I Nancy Meyers’ed My Maternity Leave—Here’s How


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nancy meyers maternity leave"
nancy meyers maternity leave
Source: @jacquelinedemarco
Source: @jacquelinedemarco

They say maternity leave isn’t a vacation, but after my bumpy start to motherhood, I desperately needed one and felt determined to make the most of my time away from work. After a traumatic 40-hour labor and an emergency c-section, I was a bit surprised to be discharged from the hospital on day two. I was even more surprised when I returned to the hospital that night due to lung failure. Fast forward to a multi-day ICU stay and being separated from my 2-day-old son, and I was very ready to go home.

A tropical vacation wasn’t actually in the cards. Instead, I decided to use Nancy Meyers as inspiration for the rest of my maternity leave. Earlier during my pregnancy—which came with a unique set of complications and stressors—I found myself turning to happy and comforting movies that could serve as a dreamy mental escape. Nancy Meyers’ films fit the bill perfectly. So they seemed like a good place to start on my journey to healing, too.

Why Nancy Meyers

A few days after I finally went home for good, my husband suggested a trip to the farmer’s market and a stroll around our quaint downtown. He knew—before I did—that a nice family outing would help me feel like I was on the other side of things. Before long, my pastry-ambivalent husband was in our town’s French bakery and clearing out their stock of palmiers and anything else I thought looked good. I was a bit thrown by his sudden interest in overpriced cakes and croissants. Then, my husband gave me a nice dose of perspective that spurred my journey to a Nancy Meyers-inspired maternity leave. He reminded me that just days prior, I was fighting for my life and that I deserved as many pastries as I wanted. Who am I to argue with that kind of logic?

Picking up fresh bread, pastries, and produce on a sunny day was such a simple thing, but it felt so much bigger after my birth experience. I felt like a character in one of Meyers’ films for a brief moment instead of an overwhelmed, scared, and scarred new mother. From then on, I decided what our family needed was a little Nancy Meyers magic during my maternity leave. Here’s how I pulled it off.

nancy meyers inspired breakfast
Source: Elevae Visuals

I Indulged in Good Food

It’s difficult to get through any Nancy Meyers film without getting hungry. While late-night dinner dates and Sunday brunches felt unattainable with a new baby, eating good food did not. Before birth, my husband was the chef in the family, but suddenly, I found myself called to spend more time in the kitchen. Because we weren’t spending money eating out, we splurged on really good ingredients from specialty grocers, whatever produce our hearts desired, and fresh pasta and bread from local bakeries. I never would have imagined teaching myself how to cook during the hustle and bustle of postpartum, but being able to create nourishing meals that I knew were aiding me in my recovery was surprisingly healing. 

If cooking sounds intimidating right now, try this simple lemon orzo soup recipe. It only takes about 15 minutes to make if you buy the pre-chopped mirepoix mix from Trader Joe’s. The key to making cooking fresh meals feel more attainable postpartum is to simplify things. So go ahead and cut some corners. I needed to build up my spice collection before heading into the kitchen, and this spice sampler kit made it so easy to get started quickly. 

Of course, healthy food should be paired with comforting indulgences. Whole Foods frozen croissants are my favorite new-mom hack for Jane Adler It’s Complicated bakery vibes when you can’t leave the house. 

nancy meyers maternity leave
Source: Elevae Visuals

I Set the Scene

I think part of why Nancy Meyers’ movies are so iconic is because of how sensory they are. You can practically feel how luxurious each heroine’s surroundings are. I turned to some easy home upgrades to ensure I could really enjoy my space as a new mom. One of the first postpartum side effects I decided to tackle was night sweats. I swapped out our warmer bedding for these luxuriously soft linen sheets and duvet cover from Baloo. Can we start a trend where new moms register for a fresh set of bedding and towels? After the trials of pregnancy and labor, all moms deserve to slip into a luxurious bed or fluffy white towel whenever they please. 

While you can’t smell a Nancy Meyers movie (we wish), they are filled with the scents of fresh flowers, salty sea air, and home-cooked meals. To make my home smell extra dreamy, I added a Lifelines essential oil shower diffuser to our bathroom (every minute in the shower as a new mom is sacred), and I programmed a Pura diffuser in our living room to pump out relaxing scents of lavender each night and energizing citrus in the morning. 

I even upgraded our light bulbs to these Roku smart bulbs that allow you to choose custom colors so you can create a soft and soothing lighting schematic. So go on—delight your senses. 

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nancy meyers maternity leave
Linen Duvet
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shower diffuser
Amazon | Lifelines
Essential Oil Shower Diffuser
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pura diffuser
Amazon | Pura
Home Diffuser
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I Loved Any New Items We Brought Into Our Home

As fun as the coastal grandmother trend is, I feel creating a Nancy Meyers vibe at home is more about embracing what you love and what makes you feel good. Every character’s home suits their unique personalities and lifestyle, so don’t feel the need to fall into Pinterest’s idea of what a Nancy Meyers home looks like. 

I knew when I had a baby, I would spend more time at home than I ever had before. That was fine by me until my baby arrived and brought a lot of stuff with him. One of my first orders of business after getting home from the hospital was to order a handful of inexpensive baskets from H&M to corral receiving blankets, clothes, toys, and books (why are baskets normally so expensive?). I even splurged on some of my favorite storage boxes from Leatherology. They’re an investment, but they blend in perfectly with my home decor, and no one would ever realize they are stuffed to the brim with baby essentials like washcloths, pacifiers, and backup bassinet sheets. 

nancy meyers maternity basket
Seagrass Basket
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leather box
Decorative Box
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Speaking of baby essentials—their belongings sure do take up a lot of space and can end up feeling like the center focus of your home. To keep our home feeling like us, we carefully chose sleek baby essentials that blend in with our home decor. For example, we had such a great experience with our Newton Bassinet & Bedside Sleeper that we are moving our baby into the brand’s Galileo Mini Crib.

