Lyss Stern is the founder of Divalysscious Moms, a networking company for moms in New York City. Stern recently wrote the book Motherhood is a B#tch! 10 Steps to Regaining Your Sanity, Sexiness, and Inner Diva.
What was the inspiration behind this book? There are a whole bunch of things. Let’s just say I wasn’t feeling well, I was going to several doctors and no one knew what was wrong with me. I gained a lot of weight since my first, well I have three kids a 13 year old, a 9 year old, and at the time, I had a new baby who is 3 now. I gained a lot of weight since the baby and I made every excuse in the book. I was taking care of everyone else before taking care of myself. Fast forward, I realized that I needed to make changes in my life because I want to be the best mom I could be for my kids and I want be healthy, physically and mentally and I went on this journey writing the book. No one writes books for moms letting them know it's ok to ask for help. It's ok to delegate and that is how this book came to me. You just you laugh, you cry, it is just a fun, fun book for moms everywhere.
Why do you think it’s so important for moms to reclaim their identity after giving birth? Being a mom is wonderful but that’s only part of what defines me. Motherhood should be added onto everything else a woman was before she became a mom. Of course, if you want to take a pause from work and you want to change careers or be a stay-at-home mom that’s 100-percent great with whatever you choose to do, but at the end of the day, moms, especially new moms, shouldn’t lose sight of who they were before they had a kid.
So what are some things moms can do to get their mojo back? If you can get an hour of exercise a day or an hour to yourself a day, that’s ideal. Everyone can carve out five to 10 minutes a day whether it is going to your local coffee shop and having a cup of coffee with a girlfriend or locking yourself in the bathroom for 10 minutes and reading a magazine. For me, I take a bubble bath and I light some candles; that is my time. Go sit quietly for 10 minutes and meditate. Go for a long walk in the park, whatever it may be, do something just for you, and it doesn’t have to cost any money. Just hit the pause button, just take a moment to breathe, and you will start to feel a little bit better every time you do that because we take on so much.
It’s great how you take ownership of the word b#tch. Can you tell our readers what being a b#tch means to you? In the book, we spell it out for you. “B” stands for, be the person you want to be. “I,” identify with that. “T,” take time out for yourself. “C,” care for yourself. “H,” ask for the help. We spell the word b#tch for you by giving you ways to make yourself stronger: to empower yourself to be the best you can be, to learn to say the word “no,” to practice self-care, to ask for help. I talk about it in the book, but when I first started off 13 years ago, I thought I was Wonder Woman. I had black hair and blue eyes, and I thought I could have it all. I could have the career and have these kids and do it all by myself. But here I am, 13 years later, and it was a wake-up call for me because I can’t do this all by myself. I want ask for help, I want to delegate, I want to take time for myself, I want to be the woman I visualize myself as. And I think that if all moms took a moment to realize this, we will be much better off.
Your book is very honest, it is refreshingly honest. Why did you feel that this was the way to go? I think this is why my book is resonating with so many moms because I am getting texts and calls from moms saying , ‘Oh my god this is my fight song where has this book been all my life?’ I think it is because we are getting away from all that "perfectness" and you look on social media and you see moms being "perfect." The food they make is perfect for their kids. The home is perfect. I mean give me a break. This morning, even though my kids normally have a healthy breakfast, but this morning I gave them frosted flakes. Yes, I gave them sugary frosted flakes for breakfast. Does that make me the worst mom? No. I think the mommy shaming needs to go away. You have to breast feed. You have to look a certain way. You have to act a certain way. Like everyone just stop. Just worry about yourself and make yourself the best mom you can be and stop looking at social media every day. You just have to take a moment and step back and be content with who you are. Get away from the perfect parenting. I hate the word perfect because no one is perfect. If you are striving to be perfect that is for a different conversation. Why would you want to be?
Can you tell us how Divalysscious Moms got started? Divalysscious Moms got started 13 years ago after my first son was born and I was going to a new mothers luncheon on the Upper East Side and to be honest with you the woman who was running it, she was lovely, but she was older then all of us and I was looking around the room at these new moms and all we wanted to do was talk to each other but we weren’t allowed to talk to each other and had to sit their quietly and the kids were crying and when I left the luncheon feeling like what happened there? This is all there is for new moms in New York City? Then a light bulb went off and it was like I had to do something so that is what started Diva Moms. Now 13 years later we reach out to millions of moms in New York City, the tristate area, and around the world, and my whole philosophy is to change people’s minds on mommyhood. We are an online community of moms who are there for each other and just to empower each other to be the best we can be.
Do you have any advice for moms seeking entrepreneurship and starting their own business? Yes, so when they are starting their own business or like when I started the mom mobile’s breakfast. You should have moms speak to other working moms and get advice from them. If you are starting a business think about how far as finances go and think of do you need a business plan, I encourage mothers to speak to other working mothers and to reach out, especially today with social media. There is LinkedIn, there is Instagram, there is Twitter. Reach out and ask for help. The best case scenario is that you will succeed. I think if you have a dream and you have a passion, you should figure out what that is and go for it.
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