Dreams Are Complicated

“When you were a little girl did you always dream of being a babysitter, um I mean daycare person?” My 7-year-old daughter asks on our drive to get frozen yogurt.

A momentary lump in my throat forms as I search for the right words. Dreams are complicated.

dreams are tricky

“I like taking care of children and babies, but when I was little I dreamed of being a writer or an actress,” I said. “That is why I write on the computer all the time. I get paid to take care of and teach little kids, but I write because I love it.”

Without missing a beat she says, “If you love writing, why don’t you get money from writing?”

My stomach feels like it is about to fall out of my body as she unknowingly zings me with one innocent question. An observation that on the surface seems so rational and obvious, yet is marred in a complex web of answers. I search for the words when she continues, “I never want to have two jobs. I want to be a vet. I’m going to have a big dog like Beethoven.”

I smile and say, “That sounds like a wonderful dream. I write because it makes me happy and I don’t need money to want to write.” I decide not to say anything else. I tuck the conversation away for another day. Instead, I make a secret wish that all her dreams and plans, however they may change, will one day come true. I want my children to discover what makes their heart sing. I want them to understand that following your dreams and pursing your passion is not always intrinsically tied to how much money you can make. That there is so much more to dreaming than even I understand.

We arrive at our local frozen yogurt shop and I watch her load her chocolate/strawberry swirled concoction with way too much candy, but I don’t say a word. She giggles and smiles.

I think about her question a little more and realize I would answer it completely differently if asked at this moment. She and her sister and brothers  are the real dream. I write because it makes me happy, but being their mother is what I have always dreamed about. It’s why I do everything. It is why I choose to run a daycare. It’s why I work so hard. It’s also in a way why I am able to write.

Dreams are complicated, indeed.



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.