear from you like, what would be your ideal length of time that you tell somebody to take a maternity leave? If if that is possible for them?

Kat Schmoyer 21:06
I mean, obviously, the longer the better just in terms of like, why not like, enjoy, enjoy it as much as you can. And also, there is a transition. So I’m, I feel similar to you, I feel like, yes, there’s that six week like sleeping newborn phase. But I personally with my least with my other two, and so I’m kind of expecting it to be the same. The first month is really, really hard with like, let’s like, we’re nursing and like figuring out like, supply and demand and like what is baby need, and like nighttime stuff, and then you’ve got big kids, and there’s like, so the first month to me was always like one of the hardest, just because you’re getting into the swing of things, right? So I like yes, I That’s, of course, I’m on leave, but it’s not really like you’re not like enjoying that time. As much as you’re, you’re exhausted. And you’re like trying to nurse or formula, like whatever it is you’re trying to do. Like there’s a lot of things in that first month. So that’s why I think like a three month timeframe can be really nice, because then it’s like you get you’re gonna have those like ebbs and flows of just the season of even that 12 week timeframe of what it’s like with baby, this time around. I’m doing two months, and then easing back in for the third month. So it’s like some things are starting up with some clients. I know what but I already know what’s on the schedule. And again, that’s where I at least for me with the line of work that I do for our clients in terms of the launches, and the content marketing for them, I can plan that, like they’re already thinking about what is their August content, what is their August launch schedule. So even right now I can do some prep work so that when I ease back in, it feels better. And for all the reasons you said Megan of like, you just don’t know, like, what is this baby going to be like, my kids do not sleep well until they’re six months old. Like that has been like historical for the first two. So I’m already like, this one won’t take capacity. This one’s only gonna want mama, this one’s not gonna sleep like I’m already and like, maybe she’ll be so different. I’ve got a pasty ready to like stick on her mouth. She’s like, uh, maybe she’ll be different. But I’m like, You know what I’ve already had to this way, she’ll probably the same way. So again, having that time to like, ease back into I think is really helpful. No matter if it’s your first, your third, your fifth, you just don’t know the child, you don’t know your family rhythm, you don’t know the business for them. So rather than jumping back in full force, having that time where you can start slow, I think is really helpful.

Megan Martin 23:32
I totally agree. i i with Claire, I did a three month like I’m off work mode. And then I did that with the fourth month. So I planned a four month leave. But month number four. I was like stepping back in and literally did like no deadlines that month. I have a different business than you do. So for me, it was like no client work at all that month. That way I’m stepping back in and like feeling out where I want to focus my time and my energy and heaven forbid if I couldn’t focus my time and my energy during that month. It was fine. You know, right. Right. So I love that. He’s back in like give yourself time for that. Like say you’re off for a certain amount of time, but like you get you get the opportunity to step back in and the way that feels right for you. Absolutely. Any other thoughts before you have this baby? And as you wrap up your business cat?

Kat Schmoyer 24:33
Well, if anybody listening if you guys are prepping for maternity leave, or even just like an extended sabbatical, I know quite a few business owners have done that. And you have you know more specific questions send me or Megan and DM like Absolutely. Like we’d love to talk with you about some of the nitty gritty of you know, inbox or, you know if content marketing like any of that stuff like there are there are a lot of things to think about when you are planning to step away. Um, but to encourage you, it’s possible to step away like it’s 100% possible my business right now you guys is bringing in more revenue on the service side than the digital side. So I consider us more heavily a service business than a digital business. And I’m I’m still getting to step away. So I say that as an encouragement like you can to like you really can figure out a way to set clear expectations with your clients to look at that revenue that you’re, you know, projecting or that you’re wanting to bring in before and after baby and carve out that time for your family.

Megan Martin 25:34
I love it. All right, friends, we are officially on baby Schmoyer watch. What’s your prediction? What is your prediction for when baby’s Schmoyer is gonna come?

Kat Schmoyer 25:45
I was telling Megan before we started recording, I’m like I need another week. Come on, baby girl. I need one more to just wrap up some client work and feel a little bit more prepared on the business side. But my other two were basically due date babies. So I feel like she’ll probably just come around her due date just because that’s what the other two did. But yeah, who knows?

Megan Martin 26:07
We’ll see I’m guessing 38 weeks, six days. Oh boy. No pressure, baby girl.

Unknown Speaker 26:16
Oh my goodness. All right, friends.

Megan Martin 26:18
Well, we cannot wait to see that sweet baby on Instagram. And until then we will catch you in the next conversation.

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