There are very few Gen Xers who can’t sing along, word for word, with Lisa Loeb’s 1994 hit song, “Stay (I Missed You).” It became the soundtrack for a generation, a sweetly poignant tribute to the complexities of holding on to love while trying to figure out who we were.
In the two decades-plus since the song was released, Loeb has done so much: She’s built up a multi-faceted career that encompasses music, film, television, voice-over work, and children’s recordings. She’s put out multiple albums — including the Grammy-winning “Feel What U Feel” — and she’s launched her own non-profit, the Camp Lisa Foundation, that helps make summer camp accessible to kids whose families may not be able to afford it.
And — oh yes — the 50-year-old entertainer also been busy raising a family. Lisa lives in Los Angeles with her Israeli husband, Roey Hershkovitz, and their 8-year-old daughter, Lyla Rose, and 6-year-old son, Emet Kuli.
Before talking with her, I imagined Loeb was so successful that her life would be unrelatable to those of us in the trenches, busy balancing work and families and hectic after-school schedules. But when she answered my call from the doctor’s office — where she was getting her toe X-rayed after tripping on her kids’ scattered toys — I wondered if perhaps our lives weren’t so different after all.
As Loeb discussed her children, creativity, and what’s most important in her life, it occurred to me that, no matter how glamorous our careers are, motherhood changes all of us in profoundly deep ways. I thought back to the young woman I was when I first heard “Stay,” and and I realized that, in some ways, we are all still those young people, trying to hold on to what’s important while everything about us is changing.
Read on to see what she said.
— Amor a La Niñez (@Amoralaninez) February 17, 2018
How has motherhood changed you as a woman?
I definitely have less time for extra stuff. My priorities are my health and my kids’ health, which includes sleeping, eating well, spending time together. But we have a lot of responsibilities, like making sure my daughter gets her homework done and gets to school on time and that we’re all dressed and clean.
I drive down certain streets — where I used to be able to pull the car over and get a coffee and go to stores — and it’s hilarious to me that, now, an hour alone at Target shopping for clothes is like the most glamorous part of my life. It didn’t used to be that way.
How has being a mother changed you as an artist?
Since having kids, I actually think I’ve been doing more, creatively, than I’ve [ever] done in my life. It’s been so important that I find a way to focus on my family and keep my career that I’ve created even more opportunities. I’m doing music, acting, performances with comedians and magicians. Part of that is because I want to make a living to support the family. It’s a little more intense, and there’s a little less time for fluff on the side.
How has being a mother changed the role Judaism plays in your life?
I had a big sort of renewal of my attachment to Judaism before I got married and before I had kids. So, since kids, I’ve sort of ebbed a bit away from that. But, still, we do things that I never did before. Like, we have Shabbat — I never did that growing up at all. My daughter learned about it in her preschool years ago and it seemed like something we could do as a family. There are things that sound good hypothetically, but when you have kids you realize it’s not just about philosophy, it’s about practicing what you preach.
Did you feel more pressure to have it together after your kids were born because you are in the public eye?
In general, I want to make sure that I kind of keep it together. I grew up in Dallas, where keeping it together and having good grooming is valued. Also, I watch Oprah — I remember she used to talk about how women shouldn’t go out in their sweatpants and things like that. I also agree that when you are together in your appearance, you feel more together. So, it’s just my nature to want to look and be organized.
I am also an older mom, so I know the value of having brushed hair, or even a blowout. Certain small things that can make you feel more put together.
What about motherhood has been harder than you expected?
Being able to deal with last-minute changes. Like, “Oh, everyone in the family is sick and we have to cancel our trip,” or, “Ohhh, we wanted to do all those things today, but we’re not able to because it’s just not feasible to transition from one space to another space.”
Even before kids, I had some experience with that when I was on tour. I’d be somewhere like Australia and I’d think, “Oh wow! I’m going to see Australia!” And I don’t see Australia, I see a backstage room, I see a waiting room at a TV station. I sit with a makeup artist for two hours.
So, changing plans is tough, but having been alive for a good while, that’s just how things are. You might have to go someplace and your best bet at eating food might be eating at the airport or some frozen, weird meal in the car. So, it’s really just continuing to look back at the small, mundane things and appreciate them.
What’s a lesson you’ve learned from your kids?
I’m just thinking of their faces, they’re so sweet! The small things that make up our lives are really what’s important, and can make for a really rich life. We’re still doing things like looking at little toes and it feels amazing.
What are some things you’re working on right now?
I’m still on tour with my record I put out last year, “Lullaby Girl.” I’m excited for people to see all the videos we made for that. My eyewear line is exciting! There’s always new styles coming out.
And lastly, my summer camp foundation, the Camp Lisa Foundation. We raise money year-round either through the sales of my record, “Camp Lisa,” or people can donate directly online. School is important, but summer camp is the place where you really are challenged and learn to be an individual, and part of the community, and have a good time. I’m excited to help provide kids with that opportunity.
What was your favorite TV show growing up?
Bewitched, The Brady Bunch, Donny & Marie.
It’s a weekday night and you get home in the evening and everyone is starving. What’s for dinner?
Grilled salmon with sushi that we make ourselves, with sushi wrappers and brown Japanese rice, avocado, and cucumbers.
What is your go- to outfit?
Leggings, cotton mini dress, booties, and a sweater.
What’s your favorite Jewish custom?
Lighting the Hanukkah candles while saying the prayers, and smelling the melting wax.
What’s the last thing you do before going to bed?
Header image via Lisa Loeb on Instagram.