Monday, April 7, 2008

Laughing Over Spilt Milk


When I returned from work after my maternity leave with baby Luke I thought that there would be a room I could use for pumping breast milk. When I asked where the room was I was told, "Just use Jim's office. He's hardly ever here so he won't know." Um, does it lock? "No." Determined not to spend my 15 minutes 3 x per day in a stolen room with a chair barring the door this time around, I put a little more effort into securing a room to use.

With two co-worker moms on maternity leave, and another mom-to-be on my side, I managed to get an old office turned into the new "lactation room." I guess, in the past, other women have chosen to just pump in the bathroom. Other than Kramer with his in-shower disposal, I haven't heard of too many people preparing meals in the bathroom. Also weird, the men seem to be jealous of our girls-only hideout. One co-worker thinks equal opportunity dictates that men should be able to nap in there. Twice I have knocked on the door to kick out male co-workers who were in there using the phone or the computer. Both times after I knock I get, "Oh, sorry. Do you need this room?" Um, yeah. I don't even work in this building. If I am knocking on the door, it's because I need to pump out some milk so my baby can eat at daycare tomorrow.

At IBM in Boulder one mom was stressed her first week back to work and she left a note for the other users of the former janitors-closet-turned-lactation-room. The notes back and forth eventually became a book called The Milk Memos - How Real Moms Learned to Mix Business With Babies And How You Can Too. I haven't read it but I think the gist is that you need to get support and guidance from other moms. We have our own support system at my office. Some great advice has been posted on the walls. (See picture.) And our notes range from snarky comments about J Lo's nursery in the latest People to the creepiness of an incredibly lifelike babydoll for the low, low price of $49.99 in Ladies Home Journal, to the fact that we can't go a day without milk spots on our pants. And when meetings cause my pumping schedule to get all messed up, I know there is always a willing co-worker who will offer to call me on the speaker phone and pretend to cry like a baby to help with let down. (I passed on the offer once I stopped laughing.) It's important to have a good support system of other new moms who will tell you that a printed skirt makes it impossible to notice a gigantic ripped seam. (And just this morning I was so proud of myself for being able to fit into a 10 year old skirt. A ten year old skirt that is ripped at the seams... not such a feat.)

We may not get a book out of this experience, but I know there will always be something in there to make me laugh, even when I spill 3 ounces of milk all over the desk and and myself. Three ounces of liquid gold. Three ounces of freedom, three ounces of security, three ounces of my baby's nourishment. Oh, wait, this is about how I didn't cry. At least I knew that the print in my skirt would make the milk spill totally invisible!



(Oh - and we all know breast milk is sterile, but I stole the Lysol Wipes from C's desk and used them for cleanup. I attempted to clean the keyboard, but lysol is no match for those cooties!)





7 comments:

Cate Colburn-Smith said...

Hi Megan.
Cate Colburn-Smith here, co-author of The Milk Memos! You really must read the book, or maybe I'm just saying that because I wrote it!! I do think you would totally relate to it, and get some good laughs and some solace from the moms who contributed to the journals that became the basis for the book.
I have a Google alert widget thingy that alerts me when Milk Memos appears somewhere in the vast digital world. It makes me feel good knowing that working moms are aware of the book. :-)
It's available at most libraries if you don't want to buy it. And I'm sure you have lots of time to spend going to the library!
All the best to you!
Cate

Bill and Cindy said...

Hey Megan, I love reading your blog. It gives me a giggle a day. Sorry you spilled your milk; I probably would have cried. The reason I wanted to comment: When I started working at Yum! 2-1/2 years ago, I noticed there were no private bathrooms or lactation rooms. I decided I would stand up for all the pregnant ladies and put a suggestion in for a lactation room. To my surprise, they took my suggestion seriously and asked me what all the room needed. I told them a comfortable chair, a counter top, a sink to clean the pump parts, and an electrical outlet. They actually then built a lactation room in every single office building that we own in town!! That is four buildings! I was so proud. I have never used the rooms, but I went in one to check it out and it is very nice. They even let people bring pictures of their babies and leave them in the room. One of my close co-workers is now using the room in our building and she is grateful because with her first baby, there was no such room. :)

Meta Megan said...

Two things -

1.) Look for Milk Memos on my list of books read one day soon.

2.) Cindy - Good for you! I would love it if we had a real room with a sink, but I am just glad to have a door with a lock. I have been meaning to hang up a picture of Jack, but, um, I haven't printed any yet.

Anonymous said...

Watching Jack roll over, it looks like he has his tongue sticking out. Has Luke been talking to him about how to hold his tongue. Paul

KC said...

Oh, how it hurts to spill breastmilk! Liquid gold is totally right.

I was walking around the mall today with Jolie, thinking I was looking pret-ty good when I caught a reflection of myself...and my bullseye breast pads branding my cow-ness. Milk stains and breast pads. A winning combination.

(thank you for your comment on my blog!)

laura madonna said...

In fact, just today, Dave K complained to me about the lactation room. Well, he just said, 'I don't get why they had to use that office for that.' I'm not sure if he was just trying to get my goat or not, but he got it. I asked him where he thought a good place for me to pump would be. He said he guessed some people used the bathroom so I reminded him that it is gross and smelly in there and that breast milk is supposed to be kept sterile. I have to say, I was so surprised to hear him complain since he was so head over heels for his own baby girl. WTF!

laura madonna said...

btw, I just ordered 'The Milk Memos' for the lactation room.