Having a PP plan is as important as learning to go with the flow, adapting to the changes that a toddler and newborn will bring.
But without a plan (which includes many variables discussed below) it's definitely much harder to succeed in being productive, especially if you are managing a business through the fourth trimester too. But I recommend a postpartum plan for EVERYONE.
Here's what to keep in mind and how I personally am structuring things this second time around.
1. WORK: OUTSOURCE, PLAN & ADVANCE
If you have a business like me, this is a must, and make sure you begin at least when you are half way through your pregnancy. What to do? See what from your current tasks can be delegated, to take weight off your shoulders and give you that necessary extra time (research, errands, calls, follow ups, etc. You can see exactly what I delegate here). Not only do you need to know what you will delegate and to whom (hire if necessary) but also: train them! Start spending time showing them how things are done so when the baby is born, everything goes smoothly on auto-pilot!
Also make sure you advance work, plan ahead. Get as many things done as you can during your pregnancy, for me it's content calendar, newsletters, pitches...
And finally, make sure you create an easy "mobile office" around the house: meaning, download all apps & documents needed to work from ipad & phone, and create comfy spaces to work in on the couch and bed, since your desk-time will be reduced to pretty much zero for a while. As well as have the home completely ready: baby loungers, baby swings, a swaddle wrap, mobile changing stations, etc.
2. CHOOSE YOUR TEAM
You decide who your team is. No team looks the same. And no teammates will do the same type of work. To me personally, my one and only teammate is my husband. No nannies, no other family members. So what does he help with? During the 4th trimester, he will take over almost all of home chores (which we usually split 50/50).
But obviously as I am with my newborn, feeding around the clock, sleeping less, and recovering from birth, he will take over my home chores & will be way more involved with Sofia, which he already has been for the past few months, for example, he took over the night routine 6 months before our boy is due, so that Sofia is now more than used to daddy doing bath & books before bed. YOUR team may be your mom and sister, or your mother-in-law and husband. Or a nanny. Whoever is in your team, make sure you have one and "chores" are clear. Divide and conquer!
I get Cateredfit (use code PRBOSSBABE for a discount) freshly delivered (2 meals per day) and that alone saves the day. Usually it's a meal for myself and one for my husband, and we eat them for lunch when we are busier, and cook breakfast & dinner. But during the 4th trimester I will raise it to 2 meals for MYSELF a day, so I have lunch & dinner ready, and don't need to worry about nourishing my body other than breakfast and snacks, which are super easy to prepare! My husband has been in charge of cooking breakfast since Sofia was born, so that won't change now.
I used to have a cleaning crew come once every other week (twice a month) which was amazing, and the rest we just picked as we went. But due to Covid they have not been coming, and I am not going to have them back fro a while now. So my trick in this category is: pick up as you go. And dedicate a day to do a little more deep cleaning. Hubby will have to pick up on this more now too!
The "sleep when baby sleeps" does not work for me. But what did work last time and I plan to do this time is
a) Go to bed early. Instead of going to bed at midnight I will go to bed at 9:30/10pm. Sofia goes upstairs with daddy at 8pm, so I will have an hour and a half to two hours to unwind on my "own" with the baby (skincare routine, book, stretches etc). And then I will go to bed myself too, to make up for the hours awake at night.
b) Have daddy wake up earlier with Sofia. She wakes at 630am, sometimes earlier, so since I will be feeding for half the night, I will sleep "in" until 7/8am, and then wake to have breakfast with them.
6. TODDLER TIME
I still plan to have alone time with Sofia. Since she will be home all day with us too, I want to dedicate some play time with her + will keep putting her to sleep myself for her nap time. And daddy can have some alone newborn time.
To me, balancing work + being a newborn mom was the best thing ever. I felt like I was spending all my time and energy with my new baby, while at the same time I kept my brain fueled and going, which kept me extra positive and inspired. When you are a mom, you suddenly put someone else first above anything, so keeping that little bit of ME gave me LIFE. And having a plan & know who would take care of what in each area was KEY to moving forward in a smooth way once baby got here.
Let's see how it goes this second time around, I will keep you posted!