Deerfield small business owner and mom of two awesome boys, Susie Newman, knows how to live selflessly, love fearlessly and rise up from devastating loss. By the time Susie was in her 30’s she had already suffered the loss of her father and mother, “As the executor of my parents’ estate I found myself buried under paperwork for the next 12 months while grieving the loss of both my parents… a Kellogg MBA with a finance background, I was barely able to manage it all. That was the impetus for SJ Rose…” This is Susan’s story.
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town?
I grew up in Buffalo Grove and attended Stevenson High School. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I moved back to Chicago at the same time as my now-husband, who also went to Stevenson High School. I initially lived in Lincoln Park while working for GE Capital and getting my MBA at night at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. After we got engaged, my husband and I bought a townhouse together in River West, got married, and had 2 children. We moved to Deerfield in 2016 and have been so happy here.
Child(ren) and Age(s)?
We have two sons; a seven-year-old and a five-year-old.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you….
I have danced my whole life and was in a dance company in Chicago in my 20s. My favorite workout now is WERQ, which is essentially a cardio dance class. I also am an avid White Sox fan!
Favorite mom hack?
I slather my kids with a mix of baby lotion and Vaseline, and they still have baby soft skin!
Favorite place to take the kids?
We have just gotten to the age where we can take the kids to Six Flags Great America. I’m a kid at heart and have so many wonderful memories of going there when I was a child. It is really special to create new memories there with my family. My seven-year-old loves the roller coasters like me!
I buy a huge bag of chocolate chips from Costco and eat them straight out of the bag. I love chocolate. I especially enjoy eating chocolate while watching The Bachelor!
Go-to cosmetic “tired eraser”?
I am not a big make-up person. I have used L’Oreal True Match™ Naturale Foundation Mineral makeup forever and I use a smaller brush with it to touch up tired eyes.
Favorite family movie?
Any of the Star Wars movies! For the longest time I was completely uninterested and let it be a thing that my husband watched with the boys, but soon found myself hooked!
Favorite book for you?
Sadly, I haven’t read a book in years. I am a news junkie and still enjoy paging through the actual newspaper. My dirty little secret is I am a hoarder of those little sections of the newspaper, such as Movies, Travel, and Parade Magazine. If you see me at the gym reading, I am most likely reading news content that is very outdated!
Favorite Children’s book?
Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. I haven’t read it to my children in years, but I still know it by heart. My mom used to tell me all the time, “you’ll always be my baby,” which I now say to Miles. Sometimes, she would follow up with, “when did my baby get to be bigger than Mommy?” I absolutely relish holding my boys’ hands and snuggling with them in bed.
A perfect day with the family is….
Football Sundays. We are huge Bears fans. All 4 of us wear our Bears jerseys during the season. We are fortunate to have season tickets and just started taking our boys to a couple of home games the last 2 seasons. Even though the season ended, both kids play on flag football teams, play Madden on their iPads and Wii, and watch old football games. It is very heartwarming for me to see my husband and kids curled up on the couch on Sundays.
Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?
My husband is the best. He’s funny, kind, thoughtful, smart, and my biggest fan. I don’t know what I would do without him. Our parents set such a great example for us and we grew up with very similar values. Marriage is never perfect, but we are great partners, and there is no one I would rather be around. He makes me laugh! What more could I ask for?
I also don’t know what I would do without my mom friends, including my two older sisters! It always seems like no one else is going through whatever stage of parenthood you’re in, but once you let people in, you realize that everyone is living a very parallel life. Getting out the door in the morning: chaos. Getting the kids through dinner time is like containing a jack-in-the-box. Certain things that could make you cry at the end of the day actually make you laugh when you talk to others in the same stage of life. The greatest therapy after a long day is talking to my sisters on the phone, having dinner with girlfriends, or drinking wine by myself.
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share!
I founded SJ Rose LLC in 2018. I provide bookkeeping services for those unable or unwilling to do it themselves. I provide these services in the comfort of my clients’ own homes.
This business was born out of necessity. While my mom was a strong, smart, business owner, my dad did all of her accounting and payroll for her business. When my dad was battling cancer, I helped my mom with those tasks. My dad taught me how to balance my checkbook, how to pay bills online, how to file things away, and what to keep/what to shred, so it was somewhat easy for me to follow his train of thought and take on those tasks. After my dad died in 2011, I taught my mom how to do these things. I had a full-time job and I was expecting my first child so I got her to the point where she could carry on those tasks going forward. Then, in 2017, my mom died very suddenly. As the executor of my parents’ estate and the youngest of three daughters, I found myself buried under paperwork for the next 12 months while grieving the loss of both my parents in my 30s. I was fortunate that my parents were organized and ethical – everything was clearly written out – and here I was with a Kellogg MBA and a finance background, and I was barely able to manage it all. That was the impetus for SJ Rose (dedicated to my beloved parents, Stuart and Janice, who ironically have the same initials as my husband and me, and loving and much-adored grandma “Nana” Rose). I thought about widows or others who suddenly find themselves in a situation in which life has thrown them a curveball, and they, too, are overwhelmed with personal bookkeeping, including the mail, paying bills on time, preparing for tax season, relocating, figuring out which emails/mail are scams, etc.
My company is based on advocacy, confidentiality, and trust. There are so many people and organizations out there who prey on good, honest people, and I never want my clients to feel vulnerable.
If you would like more information about SJ Rose LLC bookkeeping services reach out to Susie Newman by email Susanellennewman@gmail.com or call her at 847-212-1797.
Thank you for sharing your story of loss with us. What a beautiful tribute to your mom and dad. What advice do you share with our readers with respect to your profession or life’s experiences?
We all divide and conquer in our households for pure survival. However, take the time every year to understand personal circumstances – your estate plan, where important documents are kept, if you have life insurance and is it enough, important passwords, etc.
Build a trusted team of experts around you proactively so you know who to call when in need: an estate attorney, an accountant, a doctor, a neighbor, a friend.
Hug your children. No one loves them like Mommy.
Don’t wait until tomorrow to say, “I’m sorry” or “I love you.” Live in the now!
Excellent advice and so true! What’s on the horizon with respect to SJ Rose LLC?
My life’s mission is to pay it forward. I have suffered great loss and do not wish it upon anyone, but I always want to be there for others going through similar struggles so they know they are not alone.