Lizzie Hirschtritt | Another Mother Her Way
I first met Lizzie Hirschtritt when were both traveling in London and she had just transitioned from a career in buying at Bloomingdales to a Masters in early child development. She immediately struck me as a super smart woman committed to doing what felt true to her. So I wasn't too surprised in the years following as she's grown her family in Chicago that she hasn't been shy to make her daughter, Blake, her priority. She put her ongoing study and social work on pause while raising Blake and in that time discovered more personal interests. In the last year, Lizzie launched Boom! You're Organized, a local business founded on her creative interest in bringing strategy and order to personal spaces and the social movement toward decluttering our lives and homes. Read her thoughtful and honest take on finding the right work and village to allow herself time to be with her daughter while simultaneously caring and creating for herself.
Q HOW DID YOU CHANGE AFTER BECOMING A MOTHER?
The biggest shift for me was the perspective motherhood provided. The little things will always get me, but they now have less of an impact. Becoming a mother has shown me that a missed workout or bad night sleep really doesn't matter. At the end of the day I can bounce back and still get to be with my daughter, Blake, who is so much more important than any of that stuff.
Q WHAT CHOICES DID YOU MAKE TO ACCOMMODATE MOTHERHOOD? WOULD YOU MAKE THEM AGAIN?
When I got pregnant and had Blake I was in school for a social work degree at Erikson Institute in Chicago. I had just finished my Masters in Child Development and planned to continue with coursework and internships to be able to practice as a social worker. After having Blake I struggled with the idea of two unpaid internships and additional school. When she was almost one I went back and completed a couple more courses to see how I felt about school, but realized right away my heart was not there. When I had been in school previously I was passionate about the work and eager to learn. With Blake in the picture, however, I was just thinking of her and what I was missing at home. While it felt good to interact with other adults and have something that was "mine," it just was not right for me at that time in my life. At the end of those classes, I started helping a friend organize her home. While doing so I became even more aware of my passion for organization and how much I would enjoy doing it professionally. Shortly after that I started Boom You're Organized, a personal organization business that goes into peoples’ homes and helps them get organized in all aspects of life. Boom You’re Organized provides me with the flexibility to be home with Blake 3-4 days a week while still having 1-2 days to work. Without a doubt, I would make this choice again and again. I have no regrets about my decision to pause my social work degree and am so happy that I have created a business that enables me to work and have something in addition to being a mother, but still allows me to be home the majority of the week with my daughter.
Q DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A MOTHER IN 3 WORDS. WHAT KIND OF MOTHER WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE?
Patient, nurturing and organized (!). I am not a patient person but I know how important it is when around young children to be patient. I have worked really hard to be patient with my daughter, always remembering how young she is and that while certain things (tantrums, acting out) might be frustrating and warrant discipline, having the patience to remain calm, consistent, and fair is so important. After all, she's still so young! I find that maintaining organization in all aspects of life helps our days run smoother. Blake definitely benefits from consistency, routines, and being able to anticipate what her day will be like. At the end of the day if all else fails I hope to show Blake how much I love her every day. I want her to feel loved and valued, and hope that I can create a nurturing environment where she knows that to be true.
Q HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF OUTSIDE OF MOTHERHOOD?
I try to work out a few times a week doing yoga, pilates, and barre classes. Exercising provides me a break and also lets me de-stress mentally and physically. I also love acupuncture at Exhale with Lexi Hagenson and still try to get a weekly manicure which helps make me feel put together and pampered.
Q EVERY MOTHER NEEDS HELP TO FIND BALANCE. WHAT DOES YOUR VILLAGE LOOK LIKE?
I am very fortunate to have a wonderful, dedicated village. My husband, Jon, is super supportive and helpful and makes himself available as much as he can. He works long hours but gets Blake in the morning so he has time with her then and typically comes home before Blake goes to bed so he can see her, even if for just 15 minutes and it means he's working from home at night. My mom lives 10 blocks from us and is always around to help. I take advantage of that, whether taking Blake to my parents’ apartment for dinner so I get a little break or having my mom come over so I can do some shopping for an upcoming client or get a haircut. My mother in law lives in New York but is also unbelievably supportive and helpful. She will hop on a plane and come to Chicago to help without question and watches Blake when we're visiting in New York so I can see friends and go to my favorite exercise classes from when I lived there. Lastly, I also have a wonderful nanny who comes two days a week, which is a luxury I so appreciate.
Q WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON IMPROVING ABOUT YOURSELF AS A WOMAN & A MOTHER?
I know this sounds cliche but every day I try to be present and in the moment. The biggest focus for me is staying off my phone when I'm with Blake (and others) and trying not to stress about my to-do list. It's extremely tempting to glance at my email or make a quick call while Blake is playing since she does play nicely by herself, but I know these days are fleeting and soon she'll be in school full-time and doing activities so I really try to be present when I'm with her and soak in all that she says and does. She is developing so quickly and learning so much every day I don't want to look back at these years and realize I missed enjoying her personality because I was too focused on other things that are not urgent. I have caught myself missing a funny comment or not watching as she completes a puzzle because I'm responding to an email or text that can certainly wait until she's napping or with her nanny. While I am so focused on this with her, I do find myself on my phone at dinner with my husband or friends so I am trying to extend my presence with Blake to all areas of my life.