How to Make Money on Maternity Leave

Welcoming the newest addition to your household is an exciting time. If you’re lucky, you have maternity leave, but you may not exactly “feel” lucky. Caring for a newborn is physically—and financially—draining.

As a result, most new mothers go back to work days after their baby’s birth. Or, they may drain their savings, take money out of their retirement, or go into credit card debt.

While we do not recommend taking on debt or cashing out your savings to fund your maternity leave, we don’t recommend not taking maternity leave either.

Luckily, there are ways you can make money on maternity leave. It’s a side hustle economy, so if you’ve got a smartphone and WiFi, you’ve got a wealth of ways to make money at your fingertips.

10 Best Ways to Make Money on Maternity Leave

Here’s our list of the top ways that new moms and dads can earn money on the side while they’re at home bonding with their baby:

  1. Take Online Surveys
  2. Freelance Writing
  3. Proofread and Edit
  4. Start a Podcast
  5. Start a Blog
  6. Transcription Work
  7. Remote Social Media Management
  8. Tutor Online
  9. Claim Cash Back
  10. Declutter Your Closets

1. Take Online Surveys

Online surveys are a reliable way to earn extra money each month. Earn extra cash by answering paid surveys about a variety of consumer topics, like hobbies, travel, or childcare. Most surveys pay $0.25 to $5, with the occasional survey paying $10-$20 or more.

Some of the best, legit online survey sites include:

You will need to qualify for the survey and complete it, in full, to get the associated reward. You won’t qualify for every survey that you attempt. Market research companies are looking for feedback from a specific demographic.

But if you are consistent, you should be able to complete at least 2-3 surveys per day and earn an extra $50 to $100 a month.

And if you’re on parenting leave and have lots of 30-minute stretches, you could reasonably make $100 to $200 a month or from surveys.

Cash out your earnings as PayPal cash or free gift cards to Amazon or other popular retailers.

2. Freelance Writing

Freelance writing is an excellent way to earn extra income—during maternity leave or as a flexible sideline at any time, regardless of parenting status.

If you are new to freelancing, it can be a slog to build up a roster of clients and a portfolio of professional work. But don’t let this deter you.

Millions of people, including new writers, make extra money every day for online freelance work.

  • Start a blog on a free platform like WordPress, Weebly, or Wix. You can start publishing content today that shows off your writing ability. There are lots of premium (paid) bells and whistles, but you can use any of these blogger sites for free.
  • Reach out to your contacts and ask if you can submit an article for their website, like their company’s blog, school newsletter, or church bulletin. Even if they can’t pay you, it’s worth your time if you can author a well-written post and get a byline (your name published alongside the content).
  • Advertise your services in online groups like parenting forums and Facebook mom groups. I’ve found gigs paying $5 to $400 in online parenting groups. I created a post that said I was looking to make money online writing and could help write or edit cover letters, Dear John letters, blog articles, professional summaries (i.e., LinkedIn profiles), and social media posts
  • Check out online gig job boards. List your services or look for projects on Fiverr, Upwork, or Truelancer. To start out, you’ll need to set your rates low and have a good profile that catches the buyer’s eye. (Watch the short help videos with great tips on how to create a winning profile.) When I got started on Fiverr, I had a few friends hire me for $5 gigs so I could bolster my profile right away and get noticed—-and it worked.

3. Proofread and Edit

Proofreading and editing is a great sideline with flexible hours. You need a printer and a sharp eye for grammar. You’ll also need familiarity with AP, or other commonly used formatting styles.

You can find freelance proofreading and editing jobs on online job boards like:

Proofreading jobs can be quite lucrative, especially when tied to a particular niche like medical or technical proofreading.

According to ZipRecruiter, proofreaders in the US. earn an average of $26 per hour.

4. Start a Podcast

If you’ve got a voice and a smartphone or laptop, then you’ve got everything you need to start a podcast. You don’t need to be an amateur murder sleuth or certified life coach to get started; just a topic that you’re passionate about.

Your maternity leave may be the perfect time to get started. You’ve got chunks of free time when you’re home alone with the baby, and lots of new ideas whizzing through your head.

New mom, Kelsey Higgins, started her parenting podcast from her dining room table when she was on maternity leave with her eldest.

Ms. Higgins was trying to make sense of the parenting journey and wanted to hear as many unique perspectives as possible from other parents. The podcast,, was born. A maternity leave side project has blown up with 1,000+ monthly listeners, sponsors, and advertisers.

Here’s some free, easy-to-use podcast software you can choose to record and edit your stories:

  • Anchor
  • Bouncecast
  • Podcastle
  • Podbean

5. Start a Blog

If you’ve thought about writing or blogging, maternity leave is a great time to jump in. As with podcasting, look for a topic that has broad readership appeal.

