2013: A Year in Review – Reminisce With Me

While I do not want this post to be filled with a bunch of end-of-year clichés, I am struggling to find a way to mark the end of 2013 without some mention of time going too fast or plans for the year ahead. So, I’ll just do the other cliché thing and make a couple of Top Ten Lists of my most viewed posts as well as the posts that weren’t seen as much, but are among some of my favorites. Please come reminisce with me and THANK YOU for everything.

Top 10 Most Viewed Posts in 2013

marriageedited10. Remembering Marriage is a Choice

‘I always try to remember it was our choice. We chose this life.’ This is what one woman said in a recent conversation I had with a couple of other women that really got me thinking. We were discussing the ups and downs of marriage, especially when one partner is stressed. We shared that our spouses were the ones who received the brunt of our frustrations. We were all thankful to have supportive partners, but each admitted how hard marriage can be when there are outside stressors.

9. Final Day of Give Back Mission: I Want to  Cure Cancer

This give back mission has taught me about the compassion and strength of others. I now realize what I am capable of and have learned that simple acts of kindness are contagious. Doing good deeds fulfill me much more than I ever thought possible. I have cried learning about the people in need and the people who have lost loved ones. My heart has grown so many times during this little experiment. However, based on this experience, if I could learn one thing immediately it would be how to cure people of disease. All diseases, but especially Cancer.

8. Motherhood In The Workplace: I Was Asked to Tone-Down the ‘Mommy Thing’

I will never pretend I don’t have children again. My children are everything to me and being a mother is a huge part of my identity. It has been for almost 15 years. That is except for the one year I was asked by my former boss, who also happened to be a woman, to tone down the “mommy thing.”

7. Never Be Embarrassed of Your Parenting or Your Child

Before you become a parent, you may visualize what it will be like to hold your baby. You may wonder what it will feel like to know that there is someone to love unconditionally. You may even imagine sweet hugs and tender kisses from your angelic cherub that you know you will accept no matter what. But, there are some things you never visualize. It’s the moments you never see on television or in the movies. It’s the part no one likes to admit or talk about. The times you not only want, but need to lock yourself  in the bathroom in order to regain your composure. The moments you secretly wonder what you did wrong to create such a monster.

finger paint photo canvas pinterest tutorial6. Finger Paint DIY Photo Canvas: A Tutorial

Today, I am doing something completely different. I am sharing my first-ever DIY Tutorial. For Father’s Day my daycare kids created amazing gifts for their Dads. I loved how they turned out so much I had to share. The great thing about this DIY Photo Canvas project is you can make it as a gift for any occasion or simply as a keepsake for your own home. It is a fun arts and crafts project to do with the kids!

5. Trust Your Instincts to Protect Your Children From Predators

I am a fiercely protective Mama bear. I insist on holding my children’s hands when we cross the street. I keep my eyes on my children at all times in public places. I do not like them to play in the front yard without an adult present and my younger children have never had a sleepover at a friend’s house without me present. Yet, I unknowingly allowed a child predator into my life.

4. Learn to See, Accept Your Perfectly Imperfect Child

As parents, it is so easy to overlook the flaws because our hearts are so abundant with love. I think this is like putting on an amazing pair of “beer goggles” that can last for years. And sometimes it is not until we look back on a situation do we realize perhaps something was off. Perhaps there actually were signs of an issue.

3. WE Can Give Back and Make an Impact Because There is ALWAYS a Way to Help Others

For a long time I naively believed that hard work and determination could overcome anything. I’m learning the hard way that some things are out of my hands. They are out of all our hands. There is so much I cannot control.

first-time mama2. An Open Letter to First Time Mamas

Dear First Time Mama, Welcome to motherhood. Whether you prayed and planned your whole life for this moment or were unexpectedly thrust into this role there are a few things I would love to share with you. There were so many truths I didn’t understand as a first-time mama. These are the truths people don’t talk about enough. These are the truths I have learned from not only my experiences, but from the experiences of so many mamas I interact with each day. I hope you don’t mind, but I have written a few of these truths down to share with you.

1. My Top Recommended Baby Products

As a daycare provider and mother of four, I am constantly asked about the best products for babies. Parents ask me what brand of diaper to use, what kind of bottle is best, what wipes I recommend, and in general what their new baby really needs. I do not claim to be an expert, nor do I believe in paying fancy prices for something you are going to use for only a couple of months.


 Ten Posts That Deserve A Second Look

1. Leaders Versus Followers: Are We Really Born This Way?

The other day after my 14-year-old son’s lacrosse game I sat in my car waiting to exit the parking lot. Off to the side of the parking lot the opposing team, which had lost in the semi-finals, were grabbing snacks off their tented team table. One boy caught my eye. It wasn’t the way he looked that held my attention, but instead the way he carried himself. He walked from teammate to teammate shaking their hands and patting them on the back. He would call out what I imagine were words of encouragement and praise as he walked with an aire of confidence to his parents’ car. He looked like a politician working a room instead of a deflated teenager who had just lost a pretty big playoff game.

