Jensen Angus, aka the J-man, is feeding like a demon on the left, so I’m typing with my right hand. It’s 4am, our last feed was at midnight, so we’re going to crack the magic THREE hours sleep in a row. O happy days. Yes ladies & gentleman, when life gets hard, as I often tell my type A perfectionist self, lower your expectations.
Breastfeeding is one of the harder jobs I’ve had, and I’ve had some doozies over the years.
Long hours? 56 hours a week. 7-8 feeds a day, 7 days a week, each with a one hour feed-change-feed-settle turnaround time. Baby, what a throughput. Uni lecturing takes me 35 officially, 40-45 hours unofficially.
Broken shifts? Say no more. At its worst, we’re an hour on an hour off. For eight hours on a stretch, so we feed 1-2am, sleep til 3, feed 3-4, sleep til 4-5. No annual leave or sick days. I believe there is long service leave eventually. This job needs a better union…
Difficult client / student? Can I have a HELL YEAH. A good email hounding or tight deadline wielding s.o.b of a CEO hasn’t got a patch on a three week old. No one ramps it up like a person whose very survival is at stake.
Physically demanding?OMFG it is. I eat like I’ve never seen food before. Today I found myself making a chicken and avocado roll whilst gnawing on a chicken leg and simultaneously planning my second course.
How’s the OH&S (occupational health & safety?) The news here is mixed. Breastfeeding is an office ergonomics what not to do diagram. Hell on your neck, shoulders and back if you want to make eye contact with the little guy. On the upside, it lowers my risk of diabetes, certain cancers, and other reproductive excitements, so the workers comp premiums would be better than many industries.
Equal opportunity for women? Better. We’re the only ones who can get this job. I know blokes with man boobs, but they’re yet to prove themselves useful. I think the pay would be better if men had to do it?
ok we’re typing with the left hand now. This should be faster…
I’ve had clients where I’ve had to wade through shit before. Literally. When I was an auditor working in chartered accounting, I had a client that made fertiliser. And twice a year I would don thigh high gumboots for the stocktake attendance. I’d pace the rows of rotting shit, and check their stock valuations. Ummm… Not a patch on this kid. I’m dealing with his fluorescent yellow downstairs about THIRTY FIVE TIMES a week. No gumboots required. Most days.
And while uni education is important, and can be profound or life changing for some students climbing their way out of disadvantage to a better life, nothing quite compares to a job where you are literally laying down someone’s brain wiring, improving their immune system, lowering their chance of later disease, raising their IQ and creating a bond from which every other connection they ever experience will spring. That’s a hell of a job description.