What I've Learned About Practice From My Seven Year Old Daughter

Today is my first baby’s seventh birthday.  Which means that it was about six and a half years ago that I left a very stable, well-paying job.

A job where my bawse lady was fulfilled through having a team of about 40 residents and interns under my direction. 
A job that afforded me four weeks of paid vacation annually, plus paid sick days and holidays (sometimes even snow days). 
A job that allowed me to travel and support high-level athletes all over the world. 
A job where I loved and adored my coworkers and even my boss. 

You see, after a two-year residency at Logan College of Chiropractic, I was promoted to Assistant Director of Sports and Rehab.  I was incredibly lucky to have this job, with as new as my licensure was. 

Even crazier, the position of Assistant Director was created specifically for me so that I’d stay on the faculty at the end of my residency. 

I both loved and hated that. 

I loved it because it felt like the then President of the college, Dr. George Goodman, must’ve seen me as worth what he offered to pay me in that role.  And I hated it because so often I felt completely undeserving of the title, the privilege and the money.

I left this job—that I was amazingly lucky to have—in order to do two things:

1.      Start my own practice, which had been my intention with going to chiropractic school in the first place.  I wanted to own my own business and help people.  Chiropractic seemed like a good way to do both.

2.      Have more time with my baby, who was just about 9 months old at the time I turned in my resignation letter and jumped into entrepreneurship.

See as great as my job was, there were drawbacks of course.  Traveling all over the country to athletic events was super cool before I had a baby at home.  Working nights and weekends at games and practices had once been perfectly fine. 

But after having my daughter, it felt strangely wrong.  So, to have more time freedom to be the mom I wanted to be, I left all of my employee benefits behind and ventured out into “the real world.”

I had no idea what I was in for next.  I had no idea that shit was going to get a whole lot harder. 

I was reasonably confident in my ability to grow a new practice, because I had my business degree and years of marketing and sales to draw from. 

But what I was completely lacking was the ability to manage both motherhood and my work ethic.  Add financial instability to the mix, and soon my then-boyfriend/now-husband didn’t even want to be in the same room with me anymore.  (and we'll talk more about the scarcity mindset some other time :-) )

You see, what actually happened when I jumped from the employee cliff into the valley of entrepreneurship is that I ended up spending less time with my baby.  Way less.  And zero time taking care of myself.

Because I’d set my practice up from the start with business expenses that were unnecessarily high, I operated out of fear every day.  Fear that if I didn’t keep pushing and driving hard for growth that I wouldn’t be able to generate the revenue needed to cover the expenses.

Also, I lacked in time management skills, which becomes really, painfully apparent when you’re alone on your island.  While working at Logan, I thought my inefficiency was because I had 1,473 interruptions from residents, interns, my director, patients, and other faculty and staff all day. 

But when I was suddenly alone and still couldn’t focus on getting one task completed, there was no one to blame but myself. 

Working all day and getting nothing done meant that I almost always went home and tried to continue getting work done.  Answering emails, completing chart notes, verifying insurance benefits, researching businesses I wanted to connect with, brainstorming new marketing ideas, and on and on. 

Nights, weekends, holidays… I never turned my business brain off.  Most nights, I even dreamt about work. 

Worst of all, I was so worried all the time that I started having severe abdominal pain that seemed to have no explanation other than I was way too stressed.  Although it seemed there was "nothing wrong with me," the pain had started making me double over almost daily.  Especially bothersome when it mostly happened at work...

I was able to make things look great to an outsider.  My business had grown super fast thanks to my hard work.  But on the inside, the picture was much different.  I barely saw my daughter awake, my relationship with my husband was a mess, and I was trembling like a leaf from the stress of trying to keep it all together. 

Well, very long story short, I burned myself out.  After just a few short years of running my own practice, I found that I had exhausted every ounce of myself. 

I look back and wondered how I thought I was going to be able to sustain that pace for the long run. 

But that was one of the biggest lessons I learned through all of it: start with the end in mind.  I was too busy then to even consider the long-term picture. 

Today, on my daughter’s seventh birthday, I’m looking back on those days with gratitude actually despite how challenging they were.

I’m thankful that the universe has worked through me to create a community, tools and resources to help other female chiropractors navigate being the mom they want to be while growing their practice, too.  I could never have guessed back then that this is what I’d be doing now. 

I appreciate my husband for supporting me every time I’ve wanted to work with a coach or take a new course over the last 5 years, all of which have been absolutely necessary steps for me to learn how to help others and to create Mama Chiropractors and Aligned Women.

Most of all, I’m so incredibly thankful that my child is the happiest, kindest, most helpful and loving kid I know despite how little I was there for her in her earliest years.  From the very first time she nursed throughout her whole life, I’ve always felt that she was patiently teaching me how to be a mom. 

She’s been the best teacher.

What IS "Balance," Actually?

We’re moms.
We’re chiropractors. 
We’re all after this thing we call work/life balance. 
But what IS balance actually?

Well, here’s how balance was (not) going for me on Sunday:

My kids requested lunch at Subway.  Far from my favorite, but fine.  We hadn't even gotten through the check-out line when my three year old peed in her pants.  She immediately burst into tears.  I looked down to see her boots all wet and a puddle on the floor. 

Normally I’d be super embarrassed at this kind of thing happening in public (not my daughter’s accident so much… more so that there was pee everywhere in a restaurant). But yesterday I was just too tired to get upset.  I did my best to balance a five-week old baby in one arm while I used paper towels to clean up the mess with the other arm. 

I was doing neither one well. 

Basically, my baby’s head bobbled around while I smeared pee on the floor.    

After getting home and enduring my sweet girl’s continued meltdown for the next hour or so, I sent my older kids outside while I tried to get the baby settled into a nap.  I haven't written a blog post since before our tiny baby was born, and while it is a work-related activity, yes, it's also a soul-related activity for me.  I've been really really wanting to write. 

