The hardest thing for me about being a working mother is dropping Sebastian off at daycare every morning. If I had my way about it, I would cuddle him all day long until he was old enough to leave for college. But I can’t, so daycare it is. The next hardest thing is pumping at work. It isn’t really that difficult, but it is a pain in the rear end to have to stop what I’m doing every 2 to 3 hours to hook the ladies up to a machine to extract my baby’s liquid gold.
Surprisingly, my office does not have a specific lactation room where I can pump undisturbed. I say it’s surprising because I work for a women’s health organization that wants women to have all the choices. I supposed it’s hard to walk the walk sometimes, but I digress. For a while I was pumping three times a day in a vacant office but then they hired someone to fill it and I either had to get creative or pump in my team’s bathroom. So here’s what I do: I pump at my desk in my cubicle.
To do this, I purchased a tension rod and curtain panel to place in the doorway of my cubicle so I can have some privacy. This works for me because we have tall cube walls, and our office space used to be an apartment building. My team is located in an area that used to be a small apartment and there are only 5 people on my team who use the space, so I actually have a lot of privacy already. Add in the fact that we have very little foot traffic on our floor and I was able to create a little space for pumping.
I placed a clip on either side of the doorway to secure the curtain in place so there aren’t any gaps between wall and curtain. I didn’t want to take any chances that the curtain would blow open or something like that when someone does walk by. It’s still a pain to have to have to stop what I’m doing to get set up, but I don’t have to leave my desk so my flow doesn’t get too interrupted.
I’m not going to lie, I would love to leave my curtain-door up all day long so that no one bothered me, but I can’t. So the rest of the time, I’ve clipped it to the side so it isn’t in the way, and to let my coworkers know it’s alright to approach me. Lately I’ve tried to fold it a little neater when I clip so it doesn’t look like a hot mess (like in the photo below) but as long as it’s out of the way, I don’t usually worry about it.
Even thought we have tall cubicle walls, I’ve warned my coworker who sits in the cube right beside me to be careful when he stands up because he’s really tall and can probably see over the wall. That’s more for his comfort than for mine; it’s pretty amazing how little modesty one has when one becomes used to whipping out a breast to feed a baby. The only other con is that if my boss or other coworker isn’t paying attention, they’ll run right into the tension rod when they walk into my cube. But as long as they’re alert, it isn’t usually a problem.
So, that’s how I turned lemons into lemonade. I figure I only have to keep doing this for the next 9+ months until Sebastian starts eating PB&J sandwiches, right?
Have you ever had to get creative/resourceful for work?