Getting out the door is complicated with a three-and-a-half-month-old.
This is only my second week back from maternity leave, so things have not entirely reached in an equilibrium in our household. I start the day, as always, by pumping. I’ll spare you the details, but for various boring and complicated reasons, I’m what’s known as an “exclusive pumper,” which means that in the last 30 days, I’ve spent about 53 hours hooked up to my Medela Pump in Style. That’s in addition, of course, to the endless bottle-washing and baby-feeding. I don’t particularly like sharing this detail about myself, but since this labor is usually invisible, I wanted to make a note of it here. I won’t give you a play-by-play, but by 5:00 I’ll have pumped at least two more times.
Getting out the door is a complicated operation, involving coffee, baby stuff, bottle-washing, and lunch-packing. My partner, Andy, is the baby’s primary caregiver while I’m at work, and he helps me to make sure everything is all set so I can get to work on time. I sing Dora a last round of “You Are My Sunshine” and head to the car.
It’s not easy to say goodbye to this little face in the morning.
Until the baby was born, I took the bus to work, but on the (emphatically air-quoted) “Rapid” 12, it takes an hour to travel the four miles to UCLA. With a baby at home, I’m not willing to sacrifice that extra hour a day, so I sucked it up this quarter and bought a parking pass. Driving through Westwood is no picnic, either, but the Waze app helps by dynamically routing me around the worst traffic.
By 9:00 I’m at my desk. This isn’t always the case. One of the things I really like about my job is that it’s pretty flexible. I work from home about one day per week, and I’m relatively free to set my own hours. Nevertheless, it’s important to me — especially having just returned from maternity leave — to be very visible on campus, to help give a face to the DH program at UCLA. And it’s also important to me to maintain some separation between work and home.
So here I am, in my office in the Center for Digital Humanities, right next door to UCLA’s beautiful sculpture garden. (UCLA’s a gorgeous campus, making it a pleasure for me to get to work in the morning.) On the docket for today: a couple of meetings, a lot of email, some reading, and hopefully some playing around with new software.