The decision to become a mother is a crucial moment in a woman’s life. This monumental milestone has the power to bring with it a great deal of change, and along with it, new responsibilities and anxiety. Is this the right time? Will I be good at it? What does the future hold? Will my life ever be the same? All of these questions and emotions are quite common; however, who ever said that your entire world needs to change as a result of one decision? This is where Lyss Stern comes in.
Stern created her company, Divalysscious Moms, a New York City based socializing network for moms (and moms-to-be), and their children based on the idea that women do not, and should not, have to give up their glamorous lifestyle in order to embrace the changes that motherhood brings. In fact, Diva Moms organizes events such as book signings and book clubs, pampering get-togethers, cocktail parties and fitness classes, all of which women can enjoy solo, or with their little ones. According to Stern, it is not impossible for a woman to maintain style, confidence and “divalyssciousness” while caring for a baby and all of her events reflect this belief.
In addition to running Diva Moms, Lyss Stern writes her personal newsletter, The Lysst, works as a Lifestyle Editor for both New York Family Magazine and Social Life Magazine, and is the author of the book, If You Give a Mom a Martini: 100 Ways to Find 10 Blissful Minutes for Yourself. Stern took some time away from her demanding schedule to answer some of our questions regarding motherhood, entrepreneurship, and everything in between. Here is what she had to say:
Renegade Chicks (Khloe Westmore): How do you manage being a mother, all of the responsibilities that come along with owning your own business and your role as Lifestyle Editor for two magazines, and living by your mantra by giving yourself a little “me” time?
Divalysscious Moms (Lyss Stern): It is definitely not easy!! It is important for working mothers who seemingly have the world on their plate to always keep a clear mind and keep only positivity in their view; I always need to tell myself how lucky I am to have all the responsibilities and daily tasks that I do. When mommy-work gets difficult, I remind myself that I have two amazing, healthy sons. When I think about skipping one of my twice-weekly blog posts, I tell myself how lucky I am to have women who care what I have to say. All of the things that make my life chaotic and sometimes stressful are also the things that give me a great, fortunate life in which I am able to put all my talents and interests to daily use. How many women can say that? But, yes, “me-time” is crucial—hence my recent trip to Canyon Ranch and my new habit of sneaking in a meditation here and there and making sure I work out almost daily because of the pleasure and extra patience it allows me! There’s nothing like a fabulyss workout to clear your head. That’s for sure!!
Khloe: What does a typical day in your shoes look like?
Lyss: Anyone who knows me knows that I NEVER sleep in; I am always up SUPER early and, before anyone can talk to me, I need to walk down the block to Pax to get my large iced coffee. Then and only then my day begins! I get the boys up, dressed, fed and ready for camp along with my husband, Brian. Once the boys are on the bus I am fully focused on work, and I am constantly in email-contact with women whom I have a variety of relationships with; every day I get at least one email from a new DivaMoms requesting information on and expressing interest in my company and our events, and many, many more from authors, producers and more asking me to hold events such as book launches or make an appearance to speak on a certain parenting-related issue. A typical day for me in which there is an event consists of early rising, lots of preparing, oftentimes a little bit of travel, hair and makeup, of course, and then, eventually, having a ton of fun with wonderful women and their kids.
Khloe: Recently, Anne-Marie Slaughter, a working mother, wrote an article entitled “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All” where she essentially says that in order to be both a mother and a top professional, one must be either superhuman, rich or self-employed. What are your thoughts on her beliefs?
Lyss: I have spoken on this article multiple times and all I have to say is that anyone, regardless of gender, can have it all if she puts her mind to it. Take Marissa Mayer, for example; she was the single most qualified person to be CEO of Yahoo, and she was awarded that position. She did not say, “Ok, now that I am CEO, I definitely can’t have it all and get pregnant.” She decided to do what felt right for her, her body and lifestyle, and is succeeding tremendously.
Khloe: What do you think is the single most important piece of advice you could give new moms?
Lyss: My company was founded after I asked myself the simple question, “how will my life change now that I’m a mom?” And I realized that all of the aspects of my life that I loved didn’t have to change; I could still be divalysscious, and be a mom. So, I would tell every and any new mom to not lose her individuality and what makes her unique in the trials and tribulations—and tremendous JOYS—of motherhood. I would also, of course, tell her to come to some DivaMoms events!
Khloe: What can we expect from your book If You Give a Mom a Martini: 100 Ways to Find 10 Blissful Minutes for Yourself? Can you give us a few examples of tips we may find in your book?
Lyss: This book is to remind women that they are still beautiful, independent women even though they are moms, and remind them of the importance of “mommy-time-outs!” It’s an ideal must-read for the busy mom who doesn’t want to lose herself entirely in motherhood. Ideas include playing Wii Sports when your kids aren’t home, throwing out your “granny panties” and only keeping the sexy lingerie, and escaping to the grocery store for a few minutes to enjoy some free samples, all of which can be done in 10 blissful minutes that a woman deserves and needs—for the sake of herself, her husband AND her little ones!!
Khloe: What were some of the initial steps you took once you realized there was a need for a company for new moms that did not want to give up their glamorous pre-baby lifestyle and you decided to turn your idea into a business?
Lyss: I was always creative, a thinker and dreamer. I got my Masters in Communication from NYU, worked in the world of public relations for a few years and then I taught pre-K and Kindergarten. My students were just so delicious! After I had my first son, Jackson, I dove into the mommy world for the first time. There were so many activities for kids and babies, but nothing that spoke to the moms and how their lives were pre-children. That’s when I decided to start organizing events for moms that were luxurious and fun. I created the company and it’s been a hit ever since. I create all of the events for Divalysscious Moms. Our first event was in April 2003. It was called Breakfast Babes at Bulvgari. It was a champagne breakfast, with discounted Buvlgari jewelry. After that, Dolce and Gabbana and other haute couture designers were calling me to do events with them. Today, we reach out to 400,000 of the most influential moms in NYC and the Tri-State area and it’s amazing. Anything that’s fabulyss, we bring directly to the moms.
Khloe: What is the best part about owning your own business? The most challenging?
Lyss: The best part is undoubtedly being able to spend time with my family and have them be such a huge, crucial part of my work; I wouldn’t have started a luxury lifestyle for moms had I not started my own family and I love being able to take the boys to events and have them be a part of my daily life. The hardest part is DEFINITELY having to say “no” to things I just can’t do because I am already committed to too many things; I hate turning people down for events that are important to them but, recently, I have been able to discipline myself in this way so as to not stress out my family, friends and self.
Khloe: What recommendations do you have for women that want to be entrepreneurs?
Lyss: I would tell them that they need to completely lose the mindset that entrepreneurship is a man’s territory; women have things to offer that many men don’t, such as dynamic social skills, a keen intuition, empathy and sensitivity, which many people don’t realize can be used so heavily in the world of business and entrepreneurship.
Khloe: What are some of your more sought-after events?
Lyss: DivaMoms Book Club events are becoming ridiculously hot—we have held the book launches for America’s most popular erotica novels, including the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy.
Lyss Stern’s ability to juggle motherhood, the demands of a successful business, and all of her other titles and responsibilities has us in awe and rightfully earns her the title of Renegade Chick of the Week. She inspires us to work harder, do more and accept change, because sometimes, even the biggest change in a woman’s life, does not prevent us from being “divalysscious.”