Amber Berger | Another Mother Her Way
I knew zero about halotherapy when I first met Amber Berger but her energy and understanding of wellness is so genuine that I could quickly buy in. Since first meeting she’s opened Salthaus - family friendly salt rooms nestled on the Upper East Side of the city. She’s positive, curious and an open book which makes for easy chat about parenting and work. She’s an example of slowing down for the early years with kids, keeping herself connected through a small side business, discovering new interests through motherhood and diving back into full time work to build on an idea when the time felt right. Read the details of that intentional path and bonus - get some self care inspiration from a mother who lives and literally breathes wellness.
HOW DID YOU CHANGE AFTER BECOMING A MOTHER?
This is such a profound question and hard to answer easily. I have evolved a lot since becoming a mom, some for the better and some for the worse (like my memory).
The one thing that stands out most is that motherhood has definitely softened me. I have always been a pretty calm and relaxed person; however, I'm Type A when it comes to organization and scheduling. It was not until my second child, Camila, that I learned to truly let go and trust the process when it comes to most things in life.
Her personality was starkly different than my son, who was such an easy child and stuck to every single thing we put in place with no issue. Camila arrived and she was the total opposite. She taught me to be more flexible. I used to have a hard time when things did not go according to plan, but seeing life thru the lens of my children and their needs has taught me that it's OK and that there is no one way to get something done. There are many paths to choose in life and each one can get you to your destination.
WHAT CHOICES DID YOU MAKE TO ACCOMMODATE MOTHERHOOD? WOULD YOU MAKE THEM AGAIN?
I grew up in a home where it was expected that you go to college, get a job, get married, have kids, and as a mother, you would stay home to raise your family. While I love my mom and appreciate ALL the hard work she put into our family, I also saw how there was so much in her that was not fully utilized. She had tons to offer the world and being solely focused on the family was not an even balance for her on a personal level.
This has always stuck with me. I knew that when I was ready to become a mother, I wanted to work, but on my own terms. It was important to me to be around my children during their early years and I started to think about this concept from the time I got married.
I launched my first business called Astarr, a jewelry concierge, to create a flexible schedule for myself where I could exercise my creativity. This soon became my side-hustle after I joined an amazing startup called Hautelook. Once I was ready to try for a baby, I started to inquire about going part-time. This was not approved so I had a difficult choice to make which was to either stay at a job I loved, with amazing benefits, or give that up to work on my side business full-time. I chose the latter and have never looked back.
The confirmation of my resignation and finding out I was pregnant all happened in the same week! I would not change anything about my path, as I was able to fully embrace being pregnant and enjoyed spending such special quality time with my children.
Astarr got me thru the early years of both my kids, now 7 and 4, and prepared me for my next venture into the world of wellness. My kids were the inspiration behind creating Salthaus, a social wellness concept, and even helped design elements of the space.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A MOTHER IN 3 WORDS. WHAT KIND OF MOTHER WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE?
Loving, patient, and present.
I try to create an environment where my kids can explore and test their limits within safe boundaries. I encourage them to be adventurous as well as accept making mistakes since it’s a key part of life. Our home is very carefree, filled with lots of love, laughter and dance parties!
HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF OUTSIDE OF MOTHERHOOD?
I suffered from an auto-immune disease (Crohn’s) as a child and learned the importance of self-care early on.
Exercise has always been essential for me. It’s a mental release more than anything and keeps me feeling sane. When I work out it helps to clear my mind and reminds me of “me” before the responsibility of raising a family. I strive for 3-4 times a week and, of course, this varies based on schedules, but at least 1-2 days is a non-negotiable for my health.
I have stepped up my self-care game in the past few years after feeling the need for more once my daughter was born. I missed my alone time and felt disconnected to myself as I was giving everything I had to 2 little ones - plus my husband.
I started engaging in small, daily self-care rituals that made me feel like myself again and reminded me to put my needs on the to-do list as well. As a mother, my needs have evolved, and self-care now looks like diffusing essential oils nightly for the house, dry brushing before I shower and adding adaptogens in the mornings to my tea. I could keep going, but in short, I try to do one thing for myself each week that makes me feel good.
It can feel selfish and like it’s a sacrifice sometimes, but it is definitely not. If you’re not at your best then you can’t be your best for your family and friends.
EVERY MOTHER NEEDS HELP TO FIND BALANCE. WHAT DOES YOUR VILLAGE LOOK LIKE?
My husband is such a hands-on father. He has been a huge supporter of me to do whatever I need for myself and uses that time as bonding opportunity with the kids.
My husband and I are both from Florida so most of our family does not live nearby, but I am blessed to have my sister here, who acts as a second mother for my kids. Thanks to her, my husband and I have been able to enjoy short getaways since the kids were born.
Our family has been beyond helpful, too, and will fly in whenever we ask them, which we are forever grateful for. I am also lucky enough to have a full-time nanny who has been with me since my son was one and is a huge support system for us.
After writing this out, I’m realizing, wow it is a village! I thank ours for their time, love and support during the early years, as it felt crucial for us. It helped us feel like we were keeping our heads above water.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON IMPROVING ABOUT YOURSELF AS A WOMAN & A MOTHER?
I am personally trying to listen to my body more and working on doing less. I am trying to enjoy the state of “being.” I tend to pack a lot in for myself and my acupuncturist keeps telling me to enjoy the state of “being,” which is a challenge. I am now keeping my weekends a little less planned in order to allow myself some down time. While I may be chill as a person, I don’t love to “chill” per se. I like being active but my body is starting to say otherwise.
As a mother, I have entered a new role, working full-time with Salthaus, so I am navigating how I use my time more wisely. I am focused on not being on my phone with the kids in the mornings and at least for an hour when I come home. Technology is a tricky thing - it's so great yet can be a curse. While my time around my kids is less than before, I am focused on making that time fully present.
QUICK CHIT CHAT
Favorite product, tool, or app for parenting life? My calendar is my life! If I don’t write it down, it does not happen.
Wellness ritual you swear by: Adding Adaptogens is life changing! @sunpotion
Ideal date night: Dinner at Nobu/Marea, a spicy cocktail with tequila/mezcal, and a walk home thru Central Park.
Family travel destination you’ve loved: Cabo is our happy place!
A mother you’re inspired by: Jessica Alba - I love all the products she has created, bringing awareness to the importance of quality ingredients. She put a true stamp on modern wellness and beauty, plus she makes her work-life/motherhood juggle look like a dream.