Posts in community

This post comes from one of our newest members, Emily. We are lucky to count her and her family among our community. 

My son is one month from his first birthday, and I feel awe at the fact that my husband and I are speeding towards completing our first year as parents.  There has been a lot of reflection these past eleven months on the reality of caring for a new life, as well as all the expectations, hopes, fears, thoughts and feelings we had before he was born.  Like all first-time parents, we had no idea what we were in for, and yet we kept stubbornly thinking all would be rosy and beautiful.  We were sure all our dreams and schemes were not only aligned with one another, but we were hopeful the universe would collaborate with us in our plans as well.  After all, we had survived a difficult pregnancy and soon we would face a long birth that wasn’t even close to the event we had imagined for over nine months.  Then suddenly we had a newborn, and a recovering mother and father, and a dog to keep going.  All of us were weary.


It was confirmation of a lesson I have had to learn many times in my life: the universe doesn’t operate the way we want it to.  We don’t earn happiness by enduring sadness and disappointment.  It’s a popular refrain in our culture (you’ll get a break because things haven’t worked out so far…), but I’ve learned this is not a reliable viewpoint.  Because having a beautiful, healthy baby who has rolled over, made sounds, pulled up, crawled, and is now walking, all in one little year—none of that erases the sadness and pain we endured as a family during pregnancy and the losses we’ve had since his birth.  All these things exist simultaneously.  One miraculous and beautiful event does not erase a painful and sad one.  Often life gives us both of these sensations in a single moment.  My baby was born and it was a miracle I could barely comprehend, and it was also a huge loss: the loss of the birth I had wanted and expected and simply could not have.

This makes me think of what we want for our children going forward.  We want very specific things for them, like education, opportunities, friends, we want them to participate in certain activities we value, we even deliberate extensively on their toys and food.  But we also want things much deeper and more difficult to manage.  We want happiness, fulfillment, love and acceptance from the greater world.  And yet, these things are so very out of our control.  I feel I was often given the message growing up (from family, teachers, television, books, politicians—everyone!) that if I only managed my life correctly I could minimize disappointment and maximize happiness.  Or more troubling, that I could negotiate my way towards specific outcomes, essentially that I could “fix” all that was wrong, or if I couldn’t, then there had to be someone out there who could!  Kissing cuts and bumps, rocking back to sleep after nightmares, these are all a part of the parenting code.  But in the back of my mind is the reality that there are going to be so many more hurts and challenges that I cannot fix at all, even a little bit.

This is not a popular view. It’s radical to admit that life is horrible sometimes, and that’s a harsh lesson for very little ones (probably better saved for a slightly older human), but it’s something I plan to not shy away from completely with my little babe as he grows.  Because the only way through this life is to realize that we can survive the awfulness that it throws at us.  It’s also an opportunity to teach him what I have learned: that we have to speak out loud our gratitude, ask for help, and not be afraid to feel our pain in order to find our resiliency.   

As my baby grows, sometimes I’ll be able and willing to fix things for him, but I want him to know, more than anything else, that when I cannot (and when no one else can fix it either) that he not only has a soft and stable place to land (our family), but that he possesses the strength within him to endure.  Giving him that knowledge seems like the greatest gift I can give him.

Our Favorite Digital Communication Tool

One of our members who's been here the longest shares one of the biggest things that sets Nido apart from other options for your family - our built-in and thriving parent community.

When we were only part-time at Nido we also sent our kiddo part-time to a small, traditional, preschool program near our house. Our kid loved the other preschool, loved his friends, loved the toys, loved the teachers, and we liked the curriculum. Going to the other preschool and Nido at the same time gave us a side by side view of not only the two programs for the kids, but the way the two communities of families are run. Nido wins that comparison, hands down.

It’s not really a fair comparison. Firstly, Nido is inherently a two-part service: Montessori preschool for the children, and co-working space for the parents, all under one roof. The physical act of working there with the other parents inherently leads to building a community because of your interactions; even if you are all silently working on your laptops most of the time. But when you get a chance for a cup of coffee in the break room you get a chance for those interactions to build community, too. The water cooler clichés are true.


Though if you set aside the co-working aspect, Nido still wins because it has formed a great on-line community via the Slack App ( Slack is a messaging app that mostly targets tech savvy businesses for internal use. Its advertised to help team members communicate, and cutback on needless internal emails. If you are old enough, it’s a bit like chat rooms and IRC, but upgraded. The app works both on your phone, and on your computer, and private ‘teams’ or groups can be set up for your business.

