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    Chiropractor Mama Dr. Dolly and professional photographer Elisa B. share about adventures in intentional and natural parenting while living in Virginia's beautiful Blue Ridge.
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Shaking things up

A few weeks ago, I had a great post brewing in my brain about how I’m a little slow with the learning curve to adapting to motherhood, launching a chiropractic practice, and adjusting to my 6th home since 2007. Just gotta roll with the punches, right?

I do believe there is such a thing as too many major life changes in a short period of time.

Not that there’s anything I could really do about that…except pray for sanity, and that God would make me a good mother.  Still praying about that, by the way.

Ever since January hit, I’ve felt like I was on a roll.  I finally, ever so late, but finally, got this wife+mother+doctor+biz owner+blog editor thing figured out and into a sweet and groovy routine.  At last!

But, as life would have it, everything would have to pull a switcherooni on me, yet again.  It’s as if I had the rug pulled out from underneath my feet.  Instead of that sweet magic trick where everything stays put, I landed on my unsuspecting bottom.

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I was going to write about how I do major cooking a few evenings a week to accommodate the nights I work later at the office.  Also, to make our early Sunday mornings smoother before we dash out the door for the 8:30 worship service, I spend Friday or Saturday evening preparing a couple of breakfast quiches and early preparation for Sunday night’s dinner.

Ya see, that’s what I was doing up until about two weeks ago.  Blizzard or no blizzard, that routine was working for me.  I could keep up with the housework and food preparation, spend quality time with my son several times a day (and even fit in some morning “school” time), and still run a practice and a blog.

What happened?

My husband had to pick up an extra day of work.  We’re SO thankful he has the opportunity to do so, but it also means that the 1 day a week he was helping me at the office with administrative things (ya know, getting my lame-o Lenovo laptop to actually communicate with my printer), book keeping, other random business errands and tasks, and he could enjoy spending time with our son.

Now that he’s working 5 days a week, we’re forced to have our son spend a couple half-days a week in another family’s home.  It’s not the same as day care, but it’s still time when he’s not with us.  By the way, I LOVE this family…they have four wonderful children (two of them are very close in age to Calvin).  He LOVES to play with them, even though he clings to my leg for dear life when I drop him off (all morning long he asks to play with “tids”).

I struggle with adapting to my ever-changing office schedule, when to drop-off or pick-up my son that is most conducive to his nap schedule.  And this is KILLING me.

Sure, it’s a temporary fix until my husband can help out at the office again.  But the daily schedule changes not only impact my son’s nap time, but they’re throwing my whole routine out the window.

Starting over again at square one.  Here we go.  Let’s back up to how I felt a few months ago…and how I’d felt every day for the past couple of years. Aching for a glimpse of where this is going and when it will feel comfortable.

Then I ask, “Is this supposed to feel comfortable?  Is this what we’re supposed to be doing?  Is this temporary…or am I just going to burn out or survive?

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So thankful for some incredible women in my life.  A wonderful and uplifting phone chat today with my friend Michele helped me realize that times of transition and whirlwind are a way for God to teach us.  I’m paying attention and I’m learning very quickly the schedule priorities for my family and my business–everything else is fluff and gets chucked faster than a poopy diaper.

The regular prayers and words of encouragement from my husband, grandmother, and close friends (like Elisa, Kristin, and Allycia)  are the most treasured and meaningful gifts I could ever receive.

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On the Run

runner There was a time in my life when I used to be passionate about running, swimming, martial arts, indoor rock climbing, and a number of other things that had to do with self-improvement.  Yet, I woke up today and I realized I hadn’t done many of those things in a very, very long time.  I also realized it’s been just as long that I remembered missing or caring to do those things.

Isn’t it interesting how the throws of life can alter our focus (not for better or for worse, but things are just different).

Has that happened to you lately?

Did you wake up one day and realize it’s been months or even years since you did something you used to love to do.  Not because you no longer love it, but because life’s circumstances have put different loves in a higher priority?

Replaying the previous weeks in my mind, I find that I’m very focused on a handful of things right now:

  • What will I make for lunch/dinner?
  • When’s the next opportunity to work on Calvin’s potty training?
  • Can I fit in taking my son to the park between nap time and dinner preparation?
  • How long can I hold off on doing laundry until I REALLY have to do laundry?

Then, there’s the whole chiropractic practice bit where I work 3-4 days per week.  But, even on days I’m not working, I’m still “working”.  Whether it’s thinking about different approaches to treating spinal conditions or preparing for my next education talk in the community or spending a large majority of my time on the phone with insurance companies, I’m still mentally “at work” even on many of my “off” days.

