Okay, a lot mortified. And if you've ever actually used a breast pump, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
I have to put my... in those things?! And it's going to do what to them?!
But every day last year, I diligently carted that pump to school. And every day at lunch time, I shut my door, closed my blinds and plugged in "the contraption." I even got good at it, so I could talk on the phone, send e-mail or eat lunch, all the while with one arm strapped across my chest so that I could make lunch for someone else.
They nicknamed me milk and cookies. ("They" being the three people I work most closely with, not the students. That would be super-awkward.)
Every day, I rushed home as quickly as I could so that I could be there to nurse the little girl and put her down for a nap.
If you're a working mommy, the first year is just sucky. I felt awful about having to leave Leah, and I had terrible guilt over the milestones I was missing and the precious moments that were slipping away from me.
There also never seemed to be enough of me at work, either. Can we meet to discuss this over lunch? Um, sure, if you don't mind me whippin' out the girls while you talk. Let's schedule a meeting after school. Excellent. You won't be offended by the person hanging off my nipples?
A little reminiscing:
Last year - Leah was nursing 5 times a day. That means I had to nurse her before I left for work, she had two bottle feedings during the day (supplied by all the above mentioned pumping), and I rushed home to give her the 4th after work. This was only partly for her; I also had to relieve that pressure build up from not nursing her all day. You do remember what happens to a balloon when it is over-inflated, right?
Last year - She was working on sleeping through the night. We hadn't yet perfected it, meaning that I had to go back to work and try to be a professional after five months without sleeping more than 4 hours in a stretch. Ever. That was like some kind of medieval torture.
Last year - I was still suffering from horrible postpartum anxiety, and Leah was still such a tiny pumpkin, leaving her in the care of someone else was terrifying.
Last year - It didn't occur to me to re-try the bottle over the summer, so she went on strike and refused to take any milk while I was at work. Talk about guilt!
Yeah, it doesn't really work, that whole being-someone's-everything-when-you're-not-really-there-at-all.
|LMS, August 2010|
Because my mom watches her at our house 3 days a week, I am actually excited for the 2 days she goes to in-home daycare. The best part? So is she! She loves to play with the other kids and be in a different environment and play with different toys. It is so neat to see how much fun she is having when I come to pick her up - and, of course, to get her big, gleeful hug when she comes running to me.
All of that gives me a piece of mind I simply didn't have last year.
|LMS, August 2011|
And I have to admit: even though I ultimately want to stay home, it is actually easier to go to work than it is to be a stay-at-home mom. There are definitely more complicated emotional issues as a working mom, but I truly believe that doing my job is easier than the job of being a full-time mommy. Even though I teach 8th graders (who can be a lot like toddlers in many ways), there are structures and expectations and routines in a school day that toddlers simply don't adhere to.
But the best part - the BEST part! - is that my pump still goes to work every day. It just goes with Jessica instead of me.