At Nido, all the teachers and all the parents are part of the ‘team’, both literally, and virtually on Slack. Instead of having channels (aka chat rooms), as Slack originally envisioned, on “engineering”, “marketing”, “accounting”, “software”; here at Nido our channels are “classroom”, “events”, “co-op tasks”, “staff”, “random”, and “weekend_meetups”…to name a few. 

On the “classroom” channel the teachers post pictures of our kiddo’s enjoying their work, and us parents let the teachers know when we are going to be running late, or are out sick. And this is where the on-line community discussions strengthen the in-person interactions. Unlike our traditional pre-school, where I would txt the teacher that my kid has a fever, I have now been able to tell our whole small school that my kid is sick, and warn the other parents to watch their kids for symptoms.  Some of the best, most civil, and most caring discussions have been around what germ is circulating and how other kids have been doing. The conversation on slack typically starts with: “Hey everyone, heads up, our kid just got diagnose with croup. So, if you were in class on Wednesday with our kid, watch your kid for symptoms.” These conversations then continue with well-wishes and gratitude for sharing. At our other school, we never knew and there was no built-in way to have parent-to-parent discussions.  

Slack gives us parents all a way to check in with our kids and their classroom, and with each other. The “random” channel has been great at local community building with such conversation topics as you might and might not expect from working parents that share co-working space: What diapers to use?, Goat for sale., Chocolates in the break-room., Computer monitor recommendations?, Donuts in the break-room., Can I borrow a baby carrier?, Does anyone have any children ear protection? We’re taking our kid to a Pixies show., Good restaurants to go to with a baby?, My neighbor is having an yard sale!, Any folks interested in organizing a Nido Doughman team?, Anyone know a good unix cheatsheet?, Touch-a-truck event coming to town!, etc…

There are many ingredients that contribute to Nido’s success at building community. Using an on-line messaging platform, such as Slack, to reinforce in-person community has been part of that. It’s also a great way to ask a friend across the room if your kid could borrow a pair of shorts from their kid (because hey, accidents happen), without disturbing all the other co-working parents.

-By long time member, first time Blogger, K

Navigating social media as a “sharent”

Jourdan shares how she views one of our most modern problems - what to share and how to share it on social media.

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One night over dinner during my third trimester, my husband and I had “the talk.” I knew it’d be coming, but I’d been putting it off. We’d read about various childbirth practices, discussed how we thought we might handle sleep training, solid food introduction, and cloth versus disposable diapers. But the topic of social media use as parents had yet to be broached. 

I’m well aware this discussion doesn’t feel necessary for everyone. But when a house is divided on usage, things can get dicey. As the extrovert/connector/media lover of the family, social platforms fulfill something deep within me. I’m not saying that’s always a good thing. Sometimes social media is addictive and confidence-shattering and unhealthy. Over the years I’ve broken up with Facebook, put myself in Instagram rehab, and totally ghosted on Twitter. But I keep coming back and here’s why: I love how connected they make me feel to my people, regardless of where they live. Also, it’s part of my job to stay connected.

But is it fair to thrust my newborn into this world without giving her a choice in the matter? If she could choose, would she share such details of her own life or will she feel like we forced her online existence too soon? Will an entire generation of people resent their parents for this reason?

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If it were up to my husband—a person who prefers and practices a much more private existence—I would give birth and we would raise a child without a trace of her online. He acknowledges this is ridiculous and also unrealistic—especially in the days of image tagging—but I get where he’s coming from. Tired of saccharine photos and flawless personas, it can feel as if little is personal or original anymore. And where’s the line between “sharenting” and “oversharenting”?

It’s natural to display the best versions of ourselves for theworld to see, but we agree that what really resonates is when people are honest—tell funny jokes, share less-than-perfect moments, and generally embrace the good with the bad. And in the age of technological excess, I believe less is truly more.

Four months after we first started trying to have a baby, I had a miscarriage. It was every bit as earthshattering as I’d feared, and I felt alone in a space that only I seemed to occupy. In an effort to cope with my feelings and reach other women like myself, I wrote my story and shared it on social media. The response I received blew me away. Women reached out with their own stories of loss, and I immediately felt like part of a community that saw me, understood me, and supported me.

That same virtual community rallied behind me when I shared my excitement and fear of being pregnant again, as well as the impending birth of my daughter. And so I continue to occasionally post the ups and downs of life as a new mother, a working woman, and a human living through these turbulent political times. I still take too many outtakes before landing on a photo and spend too much time writing a caption, but I’m working on it. And the moments I truly cherish happen when my phone’s out of sight and out of mind.

Have Toddler, Will Travel

Kate shares how she's kept an important part of her identity alive while juggling the responsibilities of work and parenthood. 

