Be Balanced: Pumping Panic
By the time this blog is published, I will either be in the throes of postpartum or waiting out the final days before Baby Keegan makes his or her arrival (UPDATE: Baby Keegan has arrived!).
However, weeks prior to having the baby, I’ve got one thing on my mind: baby prep. I’m making my lists and checking them twice, making sure we have everything we need for baby’s arrival.
An important part of that prep is planning for what life will look like after I return to work. While I know that any hard and fast plans I make now will change once Baby Keegan gets here, thinking about how my days might be scheduled and how I will spend my time helps me prepare mentally, emotionally, and materially for what’s to come.
So what have I accomplished through all this planning? Well, aside from finding a super cute and totally overpriced pumping bag, I was smacked in the face with the realization that as long as I’m pumping, I will have time for little else. I knew, as most everyone does, that small children take up A LOT of time, but I didn’t realize the extent of that until I starting Googling “sample pumping schedules for working moms.” You guys. It’s enough to induce panic in even the most chill of people. The level of detail and scheduling on most of these things makes me think I’d be better off as a robot, rather than a human who is way too fond of hitting snooze.
Once upon a time, I was Little Miss Routine. I had my meals planned (if not prepped) for the week, I worked out at a consistent time and actually got the recommended amount of exercise, and even did outlandish things like program my coffee pot the night before.
That time was called college, and life was a lot simpler then.
Ever since I started working full time, I have struggled to cram my life into the precious hours between when I wake up and leave for work, and when I come home and go to bed. I suspect I’m not alone in this. My husband and I also dated long distance for a good portion of our relationship, and frequent travel contributed to a lack of routine for both of us. When you’re traveling almost every weekend, you never fully unpack your bag, you don’t buy as much fresh food because you either don’t have time to go to the grocery store or it goes bad before you can eat it, and you learn to ignore the dust bunnies in the corner because you’re never home long enough to give your place a good cleaning.
Like most people, Dave and I know we need to make some changes, but breaking a habit or mentality that was nearly 10 years in the making is difficult! And in Dave’s case, he doesn’t default to wanting structure. After my little Google-induced freak out, I came to a realization: if I was going to be successful at pumping (and heck, at being a working mom), I would have to reclaim my title as Queen of Routine.
The more I thought about it, the better it sounded: a routine would give me the structure I’ve been craving, and it would force me to make better use of my free time. To my surprise, Dave not only agreed with me, but said that he was looking forward to getting into more of a routine. He also gets all the cool husband points for being super supportive of breastfeeding, pumping, and working moms. This pumping thing doesn’t have to be overwhelming; it can be something that I take one step at a time, and that I can make time for and get help with in order to be successful. I hope Dave likes washing bottles! I may be getting carried away, but I’m even having visions of us scheduling time to run a few days a week.
So at least for now, the pumping panic has subsided. And working mamas, I would love to hear any advice you may have for pumping and balancing work and family!