This weekend, Mark was nice enough to take the two kids and to allow me to attend a professional conference. Since I didn’t want him to use the frozen milk when I was still close to home, he carted the kids to a parking lot near the conference during the breaks and I darted out to breastfeed. That worked out pretty well. I learned a couple of things:
1. It’s a lot easier to limit the number of daily feedings when I’m just not around. I was gone from 8:45 to 4. Mark brought her to me for two feedings during that time, and she was OK. If I’d been home, she certainly would have received more than two feedings. So perhaps it’s better for me to be out of the house more often?
2. I don’t mind breastfeeding in public. At all. And breastfeeding around men doesn’t bother me either. But I’m not so comfortable breastfeeding in front of male professional colleagues who I know and am likely to have contact with in the future. I did it, but it wasn’t pleasant.
3. I’m still excited and invigorated by some of the topics discussed. And at times, I thought perhaps it would be worth it to leave my kids more often, to dedicate more time to work, and to travel. One female colleague with a 13-year-old daughter told me how she sometimes considers making a change from her current administrative position. “I tell my daughter that perhaps when she finishes school, I’ll go to Afghanistan. She says, ‘Why would you do that mom?’ and I tell her that before her, I had a different career and it involved travel!” I could hear wistfulness in her voice, that she missed the excitement and immediacy of international work. I do too. But I’m still in the process of trying to keep my international interests alive while also developing some domestically-oriented skills and interests that are a better fit for my family situation. It’s a constant work in progress.
4. While the topics interested me and I’d love to have some more time to read further, to research them, and perhaps write about some of them, I’m not anxious to get back to work. I’m starting to crave more intellectual stimulation, but I’m focused on self-directed things that can be done on my own schedule and in the paltry little chunks of time I have. In terms of answering to someone else, I’m glad to wait another three months.
5. It’s no fun getting dressed up when you are 30 pounds overweight.