2 . Reveal Your True Self, Live Authentic Life

My high school drama teacher, who was known for her eccentricity and occasional spaciness, used to talk about “removing your mask.” The mask we all wear that defines how we want to be perceived by others. She taught that in order to be a good actor you have to be willing to remove that mask and show your true vulnerable self. You have to stop caring about what others think to become someone else. At the time, I thought she was batty, but now I understand.

Me and my sweet boy AD at 6 months old.

Me and my sweet boy AD at 6 months old.

3Remembering Every Kiss, Hug Even If Our Children Can’t

Our fingers interlock. His hand is small compared to mine, but not as small as I remember. I trace his face gently – touching his forehead, nose and chin. I remember how he used to love butterfly and Eskimo kisses. It was our thing. The ritual way we said goodbye, but not anymore. His breath is heavy and slow. He finally releases the long day and drifts into a deep slumber.

4. The Before School Battle Rages On

This school year I decided to get organized. Not like last year when I scrambled every morning to find socks, clothes, shoes, pack lunches, brush hair, make breakfast… oh and welcome all the daycare children to my house one at a time. Mornings were chaos and more than once there were tears and threats and declarations of “I hate school.” And these may or may not have all been from me. This year was going to be different. VERY different. I swore it to myself. So, I came up with a strategy.

I will always cherish this token of love and support.

I will always cherish this token of love and support.

5. We Can All Be Angels

When someone we love is suffering it is easy to forget about the abundance of love and goodness still left in the world. It is easy to forget that we are not alone. That so many others are sharing the same pains, fears, and frustrations within the privacy of their homes. This is one of the most important lessons I have learned since starting Tiny Steps Mommy. For every tear I may shed, someone else is also crying. Our human experiences although seemingly different are very much the same. We are all connected.

6. Everyone Needs Support and Gratitude

Sometimes it feels like we are living in a vacuum where no one notices who we are or what we are capable of accomplishing. Everyone has talents and abilities. Everyone is amazing in their own way, but not everyone receives recognition, appreciation or support. It infuriates me how much attention and praise is given to celebrities for simply being famous.

My beautiful B has always loved the sunshine.

My beautiful B has always loved the sunshine.

7. My Beautiful Gift of Sunshine

I watch her pull the cord of the blinds and look into the sunshine with a smile. Her eyes flicker and a joyful expression takes over her face. “The sun will make you feel better Mommy,” my six-year-old daughter says as she proceeds to open the blinds on the second window in my bedroom. I am curled up in my bed with a stomach virus and pounding headache. Sunlight is the last thing I want, but I can’t bring myself to tell her that the light is not helping.

8. A Mommy’s Touch

I know the tenderness of her touch with my eyes closed. The gentle way she smoothed my hair and fixed the pillows behind my head when I was sick. The soft melodies hummed in perfect harmony. She is my rock. My security blanket. She is the reason I rock my babies to sleep and rub their backs when they are ill. She is my teacher and my heart. She is my mommy.

9. Protecting My Teenager From Young Love, Raging Hormones

I pulled up to a stop sign minutes from my house and saw two young teenagers holding hands and talking intimately. They were wearing backpacks and seemed to be saying goodbye. I imagine that they just got off the school bus together. I watched the girl turn coyly from the boy as he brushed the hair from her face.

10. Choose to Remember Amazing Over Absurd

A three-year-old dangles off the backyard fort screaming. A 17-month-old with a newfound fetish for biting claims a victim – another toddler who hasn’t figured out that intentionally placing her fingers in the mouth of my biter is a bad idea. An infant refuses to be put down and is screaming loudly. This is how my day ended today. Chaos. Tears. Adrenaline.


tiny steps mommy



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.




  1. LOve this post~my favorite is an open letter to te first time mama. SO many great posts. I am glad you curated them all here to be seen. Greta job. Happiest of New Years to you!
    Deborah recently posted…Blog Like No One is ReadingMy Profile

  2. Blanca Alvarado says:

    I look forward to another year of great posts! Thank you for your insights and warmhearted words.

  3. I love your beautiful, heartfelt, and very candid writings about your family. I enjoyed this post a bunch! xo
    Heather P recently posted…Mermaids: Are they real? {Animal Planet} #MermaidsMy Profile

  4. |I have been used to wax throughout my life, but recently I had to start carrying it out on my own. I find it quite difficult and drawn out, and I wasn’t able to get the many tiny hairs. Thus I made a decision to go for an epilator. Even if this was my first-time ever employing an epilator, I definitely suggest this!