According to Wix, in 2023 the most popular blog topics were: food, travel, health and wellness, lifestyle, fashion and beauty, photography, personal (i.e. addiction recovery), DIY crafting, parenting, and music. Sponsors and advertisers are hugely interested in being featured in blogs that cover any of these subjects.

You can blog on free, user-friendly platforms like Wix or WordPress.

Writing about life as a new parent can be a natural conversation starter, and you can share the posts with friends and family via text and social media. With this pursuit, you can launch a money-making blog, showcase your writing (build a digital footprint), and provide life updates and baby news to others.

And you can use tools like Google AdSense to place ads and monetize your blog content. New mom, Stacy Garrels, started her first blog in 2019 shortly after the birth of her oldest child, and within a few months, she was averaging over $200 a month through Google display ads and affiliate marketing links.

6. Transcription Work

Transcription work, typing what you hear, is booming. And it fits beautifully into the side hustle economy; it’s work you can easily do on the side on your own time.

Transcriptionists listen to video or audio (typically pre-recorded) and type what they hear word-for-word. Sound files you’ll type or transcribe vary; they can include focus group dialogue, interviews, meetings, phone calls or Zoom calls, medical terminology, or voicemails.

For medical or legal, there may be specialized certification programs. However, this is not required for most freelance transcription work.

Skills and abilities that make for a good transcriptionist include:

  • Good typing ability for speed and accuracy
  • Excellent grammar and proofreading skills
  • Excellent listening skills
  • Ability to multi-task and manage different projects and deadlines
  • Native-level fluency in English (or other required language)
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Word or other word-processing programs

7. Remote Social Media Management

Brands, consumer-facing and B2B, often need help beefing up their social media efforts—especially with many businesses intimidated by the idea of having to do “reels” or figure out how TikTok works.

The demand for creators and remote social media managers is booming.

You can find social media manager jobs by asking your network, advertising your services on LinkedIn (create a post directly from your profile page), advertising on freelance job boards, or looking for listings online.

Here are some of the best online job sites to find remote social media manager gigs:

  • SimplyHired
  • Indeed
  • Upwork
  • FlexJobs
  • We Work Remotely (WWR)

8. Tutor Online

Online tutoring is a great way to make extra money and help learners of all ages master new subjects, concepts, and skills.

In 2022, the global market for online tutoring was $7.7 billion. And with the continued proliferation of Internet devices and online learning, that market will only continue to grow.

This means online tutoring could start out as a part-time gig and morph into a full-time job. In fact, the best tutoring jobs can pay up to $125,000 a year.

Subjects for which tutors are most in demand are:

  • Math (Arithmetic, Algebra, Calculus)
  • English (Literature, Writing)
  • English as a Foreign Language (EFL)
  • History
  • Science (Physical, Chemistry, Biology)
  • Foreign languages (Spanish and Mandarin especially in demand)
  • Coding and robotics

Even if you’re not a STEM superstar, if you are a native speaker of English you have coveted skills and can find some high-paying gigs.

You can find part-time or full-time work teaching and tutoring English conversation and other subjects on these job sites:

  • Cambly
  • Varsity Tutors
  • Wyzant
  • Skooli
  • com
  • Chegg
  • TutorMe
  • OutSchool
  • VIPKid

Beyond live tutoring, you can also create online courses and sell them on Udemy, Coursera, and other learning platforms.

9. Claim Cash Back

As a new parent, you’re shelling out plenty on diapers, wipes, and baby gear. Even if you have hand-me-down gear from older siblings, there’s always plenty to buy.

From rash ointment to onesies, you can earn a cut on every dollar you spend—up to $100 a month or more.

Cashback shopping apps pay you to shop online in the form of cashback rebates ranging from 1% to 20%—sometimes more during holidays and special promotions.

Stores, like buybuy BABY or Walmart, want more traffic. They’ll pay shopping apps a commission for sending them paying customers. And these shopping apps will share a cut of the commission with you: your cashback rebate.

Some of the best cashback shopping sites and reward apps include:

  • Rakuten
  • Honey
  • Capital One Shopping
  • RetailMeNot
  • Upromise

You can also earn cashback rewards for scanning your in-store receipts at supermarkets, pharmacies, and grocery stores.

Some of the best cashback apps include:

Through these reward programs, you can claim cash back for all your purchases. You can cash out your earnings via PayPal and transfer them directly to your bank account.

10. Declutter Your Closets

Maternity leave could be the perfect time to finally declutter your closets.

