Mother and influencer Dikla Goren Dekel is a mom on the move. After growing up in Israel, she moved to NYC at age 29 where she settled into life with her long-time love and now husband Noam. After the birth of her second child, she started GirlPlusTwo, a blog and social media moniker that reaches mothers around the world. Her platform was built out of her desire to build a career where she could spend time with her kids while working — a career choice that ended up being the perfect fit.
Most days you can find Dikla on Instagram, dishing on her love for fashion, travel, and the juggling of three, soon-to-be four kids! She doesn’t just talk about motherhood, she shares moments from her busy days, showing how crazy but fun it all can be. Whether it’s surviving a road trip with the kids or creating a family routine that works for getting the entire family out of the door to school, Dikla makes motherhood look exciting.
Supporting her through her mom journey is an incredibly loving family: supportive husband Noam and kids Romi age 3, Ori 5, Yuli 8. It’s obvious that family comes first in this household; there is so much shared love and happiness. Dikla and her husband Noam do their best to teach their children about finding everyday joy, the importance of gratitude and positivity!
We chatted with Dikla about GirlPlusTwo, raising kids, and being a NYC mom.
photo by Ana Gambuto
Can you explain what GirlPlusTwo is and what sparked your passion for creating it?
I founded GirlPlusTwo after my second son, Ori, was born. I was itching to reinvent myself, and used my blog as a way to showcase my life as a mother in the City, explore my love of fashion and connect with parents around the world. I wanted to create something that was wholeheartedly mine, to be my own boss, have creative direction over everything I produce, and still spend as much time with my kids as possible. I have a degree in economics and business management but knew early on that I would rather work with people than sit behind a desk all day crunching numbers. I need something truly dynamic. Next thing I know, this is my full-time gig, outside of mothering! And I couldn’t be happier about it.
How were you able to launch your website and grow your Instagram following as a new mom and stay motivated through it all?
My motivation for doing GirlPlusTwo was to create an exciting career for myself. This motivated me in its earliest months, especially as the blog took off. It also continues to motivate me now, as I make friends and connections through the blog that I could never have dreamed of. I also would be remiss if I did not give major credit to my loving husband, who has supported me in pursuing my dreams every step of the way, and my family, friends and interns. I am grateful to have so many amazing people in my life who believe in me and want to see me and my blog succeed.
You share a lot about budget-friendly family activities. Can you give some tips for New York City moms who are not looking to spend a ton when it comes to family fun?
The park is a great place to start since it’s free! Take advantage of the playground for casual sports and picnics. Another great way to save on fun for the kids is to use household activities or grocery trips as an opportunity to get involved and have a great time doing it. You can even offer sticker stars as “points” that can be used toward rewards or make a grocery run feel like a scavenger hunt, not to mention Swiffer dance parties! Be sure to check out which days museums have free entry when ice cream is on sale for in-house sundae parties, and when local Y’s or JCC’s are having free trials or discount days.
As a fashionable mama, where do you shop for clothes and do you have any advice for quick and stylish looks?
I’m all about having a large wardrobe of basics. I like to mix and match neutrals with jeans or leggings, and a bunch of accessories for an effortless (and easy!) look, especially when I’m trying to get my three little ones together and out of the door. I don’t have a particular store that I shop at; I love finding pieces all over the map, but do love to shop online. I love Anine Bing for a rockstar look and LoveShackFancy for romantic date nights.
What’s your routine for getting the kids ready for the new school year? Any tips for getting out the door quicker on those frantic mornings?
I have one word for this: Teamwork. If your partner is able to be there and assist, take them up on their help! Split the morning chores: brushing teeth, getting the kids dressed, making breakfast and lunches, so that one parent doesn’t feel like it’s all falling on them. Also, involve the kids! Giving the older kids mini-tasks like choosing the cereal and putting bowls on the table makes them feel needed and important, and allows for another aspect of the morning to be taken care of.
