Thursday, February 6, 2014

Being a Working Mom is Tough

When I go to business meetings, I generally introduce myself as a full-time mom and a part-time chiropractor because, whether we are at home or at the office, being Mom is a 24/7 job. I get texts, emails or phone calls daily regarding the children’s appointments, school events or pick-up schedule. Occasionally, I get criticized for not being home with the children more, but I have also been told I need to be in the office and more available to my patients. It’s a no-win situation.
Women in the workplace have become very common but working moms are still not always very well accepted. I find myself constantly trying to prove to everyone that I can work and be a great mom. How do I do this? Unfortunately, I over-commit. I don’t mean just a little bit. Every time I am asked, I say yes. But this past year I have noticed that all these extra commitments are taking away my time with the family.
Therefore, I am slowly learning to give myself a break.
For instance, I keep a planner with everything I have to do along with the kids: show and share, snack, projects, and tests. The first time I forgot snack and sharing, I felt terrible and defeated like everybody was waiting for me to fail. Yet, when I forgot about snack and sharing with Emma, I was freed up because she now memorizes the date when she receives the calendar and reminds me every week!
Also, my husband and I have been able to work out a schedule the past few years that allows me to be home in the afternoons with the children 3 days a week while he has “kid duty” the other two afternoons. Erik volunteers at school, drops off and picks up, packs lunches and brings the children to events and appointments on those days, just like I would. The divide-and-conquer parenting routine has worked well for us. This allows me to focus on my work and not feel like I need to be somewhere else.
At times I feel that it is still not enough.
Thankfully, though, I’ve realized my children don’t expect me to be there for everything –and, most of all, they don’t expect me to be perfect.

A Bedroom of Her Own

We found out we were pregnant with our fourth child the week before we closed on our house. We knew we were going to outgrow it quickly, but we felt bad about backing out of the contract at that point. Therefore, we figured we would live in that house for five years at the most and find a bigger house after that. 

We have now been in our home for six years and won’t be leaving anytime soon.

When we moved to Greeley we lived in a two-bedroom apartment with two kids. For three years, my oldest, Sophia asked for a house for Christmas and I would tell her not this year but definitely next year. So once we finally moved into a house, Sophia was excited at the amount of space we gained. However, it does not take long to fill in that space, especially when you add a fourth child into a three-bedroom house. Until Hannah, the baby, turned two, she shared a room with Zachary; but after that she moved into the room with the other girls. Soon Sophia was feeling pretty cramped and asked when she could get her own bedroom. I told her when she turned 12. 

Well, she is now 13 and we are just getting started on the bedroom.

To give Sophia a bedroom, I have to give up my storage room. This means I’ve had to do a lot of de-cluttering and rearranging in the past few months. And, in order to store all the supplies for the project, I lost half of my garage, most of my laundry room, and part of the family room. Sophia is thrilled, though. We let her choose the carpet and the paint for her room and she has been busy collecting lamps, furniture and wall hangings for her bedroom for the past two years

I have picked on my daughter a lot the past two weeks about how much space I am giving up for this bedroom to be built. But I do know how patient she has been with us while living in a small apartment and then sharing a bedroom with her two little sisters. 

However, Sophia has shared a bed almost every night for the past four years with at least one of her sisters so I am wondering how long it will take after the room is finished for Sophia to wander upstairs to cuddle up to the little girls.

Tracking Down the Must-Have Christmas Present

This year Emma asked for a sewing machine, sewing kit and fabric for Christmas. She should have been the easiest child to shop for but this gift turned into a nightmare all because I was trying to save some money.
Emma picked out a sewing machine in the first Toys R Us catalog of the season and never changed her mind. Also, She was adamant that the sewing machine and fabric were all she wanted for Christmas. I saw the sewing machine at Wal-Mart, Michaels and Toys R Us, but never purchased it because I was waiting for a deal as my goal is to not only be on budget at Christmas but under budget.
When I first saw the sewing machine at Michaels I decided I would go back when my coupon was good - that way I could get 40% off! While I waited for the week that I could use my coupon, I had made 2 trips to Wal-Mart and walked past the toy, but decided to wait, as I knew I could save money. By the time the coupon could be used at Michaels, the sewing machine was sold out. I was also told the toy was already on sale, so the coupon I had waited to use was no good anyway. I asked if they were expecting any more sewing machines and they said possibly, but that I would just have to check back in a few days.
In the end, I was out of luck and they were completely out of stock. Erik and I searched both Wal-Marts on the Saturday before Christmas and returned one more time to Michaels, just in case. We got on the Internet, searching frantically for this sewing machine but it was out of stock everywhere. We finally settled on a different brand that would be shipped after Christmas.
On Christmas Eve, while we were opening presents, I told Emma that she still had one more present coming but it would not arrive until after Christmas. I asked her what she thought it was but she had no idea what was missing from her list. I stared at her in disbelief as I realized she no longer remembered the gift that she had asked for numerous times!
The present arrived the day after Christmas. Emma excitedly opened the box to find a little blue sewing machine inside. I offered to set it up and work on a small sewing project with her. She smiled and said, “Maybe later”, then went off to play with a toy that she received 2 years earlier! The sewing machine sat on my dining room table for a week, untouched. Finally (after I put it away), Emma decided to practice sewing. Emma played with it once then put it back on the shelf where it has been ever since.
I spent more money on gas trying to track down the sewing machine than I did on the toy itself and, every time I went into a store, I purchased something, whether I needed it or not. In the end, I went over budget with this one toy trying to track in down. I could have bought Emma a different toy and she would have not been disappointed.
Next year, I am going to purchase the item the kids want the first time I see it and forget the bargain shopping!

