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.

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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. 

First Post, Worst Post

As the first post in my new home that I'm building brick by brick, I thought I'd share the first post from my previous blog.  

WHY? 

Well, basically so you can see how much it sucked.  But really so that you can see how much my writing and my message has changed in a little less than two years.  

When I first published this blog post, I was truly scared shitless to share it.  I was soooooo afraid of what people would think of what I wrote.  

Now when I read it, I don't see anything to be afraid of.  It's a very vanilla story from a girl who may appear vanilla on the outside but is anything BUT on the inside.  

Now I receive compliments on my writing and what I share via social media.  This post doesn't seem like anything to be scared of now.  

The lesson is that:
WE ALL START SOMEWHERE.  WHAT'S IMPORTANT IS THAT WE START.

If you make it through reading all of this, I'm sorry/not sorry. Here goes... 

After a year of working at Logan, I finally had gotten my name on the wall outside my office!  (March 2009)

After a year of working at Logan, I finally had gotten my name on the wall outside my office!  (March 2009)

Posted on November 17, 2014 at danielleeaton.com

Back in the day, when I worked at Logan College of Chiropractic, my job duties were quite often all-encompassing. One minute I might be treating a patient, the next minute teaching a student how to tape an ankle sprain, later giving an examination, sitting in a faculty committee meeting, ordering files and staples for my department offices, changing the toner in the copier, and on and on. Another catch-all duty that sort of became like an unwritten rule was that when the admissions staff was giving a tour, the staffer would bring the group through the clinic I worked in and ask me to tell the story of how I chose to attend Logan to the group. I tend to think that this became the standard procedure not because I had a particularly interesting story to tell, but because of how I told it. Even though I didn’t work in admissions, every employee of any college has an interest in bringing in new students–it’s job security. There were several commonly used and/or heard phrases in my department, one of which was “I can make you eat $#!$ if I cook it right.” So, I understood the importance of telling my story in a way that sounded interesting, whether it was really interesting or not.

Here’s the expanded version of the story that I told. I’ll let you decide if it’s interesting.

Just in case you needed proof...

Just in case you needed proof...

When I was in high school, I felt drawn to a career in physical therapy. I was smart, I liked being smart, I liked studying anatomy, and I liked sports. My aunt had suffered a significant spinal injury when I was much younger. I knew what it was like to help her with range of motion exercises. In fact, I think she even mentioned to me that I should be a physical therapist. Well, I was a dancer. I heard that a small college not too far from home was having dance scholarship tryouts. I choreographed my own routine and went to the scholarship tryouts over a weekend. I stuck out like a sore thumb because quite honestly it was evident that I lacked the skills of the other girls and had not learned enough technique in my small-town little dance studio. But the director of the dance program pulled me aside and told me that even though my skill level was not competitive with most of the other auditioners, she liked the way I moved. That director was Dr. Alice Bloch, and that small college was today’s powerhouse Lindenwood University–where I now work. Dr. Bloch granted me a dance scholarship. That sealed the deal for me–I was attending Lindenwood University and never looked back.

The only problem with this scenario is that Lindenwood didn’t (and still doesn’t) have a physical therapy school. So, I went off to Lindenwood as an 18 year old with a go-get’er attitude and intentions to major in business administration (what I affectionately refer to now as “the major for lost souls” because if you major in business it’s probably because you have yet to find a passion in something specific) with an emphasis in retail management, no less. I sailed through school, taking heavy course loads so that I could graduate in 3.5 years instead of 4 (just because I was like that).

The summer between my sophomore and junior years, I did my internship in retail management at Walgreens. It allowed me to work in the area of my major, but I got to dabble in the pharmacy which also allowed me to fulfill this burning desire I had to work in healthcare. My internship was PAID (and paid well, I might add) and was a structured program designed to put me into store management at the end. And it did.