Unused clothing, textbooks, electronics, toys, and other home gear can be sold—if not flipped for a profit—on resale sites and apps like:

  • thredUP
  • Poshmark
  • eBay
  • Best Buy Trade-In
  • Amazon Trade-In
  • Mercari
  • Etsy (for homemade or vintage items)
  • Facebook Marketplace

Any of these apps are great options to get rid of your old stuff and make a few bucks while you’re at it.

It’s not hard to take pictures of your old gear and create online listings. But if that seems too overwhelming, no fear. You can outsource this to other app users who will sell for you and keep a cut as their commission. Like the children’s clothing resale app, Kidizen.

Kidizen offers concierge service through its style scout program. Style scouts will come to your home and collect your unwanted clothing, and then manage the listing, selling, and shipping of any garments that are purchased.

I’ve made nearly $20,000 over the past 7 years through these featured resale apps, selling both my own old clothing and flipping “unicorns” I’ve found in thrift stores.

How to Make Money While You’re Pregnant

You don’t have to wait until the new baby arrives. It’s possible to make money while you’re pregnant, too. In fact, it’s an ideal time to start squirreling away additional cash.

And with it being a gig economy, this means there are plenty of ways for you to kick up your feet and earn away — from your phone, tablet, or laptop.

Do Not Spend Money to Make Money

This cannot be understated; do not spend money to make money. Avoid multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes where you need to buy and sell inventory or recruit sellers to sell under you.

These are often pyramid schemes with only those at the very top making any real money.

And even when they’re not, it can take a substantial amount of time and effort to bring in sales. There are plenty of other side gigs that pay well and have a lower bar to entry.

Flexible Side Hustles

Here are some of the best, flexible side hustles you can do while you’re pregnant.

  • Sell crafts on Etsy. If you already knit or sew and have a surfeit of goods, selling on Etsy is a perfect way to reduce your stash and earn some extra money for baby clothes and supplies. Or as extra savings to pad your unpaid maternity leave.
  • Pick up freelance work on Fiverr or Freelancer. Look for work as a tutor, transcriptionist, virtual assistant, writer, editor, proofreader, designer, voiceover actor, or data entryist.
  • Test websites and apps. You could earn up to $50 per hour testing new websites and apps and providing detailed feedback. Typically, you’ll do this over a recording with a webcam turned on. Product managers and developers want feedback on how easy or difficult it is for users to navigate their site. and TryMyUI are two of the better sites to find work.

How to Manage Money on Maternity Leave

You may be fortunate enough to have paid family leave — for both mom and dad. But even with paid leave, you still have to be smart about how you manage your money.

Make sure that you’re prioritizing recovery and new family bonding and taking advantage of any and all programs that offer support to new babies and their caregivers.

Prioritize Rest, Recovery, and Bonding

It’s easy to get lost in new parent stresses and financial woes while you care for your new baby. But remember, this is a time for you to recover. It’s not selfish or luxurious; it’s essential. Investing in yourself—with as much rest as you can snatch—is an investment in your ability to care for your new baby and your family as a whole.

You need to prioritize rest and recovery for yourself just as much as caring for the new little one.

Know Your Federal Law Rights

Under federal law, you can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave. And this goes for mothers and fathers. It’s called the Family Medical Leave Act, commonly referred to by its acronym: FMLA.

FMLA requires most employers to grant up to 12 weeks of unpaid work absence for employees to care for a new child.

Certain conditions must be met:

  • You’ve worked for your employer for at least 12 months.
  • During the 12 months preceding your leave, you’ve worked at least 1,250 hours (which works out to 24 hours per week).
  • Your employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles of your worksite.

Approximately 56% of U.S. workers qualify for FMLA. Many small business owners (i.e., fewer than 50 employees within 75 miles of a worksite) will also voluntarily offer 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

Beyond FMLA, employers of any site may offer maternity pay or short-term disability (STD) insurance benefits–but these are not required by federal law.

Know Your State Law Rights

Many states have additional laws in place to make things easier for new parents. For example, many states have laws mandating paid, parenting leave.

States that mandate employers offer some form of paid maternity or paternity leave include:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington (state)
  • Washington D.C.

The states of New Hampshire and Vermont do not require employers to offer paid leave, but there is a voluntary option for parents to purchase insurance coverage.

You can find out more about any laws or rights specific to your state here.

Understand Any Employer-Provided Benefits

As your due date approaches, make sure to chat with your employer about any employer benefits you qualify for related to your baby’s arrival.

You will likely be given an employee handbook to go through, but it’s a good idea to speak directly with an HR rep to make sure you clearly understand your benefits. Talk to an HR rep and highlight the sections that you discuss in any handbook.

