Family style: Local Moms we Love

By / People / April 28, 2016

The idea of “balancing career and family” is outdated — now, that’s just called being a mom, no “working” modifier needed. Still, though, motherhood means different things to different people, and these five creative, stylish women, all of whom have children 8 and under, prove there’s no one way to define it — and definitely no common set of rules to follow.

Pictured at top: Maria Ponce Berre, 35, with Fiona, 3, and Alessandra, 21 months


Words to live by: “Nothing lasts forever — so enjoy the good moments and let go of the bad.”

The parenting “rule” I’ve thrown out the window: “I say, ‘Just eat it off the ground.’ ”

Favorite Chicago spots:We love going to Siblings Wiggleworms at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Lincoln Square [4544 N. Lincoln]. And the absolute best-kept North Side mom secret is the Brunk Children’s Museum at the Swedish American Museum in Andersonville [5211 N. Clark].”

On Maria 
Dress: Chloé, price upon request, ikram, 15 E. Huron;
On Fiona and Alessandra
Dresses: $58 each, Monica + Andy, 2038 N. Halsted;


< Shannon O’Brien, 32, and Luella, 9 months

Makeup artist

Words to live by: “Chill parents, chill baby. Sometimes easier said than done (especially when you’re emotional due to sleep deprivation), but we try to keep everything on an even keel around here.”

The best advice I’ve gotten: “‘The days are long, but the years are fast.’ I think this is the most poignant statement I’ve heard about motherhood. There are days when I look at the clock and can’t believe there are still three hours until bedtime and question how we’re going to push through. The next moment, I’m folding and storing newborn clothes and cannot believe how fast she’s becoming a little person. It really helps me to remember that I need to soak it all up, even the tough parts.”

What I miss most about pre-baby life: “Uninterrupted sleep and bras with no snaps on the straps.”


> Jeannine Benoit Adams, 32, and Ethan, 19 months

Founder, online styling and shopping destination Ready Pretty

My advice to other moms: “When you’re in some of the harder, sleepless nights and moments when you’re exhausted and overwhelmed and just want to binge-watch bad reality TV in your bathrobe for an hour or two but your baby is not having it, you got this. Always remember that.”

What I miss most about pre-baby life: “Things are so much more fun in a drastically different way than when Ethan wasn’t here. That said, gone are the days of casually flipping through magazines and falling asleep on flights. With a toddler … [you’re] praying to the travel gods that your kid makes it through the flight without any major meltdowns.”

Favorite Chicago spots: “Every Saturday morning we go on a long walk and stop off to play in Mary Bartelme Park [115 S. Sangamon] in the West Loop — I look forward to it as much as he does. … There are great kids programs and classes like Foss Swim School [3026 N. Ashland] or Lil’ Kickers [], which he will be taking part in this summer.”


< Roopa Weber, 46, and Olivia, 8

Senior vice president in charge of institutional client service, Ariel Investments, and author of the children’s book Messy Penny

How I define motherhood: “Motherhood is like getting a fresh set of eyes and experiencing life all over again. I live through the joy I see in my daughter’s eyes.”

My advice to other moms: “Trust your instincts. My belief is that when you make a mistake, if your intentions were good, all will work out.”

The parenting “rule” I’ve thrown out the window: “Too many rules are never a good thing. Kids need to develop a sense of self-regulation and an internal compass, so I try to guide more than rule (and then lay down the law with what really matters).”

Check out Weber’s blog for parents and kids,, launching June 3.

On Roopa
Dress: Erdem, price upon request, ikram, 15 E. Huron;


Brielle Buchberg, 32, with Aiden and Sloane, 3, and Harper, 1

Co-founder, Luxury Garage Sale

My advice to other moms: “Don’t compare your kids to other kids. It’s tough not to, especially when they are young and on the verge of meeting milestones, but it will drive you crazy!”

The parenting “rule” I’ve thrown out the window: “I doubt parenting books suggest bribing. … These photos were accomplished by promising my kids cupcakes afterward.”

Favorite Chicago spot: “Harper loves going to Mr. Singer at Farm-in-the-Zoo at Lincoln Park Zoo [2001 N. Clark].”

On Aiden
Shirt & pants: his own
Sweater: $58, Monica + Andy;
On Sloane and Harper
Dresses: $58 each, Monica + Andy;


Photographer: Maria Ponce
Photographer’s assistant:
Evan Jenkins
Stylist: favia, Ford Artists
Prop stylist: Jane Amini, Ford Artists
Floral: Morgan’s In Bloom Floral, 1707 W. Chicago;
Shoot producer: Katerina Bizios


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