I was still working toward finishing my degree but working in retail management part-time making good money for a college kid. The only problem was that I began to panic on the inside! Was I really embarking on a career where I scraped price tags off of shelves with Goo-Gone, meticulously organized boxes of enemas, tampons, condoms and cigarettes, and regularly encountered Sudafed shoppers (aka, meth-makers)? And I was going to do this on all holidays? And possibly work overnights? Barf (literally.  I have literally thrown up from staying up all night). My soul longed for more…. to be a part of something greater…. to feel a sense of accomplishment and pride from helping others in some way.

Enter the phase of major hopping. With less than a year before my anticipated graduation date, I changed my major. And changed it again. And then again. Psychology. Human Service Agency Management (fancy words for non-profit management). And finally, Social Work. You’re probably wondering why in the world I decided to major in social work, having started off as a business major and all. Well, simply put, I took the 400-level social work class (the one that is supposed to be the final course in the program for social work majors) “Social Policy and Welfare” because I thought that it sounded interesting. I got an A. My instructor said, “Danielle, you’re not supposed to get an A in this course. You haven’t even taken Social Work 101. Maybe you should consider majoring in this.” So I did. It wasn’t great advice to follow. It wasn’t a great decision. But I wanted to separate myself from the “for-profit”-driven world that I had just come from. And this was about as far away as I could get in the same college.

After 4 full years and 1 part-time year of college, I earned my Bachelor’s of Arts in Social Work.

Now what? I knew that I wanted to go to graduate school, probably mostly because I loved school. I considered a dance therapy program in Chicago and an art therapy program at SIUE. But it was just so hard to wrap my mind around how either of those paths would lead to a nice salary.  Pharmacy school at STLCOP?  Blech.  Maybe professional counseling?  A master’s in social work at Wash U?

In the year between graduating from Lindenwood and starting school at Logan, I ran into a handful of people that I knew from my hometown or even from Lindenwood who were then attending Logan College of Chiropractic. What was this chiropractic stuff? I heard it enough times that it got me wondering. I spent some time on our dial-up connection researching what it was that chiropractors actually did. I went to one once when I strained my back at work and could barely get off the couch. He fixed me up pretty quickly. That had pretty much been the extent of my personal experience with chiropractic care. But I started reading about “applying natural health approaches,” “studying kinesiology and how the body moves,” and “owning small businesses,” and I began to think that maybe this was the right step for me. I had enrolled in the master’s program in Counseling at Lindenwood–simply because I didn’t know what else to do. The day I was supposed to start my night class, I withdrew. I decided to pursue the rest of my education at Logan instead.

I didn’t have a miraculous story about how I had been horribly injured, and a chiropractor saved my life. I didn’t have a parent or a grandparent who was going to pass his or her practice on to me. I hadn’t worked as a chiropractic assistant and witnessed how many people are relieved of neck and back pain with a safer alternative than medications. All I knew was that owning my own business that offered a service that helped people sounded like a great way to mesh together my retail work experience and business education with my social work degree.

so happy to be spending another 8 hours day in the classroom...

so happy to be spending another 8 hours day in the classroom...

And so it began...
A second bachelor’s degree in Human Biology. A master’s degree in Sports Science and Rehabilitation. A Doctor of Chiropractic.
A tremendously huge mound of student loan debt that I would never advise anyone to take on. Ever.

School was stressful. Board exams were nerve-wracking. I remember one trimester when we had 33 exams in about 3 weeks. When I looked in the mirror, my lips were trembling. I couldn’t feel it, but I could see it. The stress of such an intense program can really wear you down. You get wrinkles and gain weight. Once every 3-4 weeks, I had a two-day migraine headache that kept me in bed all day and night. I developed IBS-like symptoms.

Then there was that two-year residency in Sports and Rehabilitation that I electively took on….

But….

Six years later….  Six years of applying my knowledge and continuing to learn a whole lot more….

