The story begins with An Opportunity and A Problem.
I was asked if I’d like to participate in an intensive training in through my job for a new, marketable skill. I said yes, enthusiastically.
I received the info and realized that including the commute to childcare and the training, I’d be away from my baby from 7:30 AM-6 PM, minimally. For two days.
The problem: my baby STILL won’t take a bottle. She will spoon-feed a milk/cereal combo, but it doesn’t fulfill her need to suck and she still gets very grouchy. She also rejects pacifiers. We haven’t pushed the issue because I’ve been able to accommodate her “addiction to the nip” as I call it. In one more month she can start solids and a sippy cup, and we will be in a better spot.
Also, one of my theories about kids is that they have their whole lives ahead of them to have schedules forced on them, to cry themselves to sleep, etc. Why start all that at 5 months?
I talked to my husband. We discussed options: risk epic meltdown of the baby, me not going, him bringing her to me the day he will be taking care of our daughters.
“What if I brought her?”
My husband encouraged me to call and ask.
So I did.
I left the craziest voicemail, explaining my problem, and that “I’m not a crazy mom who doesn’t believe in babysitters but I have this issue and can’t be away for eleven hours.”
I probably could have left this out.
I got the sweetest, nicest call back. That it was great that I had asked and proposed this. That it would be fun. That they had to check with the lead trainer, who was a mom with a baby, who would probably say yes.
And she did.
So, next week l am going to wear my baby to work and breastfeed her. She is mellow, so I’m thinking it will go well.
I was terrified to ask for this accommodation. I was afraid of looking like some nutty woman who couldn’t be separated from her baby. Which, while I certainly miss my children at times, isn’t me. Or like some wuss who couldn’t make her baby “do” something. But I was able, with support, to put these fears aside and just ASK. I mean, what was the worst that could happen-someone I’d never met would say “no.” Who CARES what she (or anyone) thinks of me? It’s what I need-and want-for my work/life balance right now.
Lesson learned: ask for what you need in the workplace, as a woman, as a mom, and as a breastfeeding mom, and you just might get it.