I was determined to remain every bit as "boss" while pregnant as I was before getting knocked up. Despite my insistence on ordering lunch at 10:45 a.m. (lest I get hangry), I was dead-set on proving that "pregnancy brain" wasn't affecting my ability to slay in the work department. But when it was time to head out on maternity leave, I definitely wanted to roast my coworkers a little, if only because they made me lead a presentation while 38.5 weeks pregnant. Sound familiar? If so, we've got 9 hilarious maternity leave messages that are guaranteed to pack a punch, get a good laugh, and prove how infinitely boss you are, and always will be.
Navigating office life while pregnant is just kind of annoying. For starters, I hated the nonstop commentary on the size of my growing bump. "Oh, you must be having a boy, your bump is so low" (I wasn't), or, "Oh, you must almost be due!" (Nope, 8 more weeks to go). I also had to constantly deal with people asking about my pregnancy cravings and baby name possibilities. My answers were always total let-downs (I had more food aversions than cravings and I was keeping my name choice a secret).
But, as I writer, I did spend a lot of time daydreaming about what my OOO message would be when the day came when I could prance (ok, waddle) out of there on maternity leave. So without further ado, here are 9 cheeky maternity leave message ideas.
1. The "In Case of Emergency" Message
You know the standard OOO message: "Contact me only in case of emergency." Here's a slight, but utterly necessary, revision to the classic:
"I'm OOO on maternity leave. Contact me only in case of emergency, and even then, please, please don't!"
2. The "Limited Access to Email" Email
Another standard OOO messages states, "I’m out of the office with limited access to email."
Make a funny tweak to that by adding a few hilarious things about adjusting to life as a new mother:
"I'm out of the office on maternity leave with limited access to email, clean clothes, quality sleep, and time to shower."
3. The "Robots Will Rule the World" Email
This genius auto-reply message is perfect for those who want to to get a good laugh out of everyone receiving their maternity OOO. To customize it for maternity leave specifically, try this version:
"___ is out on maternity leave. Email contact during this time may be irregular or nonexistent. Try to forgive her; she has a newborn and is chronically sleep-deprived. She is temporarily weakened because she just birthed a human. She will regain strength and be more powerful than ever in a few weeks. This message was NOT sent by a human, but by a robot. We robots are neither weak nor fallible. We are tireless and will one day rule the Universe."
4. The "Not on Vacation" Email
We've all read the out-of-office message that reads more like a humble brag: "I'm out of the office but will return your email when I'm back from the beach."
Yeah, maternity leave is pretty much the opposite of that. For any of your colleagues who think maternity leave is a kind of glorious extended vacation, they need to know that entering into parenthood is more like basic training than a walk on the beach.
So, flip the script a little:
"I'm out of the office on maternity leave. This is not a vacation. I will not be replying to this email. You have been warned!"
5. The "Shower Them with Compliments" Message
This is a great tactic to use to ensure you maintain your "most-loved coworker" status, even while out on maternity leave. Add a clever compliment to your automatic reply:
"I'm OOO on maternity leave. Btw, that color looks great on you!"
Your recipients are sure to smile.
6. The "I Return on..." Email
A standard out-of-office message states the date in which you will return. Have a little fun with that template by adding a little sass. Here's one to try:
"I will be out of the office on maternity leave starting 'XX'. I will return on 'XX' when my short-term disability benefits end."
7. The "All of the Emojis" Message
If you love a good emoji, try an OOO message that says it all in very few words. Try this:
"I will be out of the office on maternity leave starting 'xx' and returning when [baby emoji] [ZZZ emoji] through the [moon emoji]."
8. The "I'll Be There in Spirit" Message
If your coworkers or clients can't bear the fact that you'll be out of the office on maternity for a few months, you need to use a humorous note like this one:
"I'm in the office but I'm trying out my cloak of invisibility!"
With a silly OOO message like that, your colleagues will still feel like you're there in spirit, even if you're really buried in diapers (oh so many diapers)!
9. The "Joking Not Joking" Message
If you're concerned about your officemates raiding your cubicle or desk while you're off tending to more important matters (like raising a tiny human), consider leaving a funny OOO "threat":
"I'm out of the office on maternity leave. Keep your hands off my stapler!"
Just keep it mild enough that it won't raise any flags with the HR department.
10. The "C'Mon Son" Message
If a certain coworker just won't stop emailing you while you're out on maternity leave, consider a pointed OOO that tells them to get their priorities straight:
"I'm out of the office on maternity leave. Whatever you've got, it can wait. Thanks."
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.