With two kids outside and one in a swing, I curled up with my laptop to start writing a post.  But then the littlest lost her pacifier and was fusing, so I begrudgingly left my comfy chair to go soothe her.  Just as I took my seat again, the older girls were calling me to come watch what they were doing outside on their bikes.  I watched for a few seconds with a forced smile before I turned around to get back to my laptop. 

I’d only opened a new Word document when my six year old came in to use the bathroom and was then yelling at me to get her some... "supplies".  On my way to get what she needed, my three year old rang the doorbell…. as if to remind me that she had been left outside by herself.  Even though I knew she could open the door on her own, I opened it to appease her.  She wasn't just playing around though.  She announced she was coming in and needed help bringing her things back inside.

I helped her bring her stuff in and hurried back to the bathroom to help my 6 year old.  I paused for a second mid-step because I thought I heard the baby fussing.  While standing still, I noticed the time and wondered how the day was going by so fast.  What had I been doing all day?!?

When my six year old was finished in the bathroom, my three year old was next in line.  How did she need to go to the bathroom again so soon?  Wasn’t it just 10 minutes ago that she peed all over the floor in Subway?  Finally I sat back down at my computer, but then I noticed some new notifications from Facebook on my phone.  So I checked those and got distracted scrolling, when… yep!  Sure enough the baby was fussing again. 

And that’s when I realized, here I am doing my best to be both mom to three young girls and blogger extraordinaire.  But...

I was doing neither one well.

In fact, I was crabby with my kids and hadn’t actually written a word yet. 

: :

It was about four days ago that my newborn baby cried through far more of two coaching sessions than I was comfortable with.  She was in one of those fourth-trimester-moods where the only thing I could do was snuggle her to my chest tightly and bounce vigorously on a physio ball. 

When I noticed that I was starting to feel anxious, a picture of one of my clients flashed into my mind.  Just a few months ago, the situation was reversed—she was the one with a brand new baby, bouncing on the ball and simultaneously nursing, while we talked about her goals and dreams for her practice.  She apologized repeatedly during our session for how she was balancing her little baby.  But I thought she was handling it all awesomely. 

Thinking back to that moment with her, I thought for a second that I should give myself the same grace I would give someone else.  But basically I put a lid on my feelings so that I could focus in on my client. 

Shortly after our session ended, I texted my husband and let the lid come off my bottled-up emotions.  I told him, “This isn’t working. I need to figure something else out,” referring to having our little baby with me while I’m working. 

His response… “But isn’t that part of what your message is?  How to balance life and work?  Maybe women respect you for doing this?  I think you’re doing great and you’re too hard on yourself.”

Maybe.

Balancing life and work doesn’t mean doing both at the same time, though. 

Sometimes the sitter calls at the last minute to tell you she’s sick and suddenly the kids now have to go to work with you.  Sometimes doing both at the same time is just what you’ve gotta do.

But more and more, I find that trying to mother and work at the same time leaves me feeling like I’m doing neither one very well. 

So, if this isn’t balance—being a mom and a doctor simultaneously—then, what is?

The more important question is: what are we really wanting when we say we want “balance”?

It’s probably NOT to take a little from one part of life to give a little to another part of life.  Because that’s what I’ve been doing lately and I certainly wouldn’t describe how I’ve been feeling as well-balanced.  No. 

It’s a lot more likely that when we say we want to find more balance, what we really want is to feel like we’re doing the best we can in each dimension of life.  That we want to be able to stop thinking about work quite so much when we’re snuggling with our babies, and to feel more confident that our kids are just fine when we’re at our offices without them. 

And now as I write this blog post, I realize that if my ideas here have some truth to them, then really when we say we want more balance what we’re actually longing for is to be more present. 

Think about it.

  • You want to be with your family when you’re with your family.  Not worrying about how many chart notes are unfinished. 
  • You want to be able to take a couple of extra hours a week to write out a marketing calendar and get your accounting updated without feeling guilty for spending the extra time away from your child.

When we feel out of balance, it’s likely because we need to be more present

I wonder how many times I’ve used the word balance when I’ve really meant present.  How many times have I said I feel out of balance, because what’s really been going on is that I haven’t been paying attention?

Today, I’m committing to being more present.  Even just 1% more present with my husband, with my kids and in my work. 

Will you join me?

The Secret Reason I Sucked At Social Media In 2017

I have been writing this blog post longer than I’ve been pregnant, and at this point I’ve been pregnant forever.  So fair warning: this is long, as there are many facets to this story.  As what I’m sharing with you here unfolds, you’ll see why I have taken over a year to publish this, have rewritten it, and at many points simply ignored it. There's stuff in here that I'll probably always struggle with and don't like about myself.  But it's all very real and very honest.

HERE WE GO...

In early 2015, I discovered an app called Periscope. I don’t remember exactly how I first heard about it, but what I DO remember is that the first live “‘Scope” I saw was of John Mayer giving a free guitar lesson to viewers. I died 100 times while watching it and was hooked on the app.

At the time, there was no such thing as “Facebook Live.” Despite the obscurity of Periscope (it was only being used by the Innovators and very Early Adopters then—which consisted only of business coaches, marketing experts, and the like), I just had this sense that this technology was going to create a tremendous shift in marketing, branding, consumer behavior and generally how we interact with each other as first-world humans. 

I have no idea why or what, but I KNEW that I had to get active on this platform. So, I started ‘Scoping several times a week and building a following. Now just a day away from 2018 in a time when it seems like everyone is turning themselves into a celebrity online, you might read that and think “ok… what’s the big deal?” And I’ll tell you more about that soon. 

Just a few months later, Facebook OF COURSE created their own Live streaming technology. At first, the limited features weren’t anywhere near as fun as Periscope’s, but as with so many other things Facebook continued to roll out more features to improve the Live experience. I think it’s safe to now say Facebook Live has officially killed Periscope. 

Having months of practicing broadcasting myself to an invisible audience, I wasn’t afraid to start using Facebook Live when it launched.  Well, actually that’s not entirely true.  I WAS afraid.  On Facebook all of my family, high school friends and chiropractic colleagues could potentially be watching. 

