Pumping at work becomes just another chore that can range from being tolerated to downright hated, so let’s flip the perspective to look at the positive side, other than providing the best nutrition & immune support food there is for your baby. The following is an inspiring read for working parents, which will be divided into a 3 part mini-series.
3 Surprising Life Lessons I Learned From Pumping
JULY 28, 2020
I’ve never talked to anyone who loves pumping. It’s certainly not one of my favorite things to do. I dreaded a lot of things when I returned to work after maternity leave and pumping at work every few hours topped that list (along with putting on real pants and missing my sweet baby).
I assumed it would add stress to my day, decrease my productivity, and be an overall hassle. On occasion, pumping was all of these things. On other occasions, it was none of these things. Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t an article on how to learn to love pumping. It’s still not my first choice of activities, but I learned a few things about time management and setting boundaries that I hadn’t expected pumping to teach me. Read on for my top three lessons.
Part 1. Don’t Apologize for Setting Boundaries
As a workplace people-pleaser and perfectionist, I tend to gravitate toward sacrificing my time or adjusting my schedule to put others first—even when I should be setting healthy boundaries and prioritizing my needs.
With pumping, that was not an option. There was the physical aspect: my boobs would literally start leaking mid-meeting if I skipped out on a pumping session, and my supply would dwindle if I did that regularly. And there was the mental aspect: nothing was more important than ensuring my baby got the milk she needed.
The priority of pumping was so crystal clear and non-negotiable that I had no choice but to get a little uncomfortable with protecting my time by setting boundaries, both with peers and superiors. When a meeting went over time, especially if it started encroaching on my 30-minute time slot in the mother’s room, I had no trouble pointing out that we were over time and should schedule a follow-up if further discussion was needed.
I learned to stop feeling sorry about setting boundaries or like I was letting people down. And guess what? No one got mad at me or demanded an apology. In fact, my respect for my own boundaries garnered others’ respect for my boundaries.