I also realized that in order to be a loving wife and mom with increasing patience and a pleasant disposition, I also need to take a little time just for me every week.  My “me time” has definitely varied over the years.  I was once completely immersed in jazz singing, then I poured my time and energy into playing guitar.  When I was in chiropractic college, I ran at Daytona Beach or swam laps to get my mind off the stresses of exams and practicals.

Then, I became a mom.

It took me a long time figuring out how to take care of my son and myself simultaneously.  Once in a great while, I was able to sneak away (usually after bedtime) to swim laps once a week or once a month.  I also was able to spend once a week training in martial arts.

Then, we moved to Charlottesville, and I became a part-time working mom (starting up my own practice…from scratch). Since January, I’ve had the opportunity for “me-time” for a few minutes here and there.  Invariably, I get interrupted while I’m in the shower with a knock on the door.  I think I kinda gave up in trying to figure out how to work it into my jam-packed balancing act schedule.

But, today I woke up and realized I used to love running–and I haven’t done it in months.  MONTHS!

The weather is gorgeous.  The trees in central Virginia are beautiful.  And, I have not yet been running.  Why not?  Why did I forget to pencil in some jogger stroller bonding time?

I couldn’t think of an answer to the question except for the bullet points mentioned above.

So, this is what I’m going to do about it.  Instead of trying to take my son to the playground 2-3 times a week, I’ll just shoot for once a week.  And then I’ll make it a point to run at Jefferson Parkway or even in my little neighborhood twice a week.  Just to remember what it feels like and why I once loved it.  I also realized the city pools are going to open in about a month.  We’ll be able to get some serious water time in AND hang out together as a family.  I’m definitely missing the joy of swimming.  And isn’t it particularly convenient that one of the city pools also has two adjacent playgrounds?

What is it that you haven’t done in a long time that you wish you had? What are you going to do to get back into it again?

As the Tables Turn

Earlier this week, I posted on the downs of the ups and downs associated with starting a practice.  Well, I’m back to an upward swing with official bank loan approval and an office space under contract.  A lot can happen in a week.  I’m blessed to find a place that’s bigger and more bang for my buck.  I look forward to working with a designer to make the space work for my practice needs.  Ultimately, I cannot WAIT to move in, hang my sign, and open my doors for practice.  There are people suffering from scoliosis–and I know HOW to help them find relief and results without bracing or surgery–more importantly, I am so excited to have the privilege to work with these amazing people who want to be warriors against scoliosis.

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I am in search of a mature woman who would be willing to care for my son at the practice 3 days per week from October through December.  It appears as though high quality child care is in high demand in Charlottesville.  We’re absolutely unwilling to ship Calvin off to a day care center, and our first priority is to have him with me (eventually both of us) at the office.  I am praying that the Lord provides a mom or grandmom who loves babies and that she desires to spend some time with my darling baby boy.  Are there any other moms out there who pay for onsite private childcare at work?  If so, I’d love to talk to you.  Please e-mail me!

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Speaking of a darling baby boy . . . yesterday, I went to a chain book retailer and purchase a cup of decaf from the coffee shop located inside.  Both baristas were flirting wih my son (of course he flirted back), and they commented on how cute he is.  One went so far as to tell me

people say that babies are cute all the time simply because they’re babies.  But your son . . . I’m NOT just saying this, he really is a CUTE baby.

— A barista that has good taste and makes good coffee.

Tuesday Tune-Up

I need an attitude tune up.  When my colleagues mentioned that starting a practice is an emotional roller coaster frought with ups and downs, I “knew” they were right.  But now, I’m “experiencing” their rightness. . . and it totally feels like wrongness.

Yesterday, after every nap and meal, Calvin was strapped in his carseat while I drove around Charlottesville looking at office space for lease or sublease.  In the evening, we even brought his dinner along with us because we knew we’d be out late.  Calvin’s a trooper, and I appreciate his ability to just roll with it, although I know he was pretty much hating his car seat yesterday.  Steve made a point to frolick with him before bedtime so he could burn off some energy.

Today, I’m trying to do most of the office space searching online and via the phone so I can just do one trip to look at spaces later this afternoon.  Calvin’s had fun cruising around the apartment and terrorizing Steve’s books.  I’m trying to be consistent with telling him “No.  Don’t touch Daddy’s books.  Play with YOUR books.”  But, this kid just has an affinity for books that’s worse than my craving for chocolate.  Before his afternoon nap, we sat together and read several of his favorite board books filled with bright pictures.  He loved that and went down for a nap without a single protest.  It is a high priority to make it to the library today to bring home a bunch of books for my little bookworm (literally–he will gnaw and tear as much as he enjoys looking at the pages).