I was afraid, but I did it anyway. 

When my videos from a couple of years ago pop up as “Memories” in my Facebook feed, I absolutely cringe.  See, I had no idea what I was doing.  Specifically, I had nothing to say that anyone wanted to hear about.  I tried to appear casual but I was working really hard at it.  In those early videos, there’s an undefinable, un-measurable air of fakeness about me. 

Most of the time, I was pretty certain that absolutely nobody was watching, much less interested or caring.  So, despite how stupid I looked to even myself, I kept going anyway.  Whatever it was that was fueling me (which was not much more than an indescribable sense of “I just KNOW I have to do this” in a this-is-bigger-than-me sort of way) was what kept me on track. 

There have been times that I have been uber consistent—posting a video every day for 30 days in January 2016, for example.  And there have been times that I have had no consistency at all—like most of 2017. 

I started 2017 off by hosting a 5-Day Facebook Live Challenge for Mama Chiropractors and repeated the challenge 2 or 3 more times throughout the year.  But, I’ve totally sucked at my own Live videos (or any videos) this year. 

WHY?  ‘Cuz I’ve got issues. 

Yeah, this is where the story gets interesting.  This is where the story that I’m telling becomes something that might stir your soul as much as it stirs mine.  This is where I want to run.  Hide.  Delete the Word document I’ve been typing this post into.  Forget that I ever had the knowing that I must share this story.  And possibly vomit (or is that pregnancy nausea?).

In 2016, I created a business called Aligned Women.  It took me months—no really, years—to figure out what it was.  By mid-year, I hired a business coach who was oh so very wise—Caroline Greene.  She was able to see the big jumbled mess of an online business (a little fitness, with some mindset coaching, but wait I wanna help you grow your business too because I'm a freak who loves marketing) I had created that was generating basically no revenue and laser focus in on exactly what I needed to do.  Which was support other chiropractors who were also moms struggling to figure out the balance of life and practice. 

At the time, I knew of absolutely nothing out there that was dedicated specifically to Mama Chiropractors.  So it seemed to make sense.  I knew there were a lot of us feeling alone and struggling to grow our businesses because we were so overwhelmed with just managing the day-to-day mix of home and office. 

Following her advice and staying committed to the plan we had laid out, Aligned Women started to grow.  It grew and grew and grew.  And strangely, so did I.  I gained about 15 pounds in just a few months.  For many people this is no big deal.  For someone like me who has spent her entire lifetime measuring her worth by her size, it was nerve wracking at the least.  As much as I despised the weight I was gaining, I felt like I simply couldn’t stop myself from my daily dose of chocolate peanut butter ice cream to soothe over the extreme vulnerability I was living with every day growing an online community--a "following," if you will--and even having the audacity to ask people to pay me money to be a part of it.

I continued to replace my usual staples of avocados, eggs, and berries with ice cream for enough weeks—weeks that turned into months, mind you—that I developed cysts on one of my ovaries.  What the hell was I doing?  I had gone through this before. More than once.  And I thought that I had overcome my emotional overeating tendencies.  But even after seeing the cysts on the ultrasound monitor, I didn’t change my behavior. 

Meanwhile, Aligned Women was growing and I had started my second practice in a town that was brand new to me where I knew basically no one.  Then, as if I didn’t have enough on my plate, my daughters decided that they wanted to have a baby brother. 

They talked about it every day.  For maybe the first week or so, I just laughed and said no.  I had been absolutely certain that I was totally done with pregnancy and babies.  I'd already given away ALL of our baby stuff. 

But they continued on.  For weeks.  And somehow their asking made me re-evaluate.  I mean, we would all love to have a little boy in this family.  What if they were being guided by powers beyond their comprehension?  Who was I to say no to that?  As crazy as it seems still, I figured…. Ok, I’ll get pregnant, we’ll have this baby brother they’re asking for, that’ll be totally awesome, and we will once and for all be done with the baby-making years. I was convinced that this was what The Universe wanted for us. 

My husband and I had always made a baby on our first try; when that didn’t happen this time I knew it was because of the state I had emotionally-eaten my body into.  So, like any reasonable crunchy chic would do, I did a detox, felt a ton better, and didn’t get my next period.  I was pregnant, and the little brother my daughters had requested was on his way. 

Go ahead and ask me here: what the hell does any of this have to do with Facebook Live already?  Yes, I’m getting to that now. 

You see, for the better part of 2017, I’ve been growing.  My heart has grown, my mind has grown, my belly has grown, my butt and thighs and boobs have been growing, and even my face and feet have grown. 

This is what’s supposed to happen during pregnancy, right?  But for some reason I’ve had this story through all of my pregnancies that I’m doing something wrong—something unhealthy—by growing so much in size. 

How can I show up as a leader in a holistic health and wellness profession when I look so… round?

Further, I’ve pursued being smaller for over 25 years.  I’ve measured my worth, value and success inversely with my size.  I have no idea how or why this started.  But I remember feeling I was far too fat when I was just 10 years old and wearing a crop-top at my dance recital.  Really. I distinctly remember worrying about the fat rolls on my abdomen showing…. When really I had none. Where the idea that I must be smaller to be “good” came from, I still don’t know.

There have been 4 distinct times in my life that I felt uber successful and happy, each one of them directly related to how small my body had gotten at the time.

I’ve mulled over the idea of including pictures in this post for several months.  Pictures of me at all my varying sizes, so that you could see what I see now.  Which is basically how messed up my perception of my size has been for most of my life. How I can look back on a photo or video of myself from just two years ago after giving birth twice and see how strong and lean I was but remember how desperate I felt to be smaller. But I decided against adding the photos... mostly because I'm too busy waiting to give birth at the moment. 

So, as you can probably imagine by now (and possibly even relate to on a really deep level because you’ve struggled with body dysmorphia yoursefl), as I’ve increased in size I’ve become more and more resistant to being seen. 

As in, I don’t wannnnnaaaaa.

