Small Things. Big Impact.

When my hustle gets to be too much, sometimes the smallest gesture can make a world of difference, and bring me to tears. I had an encounter yesterday that reminded me of a few nice things people have done for me the past few months, that made a lasting impact.

Starting with the most recent — I met a stranger at the nail salon. I bit my nails my whole life, so much that my hands/fingers hurt when I tried to do things. Several years ago I started investing in myself and got my nails done every few weeks. I hardly ever put my hands in my mouth when my nails are done so this is an important part of my every 2 to 3 week routine. I spend an hour with my friendly nail tech Tina and we chat a little and I get my “pretties” done, as my daughter calls them. I showed up at the nail salon yesterday with only an hour and a half window. To my disappointment, a woman (Sandy) was in Tina’s chair and Tina asked me to come back in an hour. I told her I couldn’t because I had somewhere else to be and said I’d try to come back tomorrow. She asked when, I said I had to check my calendar. While I was doing that Sandy said that Tina could pause working on her nails and she’d go sit in the back in the pedicure chair and soak her feet while I got my nails done. I wanted to hug her. I wanted to cry. I couldn’t believe it. After asking 10 times if she was sure, I took her up on her offer. I thought about paying for Sandy’s manicure, but money is tight with 3 kids in daycare so I reassured myself that thanking her by name and telling her she saved my day and that she was my hero was good enough. I didn’t tell her that she inspired my blog for the week because I thought that would freak her out, but anyway, Sandy from Cedar Lake saved my day.

In June, I met a stranger named Kris at one of Oscar’s travel baseball games. Kris is one of the star player’s moms and she became my newest friend and lifesaver the very day I met her. It was a Thursday, and the plan was for Isabella and me to take Oscar to his game which was 2 hours away from home. Unexpectedly, Scarlett joined us for the game because she was acting so bad at daycare they asked me to pick her up. Ugh! Things had never been so bad she had to leave daycare (and at 10am!) holy schmoly. Scarlett was awful at the baseball game. She couldn’t stop whining, wouldn’t listen, tried to take her shirt off, her shorts off, her diaper off, tried to run away (she liked when I chased her) and kept playing so close to the baby that she continued to kick her car seat and fall on top of her. It got worse and I was exhausted and mortified. I couldn’t feed the baby because Scarlett kept running away. I won’t continue to list all the awful things Scarlett did, but instead introduce Kris at this point because she saved the day. Instead of judging me or shooting me annoyed looks, she offered to hold the baby so I could chase Scarlett. And she tried to help me calm Scarlett down, offered Scarlett water, snacks and even gave Scarlett her phone so she could watch tv shows on it. I was so grateful that this woman didn’t hate me or think I was an unfit mother AND she was trying to help me, a stranger! We became fast friends and I told her over and over that I appreciated her and she saved my life that day. I won’t see Kris from New Lennox again until next season but I miss her already.

In May, we were at my parent’s house with the kids on a weekday after daycare. I was still on maternity leave and exhausted from sleepless nights with Isabella. Salary is nearly cut in half on maternity leave so we weren’t going out to eat as much and that meant I wasn’t eating much. My dad always makes food for the kids and this time he asked me and Todd if we wanted anything. We both said a salad sounded good since he already had one started for himself and my mom. All it was was a bag of lettuce, some shredded cheese, and chopped green pepper but I started crying my eyes out. It had been so long since anyone had prepared food/ a meal for me and I felt like I was actually receiving energy. It’s hard to find time to sleep, eat, and shower with a new baby, but I remember this meal like it was yesterday. To sit down and eat without having to prepare it myself or share it with a kid was momentous. Of course I told my dad thank you a million times.

And final small story that made a big impact on me…earlier this year, while I was still very pregnant and struggling with the winter blues, my cousin sent me a message that changed my mood tremendously. While we’ve known each other my whole life (she’s older) we don’t interact much but I think she’s hilarious and I respect the hell out of her. Out of the blue she sent me a message that said, “Hi Katie! Hope you are feeling well! I just wanted to tell you that I think you are an awesome mom! I see all of your Facebook posts and I think that you are doing a great job! Keep it up! Love you!” Needless to say, this was the high point of my day.

All these people did small but life changing things for me and in turn, I’m in a better mood around my family. This leads to better moods for my family and a more positive outlook for myself, my friends and co-workers, just because of a few wonderful little things that were done for me.





Katie Helgesen

Katie Helgesen is the Senior Director of Business Intelligence at Dealer Inspire, a fast-growing and award winning technology company near Chicago. Katie and her husband, Todd, have 4 awesome kids and love living in a small community centered on a lake in northwest Indiana. Baseball, t-ball, and soccer schedules are just a few pieces of Katie’s Mom Hustle. Her daydreams revolve around finding more “me time” and traveling. In real life, Katie keeps herself sane with naps, Netflix and eating out as often as she can.