This morning I got up at 6:30 to a happy, hungry, cooing Gwyneth. I changed and fed her, and when she was happy, cooing, fed Gwyneth, I gave her to Justin and started getting ready for work. They hung out on our bed and talked and played while I showered and dug through the laundry and got dressed, and then Justin noted that she had MouthFace again. MouthFace means she’s hungry, and since she slept for 8 hours I wasn’t surprised that she was hungry a mere hour after eating the first time. So I sat down and fed her again. No problem, right?
Yeah. Except for the part where when I turned her upright to be burped and brought back to her daddy, she puked all over my work clothes.
Right. Lesson number 3,043 in being a working mom: Don’t get dressed til you’re walking out the door.
Other frustrations that are now a part of my daily life:
- My only alone-time comes in my office, pretty much only when I’m pumping breastmilk (since that’s Do Not Disturb time, and no one drops in to ask a question). At all other times I’m either in the company of Justin or Gwyn or my colleagues, and it’s emotionally exhausting.
- Scheduling my day now revolves around ensuring there are appropriate and sufficient times in my calendar for me to do said pumping — and my work schedule was already sort of a nightmare. I’ve basically extended my workday by about 2 hours each day at a time when I most want to shorten it.
- Making any plans for after work requires I consider pumping/feeding schedules, not to mention whether or not I’m being fair to Justin by not coming straight home, and considering the tradeoff of time spent doing whatever I’m doing vs time spent with my lovely daughter.
- I can only wear clothes that don’t require a tank top that is too restrictive to pump in, since I really have no desire to strip naked from the waist up in my office several times a day, and that eliminates most of the tops I own since my style revolves around the tank top as base layer… and my wardrobe is already pretty limited by my post-partum size. I nearly lost it as I stood in front of my closet, wearing my only clean nursing bra, trying to figure out what else I could wear today after losing the pants, shirt, and sweater I’d planned on.
- Packing for work now involves not only making my lunch and gathering my work stuff but also gathering an entire new bag full of pumping paraphernalia, all of which needs to be cleaned every day. I despise maintenance tasks.
- I am stupid exhausted, and don’t envision the opportunity to sleep for more than 6 hours at a stretch to appear anytime soon, because breastfeeding means I physically can’t go more than that before things get wickedly uncomfortable. I used to be happiest with 9-10 hours of sleep. Alas.
None of those things, on their own, is really awful. They’re each just tiny oppressions, small inconveniences, manageable shifts in expectations and behaviors. But together, all of them, piled on top of each other… and the sleep deprivation thing acts as a compounding and multiplying factor. Maybe if I wasn’t so tired, so close to the edge of overwhelmed all the time, I could handle all the rest… but maybe not. Who knows — certainly not me!
This working mother shit is not for sissies. But as various of my friends who are parents say, babies are cute for a reason, and mine is seriously cute.