Oh, goodness. Do I have a gem for you today, or what? Well, I found the situation hilarious…let’s see if you agree…
If you’ve been reading for a while, then you know that I’m not just a mother…I also work full-time. That job happens to put me into an office environment, which makes pumping while at work somewhat of a challenge for many reasons. Most of which are probably just an adjustment that needs to be made mentally, and for the most part I’ve made the adjustment. Everyone that works here knows what the “Privacy Please” sign on my door means, and they typically will also avoid the kitchen area for a while after my door’s been closed…big, manly men don’t really want to watch a woman co-worker transfer breast milk into storage bags. LOL!
The office that I work in happens to be one of those high-rise offices and as such, like most other high-rise offices that I’ve worked in, the building requires a bit of upkeep. One of those upkeep items is keeping the windows sparkly and clean…coincidentally ours are never clean (even right after they clean them) but whatever. So we all got the notice the other day from the property management office that the windows would be cleaned over the next few days (it actually started last week) and those of us who are lucky enough to have window offices prepared to sit and watch those brave guys hanging from ropes and discuss with our fellow co-workers if enough money could be paid to us for us to do that job.
But that was last week. This week is a whole new week, and I’ve slept since then. Or haven’t slept since then, as the case may be. Added on top of that, it’s Monday and I’ve pretty much forgotten whatever notices were sent out the previous week. So when 8:30 rolls around and it’s time for my first pumping session, I go about my business like normal.
Do you have a sense for where this is going yet???
Oh, another side note that makes this story all that much more interesting: I like wearing dresses. I love that I work in a place where I can wear dresses with heels and feel all girly-girly. And since most of my dresses I haven’t worn since this time last year, I’m trying to wear all of the summer dresses as much as possible right now as Fall rolls into Central Texas and the weather is nice. On a normal person, wearing a dress isn’t that notable. But for a breast-feeding/pumping-while-at-work-Mom…this becomes somewhat of a possible wardrobe malfunction just waiting to happen. If you’ve put 2 and 2 together at this point, you get where I’m taking this point…when you’re pumping, wearing a dress means baring your upper body completely while pumping.
Back to my story – 8:30 rolls around, and I pull out all of my paraphernalia for pumping and prepare to do the deed. I close my office door, hook everything up and unzip my dress. Now, the first question that many of you might want to ask is if I close my blinds. I’ll bravely (or stupidly?) answer that I do not. I’m on an upper floor, no one could see me unless you’ve got binoculars in the next high rise over (which I’ll grant you could happen) but I ALWAYS sit on the floor below the wall of windows – completely 100% blocked from anyone’s view. That’s just where I’m most comfy and you need to be all comfy when you’re pumping at work.
Just as I get my dress worked down and the pump started up, I hear the THUNK! THUNK! sound that signals the window washer man is working on a section of windows. Vaguely in the back of my brain, I remember the email coming out…and I turn to look at the windows to see if I’m in any danger. I see nothing. He must not be close to my section, I think to myself. So I continue.
Just as I’m really getting into my Zen mindset that I totally thinks make pumping more effective, I hear the THUNK! THUNK! again…this time it sounds a bit closer. I once again look over my shoulder, and imagine my surprise when I see ropes dangling down…no feet, or anything to suggest an actual person is close…just the ropes that signal that somewhere a person is near. Could be 100 feet above or below the section of ropes that I can actually see.
Hmmm…what does a girl do in this situation? If you’ve ever pumped before, you know that it’s not always the easiest thing to stop and start in the middle of a session so I don’t really want to stop and wait for him to move on if he’s nowhere close to my office. I tilt my head up and backwards, trying to angle it so that I can see where the window washer man is. I can’t see him, and make the conscious decision to continue the session…oh yeah, I did just do that.
But now my stride is off. I’ve lost the Zen vibe that I had going on because now I’m worried about the window washer man. How close is he? Would he even be able to see in? The windows are tinted shiny from the outside, so how much could he really see??? And as I start to get nervous about it all (those THUNKS are getting closer!) I realize that my milk has slowed down. And it shouldn’t have slowed down just quite yet…so that means that my anxiety over this situation is affecting the pumping session. But at this point, I can’t stop, I just need to do whatever it is I need to do to finish up before he makes it to my pane of glass.
So I decide to “help the girls out” by massaging them along, encouraging them to empty completely out in a quicker manner because when I say the word massage I really mean squeeze, squish or smash. It really does help things out…even if it looks awkward. And then the thought hits me (as if it wouldn’t have been bad enough before) that there’s a lady halfway undressed in her office all alone with plastic parts attached to some of her lady parts…now I’ve got all of that PLUS I’m touching said lady parts in what could be construed in a sexual manner. Note: you would only think that if you’re a GUY! There’s nothing remotely sexual about pumping milk out of your breasts…see all other posts where I refer to myself as Bessie the Cow.
So now I’ve got the mental image of what I think the window washer man would see if he happened to come to my window…and I’m terrified that I won’t finish in time…I try to think nice milk-flowing thoughts to speed things up…and I continue to “force” the milk out by other means…doing all of this at what I feel is warp speed so that I finish in time. Just as I begin to despair of ever draining myself dry, I realize that I’m all done.
I quickly unhook, tossing the liquid gold on the floor in a manner that doesn’t fit the preciousness that I really feel towards it and struggle to re-attach the cups of my nursing bra in the upright and closed position. I frantically reach around behind myself and drag the zipper up with perhaps a bit more force than was really necessary…and then, and only then, do I relax enough to turn off the breast pump.
As I rise up off of the floor, coming into view of the world fully dressed, I see the window washer man’s legs descend into my line of sight. Sure enough, by the time that I’ve sat myself back down at my desk like any other normal working person, he’s got a full view into my office. Luckily for me, there’s nothing there for him to see anymore…if he can even actually see inside…
Oh but wait, are those breastpump suction cups and vials full of milk on my desk? Why yes, yes they are. What? You mean to tell me that’s not a normal sight in an office building? Oh, I had no idea!
By the skin of my teeth I missed exposing myself to the window washer man. Another 15 or 20 seconds and I would have still been trying to zip up my dress while sitting down on my office floor…a full minute sooner and he would have gotten one heck of a show!
You know, after that first awkward first day of pumping at work, it really hasn’t been uncomfortable.
Let me revise that statement and add an “Until Today” to the end of it!