Sep 22, 2014

New Series #MomsWhoShine Nikki Little @nikki_little

#MomsWhoShine is a series about moms who have some kind of talent.  The series was inspired by Dad of Divas Dads in the Limelight.  

This week we are featuring Nikki Little, social media manager at Identity, owner of Essential Elements.  But I know Nikki from her appearances on the moms panel on WDIV's Live in the D with Karen Drew. 

Tell me about yourself. (For our fans, please share what makes you shine). 
I'm an almost 30-year-old mom of 18-month-old identical twin boys, Nolan and Evan. I've been married to my Mikey for slightly more than 3 years. We were set up on a blind date, so we're proof that blind dates can work out for the best!

I'm the social media manager at Identity, an integrated public relations firm based in Bingham Farms, MI. I'm very passionate about my work and absolutely LOVE what I do! I'm very involved in the local PR/social media community. I speak frequently at events and conferences, I'm the president of Social Media Club Detroit. I blog about social media trends and insights for Crain's Detroit Business. Finally, I publish a bi-weekly e-newsletter called the Help a PR Pro Out Michigan Report that is delivered to about 360 communications professionals across Michigan.

On the parenting side, I am part of my neighborhood babysitting co-op (which is an amazing network of moms and families!), and I frequently participate on the moms panel on WDIV's Live in the D show.

I also have my own blog that I've been running for seven years - Essential Elements.

What makes me shine? My passion and devotion. When I put my mind to something, it gets done...and then some! I am a relentless go-getter, but I have a true appreciation for all things that matter most in this world. 

Tell me about your family. 
My family is small, but mighty. My identical twin boys (aka #littledudes) are nothing short of amazing and awesome. I had a very difficult pregnancy, being diagnosed with vasa previa at 16 weeks, which essentially forced me to limit physical activity and made me walk on eggshells every day, hoping and praying I wouldn't see any of the warning signs my doctor said could likely happen with my condition. I went into the hospital at 28 weeks (pre-planned), with the understanding that I would likely deliver by 32 weeks. I also developed gestational diabetes, so on top of being stuck in the hospital, I had to have my sugar tested multiple times a day, receive steroid shots to help with the babies' development, get insulin shots and have a permanent IV in case I went into labor and they needed to deliver immediately. Did I mention I HATE needles?!?! Yeah, that was a fun 6 weeks! I made it to 33 weeks and 1 day. Nolan was 4 pounds 2 ounces, and Evan was 4 pounds 11 ounces. They may have been tiny, but my babies were fighters! They only had to stay in the NICU for 13 days. They had no serious health issues, and to this day, have been super healthy. They are both teetering on 27 pounds, so you would never know they were premies if you looked at them now! They are firecrackers (as most kids are at 18 months), but they are insanely smart...and hilarious!

My husband is a lawyer, but he's not the stodgy stuffy type. I know everyone says their significant other is the best, but mine truly is. I couldn't survive parenting, or life in general, without him!

I also have a cat (our first child), named Ernie (after legendary Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell). 

What is a normal day in your home like? 
The only normal is there is no normal! But, here's our typical schedule Monday-Friday:
  • Get the boys up and fed. Play with them for a few as I eat breakfast, make my lunch, drink coffee, etc. We have a nanny, so the boys get to hang with her while Mike and I are at work. 
  • I am diligent about leaving my office at 5 p.m. so I can come home to feed them dinner and hang out with them before bed time. 
  • Bath time at 6:45 p.m. 
  • In bed by 7:30 p.m. 
  • Boys asleep (most nights) by 7:50 or 8 p.m. 
  • Use the evening to catch up with Mike, make dinner and food for the boys, catch up on work/email and work out. 
On the weekend, we get them out of the house as much as possible! They love parks, the zoo and playing with other kids. 

