The Modern Working Mama

Well folks, I hate to be a cliche, but I’m just gonna say it.

WHAT IN THE HELL WAS I DOING WITH MY TIME BEFORE I HAD A BABY?

Let’s just say that I’m a traveling salesman. It’s pretty much the truth and I try to avoid going into a lot of detail about work specifics on a blog. I basically drive around and visit customers all day.  Productivity isn’t really measured by how many hours I spend working, but more of the quality of the time and conversations I have with customers.

I used to “think” I was busy.  I used to “think” I was being productive with my time at work. I used to “think” I could multitask.  I used to “think” that I could not possibly accomplish more tasks in a given amount of time, or complete my daily work in less time than I already was.

I had no freaking idea.

A typical work day before Poppyseed:

  • Wake up after 8-9 hours of completely uninterrupted sleep, yawn, take 20 minute shower, leisurely do makeup while watching TV/last night’s episode of the Bachelor on the internet, blowdry hair, put on suit, grab purse/computer, plug computer into charger in car, call friends to chat while driving, stop by Starbucks location closest to my first destination, order caramel macchiato (with caffeine), drive to customer office.
  • Make sales calls. Surf around facebook and return emails on iPhone to kill time while sitting in waiting room of customers.
  • Take lunch break. Drive to favorite restaurants and/or coffee shops and enjoy an hour, while possibly returning a few work-related phone calls and emails during that time.
  • Make more sales calls. Go to customer A and then realize he is off on that day. Move to customer B without giving it a second thought that I just wasted a half hour of potential productivity by forgetting customer schedules.
  • Finish up day, leisurely stop by grocery store on the way home and spend 5 minutes standing in the apple section of the produce area deciding if it’s a Red Delicious day or a Gala day.
  • Drive home with goal to arrive home just before Oatmeal. Cook dinner with Oatmeal. Work out.  Play with dogs.  Do dishes.
  • Talk to Oatmeal about how busy my day was today.
  •  Bathtub. Glass of wine. Sleep.

My typical work day after Poppyseed:

  • Wake up, yawn, and attempt to stretch my arm which has completely fallen asleep as a result of not moving it since 3am when I put baby in bed with us to nurse.
  • Make eye contact with wiggly, wide-eyed baby.  Mornin’ baby!  Nurse baby for 20-30 minutes.
  • Baby falls asleep at the boob.  Jump out of bed, cover baby with sheet so she doesn’t get cold, take shower.
  • Out of shower, check on baby. Still sleeping. Proceed to makeup.
  • Complete makeup. Stare at baby. Baby squirms, stretches, I pray she will go back to sleep so I can blowdry my hair.  She does stay asleep. I quietly praise the baby gods above and turn on my flat iron.
  • Stare at baby. Reassure myself she is still tired and sleeping, jog to kitchen. Grab bottles and breast pump, open work computer, sit down and pump for 15 minutes while checking morning work emails.
  • Freeze milk, hear baby stirring.  Pick up/kiss/change/clothe baby.  Burp baby one last time before putting on black suit.  Carefully put burp cloth over shoulder and hold baby in the forward direction for the remainder of the morning to avoid curdled milk landing on black suit.
  • MIL arrives to take over baby. Throw ice packs, empty bottles, and breast pump into portable cooler. Grab keurig coffee (decaf… oh how I miss caffeine) and get in car. Plug in computer to charge.
  • Drive in the direction of first customer location while reciting product details aloud for practice so as to not waste any precious time practicing in parking lots when I could be being productive.
  • 30 minutes before destination, pull over to random parking lot. Put on nursing cover. Unplug computer, plug in breast pump. Assemble pump flanges, turn on motor, make sure everything is, er, “secure,” and get back on the road.
  • Hands free pumpin’ y’all!
  • Wish I could justify a quick trip to Starbucks.  Head straight to customer office instead, thinking, “The sooner I start, the sooner I’ll be finished and on my way home…”
  • Receive text from MIL saying baby ate 5.5oz.  Look down at pump bottles and see that only 3oz has come out so far.  Must spend more time on pump.  Geezus.
  • Wonder to self if baby is growing to be the Incredible Hulk, isn’t the average bottle feeding something like 3.5oz?
  • Arrive at destination, park car, turn off pump, pour liquid gold into storage bottles, praise the boobie gods for the 5.5oz I was able to produce, put in ice chest, use water bottle to clean pump parts, grab computer.
  • Make sales calls. Enjoy when customers ask about baby. Show pictures of baby to customers. Realize my milk just came in talking to customers about baby. Feel like I may leak through my horrendously unattractive nursing bra onto shirt if I don’t act soon.  Desperately reroute all conversation to business only.  Feel grateful I’m wearing black and layers.
  • Return to car, see that someone sent me a 3.5 minute long youtube video to my iPhone. Consider watching it, but think, “I would rather get home to my baby 3.5 minutes earlier.” Resume sales calls.
  • Take lunch break. Grab salad to go. Drive and park in front of Starbucks. Reassemble nursing cover, grab pump and pump phlanges, turn on pump motor. Grab computer, log on to free Starbucks wifi. Eat salad as quickly as possible while balancing salad in lap in front of pump phlanges and watching for new emails on computer. Call business partner to discuss interactions of the day.
  • Think to myself that if using a breastpump, checking emails, eating lunch, and talking on the phone to my business partner isn’t multitasking, I don’t know what is.
  • Realize car parked next to me is occupied. Make eye contact with old man sitting in the driver’s seat. He has a very large fluffly poodle in his lap.
  • Give him a look that I hope he knows means, “What are YOU looking at? As if I’m the weird one… Poodle Man…”
  • Complete computer assignments while sitting in car and pumping. Knock cup of ice water into lap while trying to avoid pump phlanges with my elbows and typing with hands. Jump because it’s freezing cold and pooling underneath my butt. Wish to myself that my nipples weren’t attached to a motor so that I could jump out of icy cold bath that is now my drivers seat.
  • Look over at Poodle Man to see if he was watching the ice water spilling incident. He’s too busy talking to poodle and drinking green tea to notice. Weirdo.
  • Send a few emails. Look at clock. Look down at phlanges. How is there still milk coming out?
  • Consider asking Weird Poodle Man to go inside and grab me a coffee. WITH caffeine.
  • Unassemble pump, remove nursing cover, run to Starbucks bathroom with wet bottom and milky pump parts. Pat my butt and pants dry with paper towels. Rinse pump parts quickly. Store milk in cooler, drive to next office.
  • Make sales calls. Ignore all personal phone calls and texts while sitting in waiting rooms. Count the hours until I see baby again. Text MIL to see how baby is doing.
  • Complete sales calls. Get in car. Drive straight in the direction of home. Pull over 45 minutes into the drive, reassemble pump, put on phlanges, blah blah blah blah milky milky milky milky milky milky milky.
  • Think to self that I just did more today than I ever did before baby, which is mainly due to the fact that if I am going to be away from my kid then I’m darn well going to make it productive.
  • Arrive home. See baby. Love baby. Kiss baby.
  • Return to car, unpack cooler, store milk, hold baby, thank MIL, nurse baby, throw clothes in washer, change baby, prep dinner, bathe baby, greet husband, kiss husband, talk to husband, cook dinner, coo at baby in bouncer in between bites, eat dinner, do dishes, nurse baby, put baby in crib, pick up random baby-related things scattered around house.
  • Sit down at 10pm to pump.  Sync work computer.  Check work emails.  Plan the next work day in order to maximize productivity and minimize time spent away from baby.  Turn off pump.  Freeze milk.
  • Bathtub. Wine. Blog. Done.

