Moms Who Give Back: Spotlight on Denise Stern

Tiny Steps Mommy is pleased to introduce “Moms Who  Give Back,” a series of interviews with mothers balancing raising families with giving back to either their community or to causes close to their hearts. Some of these women are also running businesses and/or working full-time.

Denise Stern, Agency Director of Let Mommy Sleep and Founder of Mission Sleep

The first spotlight is on Denise Stern, Agency Director of Let Mommy Sleep and Founder of Mission Sleep, a non-profit organization that strives to provide free overnight newborn care for military moms with husbands who are deployed or wounded when the baby arrives

Please tell us a little about your family and Your Business Let Mommy Sleep.

I have a wonderful husband— he works crazy hours and just wants more family time just like me.  My son is 4 and my identical twins girls are 3.  LMS was born from my own need for help when the girls were born.  Like many moms of multiples, I did not exactly bounce back from birth, and the demands of having 3 babies under 2 illustrated the need for overnight help for families like mine.

Let Mommy Sleep employs nurses to care for families transitioning from hospital to home with their newborn(s).  Our goal is to help parents gain confidence through evidence based education and let parents be present for their children and/or work life during the day.

What organization do you support?

Mission Sleep provides free, overnight care of newborns and their families who are born while partner is deployed, wounded or in some cases deceased.

When and why were you inspired to create Mission Sleep?

I’ve always wished we provide service for free.  Bringing a newborn home can be difficult under the best of circumstances; families are discharged from the hospital quickly and often without adequate education.  Years ago, this was fine because family and community could surround new parents to help.  But today, many parents are on their own getting exhausted and stressed during what is meant to be a joyful time.  Our moms with deployed, injured or deceased partners are especially on their own.  We all deserve a helping hand, but “single” moms deserve it even more.

Why is this cause so important to you?

Because mothers on the whole deserve much more resources, respect and help than they receive.  It is not okay for a parent to suffer through what is supposed to be a joyful time.

How do you balance your time with your business, your family and your involvement in this organization?

I do a very bad job of this, earning me the title of the world’s most ironically named business.  Like you and many of our friends in the blogging community, I do much of my work during pre-school and after bedtime. I lean on partners like Micaela from SuperNOVAMommy to ensure that Mission Sleep is running properly.

Please share your hopes and dreams for the future of Mission Sleep?

I would love for Mission Sleep to be able to assist any parent who is unexpectedly bringing a newborn into the world on their own.  I would love a giant corporation to give us 10’s of thousands of dollars so we can provide care to all who need it.  The Women’s Veteran’s Organization in DC recently reached out to us to provide overnight care to female veterans.  If we had a corporate donor we could provide care to these deserving women as well.

How can others get involved and support your cause?

By simply spreading the word around their own community organizations, workplaces and schools.

Please share why giving back is important to you and your family.

We have so many blessings.  The only way to complete the circle and show thanks for what we have received is to give back.

Connect with Mission Sleep:

To nominate the next Mom Who Gives Back, please e-mail or leave a comment below.


Nicole Dash is a writer, blogger and business owner who lives in the suburbs outside Washington, DC with her husband and four children. She started her career as a journalist and copy editor. She also managed public relations and corporate communications for a national franchise company, but in 2006 started a child care business. In 2012, she launched Tiny Steps Mommy, a lifestyle and parenting blog that quickly gained a following and connected her to an expansive group of women-owned businesses. In 2013, she started a digital marketing consulting business that focused on growing community in an authentic way. Through those connections she was inspired to open Play, Work or Dash, a coworking space that also offers onsite childcare up to three hours per day. It is where like-minded professionals pursue their business goals with the extra level of support parents desire; a place where you "bring your kids to work." She is an active member of the Washington, DC blogger community. She has been published on The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Mamalode and Pop Sugar.