Travel has always been an important part of my identity. When I got pregnant with my son, I worried about how I’d be able to maintain that part of me while also being a good parent. I found a blog post about how to travel with a young child, and realized, oh yeah, they have babies everywhere. That did a great deal towards reminding me that if babies could live everywhere, they could certainly travel anywhere (maybe with a bit of extra planning).

I also found inspiration in my parents. My mother and father both traveled frequently for work, and would bring me along. I still admire how my mother braved airports armed with peanut butter, crackers, and a deck of cards, and she always found kid-appropriate activities wherever we were to hold my interest.

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I remember using my crayons to circle places I wanted to go on my three foot cardboard atlas – there were far more circles on its pages than unmarked space. I got a similar book of maps for my son, so we could look through it together and dream about all the places we could go. Although we did travel some, for the first two years, we didn’t really scratch the itch I had for travel. I missed it acutely.

This year, when we moved to North Carolina, we were excited to realize how much closer we’d be to Europe. We started to plan a vague trip to somewhere European as a getaway, and I was adamant that our son come too. We decided we’d also bring my mom with us to help us figure out how to best explore with our toddler, while also giving us all an opportunity for adult-only time.  

We chose to go to Copenhagen, because of the city’s reputation for being wonderfully family friendly. We started talking about how Legos come from Copenhagen, and we read the Little Mermaid and talked about how we’d take a plane to Copenhagen. (Hearing a two year old say Copenhagen and then repeat to you the sanitized Little Mermaid plot is pretty cute.) We talked about how we’d take a really fast train to the town in Sweden where his Brio trains are made. We talked about ebelskivers, or the delicious Danish pancakes that he’d only ever had from Trader Joe’s. And at night, I researched my heart out, circling attractions that he’d find accessible as well as ones we’d like to see, while planning days around nap time.

All of that build up was more worth it than I could have possibly imagined. He played in a viking ship, rode a Ferris Wheel at Tivoli Gardens, took the high speed train to Malmö, watched a polar bear swim at the Copenhagen Zoo, took a boat through the canals to see the Little Mermaid statue, and jumped on trampolines built into the sidewalks. Today, if you ask him where any plane flying overhead is going, he says excitedly, “Copenhagen!”

To help him remember this trip years from now, I kept a travel journal. Each night I’d ask him what he’d done that day, and I’d transcribe his thoughts. After he’d fall asleep, I’d write down my version of the day’s events. When we got home, I printed out our pictures and pasted them to the backs of our journal entries. And no, I don’t expect that he’ll remember this trip himself, but we’ll remember it. We’ll remember what it was like to explore as a family, and to watch his face in wonderment as he experienced something new – like his first hot chocolate. And we have the opportunity to instill in him the same love of travel and curiosity about the world that we have ourselves.  I can’t wait to take him somewhere new, all over again.

Top 6 Reasons I <3 Nido

Thank you, Marissa, for sharing these warm thoughts about your experience at Nido!

I joined Nido in January and my son (Theo) will have to transition to full-time daycare in June, so, sadly, my stint at Nido will be a short one. I have been reflecting on what Nido has meant to me over the past few months as I’m finishing up my PhD program, and decided to write a list of my favorite things because who can resist a good list, right?? (I started with a list of 10, but realized that this blog post was way too long already, so I cut myself off at 6). Here they are, in Letterman order, but not as funny:  

6. Community. When I enrolled at Nido, I underestimated the advantages of being around other parents twice a week. Theo started at Nido when he was only four months old, so I have the added benefit of meeting parents who have already traversed the parenting waters that I’m currently navigating. Nido members have helped me figure out answers to questions including: How do I find a good babysitter? Where can I donate extra diapers? How can I get work done when I can hear my son crying down the hall? (He is a wonderful child, but is a bit on the fussy side.) How can I cope with sleep deprivation? (newsflash: there’s no good answer to this one, but sometimes you just need to vent).

5. Amenities. Having an arsenal of snacks at my disposal is a dream come true (for real… snacking is one of my favorite hobbies as anyone who knows me will tell you). I also am a huge fan of the big windows in the coworking space. At school, I share a small, windowless office so I treasure the natural light “situation” at Nido. But my all-time favorite amenity is the nap room. Theo has lucked out because he’s usually the only kid who naps in the mornings on the days he’s at Nido. This means that he has his own personal sleeping oasis with not one but TWO white noise machines (his teachers tell me that “ocean” is his favorite sound), a cozy crib, and curtains that let in the perfect amount of light. Unfortunately, he won’t have his own personal napping room at his next daycare so I suppose he will just have to adjust!