There are already so many reasons (excuses, really) why creating and posting videos on any social media platform can feel anxiety-provoking. 

The potential for ridicule...
judgment...
rejection... 

Particularly in the chiropractic profession, there’s so much judging that goes on amongst ourselves.  And then there’s the legal restrictions on what we can and cannot say that we do, too.  It can leave you feeling like "why bother?" 

For over a year, I put myself out there despite those usual things we’re afraid of.  But the one thing that stopped me from showing up consistently in 2017?  My increasing size.  How crazy is that!?

I’ve let my ick-factors about gaining weight take precedence over sharing the mission that I’m on—which is to help more women in chiropractic create practices that align with their families because, when we do, we’re able to serve more people.  And the world really really needs us, lady.  There’s no shortage of unwell people; they’re everywhere you look. 

A few days ago, a local doula asked if I would be sharing my upcoming birth on Facebook Live.  WTF?!  At first I laughed. I mean, really?!  The thought hadn't even crossed my mind.

But then the reality of what she had asked hit me in a different way.  She and I have never met in person.  We Facebook-know each other thanks to—you guessed it—me posting videos on my page. 

It was a weird moment, when I considered that people I’ve not even met associate me with being that lady they’ve watched in Facebook videos. 

But isn’t that what it’s all about? 

We have this incredible (and FREE, mind you) tool literally at our finger tips that has never existed before now, that can help us reach our local and global communities anywhere they are and inspire change in them.  It’s so simple, yet still so fear-provoking for so many of us.

This lovely doula asking me about live broadcasting my birth inspired me to pause and reflect. 

A little over a year ago, I was one of the very few female chiropractors I saw utilizing live video on social media.  There were more and more men jumping on the bandwagon, but where were the ladies I wondered?  I knew we could do this Live thing, because I was seeing women in other professions do it—business coaches, health coaches, authors, and more.  Even though I was (and am still) no expert, I saw a missed opportunity, a need for support, and took a chance on offering a free 5-Day Facebook Live Challenge to help female chiropractors just get started using this platform to create more awareness in their communities about what they do. 

We had about 20 ladies participate in this challenge back in January 2017, and it was so incredible to witness.  I felt so blessed.  Watching these ladies get out of their comfort zones and step into new realms was literally like watching a dream come true.  Suddenly there were more and more female DCs VISIBLE.  Other amazing things happened from there.  One mom doubled her practice volume in approximately two months.  One had a video go viral in a huge way.  We were seeing them create measurable changes in their businesses. 

Today, a year later, I can look back on that first challenge and see how far things have come for not just Aligned Women but for so many of the members in their own practices. 

I’m reminded of what’s really most important.
It’s not the cut of my deltoids
or the strength of my quads
or the tiny-ness of my waist. 

It’s my willingness to feel the fear and do shit anyway. 
It’s what’s in my heart. 
It’s the calling that I feel to step up, play bigger and support other women in doing the same. 

Speaking of playing bigger, in the week ahead I’m gonna do just that.  While I wait out what feels like the longest pregnancy ever, I’m gonna play and have fun in my coaching practice with a group of amazing women in a new round of the 5-Day Facebook Live Challenge.  This is going to require me to say “f*ck it” to my insecurities about my overdue pregnant roundness and know that there are more important things going on than what anyone thinks about my chubby cheeks—myself included. 

I might always feel insecurity come up about how much space I take up in the world.  But one thing I know for sure--it won't ever change by me letting it win.  So, I'll do one of the few things that I can say I'm damn good at. 

I'll feel the fear and I'll do it anyway.

(unless I happen to have labor start...)

If you want to grow your authority as a leader in health and wellness in your community, no one is going to do that for you.  No one is going to lead you to the cliff and make you jump, except you (and maybe a really skilled coach). No one is going to give you permission to get yourself and the mission of your business more visible.  No one except you

So if you’re ready to walk through your fears and build your social media presence in 2018, come join us in the 5-Day Facebook Live Challenge.  It starts Tuesday, January 2 and the number of participants is limited (to what, I honestly haven’t decided yet…. We already have almost 30 ladies who’ve said yes to this event!)

Request to join in on the challenge and find more details about what to expect inside the group.

Most of all, I want you to know that if the idea of participating in this challenge speaks to you but you feel scared to do it… guess what, so am I.  But what’s most important to remember right now is that on the other side of your fear is your growth.

PS: That baby brother?  Well, turns out he is a sister.  I'm still waiting for God to show me the lesson in that one :-)

3 Lies And A Truth About Catching Up For Work On The Weekends ...When You’re A Mama Chiropractor

“On Friday I made a list of all of the things I was going to do this weekend to get caught up at work, and by the end of Sunday night I had them all done,” said NO MOM EVER.

I titled this post “...when you’re a Mama Chiropractor,” but I think the following words could apply to our Dad Chiros, too. 

I only write from a moms perspective because I am a mom. And I’ve never been a dad. So, it’s what feels right to me. 

However, from my view, the way my husband manages the weekends is much different. More on that in a bit.

Lie #1:

"There’s no reason to tell my husband about this super important to-do list I’ve made, because he will intuitively know that I have a bunch of really important things I want to do for my business this weekend."

This is dumb. I am dumb!

I do this over and over. Make a list, promise myself to get it all done and feel great after it is all done, and then dive into the weekend.

What REALLY happens is more like this:

We wake up a little later than usual, and while I’m in the bathroom, my husband gets dressed and grabs his car keys. He stops by the bathroom and says “hey, I’m going to the grocery store and Lowe’s, and when I get back I’m going to watch an obnoxious amount of football.” I stare blankly, “Oh. Ok. Bye.”

But see what he did there? He took action on his plans from the start of the day, and he told me about what else he intends to do with his time. And I still say nothing about my super important list of things to do to so that my weekdays are a wee bit easier and to help my business grow. Nah. That much open communication would just be weird.

I silently decide I can get it all done on Sunday, because Saturday will now be a wash.

Lie #2:

I can get all of these things done, because my kids will play together with their dolls and Barbies without any arguments.

