This post could be titled appropriately Mishaps in Breast Pumping. Last week I had an overnight trip to Washington, DC. It was the kind of overnight work-related trip that I have managed successfully dozens of times before without incident. Of course now, the simplest tasks, even traveling without children, suddenly have become laboriously intensive in a way that I never predicted. Thus, when I arrived at my hotel to unpack my breastpumping gear, imagine my shock when I realized that I had failed to pack essential parts of my breast pumping apparatus. In DC, there is no convenient Buy Buy Baby or Babies R Us to Union Station, so I found myself in an Uber during rush hour for a trip out to the suburbs to get the needed parts. It took two and a half hours. Sitting in DC traffic when one needs to pump and is in a particular kind of pain isn’t something that I would wish on anyone, the least of all my poor hapless Uber driver stuck with me and my far too detailed description of my predicament. He waited for me when I dashed into the Babies R Us in the pouring rain and took me back into DC when I finally had what I needed. After all of the time we spent together in the car, I was expecting my Uber bill to be over $100. Nope. It was $60. Worse still, I didn’t have cash to tip for all of that trouble. So on top of all my breastfeeding related pain, I had considerable capitalist guilt-related pain for how ridiculously little this poor guy was getting paid to put up with my breast-pumping related drama.
After arriving back at my hotel, I was supposed to go to the Nats game that evening with friends. But after that unexpected afternoon detour to the Northern Virginia ‘burbs, I still had a presentation that I needed to work on. So, I had to call and cancel the game with friends. While I was talking to my friend, I tripped and fell in the middle of the sidewalk, resulting in that great busted up knee you see on the above photo. It was a lovely end to a hectic day.
The next day, I assumed my day would go much better. I was going to be at the Georgetown Law Library for the day, then I would be returning home on a direct flight from DCA. Easy enough, right? Well, during my “pumping break” in the middle of the day, I forgot to attach a bottle to my pump and didn’t realize it until all of my milk was all over the brand new work suit I had purchased for the occasion. This meant I had to spend all afternoon covered in my own milk and pretending like I didn’t notice it. That wasn’t awkward at all…
I made it to the airport in plenty of time to pump before boarding my flight, so I assumed I could find some nice, out of the way spot to pump. It turns out all of those discreet locales were populated with businessmen charging up their iPhones. (Note: One day, when I am in charge of airport administration, I am going to come up with a hierarchal structure for who is allowed to use available plugs in the library and breastpumping mothers is going to come directly under life sustaining medical devices. Businessmen charging iPhones is going to be last on the list, even below other kinds of mobile devices.) Nonetheless, I persevered and found a plug; it was just located in the middle of a gate boarding area. I didn’t care at that point. I covered up as best as I could and pumped, probably only flashing a couple of dozen World War II veterans waiting to board their flight back to Kansas City.
It was all much more stressful than I would have predicted, and many times during the course of that quick trip I questioned, why am I doing this? Why does any Mom do this when we still have crap like the extreme gender wage gap in this country and no recognition by our country of how tough it is to be a working Mom because we still don’t have widely accepted support structures like paid maternity leave?
Making it home to my sweetly slumbering boys I felt nothing but relief. These little boys are worth it. I look at them and I am glad I am trying to figure out how to make it work. I would be lying if I didn’t say they are hard to leave but they are a joy to return home to. This was them the morning that I flew out:
I just have to take that sweetness with me when I go. I would like to believe that their sweetness makes me a nicer person when dealing with the new challenges of being a working Mom.
When I am away, even at work for the day, I know I have their happy faces to look forward to when I get home. They then are able to show off to me all of their looks for the day.
Or here is Desmond’s Blue Steel:
It is a rare occasion that I travel and David stays at home, but when that rare occasion happens, like last week, I know the boys are in good hands (also because we still have my Mom with us for another few weeks).
Yes, life has changed very quickly, but as embarrassing as it may be to unwittingly flash World War II veterans in wheelchairs, these faces are worth it.