1) Where are you from and how long have you lived in town? What brought you to the area?
Joy: I’m originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, moved to Libertyville 17 years ago. My husband’s job brought us here.
Hideko: I’ve lived in Lake County my whole life. We fell in love with Libertyville and moved here 25 years ago to start our family.
Stacie: I spent most of my childhood in Connecticut and then moved to Lincolnshire, IL and haven’t left Illinois since then. Once I was married and had two kids, it was time to leave the city for more space. My husband is from Libertyville and I just loved the community feel. We’ve been here for 16 years.
2) Do you have children? Ages?
Joy: I have 3 kiddos who are (24), (23) and (19)
Hideko: I have 2 amazing kids: Ayden (20) and Saylor (18)
Stacie: I have 3 wonderful kiddos: Jack (18), Caden (17) and Ruby (15)
All our kids graduated or currently attend Libertyville High School.
3) What are your favorite things to do in the area? Restaurants?
Joy: There are so many great restaurants like Trace and Main Street Social, but I absolutely love the cooking dinners at the Joyful Gourmet. They are social, interactive. We bring a bunch of friends and make new friends each time. They have a great wine selection too.
Hideko: My family loves to dine at Main Street Social. The crew there is so friendly and the food is amazing! I can’t leave out Sunset Foods!!! The grill over there is amazing and the wraps are delicious.
Stacie: it’s so tough to pick one favorite so I’ll choose two family faves in Libertyville. We love dining at Firkin- you can’t beat the energy and fun atmosphere. As a family, we recently went axe throwing. My kids loved the competition!
4) What are your other local favorites?
We all three agree that we live in an amazing community full of amazing retail shops and restaurants. So hard to pick just one favorite, so we named a few of our weekly stop ins. Bentleys Pet Shop, Anam Cara, Blu Violet, Shakou, Sunset and the new Board Room.
5) Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor or in the corporate world?
The three of us collaboratively head up Libertyville Health and Mental Wellness aka (LHMW). LHMW provides support through educational programming, workshops, expert speakers, panels and group discussions. We host monthly meetings discussing a range of topics, from body image, navigating peer-to-peer relationships, planning for post-high school life (community college, work, trades, armed forces, university), fentanyl, suicidal ideation, mental strength and skills, student panels, to name a few. The audience is a mixture of students, parents and community members. In addition, we partner with other local organizations and businesses to build community around mental health and wellness.
6) We all need to share a personal struggle.
Stacie: The hardest job is being a parent. I was challenged to my core when my son’s anxiety was so debilitating he couldn’t get out of bed to go to school freshman year of high school. Together with my husband, we had to ask for help, find resources, we prayed, and most importantly try to understand his pain while trying to help him put one foot in front of the other. This was a very dark place to be feeling helpless. It’s emotionally draining when you can’t take away your child’s pain. We found Roger’s Behavioral Center in Skokie. It was life changing. Our son went there 5 days a week from 8am-3pm for 6 weeks. I stopped work and we drove there everyday and my son put in the hard work. There were tears, anger, but most importantly, break throughs. They challenged him until he conquered his fears. He graduated the program, kept up with his schoolwork and still managed to play football (his love). Today, he is a freshman at Illinois Wesleyan and plays on the football team.
Hideko: Mostly recently I have been struggling with anxiety. My son, Ayden is a Junior at Columbia Chicago and my daughter, Saylor is a senior at Libertyville High School. I’m not ready to be an empty nester! It’s hard having to let go and trust that you’ve given them the tools they need to be out in this scary world without you. I noticed that small things would make me panic, like a text message with no response or alerts from Life 360. Anxiety is like a weed, it takes over faster than you can even imagine. I decided to call my therapist and start sessions again. When your brain starts to create scenarios that are untrue and your fears drive the bus it’s a very scary place to sit. Sometimes the best thing we S.T.O.P., stop, take a step back, observe, and proceed mindfully!
Joy: One thing I sometimes struggle with is forgiving myself as a mother. Was I there for them? Was I too hard on them? Did I comfort them as they were growing? I know I caused them stress; that’s for certain! (And I do believe it’s good to have healthy stress.) But my worry became their stress, and as I look back now, I realize there was no need! It was silly. It’s a balancing act, and it’s also unchartered territory. I know now that listening, validation, trust and belief is more powerful than fear. They just need someone to listen sometimes, not act. Our job as parents is not to jump in the sinking boat but to stand on the shore and pull them out. We bring these beautiful beings into the world and discover their little personalities while we discover ourselves as mothers. We become Mama Bear protectors and hurt when they hurt. Then one day we become coach and mentor as we lessen control of decision-making and watch them rise to the occasion. And while all this growth is unfolding for them, we are reminded to tend to who we are as individuals. There was a time I was reconciling who I was… where did the time go? Am I where I thought I would be? Were their passions I wanted to pursue? What was next for my personal growth? I look back now and realize all of that was part of growing up as an adult, and to extend grace as we are constantly learning, maturing and evolving. I am so happy where I landed!! My comfort is feeling how we enjoy each other’s company, how we laugh together and cook together! I always thought if I screwed up this parenting thing, I better create an environment where they can come to me. They can’t do that if they think I’ll get mad. And at the very least, I better ensure they felt loved. I think they do. At least that’s what they tell me. Sometimes too loved! HAHA. We have to remember to extend ourselves (and others) grace.
7) What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Joy: I am a black belt in tae kwon do. Allegedly. HA! Pretty sure my card doesn’t expire.
Hideko: I love DIY home projects!!!
Stacie: I play in a soccer league.
8) What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from another Mom?
Joy: Our role as Mom is to be a source of comfort.
Hideko: Don’t sweat the small stuff
Stacie: Do not let Mom guilt get the best of you. It’s ok to step away, re-set and come back refreshed! .
9) Are you involved in any volunteering or philanthropy? Do you have a favorite local non-profit or charity?
We all three have been involved with the amazing Craftsman Cafe and Lamb’s Farm,
10) What is your favorite thing about the Libertyville Area Moms Network?
We absolutely love the different interviews you do with local Moms and businesses. There are so many leaders out there and it’s great to read about their stories.
11) What is next for you?
Hideko: I’m not 100%, but I’m excited to see what’s around the corner!
Joy: Promote the “Book on Gratitude.” See what I did there? I am a contributing author with 29 other international women. Then see what God has in store. (Hideko, I keep stealing your answers HAHAHAHA)
Stacie: (your business venture??)I love this question! I’m so lucky to be a fitness trainer and having the opportunity to help people achieve their goals is super rewarding. I’d like to gather my clients and run/walk a 5k in the spring all together.
In addition, I want to continue to spread awareness and support regarding mental health. Hoping to launch a new venture that will give people the opportunity to spread happiness, support and kindness to all.
Kindness Around Town Campaign
Libertyville Health & Mental Wellness is excited to share with you all our Kindness Around Town Campaign! Our goal is build community through human connection. It costs nothing, it’s simple and yet so extremely impactful!! We partnered with The Loop of Hope at Libertyville High School to involve the kids. So far cards are making their way around the halls and hopefully you have heard a little chatter. You too can take part by simply visiting one of our participating local businesses. Pick up a card and share or write your own! Pass it on to strangers, neighbors, favorite baristas and servers, etc. around town. Have fun with it!!!
Libbyville Lifestyle Boutique
Conscious Cup Coffee Roasters
The Village Hall
Salt of the Earth
Bentley’s Pet Stuff
Slammers Baseball Academy
Anam Cara Cafe