Gosh, I am so dumb.

Sure sometimes my kids play together nicely. But my 3 year old is going through a phase (oh God, please let it be a phase!) of extreme mommy-attachment. So she’d rather play with me than with her sisters the majority of the time.

She also currently refuses to let anyone else make her plate, get her drinks, find her snacks, get her dressed, brush her hair, help her in the potty, wash her hands or just about anything else.

Meeting her needs takes up about 70% if my day. The other 30% I sleep—with her Velcro'd to my side all night, of course.

So, even if I had told my husband about my super important to-do list, as long as I was still in the house our 3 year old would be making sure that mama’s every waking moment was dedicated to taking care of her. Because there’s just no one else who can do any of it as well as Mommy.

Lie #3:

I don’t need more rest; I need to work harder.

There are times in our lives and phases in our businesses when putting in long, hard hours is necessary. Like when you’re moving office locations, launching a new product or service in your practice, or organizing and hosting a special event.

Most of the time, however, we actually should be planning in more rest into our lives. THIS is what’s necessary for longevity, productivity, and optimal performance.

Don’t believe me? That’s ok. Every author I’ve read this year from Gary Keller to Brendon Burchard to Jon Acuff all agree.

There’s a very specific time when rest is even more essential that these authors I’ve mentioned can’t personally attest to, and that’s the last few weeks of pregnancy. Where I am now.

Although I’m getting better at it, I continue to underestimate how much of my energy is (rightfully) given to supporting my growing baby. Now at 37.5 weeks, and waking up Monday morning with practically nothing from my super important to-do list actually completed, I’m vowing to myself not to make anymore such lists until sometime after our baby is born.

A Truth:

I did exactly what I should have been doing this weekend. 

The worst thing that comes from making a weekend work to-do list, expecting to have it all completed Monday morning and getting none of the items actually done is that I missed out on fully enjoying all of the things I DID do.  

First of all, I didn’t put “deliver the best care I can to my patients” on the list for my Saturday morning office hours. But I did that, and then totally dismissed the importance of that.

Seriously?! How dumb! 

Providing the best care we possibly can to our patients is the number one priority of any chiropractic practice. All other tasks are secondary, at best.

I started off my weekend with the most important thing I can do in my practice, and then spent the rest of the weekend worrying about what I "should" be doing that I wasn’t doing.

Secondly, I spent the weekend with my family. How do I measure the value in that?!

We took all of our kids plus a friend to a Christmas concert, the little ones played outside with cousins, I had lunch and went shopping with my sister (who’s moving 30 hours away in one week), my husband and I got out of the house together for an hour or two without kids, we had a big family dinner out at our favorite restaurant, and we made s’mores on our back porch.

Lots of fun, lots of memories made... and all the while the little voice in the back of my head was reminding me of what I hadn’t made time for getting done.

What's the quote about "worrying about the future robs us of the gifts of the present"...?

Yes, it's like that.  When we create these to-do lists and expect to get it all done--whether it's reasonable or not--and then spend all weekend worrying about what we're not doing...

...we miss out on:

  • relishing a little extra rest
  • noticing that new skill the kiddo learned on her own on her bike
  • appreciating the rare opportunity to have time with your sister without any kids
  • holding your significant other's hand
  • simply feeling good about our choices

I know this won't be the last time that I'll find myself in this scenario.  I've done it 100 times, and old habits die hard.

But for the first time, I'm aware of the pattern.  And with that awareness, I'm asking myself some new questions:

  • What if I just didn't expect to use the weekend to catch up on work anymore?
  • What if my weekend to-do list was "sleep in, play outside with the kids, lay on the couch with husband while he watches an obnoxious amount of football, go to lunch with a friend"...?
  • What if.... if it didn't get done for work on a weekday, it just..... didn't ever get done?

You and I both see the memes on Instagram: "Present Over Perfect"
What if "present" IS "perfect"?

Three Vital Questions For Every Mama Chiropractor To Ask Herself To Get More Focused Today

We’re in the final four weeks of the year.

Are you feeling the pressure?

Not only do you have gifts to buy, wrapping to do, and parties to squeeze into your schedule, but you’ve also got year-end business goals to reach and tax documents to gather. 

None of this might sound like too big of a deal...but it certainly FEELS like a big deal. 

Maybe it’s because so much of what’s on your plate right now is related to money

There’s the extra costs of gifts, party food, and tax bills. 

(Feeling the pressure now?!)

Read More

Four Sneaky Reasons Your Practice Isn't Growing

After a decade of coaching and mentoring other chiropractors in their practices, there are a few patterns I’ve noticed in those who feel stuck in their business growth. 

Because I love watching people transforming themselves and their businesses, I’m sharing with you 4 of those patterns here. 

If you’re struggling to get your business to grow, see if one of these points hits too close to home. 

Read More

Three Times I Chose My Practice Over My Family

When I started my first practice after having my first baby, I had a vision in my mind of being able to take my daughter to my office with me. 

It would be so wonderful. 

She’d quietly play with toys on the floor of my extra adjusting bay, and I’d quickly sneak in a hug and kiss from her in between patient visits.   

I tried.  I tried to make this happen.  In fact, I tried to force this to happen. 

But as you can imagine, reality looked nothing like this.   

Some days she would take everything off the front desk, including taking the phone off the hook.  Other days, she totally insisted on taking a patient’s blood pressure.  Some would humor her and play along; others weren’t amused one bit.  She would run past the massage room screaming—massage in progress.   Oh, and speaking of massage... She not once, but twice, hid in the massage room putting an entire jar of massage cream into her hair like conditioner.

This was NOT what I had pictured.
This was NOT how it was supposed to go. 

After all, I had left my very cushy administration position at Logan to have more time with this girl. 

It just wasn’t working. 

There were many days and many ways early on in my practice that I chose my practice over my daughter, over my family, over my health and over my happiness.   

But there are three instances of my incongruent choices that stand out, and I sometimes still wonder what the heck was wrong with me. 