I am healthier than I have been. EVER. I rarely ever get sick anymore, despite years of a poor diet (I thought that low-fat, low-cal and high carb was a good thing–thanks marketers!) and years of a social smoking habit. The acne breakouts I used to get on my face in my 20s are a thing of the past. I rarely ever have a migraine anymore, and if I do even feel a headache it’s normally just a sign that I need to increase my water intake.  These things didn’t just happen.

My children are super healthy kiddos. Our almost-4-year-old daughter has never had an ear infection, a sore throat, or many of the other common childhood illnesses. The only antibiotic she has had were eye drops for pink eye because she refused to let me put breastmilk in her eyes.  Maybe we are very lucky.  Maybe luck was helped out by avocados, breastmilk, bison burgers.

My family eats real foods without labels. Foods that my husband and daughter grow in our garden. Foods that provide vitamins and minerals. We drink water. We don’t keep dairy products in the house. We eat avocados almost every day.

When one of my siblings has a sports injury, I can provide reassurance that it’s safe to practice or play, OR I can recognize when there’s something more serious going on.

my niece Sophia's first adjustment

my niece Sophia's first adjustment

The list of benefits of all the time I spent in school learning can go on and on.

Quite honestly, I love that I can be my family’s primary care physician.  And that I fired our pediatrician when Ally was 15 months old (another story for another post).  And that my treatment recommendations often include love, rest, vitamins from whole foods, and maybe some coconut oil. I am quite content to have all of these skills and knowledge and to keep them for only my family’s benefit. But during my residency, I heard my director say time and time again that when you are given a gift from God, it is your duty to share that gift with as many people as possible.

Yes, chiropractors “crack backs” (there’s a whole lot more to it than just joint poppin’, but that’s another topic for another post, too). Yes, I love the satisfaction that I get when I “blow someone’s spine up” (that’s chiro slang) and when they sigh/giggle/move with relief. Yes, I’ve gotten pretty darn good at joint poppin’ over the last 10 years. But I don’t live and breathe by each cavitation. Having your back cracked (sorry that I keep using the chiro slang) may make you feel good, but that good feeling is going to be (in some cases, very) temporary if you:

smoke
drink
eat stuff that has labels
drink stuff that has labels
are a huge ball of stress/anxiety
sit a lot
complain a lot

I can assuredly look back over my course now and tell you–I became a chiropractor not so that I could impress you with the speed and gentle strength with which I move your joints. I became a chiropractor to make a difference in this world. To help people understand and act upon what I already knew somewhere inside me: that WE are in charge of our own health, that WE as individuals must do things differently if we want to have the lives we are dreaming of living, that living up to our fullest potential is the greatest way to honor the gift of life and health that so many of us are given yet take for granted.

If you want to learn about, work toward, and think differently about your body, your health, and your life, follow me. Subscribe to my blogs. READ them!

If not, that’s your call. But when you change your mind, I invite you to come back. I’ll have plenty of things here for you to explore.

So, let me wrap this up by asking: did you find the story of why I became a chiropractor interesting?  Leave a comment below and let me know.

Holy crap, did that feel as horrible to you as it did to me?!?

Again if you read this whole post, I'm both sorry aaaaaaaaand not sorry.  

I'm sorry that you just took the time to read such a boring story that really doesn't offer a whole lot of value to anyone else. 

But I'm not sorry because hopefully if you've been following me on social media over the last 6-12 months, you can see and feel how much I've grown...

...and that that inspires you to know that you can do the same, too, if you just start taking action bit by bit right now. 

Stop waiting to get hit by a lightning bolt that delivers you a voice memo recorded in God's voice instructing you of your divine purpose.  #beentheredonethatstillwaitingforthelightningbolt

You'll start to see your unique message and purpose unfold when you commit to taking action on figuring it out, one brave (and sometimes horribly written, boring) step at a time. 

Well shoot, even if YOU don't see it, chances are that everyone else WILL.

with love,
Danielle