Question: “You’re so busy. How do you do it?”
Answer: “Just like everybody else, sometimes better than others.”
Yes, I am busy. Very busy. Sometimes too busy. I am the thankful owner of thriving,
small business, Local Care Midwifery, PLLC. I work as a midwife in this practice,
attending planned home births and seeing clients in the office for prenatal and
gynecological care. I am a wife, mother, boss, homemaker, perpetual student, cook,
writer, photographer, weaver and gardener. I also participate in community service:
NYSALM board member and PAC Chair, St. Paul’s vestry member, Last Saturday
Supper director and I facilitate a parenting support group. Then there are the family
members strewn around the country: sisters in NJ and MI, my three parents in MO, in-
laws (parents and siblings) spread from East Coast to West Coast. Oh, I am also the
caretaker of a cat, dog, two birds and several house plants.
How do I manage?
By actually doing for myself what I preach to my clients.
After decades of personally and professionally caring for others, I was in my late 30’s
when I finally started to seriously care for me.
As a midwife, I take care of a broad range of, um, well broads. Women’s health care
(including pregnancy and annual exams) is the heart of a midwifery practice. The
following is what I tell my female clients to do daily. (The same things get suggested to
my husband, kids, their friends, folks at the grocery store…)
- Get hot, sweaty and out of breath (HSOB) at least 15 minutes everyday
- Eat plenty of fruits and even more vegetables
- Rest well -sleep is important
- Self-time (at least 15 minutes a day of time spent simply nourishing the Self)
- Take appropriate supplements and medications
- Drink plenty of water
For myself, this means the following:
At least five mornings a week, you can find me at the Troy YMCA, getting HSOB, using
an elliptical, some weight machines and the stretching mats. When I have been up for a
night (or two) catching babies, the need for sleep and hydration may temporarily trump
getting to the Y but I will return (and I may take a nice walk on the resting day).
We keep the house stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables, local meat, milk and eggs.
My midwife mobile is mechanically maintained with air, fluids and at least a quarter tank
of gasoline at all times. She is kept stocked with water, Luna Bars, cans of V-8 and cans
of Starbuck’s Double Shot. Hydration, protein and caffeine are crucial to maintaining a
properly functioning Midwife Doyle.
I am blessed with a innate ability to sleep almost any place, almost any time. Napping is
one of my superpowers. Like all blessings, my natural sleep-ability needs nurturing. I
have a good (and cozy) bed. I keep the TV out of the bedroom. I sleep in a dark room
and make alarms pleasing, not too jarring. Before heading into sleep, I brush my teeth,
set worries aside, say my thanks and snuggle under the covers.
Self Time is the thing that my clients have the most resistance to and the thing that I
believe makes the most difference. I tell clients to spend at least 15 minutes a day doing
something that is just for themselves, something that really and deeply nourishes them.
For me, this may be reading (currently Beginner’s Grace by Kate Braestrup), writing,
playing with a camera, or calling a old friend. What does not count as Self Time for me
is FaceBook, emails, working on the computer, watching TV, or playing games on the
iPhone. Those maybe entertaining but I do not find them nourishing for my Self.
Supplements and medicine are a necessary evil for most of us. It would be great if we
all got all of our nutrients from our food; I don’t think or feel like I do. My daily regimen
includes a baby aspirin, Fish Oil, Vitamin D, EsterC, magnesium, and Central Chi (thank
you, Dr Carol Clas).
Hydration is Important. Luckily, I live in Troy where the tap water is tasty and drinkable
(hey, if aquarium professionals like Troy water for their fish, it cannot be too bad). When
I am up all night, it is really hard to drink enough water. My assistant, Elizabeth
Devereux and my son Jonas have been known to shove glasses of water at me.
Besides these daily regimens, there are a variety of things I do regularly to maintain my
health and stamina. I get acupuncture, have cranial sacral therapy, enjoy professional
massages, have dates with my husband, play chess (often badly, always enjoyably), go
to church, share meals with my kids and spend time with friends. It is really hard for me
to be this good to myself. To guarantee that these things happen, I make sure to
actually schedule dates on my ever present calendar.
Some true blessings for me in this busy life are my family, colleagues, friends, and
clients. My gratitude for these folks will take an entire book, not just part of a blog post.
Other blessings that allow me to be this busy are my big and sturdy constitution, my
innate curiosity and mental flexibility, my napping superpower, and, Troy’s great tap
Yes, I am busy. Sometimes, quite frankly, I am too busy. But, I have learned to take
care of me. I have also learned that truly caring for myself, caring for my Self, means
that I can take really good care of others. That is what this life is about, right?
May we all do unto others as we would have them do unto us. May we all care for our
Selves as we would care for Others.
May all babies be born into loving hands.