The day my daughter was born, I started a new job. For twenty eight hours a week, I became the leading lady at the new topless bar in town. I had no choice. The baby had to eat.
It is true. Some people picture maternity leave as one long vacation. But women everywhere are actually busy doing some of the most demanding and thankless jobs during this time – sustaining human life. In my case that meant nursing, but I assume the hours are similar for moms using formula. There is plenty of work to fill the hours we used to use at our real jobs.
While being the leading lady at the topless bar is not less significant than a fancy job that you need a degree for; you’re not going to get paid the same. People (*husband*) may refer to you as the “Boob Lady.” Your shifts will be mandated every three hours by a loud, tiny boss. You’ll suddenly have to become a logistical genius to go on a mommy vacation (Target) for more than an hour at a time.
I am not complaining. I am just speaking in facts. Those first couple months a baby eats around eight times a day, for thirty minutes per session (prepping, feeding, clean-up). Each week the math works out to about twenty eight hours (during the newborn stage), with no days off.
In my experience, everything got a little easier with the second child. Overall, I had a better routine down. But, it still took at least thirty minutes to execute. Every three hours I would change baby, nurse and burp baby, freeze the let down milk I had collected and clean the collection cup (read how I’ve managed to build a serious freezer stash with ZERO pumping), then rock baby back to sleep or let her play on the mat.
Now that it is my second time working at the topless bar in two years, I understand that the role is temporary. My job description will change over time. “Boob Lady” doesn’t have to be my lifelong identity. However, it is a significant part of who I am right now.
And for those that have ever wondered what a new mom does with all her free time during maternity leave, come visit her at work. On the couch, where you tip her in foot massages and quality dark chocolate. **Shirts are always optional.**