So, I hate letting my circumstances dictate my mood, but I can’t deny that I was so excited to finally find an office space that would work.  We were moving forward on build-out, and other quotes.  ALL of that went away *POOF* with one lousy phone message:

I’m so sorry.  I have bad news.  The landlord chose, at the last minute, to go with another tenant because the terms are more favorable for the landlord.  But, I’d be happy to show you space elsewhere!

This week, I’m back to looking at space.  And, as lovely as it would be to find something that works, I’m going to be realistic, it may take several more weeks.  I would love to open my practice THIS YEAR, but again, I need to take a deep breath.  Relax.  And trust in God’s perfect timing for a location and a practice opening.

The upside: we can meet our budget now and pay the bills.  I’m spending gobs of time with Calvin (even though much of it may be in the car).  I have time to keep the apartment clean.  I have time to visit a family member who had major surgery.  Sometimes, I have time to blog.

I just need to put things in perspective.  There is no RUSH here.  Although I am eager to get back to patient care and chiropractic…1 week or even 1 month delay is NOT that big of a deal.

Bring Your Baby to Work Day – Everyday!

Hello Traveling With Baby readers! I’m honored to be a guest author for my wonderful friend and colleague Dr. Dolly Garnecki! I will be sharing my thoughts and experience, about bringing baby Jack to work!

I love bringing my baby to work! My husband and I are chiropractors who recently opened our own office in New Albany, Ohio called Ohio Family & Sports Chiropractic. I feel very privileged that I have the luxury of bringing Jack, 7 months, to work with me everyday. I think it must be tremendously difficult for most working moms who must part with their baby every single day when they go back to work. Not only do those moms miss their baby terribly, but must juggle pumping (if they are nursing) between work and meetings.

So how do we manage having our 7 month old in the office? Currently our office is new and in the growing phase. We are not extremely busy yet so my husband, Dr. Greg, and I, Dr. Heather, take turns with shifts. Our office is open Monday, Wednesdays, Friday, and occasionally Saturday mornings, and daily in the afternoon. We split up the shifts with me working 3-4 shifts (occasionally Saturday mornings) and Dr. Greg covers 5 shifts. When I’m with patients my husband is watching Jack and vice versa. The only exception is Tuesday and Thursday afternoons we have a sitter come to the office and watch Jack so I can work on marketing and paperwork while Dr. Greg is with patients.

I really love that Jack is not with a babysitter everyday, and during the two 4-hour shifts that he does have a sitter, I can still feed him and peek in on him regularly! We have a little play area for Jack in the office. It’s about 5 feet x 5 feet. We have a baby play mat, swing, books and toys for him. There is also a spare room in the office, which was intended for a massage therapist or acupuncturist but it is not in use now so we may turn into a room for Jack if he outgrows his current set-up.

There are so many advantages to having Jack in the office with us… where do I start? I am so happy that I never feel like I miss him or that I’m missing out on Jack growing up. I can see his smiling face in between working with patients. I absolutely love that I can nurse him at work. I don’t have to worry about making time to pump. I simply take a look at the schedule before my shift starts and look for any gaps where I can slip in a feeding. I have a nice nursing cover that also allows me to feed Jack while manning the front desk, if necessary.

Patients love seeing Jack in the office. They love making faces at him and commenting on how much bigger he looks from week to week. On the few days that Jack and I occasionally sleep in during Daddy’s morning shift, the patients are always asking him “where’s Jack?”. We not only bring Jack to work, we bring him almost everywhere we go. We know he enjoys being with us more than anyone else so we don’t hesitate taking him to marketing events, spinal screenings, and out in the city to meet other local businesses. Some people may look at it as “dragging him around,” but we don’t! He’s spending time with Mom and Dad instead of a babysitter and we love every minute we get with him, especially while he’s so young!

I think as a result of us bring Jack with us to the office, and out marketing our practice at a young age, he is very comfortable around other people. He won’t hesitate to “ham it up” smile and giggle at strangers, and people love it! We are also very glad that when he is with the babysitter he is content and happy. We have not had any problems with separation anxiety with Jack and I think that’s why. I hope I have helped anyone who is thinking about bringing their baby to work. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask! I will update you in the future about how things change as Jack becomes mobile (which could be any day)!

Dr. Heather
www.momgoinggreen.wordpress.com