I’ll get to the whole pumping at work debacle in just a minute, but first, can we talk about how we lie to ourselves–and each other–like all the time?
I’ll go first.
During my first week back to work, I must have faced the “How does it feel to be back?” question oh, about four hundred thousand times.
And of course, I had my perfectly-orchestrated, boilerplate answer all ready to go. Some BS version of, “It feels good to be back in a normal routine again.”
Why do I say shit like this? Why can’t I be real for one tiny second in my lousy, pathetic, sleep-deprived, small little life?
NO IT DOES NOT FEEL GOOD.
SCREW YOUR ‘NORMAL’ ROUTINE, BECCA. SCREW IT SO HARD.
See, I liked my maternity routine.
It was by far the most challenging year of my life, but for the first time ever, I felt like I was actually doing something meaningful.
For once, I wasn’t just a number–a cog in a machine. My ideas were valid, and my decisions were vital. I had a role, and it was important. I meant something to someone.
What I was doing mattered.
And you know what? I didn’t even mind being up at the crack of dawn most days. In fact, I kind of liked it.
I also liked the playdates, the yoga and swimming lessons. I liked the road trips, the long walks, the picnics in the park and the lazy afternoons in the sun. I liked being there for his first word, his first food, and when he sat up, stood up, and crawled for the first time.
And sure, some additional perks were the frequent naps, comfortable sweatpants and the freedom of going commando on the upper deck–but I earned those. Don’t you dare say I didn’t earn those.
I liked everything about my “abnormal” routine this past year, so screw you–no, screw me–for lying through my teeth like that.
Can I have a do-over?
You be my colleagues and I’ll be me.
COLLEAGUES: How does it feel to be back, Becca?
ME: I’d rather be elbow deep in a smelly mountain of feces than spend another minute staring at this Excel spreadsheet.
Okay, moving on.
I’m grateful for the time I had. And I accept that I have to work.
I also accept that (for now) I’m not in any way, shape or form doing my dream job–which truthfully, makes returning to work even lousier than it already is. Life doesn’t care about your dream job, though, and diapers don’t grow on trees. Perhaps one day, I’ll stop being a cog and start being someone who matters–someone he can be proud of.
Just not today.
Now let’s talk about boobs.
I had it all planned out.
It’ll be fine, I
lied to told myself. I’ll just pump at my desk twice a day, every day, et voilà! An endless supply of breast milk for daycare. He’s not quite a year old yet, so this way he won’t have to go on expensive soy formula or transition to dairy before his silly little GI tract can handle it.
Number of days I’ve been back to work: 7
Number of times I’ve pumped at my desk: 0
Stop trying to make pumping happen, Becca. It’s never going to happen.
And you know what? That’s okay. I mean, we’re all down here in the trenches, doing the best we can, basically just making shit up as we go anyway. So what if things don’t work out exactly according to plan?
That’s life, and life sucks sometimes. Maybe just be happy you’re here.
And doesn’t that single, ugly truth sound so much sweeter than a thousand of those beautiful lies?