We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Palmer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Growing up on the east coast, I have always been very on the go. It was actually a bit of a struggle to me when I moved out here going from a fast-paced, productivity-driven lifestyle to a more slow-paced, quality-of-life-driven lifestyle. I couldn’t believe people wouldn’t work full time — how could this be!? I began working like I had always worked, with some fun and relaxation on the weekends. I, of course, have student loans to pay and have always been focused on those; however, as the months and years have passed, I have quickly shifted my mindset. I always thought I would stay full time; however, once having my daughter, I realized that some things matter more. Spending time with her and helping her to flourish in these first few years of life is something I will never get back and nothing on the career ladder can make me change my mind with this. That being said, I have shifted my focus to working more online and at home with a decrease in overall hours, in order to be with her more. I now work more during naps, nights, and weekends when she is sleeping or my husband is with her. I focus my life now around the quality of our meals, getting outside, helping her to develop her motor and cognitive skills. It’s the most important job to me. Given that we are a military family as well, we don’t know that we will always have this family time together, and I have found a new ability to cherish these slower times together.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have been a physical therapist for almost.6 years now in various capacities. I found that we really are only taught how to be a clinical physical therapist in school, but I have been able to use my degree in a variety of ways since graduation. I have worked in acute care settings, post-acute settings, outpatient, and even some Telehealth. I have been a lab assistant at a local PT school and I even taught anatomy to a few Japanese folks when I lived in Japan. Most recently, I have become a Baby-Led Sleep and Well-Being Specialist so that I can help parents and children adapt to postpartum and life with a baby, with an emphasis on sleep. Not only can I use my knowledge as a PT to help with positioning during sleep (for the parents) and optimal gross motor development (for the infant), but I now have an understanding of sleep science and how sleep changes over the years. I have a global knowledge from this certification, but also because of my experience traveling and living abroad, to help families get more sleep and understand what is “normal” without any sort of sleep behavioral training. I’ve completed this recent training all during a pandemic, with limited childcare, and it has been nothing short of difficult while I juggled my full-time job. After completing it, I have now dropped my hours and have, again, learned that certain things are more important to my life now. Being able to be more flexible with my hours and work around my daughter is so helpful to me and so worth all of it!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I absolutely love the outdoors and all of the hikes here. There is such a variety- mountains, beach, lakes, etc all within a short driving distance! I would want to take them to Annie’s Canyon to see the slot canyon, then to hike up Cowle’s and be a “true tourist.” If we had extra time, Lake Hodges in Escondido seems out of place SoCal, but it is so beautiful! In regards to eating, I would make sure we headed down to Little Italy to have some great pasta and maybe some Salt and Straw one night, but I would also want to take them to my favorite vegan restaurant, Grains Cafe! Of course we would need to go to brunch at least one of those days, so I’d say we would hit up Breakfast Republic or Great Maple. I’d make sure we caught the sunset at Sunset Cliffs at least one night, and maybe even just relaxed on the beach in Coronado (or grabbed a few drinks at the Hotel Del). There are so many great spots to just relax around here!!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My parents have always been an incredible support throughout my life. They have always supported my independence when going after my dreams, even if it’s not something that would necessarily suit them (like, ya know, moving across the world for a period of time…). I of course have to thank my husband as well because not only would I not be where I am today (literally), but I would not have entered the world of helping other moms and families the way I have been privileged to.