My dad makes a joke..."it was so much easier when his partner was on vacation and I could use his office." Easier for who?? For you who it doesnt affect at all since you stay in the room?
A few weeks ago the office manager turned to me and said, you always talk about having a pumping space, where would you even put it?
Do you want me to draft a floor plan to show you the 15 differnt areas it could be added in our office? Let me name a few.
That wouldnt work. Where would the filing cabinet go?
Seriously? That free standing file cabinet couldnt fit anywhere else in this 3000 sq ft office?
It depresses me that i have to defend myself. I have to stand and explain my position and its just an inconvenience for them.
I spend half of my days running around the city going to various appointments at residential buildings. I do not have a private office or a space in any of those properies. I am spending every morning scheming, manipulating my schedule to squeeze in a pumping session in between 10 appointments with contractors who are never on time, to realize, I have no place to go. There isnt one public building with a lactation room and no spaces available except now the airports and buybuy baby on 27th and 7th. I am scrambling to make it all happen so I can pump a second time before going home and feeding my daughter before I put her to bed.
By the time I get to my office in the afternoon I am fighting for a time for one of the owners to let me use their offices so I can pump. Waiting for them to finish an email, get off a call. Can you try his office instead, they each reply.
Today I have a 5:30 meeting with a board of directors in my office. I ask my boss of I can pump at 5pm in his office. At 5:15 I ask again. Can I wait a few minutes? No I don't have a few minutes, I have a now. I have exactly 12 minutes to set up, pump and clean up before my meeting.
I will not make it. This is all I want to do and I cant find the time or the space. I dont have less work to do working full time and will spend an hour and half of that time pumping. My minutes are all I have to get my work done so I can go home and see my daughter for 20 minutes before I put her to bed.
My milk supply is low. I have no back up supply in the freezer despite the planning o did on my 2 month maternity leave. Every pump i miss is milk she doesnt have to drink. I am not ready to use formula. I have only ever wanted to breastfeed and now i am finally blessed with a beautiful bbaby and dont have the place to pump to give her the one thing i know, the thing that sustains her, and gives me the most natural thing my body has ever done. I want to prioritize this but am struggling.
I went to pottery barn kids and found they have 1 working bathroom to use. I go in and close the door for 15 minutes while I pump. I am told not to pump in the bathrooms since its unsanitary. I have no where to go and im stuck on the upper east side. The mamava app tells me there is a coffee shop nearby which is “cool” and i can go there. I think they mean for breastfeeding- not pumping.
One of my coworkers called me a dairy farm on the second day back from maternity leave.
I need to tell you about the time I pumped in an anthropologie dressing room. Or when i tried to pump at an Equinox gym, the Nomo hotel, or the whole foods handicap bathroom but the outlets were broken, the sink wasnt working, they didnt have a private room, respectively. I should also tell you about the old compactor room I pumped in at a building I manage. It was disgusting. But actually had a sink, working outlet, desk and lock on the door.
The worst part is that its up to my employer to find a “reasonable accommodation”. This isnt reasonable. This is inconventient and frustrating at best. This is a daily negotiation with who has the least imprtant thing they are in the middle of that I can stop them from working and use their office. Why isnt there a space in pumplic to go? Not one library, cvs, whole foods, train station, government building is available? Not one barnes and noble has a room?
I am working on solving this. There must be a solution to make being a working mom a realistic possibility.