I’ve been back at work for over a week now. Over a week in which I have felt like some bizarre combination of a disembodied head attached to an electric pump. It has been disorienting, exhausting, stimulating and also, for good measure, TEARY. Mostly, “work” has just become the stuff that happens in between pumping. It’s all very bizarre. Here then are some new-working-mama-lessons-from-the-back-to-work-trenches™.
(1) They can hear you
I had it all planned out. It was 9 am and time to pump. No matter that I had a VERY IMPORTANT PHONE CALL with a VERY SERIOUS LAW ENFORCEMENT TYPE. I would simply hook myself up to the milking machine and disguise the incessant, thumping sound of the pump with a series of scarves and other patented sound mufflers (my hands? A down coat?). Because that’s just who I am. SUPER MOM/MACGYVER.
<A mere 3 minutes into VERY IMPORTANT PHONE CALL>
Serious law enforcement type: (laughing uncomfortably) I’m sorry, but I am having a really hard time concentrating – what on earth is that sound?
Sarah: <totally awkward and not at all believable reference to “construction” happening “outside” plus, oh I don’t know,… an ambulance?>
Serious law enforcement type: <brutally long pause while deciding whether or not to call me out on my totally not plausible explanation>
Sarah: <searches for excuse to end phone call immediately>
Ahem. Lesson learned.
(2) Simple pleasures
The pleasure of using the bathroom alone and for more than 8 pained seconds cannot be overstated. Really. Really.
(3) Getting used to answering the same god-for-saken question
Means-well-but-only-kind-of co-worker: How old is your son?
Sarah (under eye bags prominent): 11 weeks
Means-well-but-only-kind-of co-worker: <with great anticipation> Is he sleeping through the night?!
Sarah (under eye bags growing darker with each passing minute): No.
Means-well-but-only-kind-of co-worker: <grave disappointment>
And then, 15 minutes later, THIS ENTIRE EXCHANGE WILL BE REPEATED WITH EVERY SINGLE COLLEAGUE.
(4) Growing efficiency mixed with complete distraction
There’s something about the incredible demands of an infant, the exorbitant cost of child care and the singular drive to go home and go to sleep AS SOON AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE that makes one exponentially more efficient at work. Also, DISTRACTED. Because, you know, baby, baby, baby, must sustain human life, must look at pictures of baby and watch video of baby while at desk writing important legal brief. See also: BABY. It’s baffling, really.
So guys, what am I missing? What other back to work life lessons should I be made aware of?