Welcome to Chicago North Shore Mom’s once weekly Meet a Mom series, where we feature and celebrate local mamas in hopes to elevate and inspire… you!
This week’s Meet a Mom feature is Northbrook lifer, Lauren Schifferdecker, MA, LCPC. Lauren has a lot to celebrate! This mama of two elementary schoolers is the owner and lead therapist of Inspire Counseling Center in Northbrook. She’s also a motivational speaker and an all-around excellent person! Lauren’s interview gives Ah-mazing tips parenting advice about how to connect with your kids (seriously, you must read it), tips for winning arguments (yes, please) and how she carved her career path from corporate life to counseling life. Introducing Lauren!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town? What brought you to your current town?
I grew up in Northbrook. I loved it, but never thought I’d move back. My husband is from the St. Louis area. When we’d visit my parents, he would say how much he loves Northbrook and that we should raise our family here. My parents still live in Northbrook, so it was an easy decision when we moved from the city. We love the schools, the community feel and the access to the city!
You’re a mama! How many kiddos do you have and how old are they?
I have two kids — my son Barrett is 10 years old in 4th grade and my daughter Vivienne is 9 years old in 3rd grade.
What’s your favorite thing about being a mom? Please share at least one mom “hack/tip” that makes your everyday life a little easier…
My favorite thing about being a mom is those few magical moments at the beginning and ending of the day. It’s when I get to snuggle and connect with them.
Kids grow up so quickly, but I find it’s like a tiny few seconds where time is frozen. Maybe because they’re only half-awake, but in those windows of time (especially the mornings), it’s like I can still connect to the baby in them. I can hug them, talk to them sweetly and fill their love-tank for the day.
On the days I do that, I find the mornings go so much better, even if it’s just a quick hug and kiss. I also find that when I tuck them in at night, it is when I learn the most about their day and what’s on their minds. They also sleep better too. I’m not always home for these moments, and it’s not a big production, but I treasure those sweet connections at the beginning and end of the day.
That is amazing advice – thank you! Everyone has one – what is your least favorite “mom” job?
Definitely packing lunches and preparing meals. I’ve never enjoyed that, even before kids, so now especially it requires effort and is my least favorite job as a mom. I do a lot of hot lunches at school!
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
I love public speaking. I’ve given lots of talks, but my dream was to give a TEDx talk before I died. I actually had the opportunity a few years ago (hopefully that doesn’t mean I will die soon, knock on wood!). I gave my talk on the “The Secret to Winning Arguments.” I shared about a personal argument I had with my husband and how it transformed my relationship and the way I argued forever.
Favorite local places to spend with the family (please list any indoor and outdoor places you love as well as family-friendly restaurants)?
My favorite place for a date-night or ladies lunch is House 406 in Northbrook. As a family, our favorite restaurant in the summer is Landmark in Northbrook because we ride our bikes there and the waiters all know us. Our other favorite family-friendly restaurant is Yard House in The Glen.
You are a mompreneur! Tell us about your business!
I started Inspire Counseling Center about 5 years ago. At first, I was scared that I wouldn’t even be able to keep the lights on and pay rent. Much like Harry Potter, I started in a cleaned-out closet. Seriously! I felt insecure. But I had a dream and I loved serving my clients, and I love this community. I have been so blessed by the people of this community trusting me and my therapists to support their children, families and themselves. We serve kids as young as 2 years old, adolescents, adults, moms, women, couples, families and seniors. We have had explosive growth and now have a team of 10 therapists and support staff, including a fellow-North Shore mom, Jackie Roberts, as our Office Manager. Inspire regularly serves about 120 people a week at our office in Northbrook.
Go get it, girl! That is a whole lot of people healing in this town. What is your background (school and experience) that carved this path?
I studied psychology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. After undergrad, I decided to work in the corporate world and was lucky to land a job at one of the top PR firms in the world, Edelman. After years of working with such talented people and clients, I picked up a thing or two about business. However, I felt the calling to come back to my roots in psychology. I went back to grad school, interned, then worked for a number of years, had my two kids in the middle of it all, and finally opened my own practice.
When I was working at Edelman, I learned some fundamentals of working as a team. I also learned how to run a successful business. Along the way, I did tons of my own personal therapy.
Inspire is a marriage of all I loved in my corporate experience, psychology, being part of a team, and the satisfaction of my own personal counseling.
I wanted to create a safe, warm, place where we can offer excellent counseling that is affordable, easily-accessible and in a beautiful space.
What are some of your proudest moments with your business where you said “wow, I did that”?
During one of our staff meetings recently, we were all crammed into my office. The team was laughing and everyone seemed so happy to be together. I silently looked around the room and held back tears. I was so grateful to each of the incredible therapists and staff to be part of this journey. It was an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and privilege to be part of this group of talent. It was also overwhelming to think of how far I’ve come from the small closet where I began.
What advice can you offer our parents out there – we could use all the help we can get!
Life is short. Time is finite. You don’t get it back. You don’t get a redo on lost opportunities and time. Invest in your relationships. Invest in your family. Invest in living a life that brings you joy and one that you feel fully awake.
Not to be cliche, but it all starts with you–especially as a mom. Moms are the emotional leaders of the home. Everyone is watching what you are doing–not what you are saying. Invest in yourself–whatever that looks like for you. It will be the best thing you can do for your family.
For me, it started with my own therapy and couples therapy. I would not be where I am today without the support, honesty, truth and courage that I gained in those private, sacred moments.
How important is it for you to have a passion outside of being a mother?
Being a mother is so sacred. Not everyone gets to do it. It is such a high value. However, it can be tempting to get all our joy and life through our kids. When we can show our families that we have our own interests, our own passion, our own failures and successes — no matter what that is– it helps our families to relate to us and inspires them to live their own lives.
When parenting gets hard, what’s something you tell yourself that gets you through?
I had such a hard time potty training my kids. So, I called my grandma who had 5 kids to ask her how she did it. I wanted her words of wisdom–surely she had a trick because all 5 are now potty trained!! My grandma basically told me, there’s no trick. They’ll figure it out when they’re ready.
It reminded me that our kids are on their own journeys. They have their own paths. It’s not completely up to us moms to do everything for them. Part of their journey is figuring it out themselves — in their own time.
What’s on the horizon for your Inspire Counseling Center and beyond?
My goal is to double Inspire so we have 20 therapists at our Northbrook office. I want to be able to continue to be able to get new clients in same-day or next-day, while providing excellent and affordable support for the community we love.
Inspire Counseling Center is located at 3100 Dundee Rd #101 in Northbrook. If you would like more information about Inspire Counseling Center’s services and therapists, reach out by calling (847) 919-9096 ext 1. or email firstname.lastname@example.org and someone from the team will get back to you within 24 hours, but probably sooner! On their site, you can sign up for their newsletter to receive a free e-book “Inspire Your Life” with six simple ways to improve your life. “You’re on your way to living your best life!”
“At Inspire, we’re not just “therapists” helping “clients.” We are people supporting people. We believe every person is whole and complete. You’re not meant to do life on your own. You deserve support, connection, love and guidance. We are here …”