Physical Therapist Jenny Putt Finds Covid Silver Linings
by suki wessling
Welcome back to our monthly feature of moms who have faced the task of pandemic parenting while also continuing their work in our community. Research has shown that women have suffered greater economic and personal fallout from the pandemic, losing jobs or having to work while also caring for children.
“It’s easy to miss so much of your child’s growth and development when you are a working parent, especially self-employed,” says physical therapist Jenny Putt, mom to three-year-old Peyton. “I had no idea what I was missing by working all the time.”
That’s Jenny putting a positive spin on the difficult position she found herself in last March. Jenny is an orthopedic and pelvic floor physical therapist and massage practitioner—which means she works on people’s bodies with her hands. Clearly, her career seemed ill-suited to Zoom meetings with a three-year-old in tow.
“When COVID first hit, I was the one who was fully responsible for her care,” Jenny explains. “As a person who is used to being busy with work, momming, soccer, and time with friends and family in addition to needing alone time to recharge, this was quite a transition for me.”
Like many moms, Jenny found that she had to balance a number of competing concerns in order to figure out how to return to work.
“As I started seeing patients again, I could only work weekends when my husband could provide the childcare,” she remembers. “This took a major toll on our family, not being able to be a unit until the evenings. One of the hardest decisions was whether or not to put our kiddo in preschool back in August. Ultimately we decided the developmental benefit outweighed the risk of COVID exposure. I was able to work weekdays again and Peyton flourished being able to be around kids.”
Jenny had to transition her work from in-person and hands-on to distanced online interactions. Although this seemed almost impossible to her at first, she was able to provide a different but still valuable service. She found that the added responsibility that patients had to take for their own health was not necessarily a drawback; it helped patients feel better faster and more permanently.
“In so many ways, I have learned that telehealth and virtual programs are more effective than in-person treatments. On the flip side I have also learned that nothing will replace human touch and being in the same room with people.”
“Jenny is an example of strength, resilience, and innovation,” says friend Tina Somers. “She even developed an entire prenatal/postpartum program during the program that can be accessed remotely. Such an incredibly important resource for isolated mamas during this time.”As a mom, Jenny treasures the lessons that she learned being with her daughter during the quarantine period. “I’ve learned that my kid has so much to teach me with regards to her fascination at the simplest things and her unconditional love for the people and animals around her. She has taught me how to be present.”
And Jenny, like many of us, feels that she has grown as a person during this time. A classic ‘busy person,’ she thought she was thriving in her fast-moving life.
“I learned that slowing down, while uncomfortable for me, is totally necessary,” Jenny reflects. “It gave me the space to ask myself what I want for my life and time to plan the necessary actions to attain it rather than just being along for the ride of whatever comes my way.”