Who is “Mama Monkey”?
Read more about Sarah, the founder of Pediatric Interactions.
As a speech therapist, she enjoyed helping families and has grown a team which can extend beyond one person’s reach.
Her experience of having a premature baby provided her a view “from the other side” as a parent.
Her continued passion to serve her community has allowed her to make many connections and help many local families.
Where are you from and how long have you lived in town? What brought you to the area?
I graduated from Libertyville High School (not saying what year LOL) and returned to Lake County after graduate school. Our family has lived in the same neighborhood in Lindenhurst for over 22 years.
Do you have child(ren)? Age(s)
Ellianah is 11 years old and a four-legged child (Alex)
What are your favorite things to do in the area with and without your kids? Family friendly restaurant? Date night?
I enjoy finding new, locally owned restaurants where you can get to know the owner/staff is always fun for a date night or girl time. I like to hear people’s stories how they got started and the dreams they have for their business.
I’m super excited to try EggspressCafé which just opened in Lindenhurst. There are so many great restaurants in Libertyville, from Picnic Basket (where I had many high school lunches) to Main Street Social.
Self-care is important (for date night, girl night or even just some quiet time alone). I start most mornings at No36 Fitness with a consistent group of participants and trainers. Every time I need new shoes, The Runner’s Edge has helped me find the right shoes! I do need to find time to relax and recently went to Salt of the Earth in Libertyville and enjoy yoga/meditation classes at various studios.
My daughter is beginning to enjoy some of these things with me, as well as craft activities, like Ceramics for You in Gurnee. I love going to the library, because I never read a book more than once so I don’t buy them often, but I still find it fun to get lost in bookstores like This Old Book in Grayslake. The libraires have a lot of great classes you can take. My friend and I are on a mission to learn one new thing a month or have an “experience” and the library is a great place to do this!
In addition to the restaurants you mentioned, can you share your TOP 5 favorite local businesses? It could be stores that you frequent for clothes, kids, home decor, healthcare, fitness, wellness, beauty salons or spas, or family resources (photographer, financial advisor, lawyer)… We love supporting local.
We work closely with Therapeutic Links (occupational therapists) and may preschools in Lake County. One of our values is to provide expertise to families and professionals and we do this through workshops.
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor or in the corporate world?
Pediatric Interactions just celebrated our 20 year anniversary of providing speech therapy for children and supporting families and professionals in Grayslake and all throughout Lake County. We find it to be such an honor when families trust us with their children and we’re able to teach and empower them to help their child!
In an effort to “keep it real”, and not just show the sunny side, can you share with us a past or present struggle in your personal or professional life? Please also share how you overcame it or cope with it (or plan to). We love gaining new tools for our mental wellness toolbox.
Struggle….let’s keep it real, when you own your own business, everyone thinks being your own boss is full of freedom and money. Little do they know, we work whenever anyone needs us, so it’s not “setting your own schedule”.
However, when you have a great team working with you, it’s such a relief to be able to step away and know that things will get done. Our Pediatric Interactions is a family and has supported each other through floods, a lawsuit, losses and COVID, but it’s only made us stronger and trust each other more. As a leader of a team, I’ve found self reflection and learning is key to allowing me to be vulnerable and “real” with the people at work. I have had many people through the years who hold me accountable and share insight and resources to help me grow.
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
The most common answer we get when asking someone calling for services, “Who can we thank for the introduction?” is I heard about you on Facebook or from a friend who’s child came to you. Word of mouth is our best marketing and the one that’s valued most. This sense of trust in us allows us to help more families. The support of other local therapists, schools and doctors allows us to share more information with professionals and families.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
“The warrior is a child”. This is an old Twila Paris song, but still holds true. Others see me as strong, and yes I’ve overcome some hardships and do hard work to be where I’m at. But, it can wear on a person in many ways and I have to make sure to take care of myself first (put my oxygen mask on first) and I heavily rely on my faith to pull me through things.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from another Mom?
Put your kids first, they grow up faster than you think. I want my daughter to remember the times we spent with her, not that we spent at the office. I want her to learn what a good work ethic is, but to also know family comes first.
Are you involved in any volunteering or philanthropy? Do you have a favorite local non-profit or charity?
For many years, I was the founder and board member of WeeBits, a non-profit to provide classes and education to families. During this time, I was introduced to many other similar charities, including Words on Wheels, Characters of Characters, and Mother’s Trust Foundation. Every year we try and volunteer and donate to Bernie’s Book Bank during March (reading awareness month) and collect for Toys for Tots and Operation Christmas Child during the holiday season. Outside of work, I enjoy volunteering at my daughter’s school and church outside of work.
What are your favorite places to travel near and far and why?
Where we live is great, easy distance to Chicago or Milwaukee where you can go for a night or weekend. These towns have so many great things to offer from restaurants, plays, concerts, to sporting events. I enjoy tours of these and other towns I visit. But, if I could be anywhere it would be on a beach. I like the sand and sound of an ocean!
Which podcasts and/or TED Talks inspire you the most?
As I mom, “I Mom So Hard” makes me laugh and is totally relatable (I think I could be friends with them). I find good advice from 3 in 30 (take aways for moms) and fluster cluck. A local podcaster, who really talks about being a woman and wife, is Tina Haisman (A life designed). Works wise, I have many podcasts I listen to for support with running a private practice and leadership. My friends and I often joke that we would be great on a podcast, so you never know you may hear me online one day.
Tell me about your favorite books. I love receiving fiction and non-fiction recommendations!
What is your favorite thing about the Libertyville Area Moms Network?
I love how communities come together and provide a place for questions, support, resources and recommendations. I appreciate all of the research that goes into finding local events and businesses which families can benefit from.
What is next for you?
Summer with warm weather and traveling with my family. I enjoy being outside with my neighbors and friends. I’m so thankful to be able to take some time off to bring our daughter to London and Paris for the first time. I am also looking forward to continuing to offer many summer programs at Pediatric Interactions and reaching more families.
*Professionals shots by Zshots Photography