Since our baby will be sleeping in our room for the first year, this smaller crib is helping our room feel more spacious. I love how breathable their mattresses are and how streamlined the designs of their beds are. Another baby staple that perfectly blends into our home is the Morris & Co. The Brer Rabbit Play Mat. I spend a lot of time playing with my baby on the floor, and this mat gives me a nice cushion while looking beautiful. 

Quickly, I learned that the days of me putting everything in its carefully chosen place at all times wasn’t going to happen. We live in a one-bedroom apartment with a baby, and I am happy to report it’s working out splendidly. One of the ways we’re making our small space feel more luxurious is to love everything we bring into our home. For example, the plant-based cleaning products from Koala Eco are so pretty that I don’t mind permanently leaving them out on kitchen or bathroom counters for quick and easy cleanups. 

There is no pretending that my one-bedroom apartment looks like any of the breathtaking homes featured in your favorite Nancy Meyers movies, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t design a space that sparks joy. For me, that means a clean and clutter-free space. 

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Bassinet & Bedside Sleeper
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Galileo Mini Crib & Newton Mattress
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tumble mat
Totter & Tumble
Morris & Co. The Brer Rabbit Play Mat
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eco kitchen cleaner
Amazon | Koala Eco
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I Made Time for Hobbies

One of the reasons Meyers’ female leads are always so endearing is because their lives often center around their passions. They run businesses, write plays, bake, plan home renovations, design, and create. Try to carve out the time and space to keep up with your favorite hobby and incorporate baby into the fun if you need to. My husband was learning to play the piano in the months leading up to our son’s birth. Now he continues to practice while babywearing, and it’s been an amazing way for them to bond and spend time together.

I chose to dive deep into soup making. You could master needlepointing, finish your 15th Bridgerton novel while breastfeeding (guilty as charged), or strengthen your body with a virtual pilates class. Right now, I’m loving the Birthing Class, which offers virtual pilates classes targeted at each pregnancy trimester and the fourth trimester. 

As a new mom, it’s very challenging to carve out time for yourself. When my husband was on paternity leave, he encouraged me to do things I enjoyed whenever he was caring for the baby. It’s important for me to note that the amount of time I could devote to self-care really only became more substantial once my milk supply dried up and we switched our baby to formula. Now that my husband is back at work, I have to wait until nap time to get cooking. However, even when baby is awake, I can find ways to pursue my passions.

For me, being nap-trapped is a great excuse to dive into the latest issue of Vanity Fair. Will I be hitting up a 90-minute yoga class at my favorite studio any time soon? Probably not. But I can do a virtual pilates class on the floor while I watch baby do his tummy time.  

nancy meyers inspiration

Easy Ways to Embrace All the Nancy Meyers Vibes

Don’t let the picture-perfect interiors and outfits found in Meyers’ movies intimidate you. A huge source of magic in her films stems from how she appreciates life’s simple pleasures. There are small steps you can take to make your life feel more like your favorite flick without having to break the bank.

Go on a walk

Nature is so healing, and your mind and body will thank you if you get outside and get some fresh air. We’re super fortunate that our apartment backs up to a creek trail. Taking my baby to see the baby ducks and geese this spring are some of my happiest postpartum memories. Don’t forget to throw on a Meredith Blake-inspired workout outfit, like this cute tennis skirt from Love All that has been so easy for me to slip on postpartum. 

Keep music playing

Once my husband went back to work, our home felt weirdly quiet when the baby napped. To break the silence, I started playing a lot more music. If you’re really in it for the vibes, turn on a Nancy Meyers-inspired Spotify playlist for catchy, romantic, and comforting classics.

Wear your best pajamas

Yes, your fancy pajamas will get spit up on, but it will wash out. These light and airy pima cotton pajamas from Minnow were a game changer during the aforementioned sweaty stage of postpartum. The cuter the pajamas, the less guilty you will feel when you accidentally wear them all day. I don’t make the rules, I just follow them.

Take an everything shower

My husband and I swore before having a baby that we would always make it a priority to shower daily, and we stuck to that goal. To make the most of that small pocket of me time, I like to indulge in an everything shower as often as possible. To encourage myself to stay in the shower for a good long time, I slather on this luxurious Leonor Greyl deep conditioning mask that smells like fresh jasmine. As a bonus, the chic packaging looks straight out of Elizabeth James’ bathroom.

Plant an herb garden

Whether you have a big backyard or a small apartment, you can pull off planting a potted herb garden. I love the idea of enhancing my cooking with fresh herbs, and I can’t wait to involve my little one in watering and caring for my plants. 

Become a farmers market regular

Like most new moms, I had no desire to take my newborn anywhere they could catch a cold. The farmers market was the perfect weekly touchstone for our family. We could get out amongst the hustle and bustle without taking our baby to a crowded indoor space like a restaurant or mall. As a bonus, it was a great way to stock up on fresh flowers and treats in one fell swoop. 

Arrange fresh flowers

Speaking of flowers, good old Trader Joe’s makes keeping your home stocked with fresh flowers somewhat budget-friendly. Grab a few bunches and spend some time practicing your flower-arranging skills. 

Nearing the End of My Nancy Meyers Maternity Leave

Luckily, my maternity leave has not quite come to an end. However, writing is my greatest passion, and I found that slowly dipping my toes back into the working waters has helped me feel more like myself than I have in a long time. Point being—there is no one right way to navigate your maternity leave. Jumping back into work (on a minor scale) early gave me an unexpected boost of energy. Make time for what you love—your dreams and goals matter just as much as they did pre-baby.