ONE

In the spring of 2012, my husband had a very special thing happen in his triathlon career: he was drawn in a lottery to enter the Escape From Alcatraz race in San Francisco. 

He kicked his training up a few notches and prepared for the race that summer.  My stepdaughter and mother- and father-in-law flew to California with him to watch him in his first ocean/bay swim. 

But not me.  I was just too busy with work to take the time off to go. 

(Well... looking back now, I see that it wasn't that I was so busy, it was that I was too afraid to take a few days off... because, you know, my whole business my fall apart if I took a break.)

I was too busy to see how sad I would be later that I missed out on watching my husband totally rock this amazing physical feat he undertook. 

TWO

Later in the fall that same year, my daughter was running around the office one particular morning while I was with a new patient.  She was about 2.5 at the time. 

She just so happened to be running with a #2 pencil in her hand, which I didn’t realize because I was doing my best to focus on the new patient. 

Unfortunately, my little girl tripped while running with said pencil, and it stabbed her in her upper eye lid.  I tried to shush her and get her to calm down as quickly as possible so that she’d stop making a scene in front of this patient. 

It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized two things:

  1. there was a piece of graphite broken off under the scab my kiddo had created, causing her eye to swell shut; and…
  2. worst of all, I only then realized how close my child had been to possibly stabbing her orbit out with a pencil! 

Thankfully her eyesight was unaffected and our very kind and patient eye doctor advised me to leave the graphite in her skin instead of putting her through a minor surgery (the graphite is still somewhat visible today almost 5 years later, FYI). 

Every time I notice her little gray spot above her eye, I'm reminded of the years that I missed out on spending time just watching her grow.  

THREE

About a year later in May 2013, in a moment of inhibition, I decided it would be grand to have another baby.  Two weeks later, I was quite elated to find out I was pregnant—my husband… not so much. 

In the back of my mind, I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to keep working as hard and as much with a new baby coming.  So I started working on finding an associate to join my practice. 

Sadly, at the end of my first trimester, I started cramping and spotting on a Wednesday morning.  I tried to convince myself everything was ok, and I went about my full day of patient appointments.  By the following morning, I was experiencing something that seemed very much like labor. 

I called my husband, who was several hours away on a work trip that Thursday morning.  Between contractions, I had to tell him what was happening—we were losing our baby. 

He got an early flight home that evening from the training he was at, but there was nothing he could really do. 

When Friday morning came, I got up and went to work like nothing had happened. 

I didn't take any time off to let my body heal or to let all of the emotions I was experiencing come to the surface.  It took me about two years to crawl out of the darkness that followed that experience.

 : :

 : :

Eventually (I had allowed) the stress of practice to become too much for me to continue accepting.  In fact, it was when I became pregnant again just 8 weeks after the miscarriage that I decided to sell my business. 

We usually consider this an achievement, right?
Selling a business....
But it felt so much more like failure to me. 
It was my inability to create boundaries that honored my family and that allowed me to take care of myself.   

I choose to live without regret, so I look at these choices that I made in those years and see the gifts that came from them. 

But somewhere in the process of healing myself I felt called to help other Mama Chiropractors see that we can do this a different way.  That we don't have to be either completely consumed by practice or give it up entirely. 

Don’t get me wrong—some of us absolutely love working 5 or 6 days a week; some of us love being stay-at-home moms.  But for the rest of us who want to do both, there hasn't been something that supports us.

Until now.  (And you can be a part of it.)

It was out of my deep frustration with practice, with life as a working mom, and—most of all—with myself that Aligned Women was born.   

The Lesson I Learned (Again) About Comparing Myself To Anyone Else

(WARNING: this one’s not for sensitive eyes!  I let the four-letter words out below as I feel them.)

The What

Here’s something you may have never heard or read from me before--I’m pissed off.

I know… I’m a coach—I’m not supposed to have negative feelings.  Blehhh. 

But I’m human.
Particularly, the female kind.
The pregnant female kind.

So yes, while most of my working time is spent helping other humans harness the power of their thoughts and intentions, I'm not enlightened all of the time.

I'm pissed off, and I'm giving myself permission for it to be ok.  Even if only for today.

The Why

At the time that I write this, I'm at the beginning of the third trimester of my fourth pregnancy. 

When I was just 5 weeks pregnant, without obvious explanation I woke up one morning in the worst pain I’ve ever experienced.  Worse than labor, worse than recovery from Cesarean delivery, worse than ruptured ovarian cysts. 

This pain I was experiencing was manifesting as low back pain that was so intense.  It alternated between paralyzing pain and drop-me-to-my-knees pain.  I was simultaneously terrified that something was really wrong with my pregnancy and wracked with the guilt of feeling that if this was what this pregnancy was going to be like... I didn’t want to be pregnant.

 Ugh...  That’s so hard to write...

While I was healing from this mysterious onset of 11/10 low back pain, I had to do things that are all too often so very hard for us moms to do. 

I had to let the house go.
I had to let the kids watch a LOT of t.v.
I had to cancel a week’s worth of appointments with patients.
I had to refer some of them to other offices for the care they needed because I just didn’t know when I’d be able to get dressed again to leave the house, much less adjust my patients.

What felt like the worst part of all was that I was just starting to feel like my practice was heading exactly where I wanted it to go:

Most of my patients were pregnant moms,
I was excited to support them through their pregnancies,
and I really felt like my work was in alignment with my core values.

You know... dream-life kinda stuff. 

While I knew that I could and would recover my business when the time was right, it really sucked to feel like what I had been building was crumbling.

I stayed as positive as I could, though,
because that’s what I was supposed to do, right?

After a lot of rest and ice and great adjustments, I got back to normal pregnant life.

Fast-forward about four months, and I'm now looking at more unexpectedness in my plans and goals for my career. 

{{insert annoyed eye-roll here}}

With the addition of a newborn to our family (and with support, encouragement and inspiration from the amazing Dr. Karen Gardner and Rockstar Doctor Mom Melissa Longo), I decided a few weeks ago to transition my practice to a home office. 