Your HR will likely have a checklist to go over. Make sure you have a copy of it and create and update your own checklists too.

Here are the key questions to ask and understand:

  • How much paid parental leave am I eligible for?
  • How much unpaid parental leave am I eligible for?
  • Can I take the leave all at once, or in increments?
  • What paperwork is needed for my parenting leave, and when is it due?
  • Who needs to sign any of this paperwork? (Commonly, medical providers will need to sign some of the forms.)
  • Can I use any of my sick leave, vacation time, or other PTO to supplement my parental leave?
  • How will my job duties and responsibilities be covered during my leave? (It’s the employer’s job to worry about this, but they will likely need your input.)
  • What will my job duties and responsibilities be immediately upon my return from leave? What will the ramp-up period look like getting back up to full speed? Will any core job duties or responsibilities change?
  • What sort of benefits or work arrangements do you offer new parents? Are flexible work arrangements, additional PTO, or childcare assistance offered?
  • Are there any other benefits for new parents, such as childcare assistance or flexible work arrangements?

Look Into Government Assistance Programs

You may qualify for government assistance programs for families with babies and small children. Roughly 50% of all U.S. families (with a pregnant mother and/or at least one child age 4 or younger) qualify for Women Infants and Children (WIC).

WIC offers food and nutritional assistance to pregnant and nursing women and children under the age of 5.

WIC’s primary focus is to help young children access nutritious foods like fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy, and whole grains. WIC can also cover formula, baby food, breast pumps, breastfeeding support, and referrals for healthcare or other social services.

Local food banks and diaper banks may also provide assistance. You can find more community assistance programs by dialing 211.

Acquire Short-Term Disability Insurance

If you plan on getting pregnant and your workplace does not offer short-term disability (STD) insurance, it’s a wise move to purchase STD in advance. It can cover up to 60% of your salary, or more, for up to 8 weeks after giving birth.

Rates and lengths of coverage will vary based on your medical situation. For example, if there are complications with delivery or you experience Postpartum Depression (PPD), you may qualify for a longer period of STD coverage.

Pregnancy is considered a pre-existing condition, so you’ll need to purchase it in advance of any pregnancy. When policy shopping, the cheapest option isn’t necessarily the best one. Here are some questions to keep in mind as you look over coverage options:

  • How long will the STD plan cover me?
  • How much will I receive each week or each month? What percent of my wages will it cover?
  • What is the waiting period? How long do I need to wait, after signing up for the STD plan, before I can start using any of the benefits?
  • How much does the STD policy cost? What are the monthly premiums?
  • Does the math back out? Insurance premiums are a lot of money, but so are your wages. How much will you be paying out in total premiums (and for how long)? How much will you be getting paid out?

Budget for Your Parental Leave Before the Baby Comes

Set up a budget or spending plan. Figure out how you’re going to make ends meet now, not later. Too many parents don’t do this because it’s stressful.

But thinking about your spending plan doesn’t need to be a source of pain.

  • How long will your paternal leave be?
  • How much money will you need to offset that loss of income?
  • How much do you have in your savings account? How much will you have saved when the baby arrives?
  • Are there any work-from-home jobs you can do now, or during leave, to make up for that loss? Common jobs include graphic design (art printables, logos, website), pet sitting (proceed with caution if you’re pregnant or have a new baby), social media management, testing apps, or picking up projects as a freelance writer.
  • Can you take vacation or PTO during leave as paid time off?
  • Can other colleagues or coworkers transfer or donate any of their PTO toward your balance?
  • What subscriptions can you cancel? Can you cut Netflix, Hulu, or Apple TV for a few months? While each of these subscriptions is only a few dollars, they all add up to death by a thousand cuts.

Avoid Major Purchases

Major purchases go hand in hand with a new baby: crib, stroller, and car seat are just a few of the most common ones.

But it’s best to avoid any major purchases that you can. This includes updating appliances or the living room sectional, planning vacations and air travel, or making any big spend unless it’s absolutely necessary.

How Should You Make Money on Maternity Leave?

Bringing home a baby is expensive–even if you are lucky enough to get paid leave. With medical bills, baby supplies, and lost work income, financial woes can creep into your time to bond with the newest member of your family.

Luckily, however, there are some free government and community resources to help lighten your load. This includes free baby food, formula, breast pump supplies, and more.

And in terms of any lost income, there are plenty of flexible ways to earn cash online from your phone. We’ve shared some of the best, maternity-leave-friendly side hustles in this article.

While these gigs aren’t enough to replace a full salary, they offer sleep-deprived parents easy ways to earn a little bit of extra money, a few blurry-eyed minutes at a time.

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