Leigh Weisz is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist at a group practice called Coping Partners, which she started 7.5 years ago when she was 8 months pregnant! Get to know Leigh who talks about her favorite mom hacks and gives stellar advice to families, including why you should give your children chores! Yes, please!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town?
I was born and raised in Highland Park and live there now. I have lived in HP as a grown up 🙂 for 5.5 years.
Child(ren) and Age(s)?
I am blessed with two wonderful little girls age 7.5 and 5.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
I had a baby in my minivan 🙂 as we did not quite make it to the hospital! Given how much of a type A planner I am, we all find this humorous, but it makes for a great memory and I’ll never forget my daughter’s entrance into this world!
Favorite mom hack?
- I keep new library books in all the rooms in my house and we read together at bedtime, but also in the morning after waking up, at meals when they’re dragging on and when the kids seem like they need some down time. It allows me to get extra snuggle time with the girls, escape into a fun world with my kids, and I believe this ritual has ignited in our girls a true love of reading. When my older daughter brings home her Scholastic magazine order forms from school, I’ll order 1-2 books, but then type in the rest she has circled into the Highland Park library website and put them all on hold. The library emails me when they’re ready for me to check out and my daughter has so much gratitude as the books she is excited about just keep coming in a few at a time! It’s the gift that keeps on giving!
- A quick and healthy breakfast is 1 egg and 1 banana mixed together and in frying pan–makes a pancake in a jiffy and is moist and delicious!
- Also, I bought “Just Between Us: A Mother-Daughter Journal” on amazon—to share with my older daughter. We write messages in it to one another, share thoughts wtih one another and engage in playful exercises together (for the mom–write a letter to your “child” self—for the daughter–write a letter to your “future self.”) Its been a lovely way to connect at the end of a busy day.
Favorite place to take the kids?
I like to take walks on the Green Bay Trail or spend an evening at Ravinia, sprawling out on the blanket and eating and listening to music together.
Guilty pleasure (ie. Food, desert, snack, hobby)?
Normally I don’t have too much time for TV having little kids and working. I love when I’m into a great tv series. Right now its “The Marvelous Miss Maesel” and I love vegging out and watching it. I also love my mom’s chocolate chip banana bread!
Go-to cosmetic “tired eraser”?
My 5 year old daughter knows more about makeup than I do 🙂 so all I can say is I am a Starbucks girl 🙂 A good cup of coffee can really help after a hard week as can a cat nap! There is no shame in a nap (for adults) if you can fit one in.
Favorite family movie?
The original Mary Poppins is a favorite!
Favorite book for you?
I really enjoy and often speak about a book that’s been great for parenting called The Opposite of Spoiled. It gives a great way to teach children money management from an early age and stop begging you for toys and “chatchkes” they see at Target and anywhere else you are!
Favorite Children’s book?
“The Invisible String” is a beautiful story that feels reassuring to me (and to all children I read it with), ensuring them that they are connected with those they love forever–no matter if they are now living apart from a parent due to divorce, a parent who travels or death. I think about those who have died in my life and how I always feel connected with them (in my heart).
“A Beautiful Oops”–is another amazing story that teaches kids that we should make mistakes and put ourselves out there enough to fall and fail and learn and grow!
(Of course the children’s book I wrote called Kara Kangaroo’s Candy is also dear to my heart, but that’s only for young children whose parents are going through a divorce).
A perfect day with the family is….
A hot cup of coffee (Starbucks), a brisk walk and picnic at the Botanic Gardens. A family dance party in our pajamas or cuddling in bed all together watching a movie are also cherished.
Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?
I am eternally grateful for the many people who validate that I can be a wonderful mom AND juggle that with a meaningful career– and who support me in this balancing act. My own mother always tells me what a good job I’m doing with my children AND although I know she’s biased, it means the world coming from her. My husband is a great support—he starts our days off right with a healthy fresh fruit smoothie and makes sure we’re all heathy between the good foods he cooks for us and our chiropractic adjustments—— My parents and husband’s parents who have helped babysit since my kids were born and our incredible babysitter who the kids love. I cannot be everywhere at once—and while of course I’m sometimes plagued like all of us by the “mommy guilt,” I also feel really good about the fact that my kids get different things from each of these individuals—and I know they feel loved by all of us who take care of them.
I think all moms need a “mommy community,” and I am grateful for mine—those who share in carpooling and are there to lend a hand. I’m especially grateful for my work family–the other 6 therapists who have become like family to me—and who are as helpful in guiding ME in parenting decisions over the years as I’m sure they are to their clients!
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share!
I am a Licensed Clinical Psychologist at a group practice called Coping Partners, which I started 7.5 years ago, same time as my eldest daughter was born. I thought ‘what better time to start my own practice as when I’m 8 + months pregnant!” and so I did! We grew from the 2 of us–Michelle Winterstein and myself—to now 7 of us working in a beautiful newly renovated space in Northbrook–complete with play therapy rooms and art therapy rooms and a “living room feel,” so that clients and families can feel comfortable and enjoy coming. We specialize in children, teens and families who present with anxiety, difficult life transitions (separation/divorce), peer problems, grief/loss, parenting challenges, and more—-but a few of us clinicians DO see all ages, including adults. I personally have enjoyed my adult work more and more over the years and hope to continue growing that part of my practice.
As a therapist, please offer a bit of parenting advice to our busy parents…
In our hectic world, everyone is running ragged, and our children feel stressed out and anxious because we’re keeping up this insane pace. While some of the busyness isn’t going anywhere, try to fight the urge to sign up for all the activities as your childrens’ peers—and block off a “Free day” (or 2) in your child’s life–time for the family to enjoy a dinner together free of opposite scheduled activities—block off time for an impromptu play date where kids can be creative—and “bored” time too–where kids will have to figure out what to do when they are left to their own devices (explore nature, build a fort, do some quiet play with legos, read, daydream, write their own story).
Don’t jump on the bandwagon so fast so that your child isn’t left out. I’ve seen so many parents rushing with the technology and unaware of how complex a child’s world becomes when they suddenly have to navigate the world of the screens. Be conservative with screen time—no matter how innocent you think it is when they first get “screens,” make rules like Kids need to charge devices in parents’ room (not in their bedroom overnight) and have specific times of the day they can and cannot use their screens.
Give your child chores! This is shown over and over to have countless benefits for children—and yet, parents feel like they can’t burden their children with chores b/c they have homework and soccer practice and other important tasks to attend to. The truth is that chores teach children to give back to others (not to ONLY do individualistic feats like practice their own sport or do their own homework), give kids a sense of independence and mastery as they learn how to do more and more for themselves, and hard work will instill in children GRIT which begins with loading/unloading dishes and will help them in almost every area of their lives. Your kids will also not need to learn “life skills” when going to college–they’ll be much better prepared and YOUR life will be easier too!
What’s on the horizon (with respect to your endeavor; future plans or goals)?
At Coping Partners, we are always focused on serving the children ages 4-12 years old in the community. We also have clinicians who specialize in teenagers and our goal is to serve more of the teens in the area who struggle with anxiety, depression, relationship issues, friendship issues, and would benefit from a safe place to share their struggles, feel heard and learn healthier coping tools. We also would love to one day be able to lead parent groups if there is enough interest. I, personally, have enjoyed my adult work and hope to continue to grow that part of my practice.
Coping Partners is located at 450 Skokie Blvd suite 503 in Northbrook
Reach out to Leigh and start the conversation: (847) 497-8378