Before the conference today, I had spoken to the founder about my need to pump. So she was kind enough to find a private one-stall bathroom with an outlet for me. Since the other restrooms in this hotel either had multiple stalls or no outlet, this was the only place I could use in discretion.

At break, I take the elevator to floor 2M. When the doors open, two ladies and a gentleman are standing in the facing room. I see the restroom behind them, and one lady says, "The conference is on the second floor... down one."

I respond, "I'm using the restroom here."

She says with a little attitude and sway in her head, "No, you can't use it here. You can go to the fourth floor." I proceed to the fourth floor, thinking it is a one-stall restroom. It isn't, so I go back to 2M.

I say, "That's not a private bathroom. I need a private one."

The lady then says with more of an attitude, "I'm cleaning; you can't use this one. There is one on 9."

So as I take the elevator up to nine, and Eleanor, a conference attendee, is in the elevator with me. She asks me what's on 9. I say, I'm looking for a bathroom, so I can pump. As I locate the bathroom, I'm a bit irritated as I look at a clock and realize how much time of my 30-minute break I've already spent. I open the door to the restroom on the 9th floor and see an open area and then the only stall. My hopes are high this might work. I look around, and then I peer into the stall. Nope. It won't. There is no outlet. Why does this have to be so hard, when I'm just trying to feed my baby? How is there no outlet in bathrooms?

Okay, so this is an older hotel, I can somewhat understand. So I push the elevator button. As I wait for it to arrive, my impatience is building. I can't believe how long it's taking me to even find a place to pump... and what the heck?! Why is this stupid elevator taking so dang long?

It finally arrives, and Eleanor, two other conference attendees, and the same cleaning lady from 2M are in it. Eleanor says, "You're done that fast?"

I say, "No, it didn't have an outlet. So I have to go back to 2M. That's the only place that has one that will work."

Then, as if I am talking to her, the cleaning lady yells, "You CANNOT use that bathroom, I'm cleaning it."

"I was told by two people who put on this conference that I could use it."

"Well, you can't."

As we exit the elevator, I continue, "I have to, it's the only one I can use."

I can see out of my peripheral the three conference attendees are still in the elevator with its doors open listening to this cleaning lady yell at and berate me.

"You can't. I already started cleaning it. You can't enter it."

"That's fine. I'll be happy to speak with your manager. You are being extremely rude."

When I say I'll speak to your manager, I have no problem following through with that. Her attitude is in full force now as she says, "I'm not being rude. I'm just doing my job. I'm cleaning. I already sprayed the toilet."

Apparently, she doesn't realize it's not always the words you use, but the tone that accompanies those words.

"I don't have to use the toilet."

Fine, I'll break out the big guns if that's what it takes. I can feel my eyes sting and get excited (meaning tears are on their way), as I continue, "All I'm trying to do is feed my child. I need to pump to feed my kid."

Surprisingly still a harsh tone, she says, "Well, why didn't you say so."

Maybe, just maybe, I don't feel like I should have to. After having just wasted twenty minutes, I finally walk inside the bathroom with my eyes wet from the emotion.

As I set up to do my business, I hear her talking to someone else saying,"I'm not being rude. I'm just doing my job."

Tears flow down my face, as I listen to her for the next ten minutes repeating again and again how she wasn't being rude, she was just doing her job, and I should use another restroom because she is just trying to clean.

When I finish my business, I exit the bathroom and see her. I go up to her and say in the nicest tone possible, "Thank you so much." She doesn't even acknowledge me as she walks by me to go into the bathroom. As I pumped, I thought about her and what she was saying. As much as it bothered me listening to her, if I left her with kindness maybe her day would get better, maybe she would be more positive, or maybe she could just let this experience go, so I wanted to sincerely thank her for letting me use the bathroom (even though she didn't know I was going to use it either way).

After she didn't acknowledge me, I walk to the elevator. As I wait, I think about her some more and decide I'm not done. I go into the bathroom, where I know she is. She looks up, and I say, "Thank you again so much. I hope you have a good day."

Once again, she says nothing and doesn't flinch. Her lack of acknowledgement is on her. I did my best. Of course, then I walk my happy bootie downstairs to visit with the hotel's manager. I know if I don't, then this incident will be on my mind the rest of the day. I explain the situation to the manager saying that I can appreciate she is doing her job, and I wasn't trying to interfere with that, but the second floor bathroom was the only one I could use.

I continue saying, "I know it's an unusual request."

The manager interrupts and says, "It's really not that unusual."

Well then why the heck is she so mad about my request. The manager apologizes for her employee's behavior and says, "I'll be glad to give you a room key so you can do your business in there."

"No, that's okay. I will have to do it again about one. I just wanted to let you know so when I use that same bathroom, I won't endure the same thing again."

"You shouldn't have endured it in the first place. I will give you a key, and feel free to use it any time today."

I see Eleanor at lunch who asks if I ended up finding somewhere to pump. I say, "Yes, but I felt like the cleaning lady was yelling at me."

"Because she was. Wow, she was yelling at you. The three of us in the elevator couldn't believe it."

That small validation makes me feel so much better. It allows me to realize I'm not being hypersensitive to the issues, because it's a definite hot button for me. I just don't understand how I get so much grief about feeding my baby. I don't think I should have to say, "Oh I need to use the bathroom to pump," because frankly it's none of their business why I need to use it. Now I know a fraction of how breastfeeding moms feel when they get grief when all they want to do is feed their baby. As moms, we do our best, and part of that is sticking up for ourselves when all we want to do is provide for our kids.

Author's Bio: 

As a single mom and founder of The Single Mom Movement, Jessica Rector knows how you are stressed but know there is more for you. With targeted private coaching, programs, and a school, single moms use her proven strategies to discover their empowered self. Do you feel like no one really understands how you feel? You're not alone. Join the club at Get FREE videos to Breathe Happiness. Be Fulfilled. Live Empowered! Sign up at