Liat Siegel is a New Yorker, a fierce mother of five, a leader and a styling queen. She is passionate about inspiring, motivating and empowering struggling mamas.
You can connect with Liat at www.hadardesigns.com
Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:
Lisa: I’m so thrilled today. We have an American guest on the podcast, and her name is Liat Siegel. And she studied interior design, and what she’s all about now is empowering mums to be the best that they can be, through what they wear, and through the design and how their homes feel. So, we’re going to be having a great discussion today on simple things that you can do, to feel amazing, feel empowered, amongst the chaos that is motherhood. So, welcome Liat, thank you for joining us.
Liat: Thank you so much for having me, I’m so excited to be here.
Lisa: Can you, in your words, tell us a little bit about what it is that you do? And I guess, why you also came to be doing it?
Liat: That’s fun! That’s going to be the craziest of answers. So, basically, I help moms who are struggling with feeling like they exist. They are very overwhelmed by all the different hats that they wear, and they don’t feel like they are a person any more. They’re mom, they’re driver, they’re referee. They’re everything except the person that they were before they had their kids. And the way that I came to this, I am going through a motherhood on steroids, as I like to term it. I have five little ones.
Lisa: Get out of town!
Liat: And they’re all under seven, and we home school them.
Liat: So, you know, going through these past seven crazy years, I lost myself in the interim, and I had to, kind of, navigate my way back to being who I am. And I did that through my background, what I was, you know, very comfortable with. Interior design, you know, creating a space, a healing environment, where, you know, of course there’s chaos. You know, we all have chaos in our lives, and to create a healing space was, you know, number one for me. And also, I’ve always been very into fashion, and I found that, you know, not being in my pyjamas all day, and getting dressed every morning, even if it was just for me and I wasn’t seeing anyone, was very helpful. I started feeling like myself again, and started blossoming, and being strong, and being able to, therefore, go and help other women do the same.
Lisa: That is next level motherhood, right there. And before we started, before we pressed record, I was complaining to you about my crazy morning with my three kids, getting them off to school, and kindy, and a family daycare. And you must have just been looking at me like, ‘Oh, add an extra two to the mix Lisa, and then we’ll talk.’
Liat: No, no, I totally wasn’t judging you whatsoever (laughter).
Lisa: It’s just, you know what, as I was saying to you, and I did a little Facebook Live about it before, as well, is like, how do we actually do it? And I think it is that other people are coming first all the time, and what happened to me this week was I got a little delivery in the mail. I’d ordered some nice underwear. And this is after, like, six years of pregnancy and breastfeeding, and just, sort of, thinking, ‘Hang on a minute, maybe I’m just going to have to up the ante. Maybe I just want to feel, kind of, sexy.’ And it has changed, like, just having different undies on has totally changed the way I move through my day, the way I’ve felt about myself. And so, I’m fascinated to know from you, is it those little things that we need to do? How do we connect back to ourselves through clothes? Because I also live in a hot climate, so I don’t wear all that much. But when you work with women, where do you get them to start?
Liat: That’s an awesome question. I love the story that you just related, because it is the little things, it really is. We don’t have to do a complete life overhaul. At the end of the day, we can’t afford.
Lisa: Well, that’s the thing.
Liat: We can’t afford to do that.
Lisa: Having the money, like, I’m spending money on everyone else. Like, my kids dress way better than me.
Liat: (Laughter) it’s so true.
Lisa: How do I redress that?
Liat: Yes. And also, we can’t afford our time, as well, to do a complete overhaul. But it’s, kind of, like a compounding effect. If we are, over, and over, and over again, building on top of each little thing that we’re doing, then over the next few months, we will see the huge difference that it makes. And I always say, for the women that I work with, to start with getting dressed in the morning, and really be intentional about the outfits that we put on. And get dressed up, and, you know, do whatever makes us feel good. If wearing make-up makes us feel good, let’s put on make-up. You know, it’s not for other people. We have to change our mindset, first and foremost. That is the first step.
And we need to, you know, in the morning, when we wake up. Instead of looking at our bodies that have changed so much, and that we don’t recognise who we are any more, you know, we need to look in the mirror and say, ‘I love you,’ to ourselves. You know, look at our hips, and specifically, look at ourselves, and not turn away. And look at the, you know, the hips, and saying, ‘Thank you for holding my beautiful children.’ ‘Thank you,’ to the hands that carried them. ‘Thank you,’ to the breasts that fed them. You know, and each body part, intentionally spend a few minutes every morning, speaking to yourself with kind, sweet words, instead of the words that we hurt ourselves with.
