Mom to Jonny, age 8, Zoe, age 6 and Eme, age 6
Nominated by Ashley Morow:
Denise is the president of Let Mommy Sleep and Mission Sleep. Let Mommy Sleep is a team of registered nurses and caregivers who give parents of newborns overnight relief and evidence-based education. Mission Sleep is a 501c3 that provides the same service to military families and first responders for no charge. Denise has been an advocate for new parents by attending the White House Summit for Working Families, contributing to the Washington Post and working with several non profits. She has also provided free community classes on newborn care since 2011. As a mother of three school-aged children, she also volunteers weekly in her local school community.
Q&A with Denise
What’s the best parenting advice you’ve ever received?
I was lucky enough to chat with Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting, who told me that with all the parenting choices we make, “There are a lot of right answers.” It’s so simple, but so often forgotten.
What advice would you give to new or expectant mothers?
To treat yourself with kindness and to realize there are a million “baby experts” out there, but you are the expert when it comes to your baby. Even if you feel like you don’t know anything, your instincts are always right.
How has motherhood changed your outlook on life?
Two things: To me being a parent means experiencing the heights and depths of emotion; ecstatic happiness, crushing sleep deprivation, guilt like no other and the most joyous giggles you’ve ever had. Motherhood has given me these gifts and the result is I’m a much more even-tempered human.
Motherhood has made me so much more open minded and compassionate to others. All the judgments you might make, and things you believe are definitely right and definitely wrong become a little more blurred when you’re a parent.
How do you think your children would describe you?
I think silly, likes to have fun and “work-itive,” which is their word for hardworking.
Who is your role model?
My own mom. There are so many times I’ll be playing, baking or doing some kind of activity with the kids and I think in my head, ‘How do I know how to do this? Where did I get this idea?’ and then I realize it’s because I am just doing what my own mom showed me.
What goals do you have for yourself?
I would like to stay healthy and to continue franchising my company Let Mommy Sleep beyond the mid-Atlantic.