Learn How to Balance It All with Nicole D. from "Tiny Steps Mommy"
Nicole Dash is a mother to four and operates her own business during the week. She shares how she manages her daycare business while also making time for her big family. You can read about her advice for busy moms and learn how to do it all!
Tell us more about yourself, your site, and your family.
I am a mother to four - two boys and two girls, ranging in age from 15 months to 13 years . My husband is a supportive, albeit sports-obsessed, P.E. teacher. Together we are raising our noisy brood in Annandale, VA. After my second child was born in 2006, I decided to leave my job in public relations/communications and stay home, but I still needed to earn an income. This is when I opened my home-based daycare and discovered that there is an amazing secret society that forms when you put a few toddlers and preschoolers together. I love what I do, even though it isn’t always easy balancing everything. Anyone who says raising a family is easy is probably lying. Embracing our imperfections and letting go of our mother’s guilt is the key to surviving it all. Tiny Steps Mommy is where I write about all of this - parenting, children, families, daycare, and surviving the chaos one tiny step at a time.
Why did you decide to start your site? What has been your favorite part about blogging?
In March 2012, I started my blog Tiny Steps Mommy as an outlet for me to express my thoughts and keep my writing skills fresh. I have always loved writing. It is my passion. Yet for many years I put it on the back burner because I didn’t think I had the time. I discovered that I could make the time by giving up a little sleep and a lot of television. Amazingly, I do not miss watching TV and I feel more energized than ever because I am doing something that feels fulfilling. I also discovered that other people are actually reading my writing, which feels great. It is a great confidence booster when you pour your heart into writing something and then people you don’t even know say that you have touched them, or that they relate to you. I think this may be my favorite part of blogging – making an impact.
How do you balance your daycare and spending time with your family? What advice can you give to other busy moms?
The reason I started my daycare was to be home with my family. Even though my daycare is open 52.5 hours every week (five days a week) and I am working much more than I did in an office, I never feel like my job is getting in the way of spending time with my family. I manage this by incorporating my children into everything I do with the daycare – it truly is a family business. This does not mean it is always easy, especially when my children are tired of sharing my attention. My last two children were born into this world where there are “friend” days (weekdays) and “non-friend” days (weekends). It is their normal. I have to admit though that in the evenings, I need some non-child time, which is why I depend heavily on my husband to manage the evening/bedtime routine. Having a supportive and hands-on partner is critical to surviving. My best advice to busy parents (which is every parent) is to take some time for you and accept the help of others when it is offered (don’t be afraid to ask either). Also, if your partner or someone else helps, then do not micromanage the way he or she does things, because that may be the last time help is offered. Help is help.
What is it like having four children? How do you manage taking care of everyone?
My husband and I both grew up in large families. To us a noisy home is a happy home, which is why being a party of six feels absolutely right. Our biggest challenge is making sure we parent to the personalities of each child. Similar to teachers who have to teach based on the different learning styles of their students, parents have to parent to the unique personality of each child. A one-fits-all method does not work. The tricky part is customizing your parenting, while being fair to all. We are not perfect and neither are our children. I think once you accept this, it makes everything a little easier.
What are a few things you’ve learned from motherhood?
- I am going to make mistakes.
- My children are going to make mistakes.
- There are not enough hours in a day to get everything done.
- It’s okay not to keep up with the laundry.
- You have to be flexible and roll with the unexpected.
- Children grow fast, so enjoy every moment you can.
- Laughter is the best medicine.
- Hug, hug, hug, and then hug again.
What are your top 5 favorite things to do with your family?
- Snuggle in bed and tickle and laugh
- Visit playgrounds and play tag
- Curl-up and watch a family movie
- Reading books together
- Go on nature walks (mini adventures)
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