If Alisha Sommer could be anything and do anything, it would be exactly what she’s doing now: being a wife and a mother of 3 living out her creative journey. Alisha is a freelance photographer and writer (check out her blog SOMMERSALT) who’s interested in exploring creativity, food and wine, literature and all things beautiful. She is currently based in Chicago but dreams of moving her family to the California wine country. As a storyteller she loves to blend her love of words with a talent for creating visually stunning images to create authentic and engaging content. She guides businesses and brands to their authentic voice, helping them connect with their audience through storytelling. She also facilitates in-person and virtual writing workshops. As a Beyond Mom, Alisha is learning to ask for help when she needs it and to take care of her own needs in order to thrive as a mom and individual.
What makes you a Beyond Mom?
I am a Beyond Mom because I believe in the value of holding close your own dreams and needs while also holding the dreams and needs of your family. I know that I am the best mom and wife when I do what my own self needs in order to thrive. Having that awareness allows me to make intentional choices that aren’t always the most easy, but in the end are the most right for me and the overall wellness of my family. I also gave up on the myth that one can have it all and have instead learned to be grateful for what I have in the moment and trust that what I truly desire will come to me when I’m ready.
What are the parts of you that have grown and expanded since becoming a Mom?
One aspect of myself that’s grown exponentially since becoming a Mom is my capacity to ask for help when I truly need it. In the past, I would have chosen to appear “strong” by going it alone. I always took pride in what I believed to be my self-sufficiency, responsibility, and control. But once I threw children into the mix of life, I learned quickly that I had very little control over anything at all, that my most ardent attempts at appearing responsible would fail the moment I showed up to newborn checkups with no diaper bag, and that sometimes you just need someone else to come watch your baby for the sake of your own sanity. Granted, I’m still a work in progress in this area, but I would not have been able to find my stride had I not opened myself up to asking for—and accepting—help.
Can you share a collaboration/success story with another woman; what helped the collaboration become successful?
I am so grateful for the collaboration I have with my friend Robin Sandomirsky. A few years ago she approached me with this idea to craft this sort of mixed-media online writing and photography course, liberated lines. I hesitated at first because of an old story I used to tell myself that I work best alone (see above). However, working with Robin to craft this experience has been such a gift to me, both personally and creatively. Robin is a yoga instructor and luminary healer and so what I love about our collaboration is that with our blend of gifts and talents, we are able to offer an experience to women all over the world that is often spiritually deep, creatively satisfying, and simply inspiring.
What relationships help you stay connected to yourself?
Every Tuesday I meet with my Mom’s group. We only meet during the school year, but it’s a standing date that we’ve all committed to keeping with one another. I look forward to it every week. It’s the one place that I know for certain where I can show up as I am, however I am, and be loved. That time is for true connection and support in our lives as wives, mothers, and as women on unique journeys. Of course my relationship with my parents, my husband, and my children are life-giving as well. Through them I am always challenged to see the world in a new way and to feel my way into new states of being that bring out my best. There is also one very special friendship with my friend Lisa who is like a second mother to me. Her wisdom and love has been a true treasure.
Do you have a ‘Beyond’ dream that you are pursuing? If so, please share…
One “Beyond” dream that my husband and I share is to move to northern California’s wine country to work and raise our family. In order to help piece together that dream, I’m continuing to pursue my passion for food and wine by expanding my wine knowledge and becoming a Sommelier. I passed my first level course through the Court of Master Sommeliers last July and will soon take my Certified Sommelier Exam. I hope that my solid foundation of wine and spirits knowledge helps me continue to develop my food and wine writing career.
What wellness activity can you not live without? What is one thing you do daily that balances you?
I can not live without my large mason jar of warm lemon water every morning before breakfast. Because I love (really love) coffee, I start my day re-hydrating my body as best as I can. When I start my day off this way, I am more likely to continue to drink water throughout the day which is just great for one’s overall wellness.
How does style influence the way you stay feeling ‘Beyond’? Who is currently your favorite designer?
I feel that I’m just now starting to come into my own sense of style. Though I live in Chicago, I tend to pull my influence from the west coast. I love a style that has just a touch of personality and history, but is rooted in simplicity. I let myself embrace neutrals as a color palette and while I’m not quite at a capsule wardrobe, I’ll keep it pretty minimal and conscious. These days I try to carefully curate items by searching local consignment and vintage shops as needed. My most favorite pieces I’ve collected thus far are vintage Ralph Lauren sweaters and J. Crew denim.
Favorite Spots Near Chicago that Embody The Beyond Mom:
Beyond Cocktails and/or Food:
Quiubo for great tacos and margaritas
The Craftsman for coffee with a cool vibe
Roka Akor for amazing sushi
Parkers’ American for a perfect burger and fries plus great wine list
The local YMCA