More than once, I’ve heard that my work, and by extension my company, is my second child. Sometimes it is said in jest when I sprint across the gym to reach a client call. Sometimes it is said in frustration as I respond to emails from the dock at the cottage. The fact of the matter though, is that my work has become my family, built for my family and is loved equally in both directions. So for that reason, I thought today, at the end of a beautiful but cold Valentine’s Day and Family Day weekend, I would share the story of my second child, in a love letter to those who gave me such a precious gift.
RPM Physiotherapy was born for my daughter Charlotte and was a gift from my husband. Four months into my maternity leave, I was committed to but struggling with the concept of how to be a great mom in the constraints of my high profile but high stress job. My daughter had been to the office at 5 days old on Boxing Day to do employee payroll and was a regular at management meetings before she ever lifted her own head. Other women do it beautifully but for me the thought of catching the 6 AM subway permanently was literally making me ill. One night between sobs (and not the pretty kind) my husband leaned in gently and said “quit your job. We will find a way to make it work.” Being unemployed never felt so good.
I spent the next four months reveling in the beauty of my growing baby girl but knew that being a stay at home mom was neither feasible nor right for me. I love my job. I love the challenge of helping people and wanted my daughter to see she could do both if that is what she one day choses to do. I needed to create a work situation where I could be active with my daughter and also fulfilled and challenged by a career. I had never been without work before and didn’t know where to start. I skeptically sent in email out into the universe (more precisely to Mike and Marcus, the owners of RPM, who I had met with two years before) and held my breath. The universe answered within an hour.
RPM has felt like home from the minute I walked through the door. It fits because family comes first and everyone treats each other with respect and positivity. Sure there are days when it isn’t all rainbows and unicorns but it is usually solved over a hard sweat and a pint. Charlotte came to my first meeting and no one batted an eyelash over her infant screams or the baby puke that was likely in my hair. Pretty soon she was crawling on the gym floor while I painted treatment rooms and installed furniture. Just this morning she busted a move in front of a packed spin room. She is always greeted warmly and no one has ever made me feel like less of a business woman while I wrangle a toddler or like less of a mom when I work until 8pm.
I’ve always been a firm believer that if you love what you do and do it with passion and authenticity the business will follow. Being confident enough to rely on that philosophy as a business strategy can be risky if you aren’t surrounded by a positive work environment and trusting community. Part of the reason I can love my job as much as I do is that I have that both at RPM and within the Junction community. I’m always thankful for the trust people put in me when they ask me to take care of them or refer a friend or family member. Often it is me who is enriched by those interactions. There is never a day that passes when I am not learning or being engaged by the richness of those around me. I’ve made wonderful friends, felt overwhelmingly supported and even learned to love Olympic lifting.
In the last year, my second child has grown significantly. She now supports not only my family but those of the amazing practitioners who work with me. She often stumbles and falls but never without learning a valuable lesson. She is still learning to balance and some days are better than others but both sides are seen with gratitude. She relishes the opportunity to learn and grow through the kindness, thoughtfulness and constructive support of those around her.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed, supported and taught me in my journey over the last year. Family and love can be defined many ways. I am lucky to have so much of both at home, at work and within our community. It is what has made my business.