I have the grand distinction of being the only manager on our floor of the building without an office. Now, as of nine months ago, there were two of us managers without offices - then, lo and behold, right before I left for maternity leave, the (very annoying) other guy got the last available space: a teeny-tiny cell barely the size of my apartment's walk-in closet. Upon discovering this in my hugely pregnant, very hormonal state, I bitched, moaned and was generally very cranky. Friends and co-workers were outraged on my behalf, insisting that I storm into my boss's office to demand my own space. Unfortunately, the problem with this approach was twofold: 1) there was, quite simply, no more space to be had and 2) if there was space, they sure as hell weren't about to give it to someone who was going to be out for 20 weeks. Thus, I am still sitting in a cubicle, and without the luxury of a door, three times a day I schlep my Medela down the hall and into the "mother's room" to pump.
When I first arrived back from maternity leave I was horrified that the term "mother's room" could even be applied to the atrocity that presented itself when I first anxiously wandered in to get the job done. The room was miniscule, with smudged white walls, two stained brown armchairs, and a dirty floor littered with ancient Parenting magazines. Old Harry Potter posters were crumpled in the corner, a PowderPuff Girls pop-up was stuffed behind the door, and an empty, decaying banker's box balanced precariously on an armrest. One solitary, retina-burning flourescent panel beamed down from above.
THIS was where I was supposed to pump my liquid gold?? I was aghast.
Not only did the conditions of the mother's room leave something to be desired, there was also a traffic issue to contend with. I learned that there were five lactating women in the building using the room with no discernable schedule for its use, so often one would round the corner, see the red "occupied" sign on the door, and be forced to wait her uncomfortably-engorged turn.
My mission was clear - a pumping room makeover must be done!
I wasted no time. Two of the my fellow pumpers were mommies that I knew well (one of whom had been using the room in this condition for months without complaint), so I enlisted their help. First we put a sign on the door, requesting the names and contact information of the other women using the room. Once we had this info, we quickly worked out a schedule to accomodate everyone's preferred times so that no one need ever wait in the hall with angry, milk-filled boobs again. Then I emailed our building manager and expressed our collective dismay over the poor conditions in which we were forced to express the precious fluid with which we feed our hungry babies (cue violins).
And with that, the mother's room revolution began!
Within 48 hours, the space had been swept, mopped, and painted. The chairs were cleaned and the magazines, posters and box trashed. The building manager sheepishly apologized for the room's state, and informed me that she had "ordered items" to improve it. These mystery items have yet to arrive, but I am hopefully anticipating a clock, and possibly a table lamp. After all, staring at your boobs under flourescents can't possibly help with let-down.
The success of my project reminded me of how much I enjoy being the squeaky wheel, and how much fun it is to get incensed about something. Should my career in television not work out (god willing) I am grabbing the nearest soapbox and heading straight for Capitol Hill. I hear the entire Republican party shaking in its collective boots.