When it comes to motherhood, Stacey Bendet Eisner is about as hands-on as it gets. The founder of Alice and Olivia and mom to two precious girls (Eloise, 5; Scarlett, 3) whips up specialty “green milk” drinks for the girls each morning and takes on crafts with a Martha-esque fervor. Yet she’s seemingly always decked out (literally, like in ball gowns) with full makeup and signature oversized vintage sunglasses – looking fun-loving, lithe and seriously together.
So just how does she do it? She starts each morning with an hour of yoga (before the girls even wake up), is committed to a mantra of ‘love yourself’, and focuses just as much on the fun parts of parenting (lemonade stands for charity!) as she does on the tricky tasks like disciplining her strong-willed daughter.
Lest she seem a bit, well, perfect, read on for her #momfail and somewhat unhealthy habit – plus more juicy details from the gorgeous and zany life of the A+O cover girl.
I’m a hardcore Ashtangi, do it every day – some mornings at home and a few days a week with Eddie Stern. Most of the time I’m all glam, but every morning I’m with my people – a bunch of folks covered in tats and sweat. It’s one of my favorite parts of the day.
Yoga while pregnant is so soothing for yourself and the baby. It was the intense practices I did while pregnant that helped me bounce back right away – I was stronger from practicing with all that extra weight!
My dad always said, children are 80% hardwired at birth and 20% is up to you to mold. It’s so true. It’s important to recognize their strengths and weaknesses and keep that in mind every day. We call Eloise ‘The Little Force’ because she’s such a dynamo but can be bossy. My role is to teach her kindness and compassion. My youngest is an adorable glutton. She’ll hang out on the floor, staring at the ceiling. When I ask what she’s doing, she’ll say, “I’m just being happy.”
What’s In A Name
When Eric [Eisner] and I were dating, he lived in LA. I always stayed in a hotel, so he called me Eloise, plus that was my favorite book. When I was pregnant, I just knew I had a little redhead girl in me, and I was right! The second time, it was his love of The Grateful Dead, which he always listened to while I was pregnant. I love the song “Scarlet Begonias” so…
I’m usually a healthy eater, but I’ve recently become a sucker for the Ice Blendeds at Coffee Bean because they opened one near my office. I never drank coffee until my second child, but I haven’t slept a full night since she was born – it’s always something. They were great sleepers in cribs, but once they got into big girl beds, it was all over.
My Learning Curve
Discipline is sometimes a struggle for me. My oldest is strong-willed and was jealous of her little sister. Her teacher pointed out that I was letting her be the boss and I totally was! I was talking to her like I was her buddy, not mom. So I stopped asking her and started telling her what to do. It didn’t come easily to me, but her tantrums were controlling my life. It’s so important to set rules and boundaries – kids actually want that. I don’t like being strict, but setting parameters has really helped her behavior.
Current Closet Crush
My favorite pieces change daily, but I’m currently obsessed with a hand-dyed silk ribbon-stripe skirt. It’s being made for Alice and Olivia next spring, but the samples arrived in the wrong colorway, so it’s mine.
Stacey Bendet, Chef de Cuisine
I make the girls whole wheat quinoa waffles in the mornings. Cut to… we’re staying at the Pierre Hotel while our home is being renovated, and the girls experienced real waffles. They told me I need to learn to make waffles like that. I’m in big trouble!
I think up creative projects in advance and don’t waste time on the set-up because their attention spans are short. We made up a character named Naughty George and paint him doing mischievous things, making up stories about what he did. We’re creating a whole book!
The Key To A Good Vacation
My advice is: BRING HELP so you can truly relax and rest. It’s not a real vacation if you’re busy with the kids the whole time. It’s important to do things to make yourself happy and to have time alone with your husband.
Love yourself. The happier you are, the better you’re going to be with your baby.
Instead of “bothering”, Eloise says to Scarlett, “you’re fathering me.”
Keeping Her Day Job
I’ve recognized with harsh reality that I have the worst singing voice in the world. Ever. You see moms singing lullabies to their babies, and it’s so sweet, but not with me!
In response to things like the Boston Marathon bombings, I started the Kindness Project, which is an effort to spread a message of love, kindness and peacefulness via beautiful watercolor murals in public places with positive messages attached to them. People are welcome to take, share or add their own. We do the same thing with the kids outside on our stoop. It’s a good way of teaching them about sharing and kindness. They get to paint and practice writing.
Recently, Eloise got up one morning and wanted to have a lemonade stand and give all the money to charity, so that’s what we did! It was all her idea – she’s a go-getter. We whipped up cake pops and lemonade and made $105, and we donated it to the Ronald McDonald House.
The girls are so skilled with that iPad. My little one learned all her letters from an iPad app! I’ve designated mornings for watching something educational, like Magic School Bus or programs in Spanish.
My Go-To Skin Cure-all
Homeoplasmine is amazing for any sort of rash or dry skin. It was only available in Paris, but now you can get it here.
According to my husband, it’s that I let the girls eat candy, but I’m okay with it because they eat organic, healthy meals all the time.
With my first pregnancy, I was young and sorta clueless. With my second, I was anxious because I knew all the things that could potentially go wrong. I couldn’t be all la-di-dah. I just don’t get the blissful pregnant people, but maybe that’s because I’m a Type-A New Yorker.