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A Visit to School

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I've been on maternity leave from my job as a high school science teacher for the last three months. When I got invited to a celebratory end-of-the-year luncheon with my department, I was excited to bring baby Joshua along. I had a few questions about expressing milk at work, so I looked forward to talking to other nursing moms, plus I knew my colleagues would love to meet my happy-go-lucky baby.

I decided to bring the stroller along, which is a change of pace from our usual baby-wearing. I had a bunch of things to carry, so I thought the stroller would help me to get everything up to my third-floor classroom. Since I've only used the stroller in our own driveway and yard, I didn't know how to collapse it, but I tinkered with it and got it into the back of the car.

When I arrived at school, I couldn't figure out how to get the stroller back together! I tried in the parking lot for about 10 minutes as both my level of frustration and Joshua's fussiness increased. I gave up, shoved the stroller back into the car and embarked into the school carrying Josh, two pies, a diaper bag and a gift for an expectant colleague.

Josh was all smiles as I visited with people on the first floor. But when we dropped by the principal's office, Josh burst into a screaming, crying fit. I guess a visit to a principal would do that to anyone! I managed to get to the elevator and up to a third floor, where we ran into a former student who helped me carry everything to my classroom. Joshua continued to scream as we walked down the long hallway, so I made a joke about this being a lesson in birth control for the teenagers who looked at us fearfully.

While most of my colleagues are parents and understood his fussy mood, some were less than polite about Josh's crying, so I slipped into the privacy of the back room to breastfeed him. (I'm all for proudly nursing in public, but I would prefer if all of my coworkers don't see my boobs.) When his belly was full and he was finally happy again, we returned to find we had missed the whole luncheon and I missed my chance to talk to other nursing moms. I didn't even get to eat!

After a few minutes Josh started to cry again and I decided it was time to leave. He fell asleep as soon as we walked out the door into the fresh air and the ride home was peaceful. We were both exhausted.

Back at home, Josh woke up and we both relaxed as we sat down for a nursing session in our favorite spot on the couch. The stress of our day out melted away as I looked into his angelic blue eyes. At just that moment, he filled his diaper. Poop leaked out of the diaper and down my arm, and I was so thankful to be back at home!

After today's comedy of errors, all I could do was laugh. I didn't get any questions answered, but I think today's trip symbolized that melding motherhood and work won't be as easy as I would like. It's going to take a bit of planning, flexibility and humor to be a working, nursing mom. But it's nice to know that when Joshua and I have rough days, we can go home to each other and relax.