What is the most rewarding thing about being a mom? 
For me, it's been the fact that I'm constantly pushed out of my comfort zone and have learned to adapt to change much better than I ever have. I am far from perfect and continue to struggle with how quickly kids change, but I work very hard at adjusting in order to be a good mom. Also, it's particularly rewarding for me to see how far they've come since being little 4-pound preemies. They are crazy smart and funny. It's a proud parent moment when you watch a little human do something amazing and realize you help create him. 

What is your biggest challenge of being a parent? 
I can't control everything! I am very Type A, and I like to be in control of my situation. I am good at my job because when I'm put in charge of something, I make it happen, and I exceed expectations. I can try like hell to make my child happy, or get him to get out of his needy funk and sleep better, but I am at the liberty of him being ready/willing to make an adjustment. I can't force him. This is a constant challenge/struggle for me. I have come a long way since day one with the twins, but I have a ways to go before I will ever let things easily slide off my shoulders! 

How do you find balance between being a mom, working and having time for yourself? 
Prioritize and stay focused on what I want to accomplish. I am super productive at work because I know I only have a certain amount of time in the office. So unfortunately that means I don't typically join my coworkers at the lunch table or walk to Biggby to get coffee. That's the tradeoff for wanting to be sure I see my twins in the evening for more than 30 minutes before bed. People often ask me how I have time for commitments outside of work, or time to work out. Again, I prioritize and stay laser focused on what I need/want to accomplish. I've learned to say no to things that I know I can't or shouldn't commit to, unlike pre-kids, when I said yes to everything. I am very focused on doing enough to feel happy and complete, but not too much to avoid burnout.

 What are some of the lessons you’ve learned since becoming a Mom?
  • What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. 
  • It's OK to not be perfect. As long as you know you did everything in your power that day to be a good person/mom/wife/employee/manager, then you've succeeded. 
  • Each new challenge also presents a new opportunity. 
  • Try as you might, you can't control everything. You may not like it, but you have to find a way to cope and understand certain situations are out of your control. 
  • With kids, nothing lasts too long, which is a good and bad thing! One day I know I'll look back and miss the kiddie days, but some days I can't wait until they are old enough to communicate in full sentences! 
  • Kids are the ultimate test on a marriage. It's going to be really fricken hard some days. But if you have a true partner and someone whose love for you and your family outweighs any and all challenges, then you'll pull through. 
  • There is a reason you were blessed with kids. Be grateful for that each and every day because some people would kill to be in your shoes. 

What is the best advice about being a parent you have received and who gave it to you? 
Oh gosh - this is a hard one! I have received SO much advice because as a new mom of twins, I had no clue what I was doing! I think it would have to be my dad. I am truly my father's daughter, so he knows how I'm wired. When I was going through a really difficult time after I had the boys, he constantly reminded me that this stage and my feelings of inadequacy and sadness wouldn't last forever and I would get through it. He encouraged me to let things slide and not dwell on the things I couldn't control.

Not sure who told me this one, but it's stuck with me since day one. It's the silent mantra I repeat to myself constantly - "This, too, shall pass." 

What advice would you give to other moms? 

A couple things:
  • It's OK to seek advice, but ultimately, follow your heart and do what's best for you and your family. 
  • Every day, try your hardest to find something positive that happened in the day, even if it was a total disaster. Maybe it's simply holding on to the image of your child smiling at you. At the end of the day, if everyone is alive and healthy, then you succeeded. 
  • Do not let societal pressures tell you what you should or shouldn't do. 
  • Do not hide how you're feeling, especially immediately after you have the baby (or babies!). I suffered from postpartum depression, and the best thing I did was acknowledge it and take steps toward working through it. Denial about your feelings is the worst thing you can do when you're coping with raising a newborn! 
  • Read to your children and talk to them in normal adult language from day one. I truly think that's why my boys were able to comprehend so early on! 
  • Be grateful.
Have a question for Nikki?  Please leave a comment below and I will make sure I forward it to her!  

Thank you Nikki for taking the time to answer our questions:)  Are you a Mom Who Shines or know a mom who would be great for this series?  Email me their contact info at

Metro Detroit Mommy Writer: