Meet Rachael Desztich + Learn the Beauty of Healthy Prioritizing

September 19, 2019

Without a doubt, Rachael is the person I have formed the closest bond with without ever actually meeting in person. We “met” online when we were both pregnant with our boys over four years ago, formed a lasting friendship, worked together for a bit a few years ago and over the years have had the chance to connect on everything from business to motherhood and marriage and everything in between. It’s been awhile since we’ve caught up, so this interview is particularly special to me. Enjoy!

Rachael, ah I miss you! This interview feels a little self-indulgent for the sake of how badly I want to catch up with you despite our busy lives, but I am equally as excited to share the wonderful you with my readers. It’s wild that we still have yet to meet in person despite how long we’ve had each others numbers and been in one another’s lives. I admire you, your work and the mother you are more than I can put into words, but for those readers who are maybe just “meeting” you for the first time tell them a little bit about you and what you do! 

Oh my goodness Hailey you are too kind! I feel the same way! I’m so happy to be here and for those of you who I don’t yet know, I am Rachael Desztich, mama to my two babies – Wynn, 4, and Mar, 6 months, and the designer + founder of Rachael Harrah, a womenswear line focused on foundational pieces for simplified dressing. 

You just welcomed your second baby, a sweet girl named Marlena. June and Owen are going to be so similarly spaced age wise Mar and your son, Wynn. Tell me everything! How has it been adjusting as a family of four? What do I have to look forward to and what speed bumps should I approach with caution? 

Yes! I am so excited for you all. It has been such a gift to welcome Marlena into our family – we feel truly complete. When she first came home I had forgotten how constant the needs of a newborn are, so it was a little bumpy for us integrating caring for her into the schedule already in place for our family. In particular making sure that Wynn still felt as important as he always has been – and like he was getting the love and attention he needed too. We all had to be flexible as we figured out the logistics. I kept asking my friends with 2+ kids – how do you cook dinner with two kids?! 

Look forward to seeing your older baby love on your younger baby – it’s the sweetest thing ever. And to falling in love with Zack all over again. I’ve been reminded what an incredible father and partner Christopher is. Be ready for some potential changes in Owen’s demeanor. Find five minutes a day to spend just one on one with your big kid. Five minutes may seem like nothing, but it can be so hard to even find that with a new baby! Wynn was great with Mar, but resented me for the time I was spending away from him. So that dedicated time with him was really important for both of us in keeping our connection strong – and it’s only gotten better since then. 

Do you have any advice to parents who are thinking about or in the midst of growing their families? 

Don’t forget about yourself and your relationship with your partner. It’s so easy, especially in the early days, to do everything for the kids and put ourselves last on the list. For my first few weeks at home with Mar I had a hard time finding a spare moment to drink water, eat a snack, and even use the bathroom! But taking care of our most basic needs is crucial to caring for our children. It can also be a tense time when everyone is overstretched and sleep deprived. Remind your partner that you support, love and appreciate them – and remember that you’re on the same team. Keep the lines of communication open between you. Once Mar started sleeping better Christopher and I also implemented our Friday night “at-home date nights.” After putting the kids to bed we would put our phones away and spend time re-connecting with each other. 

Also – have a friend set up a meal train for your family 😉 Mealtrain.com makes this super easy. 

Since life with two kids is so new I’m sure you’re still finding your rhythm daily (I’m convinced that never changes by the way), but what has worked so far? I really want to reveal to moms how we all find our own sense of balance in these interviews, even if “balance” happens once in a blue moon. So how are you juggling it all? Your work, family, marriage and self through this major transition? 

What’s made the biggest difference for me has been lowering my expectations on what I can get done. As you know, I am a total overachiever with an overly long to-do list. But having a second babe has been a big lesson in surrender for me – it’s just impossible to do it all now. 

I am super vigilant about my priorities. Remember that priority, by definition, is actually singular. When I think about it through that lens it’s so clear to me that being present with my children + family is my priority. Some days I feel like I should be doing more, but Marlena is my last baby and I want nothing more than to soak up her sweet babyness, so when I’m being hard on myself or having doubts I remind myself of this. If all I do in a day is care for her, that is important, meaningful and enough (and let’s be real we all know that caring for a baby is a LOT of work anyway!). It’s all about self acceptance for me. 

We connected via Instagram when we were both pregnant with our sons over four years ago – which is wild by the way! So much has changed in the social media world since and while we all use the platform differently than we did at that time, I’ve noticed that it’s not something you’ve shared quite as much on since having Mar. Has this been an intentional choice or more so just busy life with two or maybe a little of both? 

You’re absolutely right – a bit of both. I just can’t keep up! As I mentioned above, I’m all about ruthless prioritizing these days. Right now my priorities are offline – enjoying this tiny baby of mine, Wynn, keeping my home together, cooking for my family, exercising and going to sleep early. I’ve been trying to spend more time in person with friends when I do have free time. And also work on my business. Spending this time offline is so important for my mental health – I can very easily get stressed and overwhelmed by the pressure I put on myself without it. So while I sometimes miss out on things from my community of friends online due to my absence in that space, I know that this time is fleeting, so I try to make the most of it and trust that I’ll catch up when the time is right. 

For me social media is something I absolutely choose to limit my time on both as a work boundary and a mental health tactic. Are there other practices you’ve put in place for yourself to instill self-care, especially since becoming a mother? 

To me, self-care is simply not an option – I must take care of myself on the most basic level in order to care for my kids and the rest of my family, my home, my business. Self-care doesn’t need to be a big grand gesture or anything lavish, but it is absolutely paramount as a mother – and more important than ever with a new baby. 

How I define self care has shifted as my kids have grown. For the first few months of Mar’s life very small things like brushing my teeth before noon and taking a shower felt so nurturing. Now, self care looks like wearing my go-to uniform (a white button down and jeans) nearly everyday, getting a babysitter twice a week to go exercise (I like Orange Theory and a good sweaty vinyasa flow yoga class!), and going to bed by 10pm so I can get enough sleep before Mar wakes up to nurse around 3am. 

When we first met you were running your digital media company, All Selves. Is that something you still operate today? Tell us about the decision to start Rachael Harrah and what it has been like since you made the transition? 

The clarity and vision for what would become Rachael Harrah came after I had begun to embrace this more simple approach to life – paring down ‘stuff’, dressing in only my favorite pieces, cooking with simple whole and natural foods… I was cutting out unnecessary decision making. And I started to notice more and more that it was freeing space in my mind and in my day. Simplicity made me feel good and made life feel easier and more fulfilling for me. 

My ‘a-ha’ moment came from there in the form of a white long-sleeved button-down shirt. I had been wearing a white shirt with jeans for months and would tell my friends it was my “mom uniform,” which actually just meant it was my uniform. So I wanted the perfect one – one that could quite literally be worn everyday for almost every occasion. One that made me feel put together, yet relaxed, and wasn’t overly crisp or business-like. That would carry me from client meetings, to pre-school pick up, to family dinner, to meeting friends in the evening. The vision for this piece is what lit the spark, so to speak, for the line. 

All Selves is still here too! I continue to do creative direction and content creation for fashion and lifestyle brands, particularly those that speak to modern mothers. I work with a super talented collective of artists to concept and produce content for all types of campaigns and product launches locally here in Los Angeles. 

Rachael Harrah, from my perspective, is all about creating a foundation of simple pieces that last a long time and make you feel incredible. Was this idea birthed out of motherhood or something you aligned with prior to having kids? 

Yes that is absolutely it! After Wynn was born, I had a very clear moment where I realized that if I don’t create this brand now, I’m never going to do it. So, I went for it! Motherhood has always been at the forefront of my brand vision, because as a mother I struggled to find my uniform – both during pregnancy and postpartum. I strive to make pieces that are functional and beautiful, that will work with every stage of motherhood. These pieces are made to wear. They are for mamas to feel like their best selves – at ease, confident, for every season of the year, for every season of life, like the radically amazing women and mothers they are. Pieces that enable her to focus on what matters most. I want her to feel like she can buy less with them in her closet. 

Are you working on anything now that you’re particularly excited about? 

Yes! I’ve been so inspired lately and have been spending my nights staying up late sketching and sewing. I’ll have some new foundational pieces launching for fall and am so excited to share them. 

If you could give women and mothers one piece of advice, what would it be? 

Keep it simple. Eat dinner together. Don’t compare. And don’t feel bad about spending time or money on things that make you feel like your best self – you are worth it. 

If you could give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be? 

Relax! 

Photography by Nicki Sebastian.

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