By Sharon Muza, BS, CD(DONA), BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE
Here I sit in the real summer heat of Seattle. In general, Seattle has beautiful summers consisting of blue skies, a lot of sun, no humidity, long periods of daylight and no bugs. Temps run in the mid-70s and the evenings are cool and comfortable for sleeping. No one really has air-conditioning but we normally don’t need it. But yesterday, we hit the low 90s and today will be the same. When that happens, we (I?) love to complain. And no one loves to complain more than a birth doula on call trying to enjoy all the fun summer cooling activities while serving their clients.
The struggle is real to find a way to enjoy all that summer has to offer while still having access to one’s phone and being within an appropriate driving distance should a baby decide to come. Here are some of my best tips for juggling being on call during summertime fun.
My smartwatch saves me daily
There are lots of lakes, rivers, and salt water all around me. How do I go in the water and enjoy a great float/soak/paddle without having my phone on me ready to receive a labor call? I use my smartwatch. It is waterproof and I can see who is calling while I bob around amongst the waves. This allows me to leave my phone in my beach bag or in a waterproof dry bag in my backpack and still know when I need to take a call.
We take two cars
When I go places with my family – a summer concert, a backyard BBQ at a friend’s house or some other summer fun, my family often take two cars, so that if I need to skip out quickly, I can do so. While a similar solution works all year round, I find we are out and about much more in the nice weather.
A quick client check-in before sailing off into the sunset
I am lucky enough to occasionally get an invite for a sail around Puget Sound and know that I will be three to four hours away from the dock, if not more. A quick check-in with any in-dates clients before pushing off from land lets me know if anything is brewing and informs my client that I need even more notice, rather than less if they think things are starting. I also inform my back-up that in the event of a labor picking up quickly, I may need some short-term coverage until I can get back to the dock and head into the birth location. Communication with all involved goes a long way toward allowing me the freedom to go for a sail (or something similar) while still assuring that I am meeting my clients’ needs.
Back to the watch
One thing I do to get out of the heat is hit the movies for a couple hours in the cool, dark theater. Once again, the smartwatch lets me know who is calling while I keep my phone hidden away so as not to disturb others. The ability to not have my phone out and being observed by me 24/7 is really a great feature I use daily ever since the smartwatch became a new accessory.
Explore the local wonders
Being on call does not let me explore many points beyond my local area for any length of time, but it has encouraged me to find local activities that fill my summer cup up without needing to go far. Local campgrounds, hiking trails, outdoor activities that are new to me nearby and more connection with local friends are all part of the plan when I am on call during the beautiful summer months. Often Seattle surprises me with all it has to offer right in my backyard.
Strike a balance and have some fun
Few professional doulas have the ability to go off call during the wonderful summer months to enjoy fun summertime activities, especially out of town. These tips may help you to find a balance between being on call while still enjoying the great outdoors and feel like you get some summer fun while continuing to serve your clients and maintain your business.
What are your best tips for being on call while still having summer fun?