Hakuna My Ta-tas: A Working Mom’s Quest for Answers

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working mom

Here I am, now a mother of two

Between my efforts to keep two humans alive (well three humans if you count me in that herd), be a supportive wife, find the lost city of Atlantis, keep a house together, live in the moment, influence young minds, age like Christie Brinkley, eat more vegetables, learn four languages, take care of an obese pug, reach enlightenment, maintain my hair color, win a Pulitzer, have a social life, lessen social media use, be a do-gooder, shave my wooly mammoth legs, end human suffering in third world countries, master craft cocktails, find the perfect mascara, call my girlfriends back, perfect my Oscar speech, pay our bills, pluck my eyebrows, read more articles, pick up golf, learn to play the violin, climb Everest sans oxygen, and cure world hunger…

I now have to also think about going back to work.  

Aside from sleeping a little less than usual and sporting a pumping bra and granny panties (other groundbreaking tips on how to be sexy will come in a future post), I feel pretty good.  

But as I thought about what life looks like when I’m back in the swing of things full-time, I couldn’t help but get nervous about what was going to happen to these two beautiful milk balloons attached to my chest. How was I going to manage the pumping schedule? Where would I go to pump?  Would my supply dry up? What were my rights? I knew I needed answers. 

working mom
Not these experts

I needed to Hakuna my ta-tas and go straight to the expert.  

If you are a working mom and have questions about your rights, don’t fret. Debi Yadegari, the founder of MommaWork and an expert in lactation accommodation law, says communication is the key to success. She states, “Now is the time for employers to take a serious look at their lactation accommodation policies and procedures if any exist at all. Many employers are simply not in compliance. While most of us avoid uncomfortable conversations with company leadership like the plague, having this important conversation will only benefit you, your baby, and your employer. If you can show your company how developing a written lactation policy can improve their bottom line in return, they just may thank you. You can do it, mom!”

Remember:

  • Know your rights. You can find more specific information about your rights here
  • Don’t jump to conclusions. Hear out your employer and commit to developing a plan together.
  • Have an idea of what your pumping schedule will look like. This will help you and your employer manage expectations and set a clear path to success. 
  • Discuss options. Is it possible to have a more flexible schedule in the first few weeks you return?
  • What does the company landscape look like for breastfeeding? Does your company provide the necessary space and supplies?
  • Chat with other women at work who have been through the experience. What could have been better for them? Now is the time to ask for it.

There are also companies who strategically support parents in their transition back to work and educate executives around the country on the expectations and benefits of cultures who support breastfeeding. These companies encourage parents to reach out to them if they are uncomfortable having a conversation with leadership and are happy to have the conversation for you. 

working mom
Pictured: A working mom with better hair than me.

No matter how you decide to start the conversation, the sooner the better. 

Are you unsure about your rights at the office? Check out this link to breastfeeding state laws here. There are companies designed to help businesses partner with services designed to benefit working parents, so use resources like this if you have questions and want your HR team to be in the know. 

The more knowledge you have about your rights and what your company currently provides, the better equipped you can be when going back to work. Reach out to other moms who have been there. Reach out to companies who can provide knowledge and support.   

working mom
What our work outfits SHOULD be.

You’re a rockstar, mom. Know your pumping rights so you don’t end up accidentally winning a wet t-shirt contest at work.    

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Charleston native Whitney Williams McDuff has devoted her life to being the best daughter, sister, friend, wife, coworker, leader, and now mother she can be. She graduated from USC with a double degree in Public Relations and Psychology, partially because she’s fascinated by the nature of people, and partially because it set her free from the claws of a monstrous statistics course that she was eager to avoid. (Hey, sometimes the truth isn’t always pretty). Her career spans across the world of sales, marketing, and public relations, thriving in a realm where building relationships was the key to the contentment kingdom. Her passions include writing, reading, painting, her piano and guitar, interesting conversation, film, her pug Bee, and a great glass wine. Ok, glasses. She and her husband Jimmy are expecting their first child, Baby Holbrook, this summer, so wine bottles have been left on the shelf for now. Her blog, No Wine for Nine, began when Whitney became fed up with the pressure to be flawless and knew that laughter and sharing her stories with her girlfriends was essential to making it through this thing called Motherhood.  Her hope is that her blog is a cherished place for any woman who longs for an escape from the stress of perfection, because she believes that true magic lies in the imperfections and hilarity of everyday life. Still trying to navigate Babies R’ Us. Biggest fears include spiders and mis-posting on a mom-swap site.

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