Lisa: Don’t you think with motherhood, a trap, well, I know I fell into, was like, ‘Once I get back into those jeans,’ or we want to change something and then we’ll feel good about ourselves. I feel like it’s so harmful to the way that we feel about ourselves, because what I’ve realised is, it never goes back. Well, maybe for some people it does, but for me, it didn’t. And, you know, even hearing someone say, you know, ‘Look at your body, and send it some love, and thank it,’ feels so odd.
Liat: And scary.
Lisa: Yes. And, like, even just, kind of, a bit icky. Like, in Australia, there’s this, sort of, tall poppy syndrome as well, where we don’t like to be show-offs, and we don’t like to, you know, big note ourselves, or anything. And it feels like, just loving myself the way that I am, well it just doesn’t come-, it doesn’t feel natural. It doesn’t feel like something I should even be doing. Like, there’s always something I can improve. How do you help women work through that?
Liat: So, I think that we’re not seeing it in the right way. That we feel like it may be showing off, and that’s not the case. I think that we should come at it from a different angle, let’s come at it from a different perspective, and re-coin that term. Let’s call it ‘creating a home, a safe haven for ourselves.’ And that’s not selfish at all, you know, we’re not being show-offy in any way, because we’re doing what we need to do for our children, by taking care of ourselves. By making our bodies the home for our soul, then we can therefore fill up our soul, and make a safe environment for our souls. And we will feel aligned, and we will be able to give more, and to do more for our children. So it’s the exact opposite of being a show-off. It’s doing what we need to do, for our children. Because if we don’t take care of our bodies, and we don’t care of our environment in which we thrive, in which we spend most of our days, then we are, in fact, taking away from our children and giving them less, because we don’t have so much to give.
Lisa: Yes. I really, really love that. I do. A safe haven for your soul. You know, we are such precious people, and we would never talk to our children the way that we talk to ourselves, you know? And I just think, our parents look at us like that. You know, we’re perfect. We’re totally perfect, and we’ve done this miraculous thing by having children. Okay, so if we start with the mindset, and we start to be kind to ourselves, and fall a bit more in love with ourselves the way that we are in this moment, without needing to be anything different. Tell me, then, where do we go from there? Do you have hints for dressing, or is it just whatever makes you feel good? Because, I’ll tell you right now, I’m not a naturally good dresser. I’m not a fashion person. I do like having nice things, but I’m also on the floor a lot, and it’s hot where I live. Do you give people any pointers on, you know, rockstar type tips for dressing, as a mum?
Liat: I love that. Yes, we are all rockstars, that is for sure. So, despite what we think, I want to touch on a point that you spoke about earlier, about how we feel that, you know, we have to lose a certain amount of weight, or we need to get back to a certain body shape, you know, in order to take care of ourselves in any sort of way. ‘I don’t want to buy something before I lose 10lb, or 50lb, or 60lb.’ You know, that’s how much I gained after having my first son. But I want you guys all to know that we don’t need to follow the trends that are happening out there. And sometimes, the things that we love are things that other people are wearing and look great on them, but won’t be good for us.
Because there are five main body types. There are two other ones that, you know, are main ones that, kind of, lend themselves in those five body types. Depending on our measurements, we have certain body types. So, I would say learn about your body type first, and based off of that, you will find what will look good on you, and what will be flattering for your shape. And you’ll feel amazing, and you will compliment yourself, most importantly, and others will compliment you as well. But first and foremost, you’ll feel amazing, because you’re being true to your own body, and who you are.
Lisa: I just love that so much, because I help people with food a lot, and there are particular diets out there that people follow, and are popular. And we, sort of, feel like, ‘Well, if they’re really healthy then I’ll just do that. I’ll just be Paleo, or I’ll be vegetarian, or I’ll do this, or that.’ And what, actually, we need to get in touch with, all the time, is how the food is making us feel. And what you’re saying is, like, ‘How do the clothes make you feel, and what looks good on you?’ You know. And I think the cool thing about motherhood is, I give less of a care factor about what other people think, and I do want to just feel good in myself. It’s just that sometimes, I don’t even actually know what looks good on me. But I have had friends who’ve had their colours done, where they’ll go to a professional who does their colours, and works out which are the best colours that lift them, and which best shaping clothes work for them. So they can go into shops and just flick through 90% of the stuff, and just find the things that actually suit them. I’m like, ‘That’s genius. I want that.’