Dog Sitting in My House

I did something I never thought I would do this past weekend. We dog sat in OUR HOME. I am a little on the obsessive compulsive side, I barely let my own children sit on the furniture in the living room let alone have a dog inside the house. I grew up on a farm and we had cats and dogs that stayed in the barn not in the house.
The contractor who is building my daughter’s bedroom had asked Erik if we could dog sit. I agreed right away and then learned it was going to be in my home. I decided that maybe this gesture on my part would get the contractor to work a little faster on the bedroom.
The puppy is a shorthaired terrier named Nala.
The dog arrived at our house Friday afternoon along with two 11-year-old boys. I figure if you are going to have chaos, why not have it to the fullest? That first night, the boys ended up being more work and messier than the dog. Emma and Hannah spent most of their time sitting on the couch and running to where they wanted to go in order to avoid any contact with Nala.
On Saturday, Erik worked on hanging drywall while the kids and I played with Nala. Maybe playis not the right word. The kids spent most of their time scolding Nala. “Nala get down.” “Nala stay out of there.” “Nala, no!” By the end of the day, the kids were driving me crazy. Saturday evening the little girls started to feel more comfortable with Nala and reached out to play with her until bath time.
When Hannah came down the stairs after her bath, Nala jumped on her and would not leave her alone. I had to pick her up and hold her above my head to keep Nala from nipping at her toes. We couldn’t figure out if Nala liked Hannah’s bright red pajamas or the fact that she smelled like berries. After that we had a hard time convincing Hannah to play with Nala.
I have decided that I may be able to handle a dog in our house after all - especially if it is already house trained. Erik did find it amusing and slightly annoying that I wanted Nala’s paws wiped off every time she came back into the house after going outside. I am not so sure that the kids want a puppy as much as their father does. I know it would take a while before the little girls would warm up to the puppy.
In the end, I was much more patient with Nala than I thought I would be. And really, Nala made a lot less mess and work than the kids.

The Babysitter Paradox

My husband and I have waited for the day that we could go out and would not have to find a babysitter. I knew that my patience would pay off and eventually my children would be old enough to take care of themselves. The only thing I did not consider is that when Sophia was old enough to watch her siblings, she would also be in demand from our friends.
When we had Sophia and Zachary and lived in Davenport, we would take turns with other couples; watching their children so we could all got out once in a while without having the expense of a date anda babysitter. But when we moved to Greeley we knew no one, so we no longer had that luxury. We spent so much money during the week on childcare that the last thing I wanted to do was pay a sitter on the weekend. I reminded myself that one day soon Sophia would be old enough to watch the kids so we could go out.
Sophia received her babysitting certification a couple of years ago. She has even watched the kids during the day while we were at work but we have never had her watch the kids so we could go out for dinner or a movie.
Well, we have had a gift card for the Bonefish Grill for a year-and-a-half, plus movie vouchers given to us by friends so we really did not have a good excuse for not going out. Except that I wasn’t sure if Sophia could handle the kids in the evening.
This week, I finally decided that Erik and I should go out for dinner so I was going to let Sophia take care of her siblings. On Saturday morning, I received a text from a friend asking if Sophia was available to watch her son that evening. Sophia has been anxious to get the chance to watch somebody else’s child and not her siblings. Besides, everybody pays better than her Mom. I told my friend Sophia could watch her son and Erik and I postponed our dinner plans. Again.
I have now realized that I have probably missed my chance to use Sophia as a babysitter for her siblings. I am just going to have to wait patiently for Zach to turn 13 or until Emma is old enough to be in charge. (That is at least 3 more years, but she may be a little safer option than Zach.)
Luckily, I prefer the movies from Redbox and would rather be wearing my pajamas eating dinner than having to get dressed up and fix my hair.

