Some women work, and some women have babies, and some women do both. For a lot of those women, breastfeeding and working is a weird juggling act that involves electric breast pumps, little freezer storage bags, a million bottles, and more. One thing that makes being a breastfeeding mother with a job much easier is the lactation room. Companies that employ more than 50 people are required to provide a space for pumping breast milk, and that’s great, except that apparently random dudes keep commandeering them for naps, personal calls, and other non-work-related shenanigans.
It’s not just a few random dudes sneaking into the lactation rooms, either. Lactation room malfeasance goes all the way to the top of the office hierarchy. One woman told The Guardian that her CEO frequently used the office lactation room for naps, so she had to physically shake her boss awake if she needed to pump. I cannot imagine a single scenario in which I would have the guts to wake my boss up from a nap and tell him to get out of the lactation room unless he was lactating.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick uses his office’s lactation room for meditating.
Dude, quit meditating in the lactation room. You’re the CEO, you have an office. Meditate there. Meditate in the bathroom. Build some meditation rooms. Hell, go find yourself a grotto someplace and meditate there. The lactation room is for lactating! It’s for people to express milk to feed their babies. It’s not a spare lunchroom or a nap room or a meditation space. Stop taking over any space you want, even if it’s supposed to be reserved for someone else. It’s entitled, disrespectful, and rude.
Other women report finding male coworkers taking personal calls or conference calls in the lactation rooms, and the dudes don’t always sheepishly get out when someone comes in to use the room for its intended purpose, either. Then a new mother has to stand there with swollen, aching, leaking breasts and give an anatomy lesson to some cranky guy who wants to know why his personal phone call is getting interrupted.
A woman in tech even told The Guardian that she walked in on a male exec having sex with an intern in the lactation room.
HR departments are stuck worrying about lists of rules, signs, and complaints from employees, but this should just be a thing that reasonable, self-aware adults think about. Am I lactating? No? Then I should leave the lactation room alone in case someone actually needs to use the thing.
Invading the lactation room to use it as your own personal dicking-around space is the height of entitlement.
(Image: iStockPhoto / AnaBGD)