Liat: That’s exactly it. So if you know that, with your body type as well, not just with the colours. That is definitely a factor, and it’s definitely something that I suggest for you guys to do, but the first and foremost is to know your body shape, and what kind of clothes will fit you, and make a, kind of, symmetrical outline. You know, we’re trying to go for that hourglass, kind of, look. So there are certain, like, you know, horizontal lines in certain places, or diagonal lines, and colours, and colour blocking. And all sorts of, you know, scientific stuff that goes into it, that, you know, once you know, and once you have those things in your toolbox, you will be able to go into a store and flick through a whole bunch of things, and be like, ‘That’s not for me, but that is,’ and be out of the store so much faster.
Lisa: I love it. Do you share this stuff, on your website? Do you share all this?
Liat: I do.
Lisa: Oh, okay. What’s the website?
Liat: So it’s hadardesigns.com
Lisa: Okay, alright. We’re going to have to give a link to that, so that people can go and find it, because that’s just super-valuable information. So tell me, then, let’s move on to the house. Because I’m a person who, I have a cleaner come in once a week on a Wednesday, and so for Wednesday and Thursday, my house is pretty tidy, and then it just progressively gets messier and messier. And I love that I have, each week, on a Tuesday, my husband and I do, like, the clean for the cleaners, where we just tidy everything. And we’ve always only ever rented our homes, we haven’t bought a home yet. So putting different things up on the walls, and really making our own space, we keep thinking, ‘Oh, we’ll invest in some nice pieces when we have our own home, and we know it will work with that.’
But, you know, three kids later, you know, what, seven, eight years of marriage? I don’t even know how long we’ve been married for. And we’re still, you know, pushing 40 and we still, you know, just have bits and pieces in our house. So when you talk about creating a cool space, as a mum. I mean, I just keep things as simple as possible. I’m like, ‘We don’t need extra junk, let’s just leave that out.’ Easy ways to tidy up, like, ‘Everything in that box.’ But what would you say are, sort of, some tips about creating a home space that helps us be, I guess, I don’t know, calm, organised people, as well as mums?
Liat: For sure. I love that. So, yes, a lot of people rent their spaces, a lot of people can’t make anything permanent, or they travel. Well, I guess not necessarily with kids, but some people do, and that’s really, really awesome. I would say that there’s only one room that matters the most, and it’s not the toy room, it has nothing to do with the kids. It’s your bedroom. Your bedroom is the most important thing in the world. I would say that if there’s one place that you make your own, that you spend any money on, that you put any effort on, it should be your bedroom. It’s a place of sanctuary at the end of the crazy day, it’s a place where you can go eat your chocolate bars, and hide away from the kids. It’s a place of romance, and, you know, a lot of that romance gets lost after having kids, for many, many women. And our marriages are the foundations for our children. If we have that strong marriage, and we have a place-, it’s not just a sanctuary for us, but it’s a sanctuary for our marriages. Then our kids feel that, and I love to work with other women on that specifically. Because there is so much that goes into that, and if we could create that sacred space there, then, you know, we’re golden.
Lisa: You know, when you were saying that there was one room, and it’s not the toy room, I’m like, ‘Say kitchen, say kitchen,’ because I’m all about the food. And then you said the bedroom, I was hanging my head, because I still have the same Queen size bed that I got when I was about twenty. We don’t have any side tables, the books go on the floor, next to our bed. There’s a lamp, but the lampshade has been broken off, so it’s just like this lamp, with no lampshade. And most of the time, where I put the washing that needs to be folded and sorted is on the beautiful sill, like, underneath our bay window. And it is 100% the most neglected room in our house.
And so to hear you say that, it makes absolutely perfect sense, that that should be-, it is the place that is untouched, unless they’re jumping on the bed, or chasing me in there. Because we’ve also got a walk-in robe, and we’ve got a little en-suite, as well, so that’s where I shower before anyone wakes up and can find me. But I’m often, like, the door just sneaks open. You know, my husband and I think, we would love to get a bed, with a bed head, King size bed, and it’s always the last thing. It’s like, ‘Well, we’ve got to get bikes this birthday,’ and, you know, it’s all about other people and what they need. Their needs seem to change all the time as they grow, and now you’ve just made me think, we need that, like, as a priority now.
Liat: Totally. Totally, and I think that it’s a very big indication of what we are doing in our lives. And I guess it’s a symptom that we are not taking care of ourselves, right? Because our bedrooms are our inner chambers. I’m not sure if you can hear my kids in the background, they’re yelling.
Lisa: I can hear little noises, that’s okay.
Liat: But that’s, you know, that’s part of my life.
Lisa: That’s life!