My thoughts were all positive and cheery, like this:

"GREAT!
This will be PERFECT!
Ultra-low expenses, no commute, a solid tax deduction.
The kids can be playing upstairs while I’m seeing patients downstairs.
I’ll never have to worry about forgetting pump parts at home.
Hell, I can even pop dinner into the crock pot between appointments.
I'm gonna have the best life ever now." 

So, with a projected completion date of August 31, 2017 for our new home (and yes, my new office!) I was full of excitement and anticipation. 

I was totally ready to rock'n'roll in my new space.

BUT...

August 31 came and went and our house was nowhere near ready.
Then the next deadline—September 15th….
Now the next new estimated completion date--October 20th.

That’s less than 3 weeks away, and I just don’t see the house being finished in that timeframe. 
I mean, there's still no sinks or toilets!

Ok, well... there IS a port-a-potty in the front yard, but...
I'm pregnant!  I pee a lot!  In the middle of the night!
Am I wrong for wanting an indoor toilet???

There's carpeting and painting and light-fixture-hanging and door-installing to still be done.

Another deadline very likely to come and go...

All of these arbitrary deadlines...
in addition to building a new house, selling an old house, raising kids, managing two businesses, living in a hotel (oh yeah, did I mention we lived in a hotel for 5 weeks?!)...

The deadlines...
The unmet expectations...
The disappointment...

 I’ve not posted on social media about how stressful or crazy-inducing this process has been.

I mean, my gosh, there are way worse problems in the world—racism, hatred, hurricanes, wild fires, mass shootings.  How in the world could I complain about such trivial problems?!

But you wanna know the truth?  I woke up this morning with this overwhelming sense of:
“fuck, I am SO. Pissed. Off!”

It’s not just the house not being done.  For the first time today, I realized... it's so much more than that. 

It’s knowing that even if we do get lucky and move in in October, my body is not up to the challenge of picking my practice volume back up to what it was before.

I’m tired. 
It’s hard to breathe.
I sometimes get stuck on the floor.

And damn, even if I wasn’t so huge and tired, I would really only have about 2 months of time to work on my practice before the new baby is born. 

Ohhhhhh.... the new baby.....

When I think back to how consuming and exhausting taking care of a newborn was with my first two, my body says:

OMG, are we really going back to those days again?!?
What were you thinking when you signed us up for this?!?

When I think back to the searing pain that was living in my low back in May and how every time I cross a clear limit in how many patients I see per day, my body says:

 DO LESS.  OR ELSE.
You've been warned.

If I had to boil all of my pissed-off-ness down to one concise (albeit whiny) statement, it’s this:

WHYYYYYYY (why, why, why, why, why {{while kicking my feet}}) is it that every time I start getting my practice to where I want it to be, I get pregnant and then seem to be unable to do both?  WHY????

And here’s where this starts to deliver something potentially meaningful for you
that's more than just me whining and ranting about my ultra-first-world-problems.
Maybe.
Hopefully.
If not, I'm sorry.

The How

I heard that question in my head this morning—“WHY?”  And—like I would with any of my coaching clients—I turned it around. 

I asked myself again, “Why?” but this time truly open to receiving an answer instead of merely complaining.

Why is it that I see other women in chiropractic managing their usual full patient loads until the day they go into labor… but I can’t?
Why is it that they seem to be able to do and have something that I can’t do or have?
Why do I even care what anyone else is doing in the first place?
Why is it that the picture I have in my head of the practice I'm supposed to build is always just within my reach but still too far away to grab it?

WHY?

And then I remember…

I have this sneaky genetic connective tissue disorder that I’m very fortunate to actually do really great with… until I’m pregnant.  And then, my joints feel like they're gonna fall apart.

I'm lucky to be able to practice at all with this condition, especially after 10 years. 

I remember…

God's plan and my plan may not always match.

I remember…

Just because someone else can and does, doesn’t mean that’s what’s right for me and my family.

I remember…

The cliché but deeply true saying “comparison is the thief of all joy.”

BINGO.

I know that comparing my journey to anyone else's leads to one thing:
feeling unreasonably shitty about myself.

But even though I know this, comparisonitis still sneaks up on me.

It captures my focus and keeps it on what I don't have.
I don't have the time,
the money,
the success...

Under the spell of comparisonitis, I can't look at all that is good around me,
all that I have,
all that I've done,
all of the magic,
all the possibility...

When I'm not paying attention, comparisonitis takes hold of my thoughts.
If I let it go too long, I start to actually believe those thoughts.

I start to actually believe that I'll never be successful enough,
that I'll never "make it",
that nothing I do is quite good enough.

Just like with any sickness, the comparisonitis healing process takes times.

But I already feel better.
Thanks for reading.

9 Ways Being A Mom And Being A Chiropractor Are Basically The Same

The thought came to me a few days ago as I was talking with my daughter about why I believe a gluten-free diet is best for me and probably for her, too:

"Being a Mom and being a Chiropractor are basically the same."

I laughed out loud.

Here I was explaining to her my theory of why when I eat gluten-containing food, my health starts declining.  Yet I realized it may not matter that much to her.  Her focus is on what tastes good and what she sees other kids being able to eat.

Kinda like when I've shared with patients in the past that I thought dietary changes would help improve their musculoskeletal conditions, yet they weren't really in a place to consider that.  At least, not yet.  

So this week when I saw a post from a former patient who moved to another state, talking about how going gluten-free had virtually eliminated the person's back pain, I smiled.

Then a dozen more ways being a mom and being a chiropractor are basically the same thing streamed through my mind.  And I knew I had to share this with you.

Just for fun.

IMG_5553.JPG

MOM: You do a lot for your kids, and while they do appreciate you, they sometimes forget to say it.
CHIROPRACTOR: You do a lot for your patients, and while they do appreciate you, they sometimes forget to say it.