***I know that this post can make it seem like a total pain the butt to pump at work.  But really, I don’t mind it.  A wise mom of 5 recently told me, “It seems like nursing can be so time consuming and overwhelming at first… but in the grand scheme of things it’s really like a minute.  And it’s so worth it.”   I couldn’t agree more, so I just thank the boobie gods for the liquid gold I’m able to make and keep on pumpin’!

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Comments

  1. I’m sorry to say but it only gets worse. I haven’t worn makeup since Paxton was born. Never got to drink wine because I’d never know when he would wake up at night. Started sleeping through night at 15 months. Now that he’s a toddler he’s even more needy! It helps to get them on a sleep schedule…Paxton is in bed by 7 every night so I can work or shower or watch TV after that. Also naps at same time daily. It’s exhausting and life is definitely not the same!

    • We are definitely working on a sleep schedule… I’d like to do 7pm each night because actually the few times I’ve done that she’s slept SO well, the trouble is that sometimes Daddy isn’t home from work until later than that and I end up keeping her up so he can see her. :/

  2. Jamie Lin says:

    Don’t listen to her!! 🙂 I’ve had plenty of wine.

  3. Aunt Fran says:

    Isn’t it funny how the older we get, the more words we have to eat!!! LOL! I’m 54 & still having to do it! Children do keep you busy for years. Each year they do it in a different way. Each year they bring new challenges and you come up with amazing new ways to accomplish all while keeping your sanity. One thing I can’t stress enough is making time for mommy & at least once a week dates with your husband. Joe & I couldn’t afford to go out but we would go outside (still do) and sit on a bench with a drink and just talk every evening. Sometimes we go on a long walk. It’s our time & is rejuvenating.

    One other piece of wisdom for young mothers. It is tempting to critique how your husband cares for your child; changes their diaper, matches their clothes, washes their dishes, fixes their meals, cleans up after them, etc. As mommy, we often feel our way is the only way. I saw a lot of my friends who berated hubby for these silly things and ended up with no assist at all. Bite your tongue, thank & praise him. He will do more to help and that will give you more free time!

  4. Wow! I am exhausted just reading about your day! I don’t know how you do it. Seriously, you are Super Mommy, and you have an amazing family. I hope you can move to Fulshear soon so that we can go for walks during the day and drink red wine in the evening while we wait for our hard working hubbys to come home. Can’t wait to see you all next weekend, I bet that baby has grown so much since we cuddled with her last. 🙂

    • Michael says:

      I agree with Aunt Fran. Ha.

    • Oh my gosh Amie it is just embarrassing to have you read that! You could probably do all that stuff with your eyes closed while reciting the declaration of independence (in a foreign language), while walking a tightrope backwards!

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