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COVID-19 means I’m a full-time, stay-at-work mom


These are baby cookies. That is all I have to eat at my office.

I'm Dr. Melanie Denton Dombrowski. I'm the owner of Salisbury Eyecare and Eyewear, a practice I started cold 4 years ago in Salisbury, NC.

Right now, it is April 21, and we are in the middle of COVID. We're in the middle of a shutdown. The North Carolina governor, where I live, has shut down our state for everything but essential business. Now, I'm considered essential, as I'm sure you are as an optometrist watching this, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has had us discontinue our routine care, which means that a lot of us have furloughed our teams, laid off our teams, and we ourselves are not doing a whole lot.

Related: How one OD communicates with her team amid COVID-19

In my position, I have a 9-month-old daughter, and her daycare is still open. You can go only if your parents are essential workers. But I have elected to keep her out of daycare for the time being just until this thing settles down a little bit.

So, I have been running my business, applying for Paycheck Protection program (PPP) grants and loans, applying for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), making calls, delaying payments, making staffing decisions. I'm a business owner. And now I'm a full-time, stay-at-work, mom.

How I make it work
So, I wanted to give you a behind-the-scenes and talk to you about how that is going. It is really interesting. So, I have a greater respect for daycare than I ever did before. And a greater respect for stay-at-home moms than I ever did before. And I don't say that to make myself sound bad, but I just, I get it. It is a lot. Yeah.

To watch the associated video of Dr. Denton, click here

So, my baby started crawling when this happened. Right at the same time, she started crawling in 8 months. And so, she is mobile, and she is on the move, and it's a lot. So, here is what I do. Number one, I own my own practice. And so, I have a complete setup for her here. She has been coming here since she was 4 days old, 6 days old, something like that. So, she has been at my office from the beginning, and it feels like home to her, anyway. I have a Pack ‘n Play here as well as one at the house. And so, she has duplicates of everything.

Everything she has at the house she has here. She has toys here, I have diapers here, I have wipes here, we are fully set up in both places. We get up, and I try to bring her to the office. She takes 2 naps a day, 1 in the morning, 1 in the afternoon. So, I try to time so that 1 nap is at the office and 1 nap is at home. It doesn't really matter which one is which, but I am going to go into the office in the morning and get things done during her nap or vice versa, in the afternoon, and get things done during her nap. I have just gotten used to and people have gotten used to me being on Zoom calls and like “Oh hold on,” and I pick up a baby.

Related: How I have been using telemedicine amid COVID-19

Because it just is what it is at this point. I am doing my thing with my baby sidekick right next to me. So, overall, it is going pretty well. My husband just retired from the Army, and he has a new job. And he is an essential worker. And he is working four days a week. And so, when he is off, he takes the baby and helps me to get to the office on my own. But most of the time, it is me and the baby going to work and doing things. I'll show you some of her setup in this video. So, you can see. And right now, she is sleeping in the other room. So that's great. So, as a business owner and a mama, that is how I am balancing it right now. I just make it work. We just make it work.

That's what you do as a mom. That's what you do as a business owner. And in some ways, I feel like owning a business and all the things that come after prepared me for this. I'm like, “Oh, whatever, we'll figure it out. It's fine.”. So, if you're on a Zoom call with me and there is a baby, you know, just take it in stride. I'm just doing my best.

So, tell me down below, are you an associate who got laid off? Are you at home with your baby full time? Are you a busy mom who owns a practice and has multiple kids and you are bringing them in with you? How are y'all handling this? Tell me all about it down below. I look forward to talking with you.

To watch the associated video of Dr. Denton, click here

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