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Dahlia Bellows started her career as a social worker in child welfare, but was encouraged to pursue her passion and become a professional organizer.  She started her business, Your Amazing Space, in 2006 where she specializes in helping expectant mothers choose all the necessary items for their registries, set up nurseries and, after the children are grown, playrooms. When she's not using her "Type A personality" to help moms organize their living space, she's spending quality time with her husband Moshe and daughters Nina (4), Elizabeth (2-1/2), and Apple (9 months).

We asked Dahlia some questions balance, motherhood, and organization. Read below to see what she had to say!

Who is your role model?
My role model in life would have to be my mother.  Growing in a home where both my mother and father worked full time, I truly learned the value of working hard and cherishing the special moments in life.  I have vivid memories of my mother coming home, taking off her coat, playing with me and my sister and tending to our needs.  Not once do I recall my mother ever expressing exhaustion despite the fact that she worked full time in a city hospital and had a private practice.  I think about my mother when I am tired (which is daily!!) and when I feel that I lack energy to play with my 3 children.  I do my best everyday to focus on my girls, on their needs, on making them laugh and smile in order to create fun and loving experiences that they too will remember in adulthood!  I believe that my mother taught me how to love unconditionally and that is priceless!

What made you decide to change careers and become a professional organizer?
I started Your Amazing Space in 2006.  I am a licensed social worker and was working in child welfare as a supervisor, where I remained for just under 10 years before giving birth to Nina, my oldest, age 4.  I had just gotten married the year earlier and my husband suggested that I get my organizational and type A personality skills out of our home and into others.  It was refreshing to work with such a different population in the evenings and on weekends and I came to realize that this was my new passion.  As a child, I always organized my family’s and friends’ closets for fun and loved playing games that entailed organizing, such as ‘bank’ (that’s when they had carbon copy forms), where I would complete the forms and create filing systems for them.  When I was about 9 years old I vividly remember walking on Columbus Avenue with my dad when I saw a sign that said "lost our lease".  I was so confused how someone could lose such an important piece of paper and asked my dad why didn’t they file it in a place they could easily find it.  Organizing, creating a "home" for my belongings, and now my growing family and clients, is in my blood and something I truly enjoy!

What are some tips for moms to stay organized?
The biggest tip I can give my fellow moms is to write out their weekly schedule at the beginning of the week.  Whether you prefer paper and a pen or an electronic device to jot down the details, it can be challenging to remember all the playdates, appointments classes and clients. Writing down the schedule for the week on Sunday night, and reviewing the details with your husband, nanny or any other childcare provider, ensures that everyone's needs will be met and much stress and anxiety can and will be alleviated as the week begins!

What is some advice you would share with other moms?
I was once told that as a mother I did not need to be there for every cup of apple juice.  I may not be there for every glass of juice, but I do my very best to give all the love I have to them each and every day and to tell them how much I am proud of them and love them for everything they do.  My advice to other moms: don’t be too hard on yourselves.  Give your child some quality time daily, quantity should not be the focus. As someone else once told me, "each day is like tofu. Flavor it how you like and you can always improve and make changes to it the next day."

How do you make time for you and your husband?
I must admit it’s a challenge!  Raising 3 children, all under the age of 4, tending to their daily schedules and needs, working and maintaining a balanced life can be quite complicated.  My husband and I try to have a date night each week, and if it’s difficult to leave the house, we at least try to refrain from using our multiple electronic gadgets and spend quality time with each other.

How do you balance home/life?
It’s a constant process and each day brings on new challenges.  I carve out family time in between meeting with clients. Sometimes that means staying up late to work on marketing my business, or delaying organizing the kids' closets (which I must admit, I love doing).  It takes practice. I’m not perfect, but I try my best :-)

What do you do to relax?
The word relax has definitely taken on a different meaning since I have had kids!  Relaxing these days may mean watching a 20 minute show with my kids, but I will admit to a few vices: 1. Any organizing show on HGTV, 2. Bravo reality TV, 3. Reading a magazine or my book club book.

What is your motto?
My motto is "don’t sweat the small stuff"!  Life can be so busy and hectic and if I get caught up constantly with the small stuff (i.e. clearing the clutter, cleaning up the mess, organizing the mess), I believe I will miss out on the important things, such as sitting with my girls, even if it is for a few minutes, to find out about their day, what they had for lunch, and who they played with in the playground.  I work on not sweating the small stuff each and every day.  It can be a challenge, but one I am willing to take on.

What lesson/values do you most want to teach your kids?
I believe the biggest value/lesson I wish to pass on to my 3 children is to truly care about others, to listen to their friends and be a support to those around them.  Even at the young age of 4, my oldest child has a remarkable ability to recognize when a friend/sibling is upset or in need. She may not always have the verbal ability to express her feelings regarding the situation, but is able to give comfort (ex. with a hug) has the patience to listen and the ability to reach out to others, parent or teacher, for assistance.

Share a proud mom moment.
Being a mom for only 4 years, I have so many proud moments already and know I have so many more to look forward to in the future.   However, in the short time that I have been parenting, 2 proud moments jump out at me!  The first moment was when I dropped off my two older girls at school, in their respective classrooms, and they were able to say goodbye to me without any tears.  It took some time for that to happen, but the joy I see each morning when they run to their teachers, and are greeted with genuine and loving hugs is truly special and I do not take that for granted.  The second has to be when all three of my girls, each at different times, began sleeping through the night!  Yes, I know that seems odd, but sleep training was a very difficult process for me and it was such a sense of accomplishment when they could finally self soothe, fall asleep and sleep until the morning.  Truly priceless! 

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Hi,  I am in awe of you and your mom.  I would say one of my biggest challenges (working full time and mom to a 4 and a 2 1/2 year old) is not acting exhausted and having the patience to enjoy quality time with my girls when I get home.  I try, but I wish my children could say of me, that they'd never seen me express exhaustion. 

I also want to identify with 'sleeping through the night' being a huge milestone.  We still haven't got there, usually its nightmares or toilet breaks that get wake my girls up and get them calling us, so I don't know how to sleeptrain through that. 

Thanks for the post.

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