Des Moines Parent Spotlight: Molly Lechtenberg
This week we are spotlighting one of the owners and founders of Breathe Physical Therapy & Wellness. Molly’s passion and drive to help women feel physically well are needed in our community. She “gets it” when we have a million other things on our plates. Molly also introduced me to dry needling! Never heard of it? It is a lifesaver. Get all the details here. Learn more about Breathe, Molly’s family and her best parenting advice for all of us
Give us a little background of your family and personal life! How many kids do you have? Have you lived in Des Moines all your life?
I am a Sioux City native that fell in love with Des Moines during physical therapy school at Des Moines University. I always knew I wanted to come back to make Des Moines my permanent home. I did traveling physical therapy around the U.S. for about 4 years before my husband and I returned to Des Moines. We’ve now been living here for nearly 6 years. During the first week of living here, we knew we would never want to leave!
We have two girls, Lennon who is 3.5 and Lexi who is 1.5 years old. They are two of the best humans on earth, have a fierce love for each other, and make me laugh every day. They also make me a little crazy sometimes, too. I cannot wait to see the impact they have in the world.
What is your business, and what do you do?
I am one of the owners of Breathe. Physical Therapy & Wellness where our mission is to help ALL women live the vibrant, active lifestyle they deserve. We help women have a more comfortable pregnancy, an easier delivery, and recover their pelvic floor and core afterward. We help with all things TMI: peeing your pants, constipation, pain with sex, and pelvic pain. We also help women (and some men!) get rid of migraines and neck/shoulder/back/hip/knee pain so they can play with their kids, jump, or get back into running/lifting/horseback riding without anything holding them back.
We have a team of the most amazing, smart, talented, and caring physical therapists who take the time to listen to each and every woman that walks in our doors.
We do super cool things like dry needling to get rid of muscle knots, biofeedback for your pelvic floor (basically a video game for your vagina to see if you can relax and contract those muscles!), and detail oriented yoga for Physical Therapists.
Why did you become a small business owner?
My first daughter was 6 months old when I decided I had to open my own business in order to live the life I wanted (and deserved!) I had a traumatic delivery with her, including pelvic floor injury, and I didn’t know what to do with my body. I didn’t know how to heal. I didn’t know how I should prepare if I wanted to have another baby and NOT have that same kind of experience. I thought “I’m in the medical field and I have no idea what is going on, how are other women figuring this stuff out?” I also wanted more time with her. I couldn’t work 40+ hours a week anymore and find any work/life balance.
Professionally, I was in a job where I did not feel appreciated. I hadn’t had a raise in 4 years and had only had benefits taken away. I thought about leaving the physical therapy world completely, maybe becoming a medical device salesperson. I felt that glass ceiling closing in on me hard. I had a doctorate level of education, and nowhere else to go.
One August night, my PT school classmate, Libby Trausch, and I met up and decided the time was NOW. We were both ready to take the leap at the same time. She has had 3 babies and was already helping women recover after giving birth. Looking back, I am so proud of how brave I was. I knew in my gut that we would be successful, even if others doubted us.
Where is your favorite place to take your children to play indoors?
I am off every Tuesday to spend the whole day with my girls. I HIGHLY encourage every mom (and dad) to have a day off during the week or a half day. Find a way to make it work! We love going to any library, the Science Center, and Costco (they love Costco, does that count?!) I am very happy to make all the messes inside our house. We do tons of painting, baking, and play dough.
Where is your favorite place to take your children to play outdoors?
We are so fortunate to live on the bike path. This is the summer for exploring the city parks via biking. The girls love having snacks and Disney music blasting in the Burley. We always stop somewhere for a frozen treat, like Menchie’s. We live in a neighborhood full of kids so our yards are always full of them running around and it makes my heart happy. We have a big swing in our front yard that our girls play on for hours every single day.
Parent’s day/night out. Describe your perfect parent only day/night out in Des Moines.
We are horrid at going out and doing things alone. I’m ashamed to say it has happened maybe 4 times in 3.5 years. I am going to find a babysitter RIGHT NOW and schedule something. Here is what we will do: Go golfing all morning on a perfectly sunny, not too hot summer day where there are no bugs. We have lunch at a non-kid friendly restaurant with cold & delicious craft beer. We get to go home for a nap and then out for an afternoon action movie. I eat all the popcorn.
What are some tips on juggling parenthood, working, and personal life?
I am surrounded by people who “get it”, and if you’re going to juggle all the things, you better be surrounded by people that “get it” too. My family is my number one priority, and I know it is the priority of all those I work with. I have the most amazing business partner, doing the same juggling act. We support each other. We make mistakes and move on. I am learning to not be so hard on myself, about EVERYTHING. I have open and honest communication with my husband and everyone else in my life. And, I apologize a lot.
What is your number one parenting tip?
I always tell new and expecting moms to NOT read the books because you just have to figure out what works for you and your child. I read all the books and got super stressed out when things didn’t go as the book said they would. I put too much pressure on myself and my baby. Now that my girls are out of the baby phase, sleep is the most important thing. If I don’t sleep I can be a rage monster, to my kids and my husband. I am learning to ask for and accept help.
Mostly, know that you’re doing a great job. There are days when I can’t remember the last time my girls ate a vegetable, and so I make sure they have one that day, but I am giving myself a lot of grace to not be PERFECT. We eat well balanced meals MOST of the time, but definitely love ice cream and mac & cheese. Some nights we all stay up too late, but then correct it the next night.
My most favorite thing to keep life in perspective is my nightly ritual with my 3.5-year old where we each share our favorite part of the day. And THAT is my favorite part of the day.
Family picture of a recent trip to Colorado. My Lexi does NOT like selfies!