To get the kids ready for the new school year, we always do a big school supply and clothing shopping day, where the kids can pick out a few things they want and feel like they have an active role in planning for the year. I also start making bedtimes a bit earlier about a week before school begins and put extra effort into ensuring that a routine is in place for the first day.
photo by ido-nyc
As a busy mom of three children (and one on the way!), how do you juggle everything?
I’m glad that you think it looks like I am juggling everything — that’s quite the compliment! Most days, it doesn’t feel like that at all. It’s a constant effort to maintain balance and order. I try to keep a good schedule, especially in the mornings, and keep a consistent route for school drop-off, pickup, daily errands, and the like. This coming year, it’s such a blessing that Yuli and Ori will be at the same school because this last year each of my kids were in different schools, and drop-offs and pickups took forever! Also, for after-school activities and extra-curricular classes, I try to schedule all three kids for the same time-frame and within walking distance of each other. This makes our lives as parents just a bit easier!
After having your first child, you’ve shared that there were difficult times within the first year of parenting. How did you both tackle this and learn together as new parents?
Because our family lives in a different country, no one taught us how to deal with the difficult times postpartum. We had to experience everything on our own, without the support of family close by. Our friends back home, too, were thousands of miles away physically and light-years away from the world of parenting! But, maybe because of having no one else to count on in those first few weeks, we had to ‘win’ at this parenting thing on our own and learn together as new parents. Now, almost a decade later, we’ve gotten more of the hang of this parenting thing, including balancing out our relationship as husband and wife and as parents. We make sure to carve out time for each other regularly. We make a point of going out for a date night every other week. We also are conscious of each other’s feelings and needs – Noam is a morning person, and I’m a night person, so we factor this in when deciding who takes which shifts with the kids. I’ve realized that it’s mostly about listening to the person in front of you, understanding their needs, and trying to give them what they need to make them happy. To me, this is love.
What values do you find the most important when it comes to family, and how are you teaching your kids this?
I feel very fortunate to say that the core of our family is genuine love and happiness. Noam and I teach our children to be grateful for all that they have, to be kind to all others, and to realize that each moment is a moment for happiness. We demonstrate these values to our kids through our interactions with one another, with friends, family members, and of course, to them directly. We encourage generosity and inclusivity with their friends, as well as an appreciation for the good in their lives. We are also big proponents of fun. We want our children to live their lives with goodness and happiness every step of the way.
photo by Ana Gambuto
How do you maintain a connection to your home country of Israel and teach your kids about their roots?
We travel to Israel at least twice a year, if not more. Israel is our first home, it’s where we grew up, and it is the foundation of our identities as people. Our families also come out to visit us as often as they can. But, we are still thousands of miles away. The beauty of technology, though, is that we are able to Facetime with everyone over there every single day. Not a day goes by when we aren’t connected to life in Israel. We also celebrate all of the Jewish holidays and are involved with the Chabad here in Dumbo, which helps our children develop a love of Judaism and pride for their Jewish identity.
With three kids and another baby on the way, busy times are coming! But, that is part of the fun of parenting, and Dikla wouldn’t want it any other way. For her, every day is an adventure and she is grateful for it all, cherishing each day. Whether it’s running after the little ones or sharing the experience of watching a sunrise, Dikla takes a moment for family.
Around the city with the family
Favorite place to grab a bite to eat with the kids?
Cecconi’s Dumbo at 55 Water St.
Favorite date night spot?
Broken Shaker at 23 Lexington Ave. It’s a super cool bar, with major Miami vibes, in a total hipster way.
Favorite ice cream/cookie/treat place?
Levain Bakery! It doesn’t get any better than those gooey chocolate chip cookies.
Brooklyn Bridge Park, of course!
Favorite fall activity with the fam?
Apple Picking! We love heading to the orchard out in Long Island and picking apples that we can later make into an apple pie.
Favorite family tv show/movie?
The Xbox is currently playing non-stop in our home! I’m not even sure of the last time I watched something on TV. I would love to find a great TV series to get into — I’ve heard that Making a Murderer is really good, so maybe I’ll start that!