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Maternity Leave for the Work at Home Mom

Keep the lines of communication and honesty open with your employer and clients. Don't be afraid to take time off if you need it, knowing that your work inherently accommodates demands at home and offers a flexible schedule.

When you work from home maternity leave is something of an open-ended question. Do you get the time off from work? Will it be paid or unpaid? Technically you're "out of the office," but if your office is at home, should you still get some work done?

The Best of Both Worlds

Working from home affords moms the best of both worlds – you help contribute to your family's income while being at home to get meals on the table, do laundry, give rides to school and pamper a sick kid as needed. Yes, it's busy at times, but working from home is a mom's way of really "having it all." However, inevitably times will arise when you truly need a break – like those happy/scary/crazy times that come when a baby is born. As skilled as you are juggling your home and work lives, having a baby requires that your full attention be fixed on your baby and your own health. But working from home doesn't always accommodate "maternity leave," so what's a new mom to do?

Paid or Unpaid

Unless your job is one that affords you "legal employee" status, you are, for tax purposes, a contractor. This means that not only are you responsible for your own taxes, you may go without many of the perks employees receive like paid maternity leave or any allowable maternity leave at all. Although moms are allowed to take maternity leave, paid maternity leave is rare in the U.S. whether you're an employee or not.

Currently about two-thirds of U.S. women are employed during pregnancy and about 70 percent of them report taking some time off, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. 33 percent of new moms take no time off after having a baby.

Maternity Leave to Where?

New moms who work from home have no place to go on maternity leave, since work and home are the same place. One advantage WAHMs have is that the work they do is designed to be done from home, and may be adjusted around the time it takes to care for a newborn. However, it's important to make sure that you don't lose the valuable emotional bonding time with your baby.

Should You Tell?

Should you tell your boss that you're pregnant? Working from home means that you don't necessarily have to, but if it is going to affect your ability to get your work done, your boss will need to know your situation. Employers may be much more willing to accommodate time off if they know you're 100% committed on the days you are working.

If you do decide to tell your employer or clients that you're pregnant, be up front about your expectations and needs for time off and let them know you're willing to accommodate work demands in balance with your baby's needs.

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