Why I am a Pediatric Chiropractor

I know the thought of going to a Chiropractor can be very scary for some people, and bringing a child to one is almost unthinkable. Some of the bias that people may have, I believe, comes from a misunderstanding or a bad experience. I specialize in pediatric chiropractic and I assure you that chiropractic care is very different in our office for an infant than an adult.
I decided to specialize in the pediatric and prenatal field of chiropractic after I experienced first-hand what a nightmare colic can be with our first child. Let’s just say I am surprised I ever had any more children after her, as the sleepless nights went on for almost a year. I knew there was a lot more to her sleepless nights than an upset stomach but I was too scared to ask for help. My child was not supposed to have anything wrong with her. After all, I followed most of the “healthy” rules.
I was in my first year of chiropractic school when Sophia was born. Sophia was checked by a chiropractor after birth but I was told she was fine and there was no need to bring her back unless she had a fall. I didn’t know at that time that the prolonged fussiness might have been a sign to take my child back to the chiropractor to be checked. I did have a second child, Zachary, a couple years later. His birth was very difficult and he ended up with a broken collarbone. After I left the hospital, I took Zachary to the school clinic to be checked; but this time we saw the Pediatric Chiropractor in the main clinic. The evaluation was very thorough and she discussed I should watch for that could signal discomfort and advised us when to return. In the end, Zachary was a very easy baby that slept through the night who never left me sleep-deprived.
I know that all children have different personalities and, as a first-time mom, I really was clueless to what I was doing or the things I should watch for with Sophia. However, I also know that the information and support that Dr. Marriot provided the second time around was very valuable. I believe that if Sophia had received specialized pediatric care, her colic may have been reduced significantly. So much so that, after we moved to Colorado, I decided to travel the 12 hours (one way) once a month (often with Sophia and Zachary in tow) for 3 years, to attend weekend classes in Iowa for a chiropractic postgraduate pediatric program.
What I love the most about my job is the support and hope I can offer Moms – and, of course, the hugs I receive daily from the children! When I am checking a child, I look for misalignments in their spine that may be causing pressure on the nerves. This pressure can interrupt how the body is responding or functioning, resulting in health problems. It is really that simple. All I treat are the subluxations or misalignments in the spine, allowing the body to take care of everything else. With children, especially infants, I also evaluate the bones of the skull. The adjustments performed are very gentle.
If you have any questions about pediatric chiropractic you can visit our website at and watch the video we have posted with a pediatric adjustment.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Prepping for Christmas Before Thanksgiving Can Save Sanity

My husband is adamant that Christmas celebration or preparation does not occur until after you have eaten your pie on Thanksgiving. This includes decorating, baking, Christmas cards and shopping. He wouldn’t even enjoy the Christmas beer he bought until the pie sat in his stomach for 2 hours!
The preparation for the holidays can become very overwhelming for me. There are Christmas cards to send and decorating to be done (both at home and the office), baking to be done and delivered to the neighbors, Christmas presents to be bought and some that have to be shipped to our families in Iowa and Arizona. We have Christmas concerts to attend and lights to be viewed. I write a list of what needs to be done along with specific dates that task will be achieved. Honestly, there are a few years were I begin to dread the holidays and do not enjoy them at all because of everything “I need to do”! Every year I tell myself “it’s okay if you send cards late” (which I actually did one year for sanity reasons), “you don’t have to give cookies to the neighbors this year” and “don’t worry about presents for the grandparents” - but every year I bake the cookies and send the cards and the presents.
Christmas Day in itself is always a stress free day, especially the years we stay home and do not have to travel. We sleep late, maybe take a shower, eat soup for lunch and dinner and watch movies all day. So why is the time before Christmas so nerve-racking?
This year I gave myself a gift; I started my Christmas task list earlier! I ordered the cards at the beginning of November and started addressing them on Thanksgiving. I bought the presents for my husband’s parents in October and even bought a few for the children. Sophia and I decided to forget the cut-out frosted sugar cookies (which put me in tears every year as I have difficulty rolling out the dough) and bake something a little simpler for the neighbors.
My husband may not be a fan of starting Christmas before Thanksgiving, but if it means a few less tears from his wife, it may be worth breaking the rules. Happy Holidays and don’t be afraid to cut a job from your list when things get too stressful!