This week we'd like to introduce you to Nikki Goldman-Stroh, from Toronto. This amazing mama is refreshingly honest in sharing her experiences running a daycare/activity center, taking care of her two little ones and the evasive act of balancing it all! We hope you enjoy getting to know Nikki as much as we did :-)
Tell us about yourself: Full name, where do you live, age, marital status, number of kids and business.
Nikki Goldman-Stroh, Toronto
Seasons Family Centre
Describe a day in the life of you.
Sometimes I feel I’m the star in the movie Groundhog Day - and sometimes not so much, some days are on repeat and others are all over the place! Things can come up at the drop of a phone call or an email. Typically, I’m at the Centre all day but in winter months sometimes I don’t actually go outside which has its perks when it comes to Canadian winters. My daughter has decided that 5 am is a fabulous time to wake up, which really isn’t bad if you’ve gone to bed before 10 pm. We usually get to enjoy some quiet time before the rest of the house surfaces. I make breakfast, clean things, empty things, etc. Around 7 am, I get the rest of the house up. Our daycare program starts at 8:30 am and runs till 5:30 pm. Depending on the day there are other classes/activities happening at the Centre. There are days when I don’t sit down and don’t actually realize it. There are slower days for sure and I try to find moments on those days to be mindful of the silence. My son usually comes home from daycare around 5-ish and we usually have dinner together as a family, then bath and bed. Most nights my kids are both asleep by 8 pm, which means I get a couple hours to myself before my head hits the pillow.
Do you have help?
Yes and no. We have full time staff at the Centre, so that’s helpful. We also live above the Centre, so sometimes the staff overlaps into personal help but it gets complicated as it does with any mama trying to run her own show and keep her family sane. We get lots of help from our extended family, lots and lots, I don’t know what we would do without them.
How do you manage to have “me” time?
I book it! I book it way in advance but I make sure I do it once in a while as it is imperative to my sanity. Before children you never had to worry about time as much, life was more spontaneous, my husband and I could sit and have our coffee, not do it on the run. It’s possible to have that “me” time, it just may take a village to get you there.
How do you manage to make time to stay in shape? Do you workout? Diet?
Funny you ask - I’ve lost 15 lbs in the past few months. It’s taken a lot of dedication and will power but I had a goal to fit back into my pre-baby clothes and nothing was going to stop me from getting there. Nothing. I hired a personal trainer, she came up with workouts that fit my lifestyle. My workouts are between 20-30 minutes and I do them in the morning - I can even do them while the little ones are around. I eat a protein rich diet and stay away from sugar (of any kind) white flour, other carbs and anything else that is fun. Very soon, I’ll hit my goal and then I’ll give all this craziness up. I’ll go back to hitting the gym 3-4 times a week and I’ll watch what I eat but will indulge in the fun stuff more often.
Do you get ready every day?
No, definitely not. The advantage to living above your work is that some days I choose to not get dressed at all. Well that’s not true, I make sure I’m wearing a bra and have brushed my teeth. Big goals for me. I have always liked clothes though, so on the days when I’m not at the Centre, I enjoy getting dressed, curating my outfit and even putting on makeup.
Has your style changed after motherhood?
Yes, a million times over. Sometimes I look at pictures of outfits I wore in my early twenties and cringe at the thought of what my daughter may think is appropriate. Oh help me. I was definitely more daring in my earlier years, a little racier. These days, hemlines are above the knee and shirts leave much to the imagination.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate, Netflix, chocolate and Netflix together - heaven.
If you breastfeed, how do you schedule your day around feedings and outings?
I did breastfeed - for about 3 months with my son and 5 months with my daughter. I didn’t have an abundance of milk (which I always thought was funny as I just always thought big boobs made lots of milk, it took me becoming a mother to really understand that size, never matters, ever). I supplemented both my kids from day one. You have to do what works for you and your babies and not let others get into your head too much.
How many hours of sleep to you get a night on average?
6-7 the odd night 8 and then I’m like a brand new woman the next day.
What is a priority for you, and what gets sacrificed?
Here is an example, everyone looks great but the house is a disaster, or the house is clean but work deadlines get pushed back.
