MEET A MOM – MAKENZIE MILLER CERTIFIED SLEEP CONSULTANT AND RESPIRATORY THERAPIST
Where are you originally from, and how long have you lived in Pittsburgh?
Originally, I’m from a small town about an hour north of here named Kittanning. I went to Respiratory Therapy school at IUP and had to move to Pittsburgh for my clinical rotations. That was 2004 and I never looked back! So about 17 years.
How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
I have 2 girls Paz (3) and Lennon (2). 2 under 2 was no joke!
What do you love about living in Pittsburgh?
I love how Pittsburgh feels like a really big small town. We love exploring all of the different neighborhoods, not to mention it’s beautiful. I also love living in a place where we have seasonal changes. I’m patiently waiting for fall when I can indulge in red wine, jeans, chunky sweaters, and the upcoming holidays.
What’s your favorite restaurant and/or place to shop in Pittsburgh?
Where do I even start? Depending on whether we have our girls or not you’ll either find us at Mad Mex or somewhere like Eleven or Umi for a celebration dinner. We love all things French, so you’ll definitely find us frequenting La Gourmandine or Gaby Et Jules. If you want to get out of the city for a day, Wheeling has an amazing French spot called Good Mansion Wines (an absolute must).
Hands down my favorite place to shop is this little plant store called Tropical Plants LLC on Library Road. You can definitely say I’m obsessed with plants.
Tell us about your business.
So, I have a lot of things going on these days. First and foremost I am a Respiratory Therapist in the NICU at West Penn Hospital, which is where I found my love for sleep. As a new grad needing extra money, I would do overnight care in the home for families around the city. That was 7 years ago and I’m still at it. I finally decided to make it official, and become a Certified Sleep Consultant just last year. I help families in so many different ways – in home care, full week/2 week consultations for kids from ages newborn to 5, hour phone calls for quick fixes, and now have started an online course for NICU families to help ease them into the first year at home. I definitely have something for everyone.
What do you love about your job?
Aside from the obvious of getting families the sleep they need and deserve. I love being my own boss. I’m getting so close to being able to go casual at the hospital, and that would mean I would never have to miss Christmas day with my family again.
What is your favorite thing to do with your children and/or family?
We. Love. Music. We have a rather large record collection and there is nothing better than a dance party in the evenings, or a chill Sunday morning with coffee and reading the girls some of their favorite books. I truly believe music soothes the soul.
How do you juggle work and motherhood?
It’s extremely hard. When you own your own business, there is always something you could be doing or something you are thinking about doing. At first, I was spending so much time focusing on my business that I was missing out on life. Now, I’ve created a solid morning routine that includes spending time with Paz and Lennon, making it a point to read and play with them everyday, and most importantly not opening my computer until 9:30 AM.
How has the Pittsburgh community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
Word of mouth is extremely impressive around here! You can tell that the moms in Pittsburgh stick together. It’s very seldom that I get a random call or someone that found me on the internet. I am very thankful for that!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from another mom?
This is so simple, but it was a mom at work that taught me to layer up my crib at night with sheets. Paz was a big spitter, and I would spend so much time changing sheets and pulling her in and out of the crib each night to clean her. It was seriously life changing. Those are the things only experienced moms can teach, ya know?
Is there anything that you would like to share with other moms?
I always say, “I’m not here to change your mind, I’m here to help if you need me.” Sleep training has a big stigma around it, and I’ve had some pretty mean things said to me about what I do. I want to encourage people to follow along because there is so much more to it.