If you're lucky enough to have some time off work with a new baby, you might be too tired to do anything except sleep. And whether or not you're able to do anything for yourself depends on so many factors I won't even list them.
But, since many moms find that life with a new baby changes everything, maternity leave might be a good time to think about what you want. Here are some suggestions for questions to ask and things to do at naptime (when you're not sleeping yourself, of course).
1. Do I want to go back to work? Some moms find that caring for a baby is more work than they'd imagined. Others can't wait to get back into a regular routine. Whatever it is you want, don't assume it's your own personal failing if your goals change after you have a baby. And don't assume the decisions you make now are final, either. You might be able to take a break and then go back. You might try going back to work on a trial basis before you commit to it permanently.
2. Do I want the same schedule? Some new moms prefer to ease back into work on a part-time basis rather than hitting the full-time grind immediately. Others miss their babies if they're gone for more than a few hours, or need to be physically present with their babies in order to establish breastfeeding. See what you can negotiate if a less demanding schedule seems to be in your future.
3. Do I want the same job? Plenty of mothers decide they want to pursue a different career path after their children are born. This could be because their cuurent field doesn't allow much flexibility, or it could simply be because their priorities and interests change (I became much more interested in women's rights after I had children, for example). Maybe a business idea has been waiting for the right time to appear, like it did for these maternity leave entrepreneurs.
4. Stay connected. This doesn't mean that you have to check your email after every feeding, but it helps to know what's going on in your workplace, especially if you're planning to go back.
5. Get educated. Whether it's for work skills or just for fun, if you've been putting off reading that novel or learning basic Spanish, you might be able to steal a few hours doing whatever it is that you always wanted to do and never got around to doing.
6. Take care of yourself. At no other time in your life will other people understand an hour-long bubble bath or a three-hour afternoon nap as they do now. Be kind to yourself, and don't put too much pressure on yourself to do things before you're ready.