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4. Productivity. Doing work around other people makes me work harder. I have been able to work from home ~2 days/week for the past couple of years. Although I love the flexibility of working from home, my motivation tends to ebb and flow depending on the amount of laundry staring me down, the types of food calling my name from the kitchen, and the attractiveness of the bed or couch (this was mostly a problem in my first and third trimesters of pregnancy). In contrast, hearing the clickety-clack (can you tell I’ve been reading a lot of kid’s books lately?) of everyone’s keyboards at Nido makes me want to keep clickety-clacking away myself.

3. Half-Days. Building on the above, working in four-hour blocks makes me more productive. Most of my work involves writing, but sitting down for a full eight-hour day with nothing scheduled except writing can be daunting. I swear that some days, I get more done in the four precious hours that I’ve blocked off for writing than when I have a 9-5.

2. Relaxation, too! Even when I’m not super productive at Nido, it’s nice to have a break. Before Theo was born, I was so caught up in the excitement of pregnancy and the anticipation of childbirth that I didn’t spend much time thinking about what life with a baby would be like. This, coupled with the fact that I had never really been around babies, meant that I was grossly underprepared for how challenging babies can be, especially during the “fourth trimester.” As much as I love having a flexible schedule that permits me to spend lots of time with my son, I will admit that it’s a huge relief to be able to pass him off to his caring teachers for awhile.  


1. Teachers. That brings me to my final point: The teachers are amazing. Caitlyn and Talia have welcomed my little ball of energy to the classroom with loving, open arms. They greet us with warmth and enthusiasm every day, and they never make me feel bad about the fact that some days I’m pretty sure one of them has to hold Theo for four hours straight because he’s being cranky. Speaking of which, he has become a lot less fussy since he started, in part because being at Nido has gotten him used to noise, stimulation, and being around other people besides his family. He’s also learned to blend into his surroundings; here’s a picture of him pretending to be a doll in the Chickadee Room – this cracks me up every time I look at it.

I am sad that my time to Nido is already coming to a close, but being a part of the community has made my transition into motherhood so much easier.

Men, too: a reflection on being a father to a son in 2017

My grandmother is 95 years old. Living almost her entire life in rural Iowa, she and my grandfather raised seven children. She now has eighteen grandchildren and thirty-one great-grandchildren. In short, in the realm of childrearing, she has seen it all. The waxing and waning of various parenting techniques, all manner of revolutions in clothing, toys, and gear. Diapering:she has forgotten far more than I will ever learn when it comes to diapering. Every time I think I know a thing or two about being a parent, after thirteen whole months of experience, I think about my grandmother. She tells me, my mom, my aunts, and anyone else listening, that I am the most involved father she has ever seen. Every time she says it I feel more than a little shocked. 

I know I spend a lot of time "dad-ing," more so than most fathers. A big reason for this is my work schedule – as a graduate student, I'm fortunate to have a very flexible schedule. This means I can be around to play with my son, go grocery shopping, preparing food, feeding our son, cleaning up after his meals, putting him down for naps, and of course, taking care of all those diapers. But there's another reason that I can spend so much time with my kid – I prioritze being with him over other things, in particular my work. I don't pretend to be able to "do it all," and I accept the consequences of my choices. Just this afternoon, I got home in time to go on a walk with my wife, son, and dog. Afterwards, I watched our son toddle all over the yard, blissfully unaware of the rain falling, chewing on sticks just like the dog. He walked out almost to the end of our yard all by himself, totally calm and independent. I can remember not that long ago when he could barely pull himself up to standing from the floor. I know there will be lots of moments like this in his life, where I look at him and am shocked to realize how much he has grown. But I'm glad I was there for this one. Lots of parents – especially fathers – don't get that chance.

Our nation's failure to provide paid parental leave is well-documented, but that's not the only problem. Even when paid leave is available through employers, there are lots of parents – fathers especially – who don't take it, or don't take as much as they can. Beyond falling behind at the office, many men fear losing esteem with their peers for choosing their family over their work. There are serious problems with the way we as men define ourselves. I learned growing up what was important about becoming a man: domination, intimidation, and strength. Talking about your feelings? Not so much. Snuggling your baby who will smear your clothes with all kinds of icky-sticky goo? Even less so. The idea that a father would choose to spend so much time and energy being with kids – especially really little ones – it just doesn't scan for a lot of people, even in 2017. 