Liat: So, you know, just like we were talking before about the sanctuary for our souls. Our bedrooms are the sanctuaries for our bodies, for our souls as well. It’s the environment, it’s the outside of the casing, you know. And if we do that, if we create a safe environment, where the kids are, maybe, not allowed. Like, for me, my kids are not really allowed in my room, because it is the safe haven. Now, I’m totally guilty of having laundry on the beds, you know. But my goal is that it should be a safe place for me to come to, at the end of the day, that is free of fighting, that is free of chocolate bars from the kids, and all of that kind of stuff. And if we take care of that, I can promise all of you that you will see such a boost in your motivation, day in and day out, and you will see such a boost in your productivity. Because, I mean, I can’t scientifically explain why it is that, you know, inspirational spaces give us a boost of energy, but they just do. And I can’t explain that about, you know, clothing, either, but they just do. It’s just who we are, especially as women. You know, we just tend to go towards beautiful, pretty, sparkly things. So, you know, if we’re feeling good, and our environment is good, then, you know, everything else will be affected in a positive way as well.
Lisa: Are there any essential elements to a sacred space?
Liat: That was such a good question. You have such awesome questions! So, I think definitely, you know, not having clutter is number one. We should, you know, try to purge and get rid of the clutter as much as possible. Trying to create, especially in our closets, having everything easily accessible, you know, so that we can see it in front of us as much as possible. You know, for many of my clients, I suggest creating, like, even a book of outfits that you’ve pre-selected, and you can just open, and be like, ‘I feel like wearing this.’ Like, there’s nothing to think about in that kind of circumstance. And also, in your bedroom, you know, try to get out as much clutter as possible. And create, kind of, like, the Feng Shui feeling. You know, it’s inviting, and it’s warm, and it’s happy.
Lisa: Yes, I really love that. Because what you also are really talking about is brain clutter as well, you know. The decisions that we have to make every day, as parents, are just ridiculous. That’s such a genius idea, having a book of outfits where you can go, even at the start of the week, so you can have them all, sort of, sitting there so you can just pull out whichever one you want to wear each day. I really love that idea. I’ve actually started putting my clothes out, and the kids’ clothes out, the night before. And that just makes so much difference to my morning, because it’s just something that I don’t have to think about. And, you know, as I help people all the time with food, I say the same thing. Just plan out your meals, just know what’s, at least, going to be for dinner each night. So you can just take out what you need from the freezer, or buy what you need on the weekend, and then you just don’t have to think. But it’s just taking those little bits of time, to just put that extra bit of planning in, and the results can be really profound. So, it’s like, the actual physical clutter, but also the brain clutter, too.
Liat: Correct, that’s exactly it. You summed it up.
Lisa: Oh, well done me! Well, I’ve been learning from you. This has been such a great interview, and such an interesting perspective. And just basically, what I feel this is, is an invitation to take care of ourselves, and to prioritise what feels good for us. I am all about the small steps, and what you’ve really told me is, like, ‘Start in your bedroom, with your space, and start looking at your body lovingly and saying nice things.’ And they’re two beautiful small steps that I can actually get started on today, but do you have anything else? When you first start working with people, what are your, sort of, key small steps when it comes to creating a great vibe in how you dress, and in the space you live in?
Liat: So, I think it’s just, number one is the mindset, it’s the empowerment. I think that that is the number one. I think that, you know, when I surveyed my customers before giving them the content that I love to give them, and they all said that they need more empowerment. They couldn’t understand how fashion has anything to do with empowerment, or how interior design has anything to do with empowerment. And it really doesn’t matter what it is that you’re doing. It could be food, it could be whatever is calling to you, whatever your soul is calling to you. It is empowerment if you love yourself, and you use it to uplift yourself.
All the physical things that we have to deal with, we can’t just be spiritual beings, as much as we want to. You know, I don’t want to live on this earth, I just want to live in the clouds. But, you know, we do live in this world, and we have to use the physical world in order to uplift our spiritual selves. And that’s what I really focus on with my clients, and make sure that they are taking care of themselves, and their mindset. And empowering themselves, and loving themselves. So, being a positive light to everyone else around them. You know, once they heal, okay, great, turn that healing outwards, and now start healing everyone else around you.
Lisa: So beautiful. I love it. I really do love it. This stuff isn’t talked about enough, and I know that in Australia, home renovation shows are just, like, all the rage. Everyone seems to be watching them, they’re the highest rating shows. And for me, I’ve always really turned against that, it’s felt a bit superficial, and I don’t like just following trends for the sake of it. But I love to have pieces in my home that have a story, and all that kind of stuff. And you’ve just totally turned on my head what caring about my home could actually give me. And I love that we’ve had this conversation, and I thank you so much for taking time out from your very busy life as a mum, and business woman. So, thank you so much.
Liat: Thank you so much for having me.