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PR Manager Lisa Schwartz Riley and her mom, Debbie Schwartz, share a bond that is “solid as a rock.” Lisa shares how seeing her mom make time for the kids and make time to care for herself has left a lasting impression that she seeks to model with her own babies. As they discuss their bond through the years, this mother-daughter duo reminds us that it’s ok, and even healthy, to figure it out as you go.
Tell us a little about you both:
Lisa: I’m the PR Manager for Matrescence and mama to an incredible 15 month old baby girl, with a baby boy on the way this June!
Debbie: I was born in London, England and moved to Canada when I was 14. I’m an interior design consultant, a mother of three and grandmother to (almost) 7!
Debbie, what rituals did you pass down to your daughter when it comes to motherhood?
I always tried to show all my children that it’s not about toys or things, it’s about the quality time you spend with your kids. And when it comes to her own self-care, I hoped to model that while your kids come first, you also have to make time to do things that make yourself feel good. Because the better you feel, the better mom you will be.
Lisa, do you continue these rituals in your parenting with your own children? How and why?
Making time for yourself is hard but it's necessary. No matter how busy my mom was raising three kids, she always took care of herself and looked great doing it. She had fun with fashion, even designing and making my clothes, and her hair was always done perfectly. I was so proud that I had “the cool mom” at school. I definitely try and keep up with my own beauty routines and personal maintenance now that I'm a mom because I want my daughter to look up to me that way too.
Lisa, what is the best thing you learned from your mom about parenting?
There is no substitute for spending quality time with your kids. Getting down on the floor with them to play, not being afraid to be silly and having inside family jokes are the things they will remember forever.
Debbie, how does it feel seeing your baby as a mother? What is your favorite part?
It’s very gratifying to see what a wonderful mother she is. It makes me feel like I must have done something right!
Lisa, what does self care look like to you?
Reminding myself that it's ok to take a break is really important. There is always something to do...whether it's cleaning the house, doing laundry, answering emails, cooking... if you're constantly doing something you're going to burn out. Just making a cup of tea and watching Food Network or taking a nice long nap are ways that I recharge my battery.
Debbie, what advice would you give to a new mom struggling with balancing her roles and responsibilities?
If anyone offers help, say “yes please!” Not just with the kids, but with things like laundry or meals. That takes a huge weight off; it’s something I wish I had and try to do for my daughters now.
Lisa, what do you think is the most challenging aspect of being a mom, and how do you manage it?
I think that desire to do it all and do it all perfectly is something I really struggle with. Letting that perfectionism go and knowing that my daughter loves me regardless of whether or not the house is spotless or every meal was hand-made from scratch, helps ground me and take some of the pressure off that I put on myself.
How has motherhood changed you, and what have you learned from the experience?
Lisa: I waited until I was 39 to have my daughter, so I had a while where I was the only person I really had to take care of and worry about. Being a mother has made me more selfless and I now understand what it truly means to put someone else's needs before my own. Putting your kids first is so much more rewarding than living a life just for yourself. Caring for my daughter and making sure I'm the best mom to her fulfills me more than anything else ever has.
Debbie: I honestly don’t even remember what I was like before I was a mother (laughs). Being a young mom, it definitely defined who I was early on and made me a great multitasker and time manager.
What’s one thing you wish you had known before becoming a mom?
Lisa: You don't have to know it all, you will always figure things out. Your daughter is your best teacher.
Debbie: You know being a mom will change you, but when you’re in the thick of it, especially in the beginning, it can sometimes be hard to let go of your old self. I can say that from my experience, being a mother changes your life in the most positive way.
If you could sum up the relationship between the two of you in one sentence, what would it be?
Lisa: Solid as a rock
Debbie: What she said!
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