We’re very excited to have our first Jozi mom up on The Parenting Juggle today. Nicki Dadic is a freelance social media content and community manager, a tattooed mom to two adorable boys – Luca Jack (4) and Mika Alex (almost 2) – and David Dadic’s other half. Nicki is a lover, not a fighter; she hates confrontation and is a yes-woman, sometimes to her own detriment. She loves her three boys fiercely but secretly wants to have a little girl so that she’s not so outnumbered. She also blogs when she finds the time.
Describe a typical working day for you.
We’re a lazy bunch in the mornings… and because David (who runs his own attorney practice) and I are both self-employed, we almost can be lazy. But when the boys start ‘big’ school and need to be there by 7.30, we’re going to have to get our As into G! 🙂 I wake up and start the boys’ Jungle Oats and wake them when it’s done, if they haven’t already woken up. We all sit in bed while they eat breakfast and then Dave and I each get one boy ready. I usually get Mika as he’s the ‘challenging’ one. Once they’re dressed and teeth are brushed, I put on something that would be least likely to be mistaken for pyjamas and load the boys into the car. Mika’s playgroup is a little further away from home, so Luca and I drop him off first. Then I loop back and drop Luca off at his preschool.
I then head home and, if I don’t have any client meetings, I get to work. I look after the content and community management for one of the biggest hotel and resort companies in South Africa, which keeps me pretty busy! My husband jokes that I ‘Facebook for a living’ and while that’s not technically incorrect, so much more goes into it than people even realise. From research and writing to communicating with people ‘on the ground’ at various hotels. Then editing and curating content for the different social platforms. Scheduling that content and managing the online communities on which that content is published. Reporting on that content and the growth of the communities. A lot goes into it and it is a time-consuming way to make money. But I love every minute of it!
At 12.20 (which rolls around very fast when you’re busy!) I pop out to fetch the kids. If I’ve managed to complete most of what I need to get done, then I’ll hang out with the boys – make them lunch, play soccer outside or watch them riding their bikes. If I’ve got looming deadlines then I’ll either head out to a nearby coffee shop (Warm & Glad, The Whippet and Motherland Dunkeld being my top three) or I’ll go to Dave’s offices in Rosebank and make use of his boardroom and free WiFi. I have the benefit of flexible hours, so if I need to take the boys to swimming or a playdate, I can. I also have Anna, our amazing live-in housekeeper/nanny who adores the boys and looks after them when I need to work. My day ends with a good session at the gym and then dinner, bath and bedtime at home. Dave and I take turns at night, reading the boys their stories at night or making tea and bottles. It’s all about teamwork in the Dadic house. If I’ve had an ‘afternoon off’ – having spent time with the boys – then I work a couple of hours at night, otherwise it’s quality time with my husband.
What does your job entail?
As I mentioned in the previous question, I look after the social media for a large hotel and resorts group. I also have a couple of other small clients and also do the odd bit of quick contract work, which is nice to break things up a bit. My job involves research, writing, editing, content scheduling, community management and reporting, to close the loop. People have this misconception that being in social media is nothing but a jol… which couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s hard work, late nights, never ending deadlines and a ‘always on’ mentality, but if it’s what you love to do, do it. I did and I’m proud of making the best decision to take the leap into this as a full-time, freelance career.
Who looks after your children?
Both of my boys go to ‘school’ in the mornings – Mika is at the playgroup where Luca spent two years before he started at his nursery school at the beginning of the year. They both love school, which makes life easier. We also have Anna, my 2IC (second in command) and housekeeper extraordinaire, who loves the boys and is always there for me. If I can’t spend the afternoon with the boys after school, they’re with her, at home.
Who does the cooking and the cleaning?
Anna looks after the house – so all cleaning, laundry etc. Dave and I share the responsibility of cooking. If I’m at gym in the early evening, then Dave makes dinner and vice versa.
What do you like the most about your current set-up?
I adore having the flexibility to do stuff during the week. Working full-time, especially at a corporate (which is where I spent the last 12 years) usually means that you’re being clock-watched and it’s pretty much impossible to do things during your quick lunch break. I like that I can say no to a meeting if it interferes with something that I need to do for the kids, and not the other way around. I feel more in control of my life and our schedule as a family.
What do you find the most difficult about your current set-up?
I can be easily distracted, so working at home is sometimes difficult for me. Being at a coffee shop, where people can see my computer screen, almost makes me more efficient. I guess that’s something that’s ingrained after spending 12 years working at corporates!
When do you spend the most time with your children?
Definitely on the weekends, although I do try to squeeze in one-on-one time with each of my boys here and there during the week. Taking Luca out in the afternoon while Mika sleeps after school is one of my favourite things to do, and bathing with Mika if Luca goes with Dave to gym. It’s important, I think, to have this time with each of my kids, on their own.
Do you have any family rituals?
We tried eating at the table together, but in reality all sitting down at the same time to eat dinner is impossible and impractical. Mika is a serious busy-body and Luca is a fussy eater. So dinner-time is not an all-in-one experience for us. It is something that I would like to make more of a priority when the boys are a little bigger. For now, we do what works for us, which is never really ever the same every night.
How do you and your partner make time for each other?
Dave and I love eating out, so Anna helps us now and again by looking after the boys so we can have date nights. I’ll admit that it doesn’t happen often enough, but we try and we do have special time together after the kids are asleep too.
Do you find any time for yourself?
For a while (after starting my freelance career) I didn’t, and I paid the price. I had a couple of mini-meltdowns that caused arguments and put my body and health under serious strain. The last one happened recently while Dave was overseas and afterwards I decided that I needed to make time for myself. So, some nights I work a little later so that I don’t need to work the next morning and I’ll make an appointment to get my nails or hair done. Spend some time doing things for me. I’m now much easier to deal with and I’m able to take a step away and see that the world won’t fall apart if I’m not working 24/7 or constantly seeing to everyone else’s needs.
Do you look at other working parents and wonder how they do it?
I don’t. I know that we all struggle, that life isn’t what it appears to be. I know that I don’t often talk about my struggles with parenting or my relationships, but I do have those issues and struggles, so I know that behind closed doors, everyone does too. Yes, I have a little moan to friends via WhatsApp, but at the end of the day this is my life. I chose it. I made decisions and I’ve never regretted anything.
What advice do you have for other moms on how to juggle all these important roles?
Don’t listen to anyone. Do what your heart or your gut tells you is right. No one is the same and no single routine will ever fit more than one person. Books on parenting styles and advice should be burnt. Work with your partner or family or your support system on how to make things work for you. And love your kids, a lot. They grow up so fast!