Getting a workout in, right now is a big priority for me, my trainer gave me 20 minutes workouts I can do at home with the babes running around (for the most part). Right now I sacrifice sleeping in to get those workouts, but it’s just a temporary thing for sure, eventually I’ll switch things up again and it will be something else that takes priority.
Do you cook meals every day for your family?
About 4 times a week I would say, My husband does 2-3 nights of the week, which is super helpful. My son has just started with the “what’s for dinner” question and now I remember how much my mother use to dread this question. I’ve only just begun to understand why and exactly how beautiful leftovers are.
If so, how do you plan them?
Based on what’s in the freezer the night before. I try to do the weekly shop keeping meals in mind, which helps. On the nights my husband is cooking if I want a complete meal it’s really helpful if I take something out of the freezer for him, otherwise I may end up eating just veggies and salad, which is delicious don’t get me wrong, just not so fulling.
Have you ever felt like you are loosing yourself to motherhood and or life?
Yes, yes, and yes, over and over again but then in the next minute I feel like super woman leaping over piles laundry and soaring through the air. I take small moments to appreciate the little things, pat myself on my back for what I’ve accomplished, for having a dream and for having the guts to try and follow it and get back on the horse. It’s totally normal to feel all defeated just don’t let those negative feelings hang out too long.
Does hubby help you with anything particular? If so, what and how?
Yes! I’m very lucky my husband is super hands on. We really take turns sharing the housework and caring for the kids, it makes it a lot easier.
How do you manage motherhood and marriage?
Trials and tribulations, learning through experience, being patient and above all trying to be mindful of my husband and what his needs are and above all not holding onto resentments, those can tear you apart.
Do you work?
Yes, too much.
Do you work in an office or at home?
Both. I also run play therapy groups at a non-profit organization twice a week so I’m in an office those days.
What does your work consist of and how do you get it done during the week?
This is a super tough question. When I’m at Seasons I wear a million different hats at once, I’m an event planner, a baker, a crafter, a mom, a early childhood educator, a therapist, a birthday planner, a camp director, the list goes on and on. I get things done by having staff and a very helpful extended family.
Have your circle of friends changed now that you're a mother?
Not entirely. I still have my core group of friends from my various walks of life. I did however make a whole bunch of new mommy friends the first time round being pregnant and have made a lot of friends from some of our amazing clients. It hasn’t changed as much as it’s grown.
What’s the least favorite household chore you dread doing?
Does it have to be just one? Seriously - it’s a close tie between about 10 of them. I really like organized, de-cluttered and clean spaces but I don’t like any of the work it takes to get them like that. I’m going with mopping the floor - I suck at it too (according to my husband).
Describe a recent experience when you didn’t have it “all together” and how you handled it all.
I’m working really hard on not yelling at my kids, I know it sounds kind of silly to say that but my immediate reaction is to yell when something is wrong. It’s totally and utterly useless tactic for trying to get your kids to listen and it kicks you in the butt when you turn around and tell them not to yell when they’re angry. A couple days ago, my son came home from daycare in one of those moods, when everything is just no, no and no. I was at my wits end with him and the last straw was when he dropped all his dirty clothes in the freshly filled bathtub (after me asking him not to about 6 times) and I yelled. I yelled loud. That look on his face just crushed me. It’s okay, I’m going to screw up and I have to remember that. I immediately apologized for yelling and told him there are better ways for mommy to handle her anger. We talked about different ways and what would work better next time. Life goes on. I’m a work in progress.
Fill in the blank:
As a mother...it's a luxury to sit in complete and utter silence and of course sleep in past 8 am.
What is your philosophy on balance and does it exist in your home?
Balance is so important in life, without, the scale tips over and you literally fall on your ass. It’s hard to find it in our home since our work and home life are so interconnected but we make time for it. We don’t over plan extracurricular activities for our kids. We try to keep our weekends open, unplanned and not structured and we relish on having stay-cations.
What are your dreams outside of motherhood that you would like to accomplish?
I would like to continue to grow my business and my brand. We’re trying some new things and would like to see which way we go with some of our ideas.
What is one thing that keeps you sane?
Wine or sleep (like 6 hours straight, at least).
What is one question you'd like to ask our fellow mama readers?