Denise Courter, Founder and Publisher of the FiDi Families website that spotlights Lower Manhattan and the neighborhoods that fall below 14th Street. In addition to being a full-time working Mom of two, she is the Lifestyle & Family Editor for Downtown Magazine NYC, featuring Little Apple, which captures the Downtown family lifestyle.
1) TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF—DESCRIBE YOUR FAMILY AND YOUR CAREER. WHAT CAUSED YOU TO START YOUR BUSINESS/BLOG/CAREER?
I live in the heart of the Financial District and everyone said I was crazy to raise kids in NYC and specifically in Downtown NYC. However, I was finding really fun and entertaining things to do with a newborn, and neighbors started asking me to share my knowledge. That led to the creation of the blog, which evolved into a full-fledged resource site. I exited the corporate world in July 2013 and am incredibly happy to say that it was the best decision in my life…besides getting married, having kids and moving to NYC (in no particular order!).
2) SHARE YOUR SECRET TO BALANCING WORK AND FAMILY. IS THERE BALANCE?
I have not discovered the secret to balancing work and family. I think the secret is that it doesn’t exist. Moms and parents everywhere are trying to find more time to spend with their kids, their spouse, their job, their family, their friends and themselves. I have a wonderful morning ritual with my 5 yr old that started when he was old enough to get out of bed. He wakes up, comes into our room and says “Hi Mommy” or just walks with authority to the bed, climbs in and either starts chatting away or asks if its morning time and can he watch Paw Patrol. This morning time is very precious and valued because it is just he and I; Daddy is at work, his sister is still sleeping and the apartment is quiet. Since he started Kindergarten he has overslept once or twice and we missed this time and both of us commented on it. So, the attempt to balance can be a small moment as long as you appreciate it. I try to savor those types of moments. I’m lucky to have a husband who loves to be social, check out new restaurants and bars and go to the movies. So, we try to have a date night a few times a month. My 3 yr old and I have breakfast with each other and I take her to school once a week. I love that she is so excited that Mommy is taking her and feels like it is special. So, I try to relish in the time we have in the mornings.
3) SHARE A FUNNY STORY THAT HELPED YOU BECOME A BETTER PARENT AND/OR BETTER AT YOUR JOB.
When my son was 2 yrs old he was becoming aware that Mommy was at work and made an association between my work clothes and my pajamas. So, I would walk in the door and he would demand that I put on my pj’s. He wouldn’t settle down unless I would change. Once I understood why he was being so demanded, I started changing into my pj’s whether or not it was time for bedtime. But, the changing into my pj’s did trigger a mood around the house, once I was home; our nanny would start packing up, we would pick out books for the night and dim the lights so that we could all get into wind-down mode. That was eye-opening and something that I cherished.
4) WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE AND/OR GREATEST REWARD IN THE STRUGGLE FOR WORK/LIFE BALANCE?
Biggest Challenge by far was having the courage to leave a successful career and begin a new one in a relativity new social media/online resource industry and a changing landscape that revolves heavily around the internet and social media. It was a huge leap of faith that residents of Downtown would be interested and that advertisers believed I was trustworthy and reliable as a media outlet.
Biggest Reward has been watching my kids mature. I worked 80 hours/week for many years and missed out on milestones with my kids that I can’t get back. But, I work from home now and am able to literally sit back and watch the wheels turn in their heads. They both have so many questions about the world around them and I’m so happy that I’m the one that can help answer their questions.
5) WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH YOU KNEW BEFORE YOU HAD KID(S), NOW THAT YOU ARE A MOTHER?
I wish I knew that no matter how patient you think you are, your kids will test that patience and its okay to take a time out if you need it.
6) IF YOU COULD GIVE YOUR CHILDREN ONE PIECE OF ADVICE WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Never burn your bridges. My Mom taught me that and it has served me incredibly well. It seems so trivial but if you live your life with this motto, you will go as far as you want to.
QUICK ANSWER Q’s:
– WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK? It’s a tie between Goodnight Moon and Is Your Mama a Llama?
– WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE CLASS YOU ENJOYED WITH YOUR CHILD? Ballet with my daughter and soccer with my son.
– WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO WITH YOUR KIDS/FAMILY ON THE WEEKENDS? Spending the day exploring the neighborhood. We load up the double stroller with soccer balls, swim suits, picnic blanket, snacks and bubbles and hit the parks and playgrounds. We never know where we may end up and it always feels like an adventure.
– WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE RAINY DAY ESCAPE? Any museum in the City though we are partial to the Liberty Science Center, the Natural History Museum and the Children’s Museum of Art in SoHo.
Author: Kidz Central Station
Founded by a NYC mom of two young children, Kidz Central Station uses technology to solve the problem so many busy parents face—how to find, book, and manage their children’s classes, camps, local family events, and birthday parties. Kidz Central Station offers more than 20,000 classes, camps, and birthday party options representing hundreds of NYC’s top activity providers. With a sophisticated search engine and class reviews, it is easy for parents to find the best classes for their children, sign up for a trial class, and directly enroll.