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When I tell people I'm at home taking care of my son, they sometimes respond, "oh, you're babysitting." Would you ever tell a mother at home with her kids that she is babysitting? No, because babysitting is when you take care of someone else's kids. That well-meaning folks who know me can use that phrase to describe me when I've been up since 5:30 a.m. working my butt off being a parent says a lot about the ways that our conceptions of parent diverge when we specify mother or father. I know from watching my wife go through it that there's a lot about being pregnant that isn't any fun at all, but it killed me watching her go through it knowing that I would never be able to share her experiences. I kept telling myself that once our little one was born, I would do everything I could with our son. This is something both my wife and I wanted, because my involvement doesn't just create kodak moments of fatherhood, it illustrates how men being present supports the women in our lives as well as our children. Every time I show up, I want my wife to know her time and energy and contributions are as important as mine, and I don't want to pay that lip service, I want to show it in my actions. The action of being present. Every day, even when I feel that pull from my professors, my colleagues, and myself to put more time into my work, I try to balance that with my deep desire to be with my son.

I always feel sad when I think about what my grandmother thinks about me as a father. Don't get me wrong, it boosts my ego, but I'm not out to become father of the year. What I would rather is for my choices to feel less extreme. I want my son to grow up with lots of memories of me being around and involved. It's possible there will be times when I can't be there as much as I am right now, and we will have to deal with that when it happens. In the mean time, it matters to me that he experiences a different model of masculinity than the one that I grew up with. I want him to learn to talk things out and share his feelings, to learn to find solutions to conflicts through cultivating a sense of empathy and compassion for others, and to learn how to interact with other people -especially women – without resorting to the type of domineering and bullying behavior so frequently found in popular movies and even elected officials of late.

I don't think that everyone needs to make the same choices that I have made, but I also think that there could be a lot more room in terms of legal protections and cultural expectations that would support more fathers (myself included) to engage fully with their children from their first breath. Things have changed a lot since my grandmother was raising her children in the 1950's and -60's, but there's a long way to go.


When you are ISO friends… Here’s what the internet tells you to do.

Heather is one of our first Community Members. She shares her thoughts on making friends in a new city and why coworking is the best. Thanks, Heather!

I joined Nido in August 2016 as a community member. To my knowledge, I’m the only member who is a non-parent. I live in the neighborhood; run my own solo law practice (more on that at; and I generally work out of my home. But, I needed a good place for meeting clients in a location that would generally be convenient to clients and me AND wanted the opportunity to be out around other humans during the workday. Nido was my first choice and happily, right around the time I needed it, the community member option became a reality.

Backing up to my point about wanting to be around other humans … This isn’t something that’s just happening in my work life. We moved to Durham in November last year, after renting in Chapel Hill for a few months. We moved (back, long story) to North Carolina from Wisconsin for my wife’s new job at UNC – Chapel Hill. This meant upon arrival, I spent a few months unpacking – repacking – and unpacking again and then a few more months prepping for an taking a couple of tests (the MPRE and the North Carolina Bar Exam). Fast forward to March of this year – I’m waiting on my Bar Exam results and suddenly I realize – I don’t really know many other people in my new community and I’m not entirely sure how to meet people and make friends without seeming desperate and/or creepy.

If you do an internet search on “how to make friends as an adult” or “how to make friends in a new city” (as I have), it’s clear that I’m not alone in wondering how to do this. So in the spirit of education and a bit of entertainment, I thought I’d share a selection of what I found:


The less helpful (aka the things that I can’t even imagine trying) -

  • Chat with other people getting manicures at the same time as you;

  • Eat alone in public as often as possible because people are more likely to approach you when you are solo; and

  • Take pictures of people at events and offer to share them on social media or via email.

The helpful (aka some of the things I’ve been doing and am seeing the value in) -

  • Use your dog to meet other dog people (and/or use your kids to meet other parents) ;

  • Volunteer; and

  • Become a regular at a weekly workout class.

The very helpful (aka some of the things I’ve been doing and am seeing great results from) -

  • Make an extra effort to get to know your neighbors;

  • Say YES – if you get invited to do something, try your best to say YES; and

  • Find a workday crew (for those of us, ahem, who telecommute or work from home and don’t have the built-in option of becoming friends with coworkers).

In conclusion, to make friends: use your dog/kid, volunteer, do group fitness, be a good neighbor, say yes, and join Nido Durham. Of course, actual results may vary (the lawyer in me demanded I provide a disclaimer). And – if you happen to be one of those people who has found that chatting with other people while getting manicures, eating alone in public, and/or taking unsolicited photos of people at events are reliable ways to make friends – let me know – I’ll buy you a coffee and you can tell me all about it.

“Tips” Sources (in no particular order):