It’s baby round 2, pumping round 2. With my first, I was an exclusive pumper (EP). This next round, I was able to nurse. Now that I’m back at work, however, I’m basically back to EP with an occasional early morning nursing session once a day.
Yup, that means regularly pumping on the clock.
Fortunately, I can go long stretches in between pumps – aka less pumping – and I mostly work remotely, so I’m not regularly juggling the in-office pumping struggle.
But when I am in the office, I know one thing: pumping in the office is no fun. No thanks!
That’s why you working, pumping moms get a gold star.
Pumping in the office is awkward.
My company finally introduced more formal wellness rooms, and even those are awkward. Walking through the door across from a partner or staff – awkward. Sitting in there for 30 minutes with pump gear attached and a fear of stranger walking in – awkward. Playing music or white noise to hopefully drown the sound of your pump – awkward. And that’s with a dedicated wellness room.
For anyone tackling this feat daily in a bathroom stall, your car or community space, you get an extra gold star.
Pumping at work is time-consuming.
Even if you have the benefit of continuing to work while pumping, you still have to stop whatever you’re doing, set-up, pump and then break down everything. If that doesn’t put a damper on your mental stride with whatever you’re working on, give yourself an extra gold star. For me, the stopping and starting is a major productivity killer. And if you literally are not able to work while pumping – maybe paid hourly and not getting paid for that time (is that allowed?) – then you get an extra gold star as well.
Phew, can we count this task on our annual performance review?
Pumping with no co-worker support is painful.
The fact that I have to pump is not a secret. I even have a work bf that I can talk to on the phone – no guilt attached – with the lovely hum of my pump in the background. I also work on a team of mainly all females, lots of moms, and many years in the office together. What if you work with all men? Or a group of people who have no experience with pumping? What if pumping is like a dirty word in your office? For that, you get an extra gold star.
This journey is hard enough already, the last thing we need is a lack of support.
Pumping for your child is dedication.
Pumping – partially, exclusively, whatever – is not for the faint of heart. It takes commitment, dedication and sacrifice. It means getting out of your comfort zone, tip-toeing modesty, educating others, openly communicating about personal topics with people who you may not be very personal with, and even potentially putting those people out of their comfort zones.
It requires a level of selflessness that many people will never experience in their lives.
Sometimes it even requires standing up and fighting for yourself and other moms who are on this journey.
You, working, pumping mom, with your pump gear in tow to the office – one month, two month, 12 months, however many months in – you are my hero.
You get a GOLD STAR.