Tuesday, February 25, 2014

back to work, 11 weeks old

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>


(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?

Rockin' his hipster threads.


  1. Also under 2- eating lunch with both hands with no crying in the background (but with the swishing sound of the pump). I think otherwise you nailed it!

  2. I think that's the default question that people ask about babies. It makes no sense since the VAST majority of babies don't sleep through the night for many many months (8mo in our case). My other pet peeve question is "is he a good baby?" Um, WTF does that mean? ALL babies are good. It's not like they're trying to be bad by being fussy or waking up at night to eat. I mean, c'mon. My pat responses now are "he sleeps like a baby" and "I believe all babies are good." Shuts'em up every time. :P

    On a happier note, I can't believe how big he's gotten! SO cute!

    1. Ha, I know, so bizarre - "umm, no, he's a devious, malicious baby"? I mean, he's an infant - he may be insane and unpredictable but that's pretty much his job.

  3. love the pumping story! thanks for being so real with us! he is adorable!

  4. I can't imagine going back to work with an 11 week old...so I think you are a hero for making it happen at all!

  5. Omg I am seriously impressed that you're back at work by 11 weeks. We're at 4.5 months and I'm just now starting to creep back into the freelance world and it kind of sucks. I want a job where I work for, like, three hours each day, one hour of which is my paid lunch break, and I get full benefits and pension plan and six-figure salary. Oh, and the job is cuddling kittens.

    Also, where is your bicycle duvet cover from?? Love!

    Also also, I'm pretty sure my neighbours can hear me pumping halfway down the street... sigh...

    1. A good friend made the blanket - it's actually just fabric from JoAnn's!

      Also, I've found that when I'm sitting at my desk, if I put the pump in my desk drawer, it really disguises the sound. Of course, then I can't really move… compromises...