MOM: You can tell your kids that they should exercise, eat healthy, drink lots of water, go to bed earlier, watch less television, and get more sunshine.  But the truth is they are going to grow up into adults who will someday move out of your home and make their own choices.
CHIROPRACTOR: You can tell your patients that they should exercise, eat healthy, drink lots of water, go to bed earlier, watch less television, and get more sunshine.  But the truth is they are adults and they make their own choices when they leave your office. 

 Side-posture QL stretch post-race...

Side-posture QL stretch post-race...

MOM: You find changing your toddler's diaper to be somewhat like wrestling a dragon, just without the fire-breathing abilities.

CHIROPRACTOR: You find adjusting high-strung patients to also be somewhat like wrestling a dragon, especially in a Gonstead side-posture kick-pull move (fire-breathing abilities dependent upon what said patient had for lunch :-) )

MOM: It's sometimes hard not to play favorites amongst your children.

CHIROPRACTOR: It's sometimes hard not to pick your favorite patients.

MOM: You become acutely aware of how much your two-year old daughter learns by watching you when you notice that she likes to play with your make-up and she already knows where the eye-shadow goes.

CHIROPRACTOR: You realize how much your practice members follow your example when you see them wearing Vibram Five-Fingers because they assumed they were good for their feet (since they saw you wearing them). 



MOM: As hard as it can be, as much as you love your kids, despite all the planning that may be required, it really is good for you to have some time away.
CHIROPRACTOR: As hard as it can be, as much as you love your patients, despite all the planning that may be required, it really is good for you to have some time away. 

 The pencil thing?  Yeah, true story...

The pencil thing?  Yeah, true story...

MOM: One day my then-toddler was running through my office holding a pencil, tripped, stabbed her upper eyelid with said pencil and broke graphite off into her skin. I felt terrible. But... Accidents will happen.
CHIROPRACTOR: A patient's been coming to you for help with neck pain after falling down the steps at home.  On her 8th visit, you discuss her symptoms and celebrate that she's out of pain and her neck retraction test is improving.  High-five!!  She leaves your office and is rear-ended by another driver.  Accidents will happen. 

MOM: There are days you wonder if you are doing this parenting thing right and if your kids will grow up to be awesome adults.
CHIROPRACTOR: There are days you wonder if you are delivering the care that people really need and if your clients are actually getting well. 

MOM: Despite how challenging and exhausting motherhood can be, you wouldn't trade your children and you know you were born to be a mom.
CHIROPRACTOR: Despite how challenging and exhausting practice can be at times, you wouldn't trade your "job" and you know you were born to be a chiropractor. 

BUT I READ THE BOOK!!!

 Ribbon Cutting at Spine and Joint Center

Ribbon Cutting at Spine and Joint Center

While deleting old files in my download folder this weekend, I came across this picture from the ribbon cutting of SJCA, my first chiropractic office. 

I realized that it was the anniversary of that event, oddly enough.

It’s both painful and amusing to look at my face in this picture.  I look so…. HOPEFUL!

I look at my daughter in this picture and can barely remember her being this age.  I know a lot of parents say that, because time goes by so fast.  But this feeling is more than just that…. It’s guilt over how little time I spent with her when she was still so small.

I was both terrified of running my own office and certain that everything would be just fine. 

I was both right and wrong.

I grew my practice to 60+ office visits a week in under a year.  Pretty fast for a non-high volume practice model. 

But I was so stressed.  Physically I felt exhausted and had some weird symptoms that had no explanation.  I rarely worked out and I often ate Chinese takeout from the restaurant next door.

This is not an uncommon scenario.  I’m far from the first or only chiropractor who hustled so hard to grow a practice that it affected (all) other aspects of life (negatively, it seemed).

But what DID make me different was that I had read The Book. 

“The Management of It All”

Written by my mentor in chiropractic. 

Someone I worked side by side with for years.
Someone I supported when he was asked for help by docs who were struggling.
Someone who created a position for me to be the leader, guiding soon-to-be new docs in the principles of Life and Practice that he taught.
Someone whom I still love dearly but who just wasn't equipped to teach me how to be a mom AND a chiropractor. 

I not only READ The Book….
I taught its principles to countless others, and I helped shape it into updated versions.

But I sure didn’t implement it when I was left to my own devices.

Reading the book only gets you so far, my dear.

Which is exactly why, when running my office began to feel like running the same marathon over and over again everyday—with no support crew on the sidelines—I started looking for someone that could help me.

I didn’t have the words for who or what I was looking for. 
I didn’t want to work with a practice management company. 
I didn’t want someone to tell me to sell treatment plans or memorize a script. 

I just wanted someone who could help me find some sort of peace in “balancing” the life I wanted to be living with the practice I wanted to be growing. 
I wanted someone who could help me figure out what was actually important, in my ever-growing to-do list. 

 Baby's first ultrasound

Baby's first ultrasound

I didn’t find that person.  And when I found myself pregnant just 8 weeks after a miscarriage, I knew that something had to give.  Six weeks later I sold my practice.

When people hear that, they say “oh! That must’ve been awesome!”

Truthfully, it didn’t feel awesome and it sure didn’t look awesome on paper, either.

It was what I HAD TO DO to support the growth of a healthy baby at the time.  It felt like the only way to get her here safe and sound. I wasn't willing to risk another pregnancy for my practice.

I know not everyone is as blind as I was when I started out.  I’ve talked to plenty of women who had the foresight to think about how they wanted to feel each day and design they practice around their life—instead of the other way around.

But if you find yourself reading this post and thinking, “Yeah, sounds like how I feel right now” then I invite you to take a one simple step today and subscribe to The Aligned Women Community Newsletter below. 

There is SO MUCH MORE in store for Aligned Women to support you in creating and growing your practice in a way that’s right for you and your family.  Join this community NOW and you’ll be the first to get access to all the tools and resources coming over the next few weeks and months.

With love,
Dr. Danielle Eaton
he Coach for Moms in Chiropractic

PS: “The Management Of It All” laid a great foundation for any chiropractor, but my book “Aligned” will be specifically for MOMS in Chiropractic.