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Mom Life: Nicole Atkinson

Title: Owner, Push to Start Inc.
Lives: Towson
Family: Husband, Nate; and three sons, Trevor, 11, Casey, 9, and Dylan, 6; two dogs, Rigby and Roman

What are 5 things you can’t live without?

I *should* say my three children, husband, and dogs—that makes five. But it’s too obvious, so I’m going to go ahead and say sleep, water, lip gloss, mascara and iPhone.

Nicole Atkinson

What’s your favorite chore?

I have two Vizslas (Hungarian pointers) who have tremendous exercise requirements. Meeting their needs is a chore because it’s an obligation I have every single day. It is my favorite chore because I get a mental health break in my day as well as exercise, fresh air and the joy of being with them. It’s a chore because I’m forced to exercise them whether I have time or not, and whether it’s too cold, too hot or I don’t feel like it.

What would you do if you had 1 hour without any responsibilities?

I’d get a massage or do some kind of meditation class where I wasn’t allowed to have my phone on. Because my phone is always on.

What do you love about being a mom?

I love that my children trust me with their lives wholeheartedly. This fills me with a confidence and self-belief I never would have if I wasn’t a mother.

What’s something your family loves to do together?

We are in the midst of building our own log cabin in a remote part of West Virginia. We are actually building it ourselves, and by “we” I mean my husband mostly. The kids and I help when the weather is decent enough to stand being outside with no real respite from the elements for six-hour stretches, so we get to be outside and work hard…together!

What do you find challenging about raising kids?

At this stage in our family, we’re a unit, we have to co-exist and spend a lot of time together. So, we have to learn to communicate effectively, meet each person’s different needs and sometimes compromise our own happiness/pleasure so that someone else can experience it “their way,” all while trying to honor who we and they are as individuals. As my boys get older, this becomes more of a challenge—not necessarily a bad challenge, but one we have to be conscious of. My friend told me long ago: Bigger kids, bigger problems. She was right. Raising kids is way different than having a baby.

How are you able to maintain a social life between working and parenting?

I have always been a social butterfly. I am always thinking of my friends, relatives, colleagues, clients and neighbors, so I send texts, gifs, and emojis, call people and post likes and comments on social media all day long. It’s how I stay in touch and let someone know they’re on my mind. I also make regular dates with my friends and I take at least two trips with friends every year, and my husband and I will have double or group dates with other couples. We also have many close friends with kids of similar ages and we get together as families.

How do you take care of your mental and physical health?

I’m working on it. The last three years were pretty rough on my mental and physical well-being. I suffered from some yucky health problems, and I was stressed out for many various reasons and it really started to take its toll on my family’s dynamic. Last year, I hired a parent coach because I was at my wit’s end and needed help. She forced me to make self-care my No. 1 priority, and it has made all the difference in my physical and mental health. She encouraged me to take even as little as 15 minutes for myself every day to reset or do something that gives me pleasure.

What’s next for you?

I started my PR business eight years ago and do only as much as I can handle every day, week, or month, and try to do best by the people who put their trust in me. I’m not trying to grow with new employees or gross X amount this year or land some giant account. I am lucky enough to have the business come to me, and I take on the projects that feed my soul, and work with people I respect and enjoy. In my work, I always look forward to what’s next, but I never know what it will be. On the personal side, I’d like to finish building the cabin before my kids become adults.

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