She’s spoken to people on the other side with the help of a psychic medium. Tripped on magic mushrooms in a Jamaican jungle hut with coworkers. And experienced full body convulsions while an energy healer released blockages in her lower back. Elise Loehnen is very Goop-y.
Which is no surprise given that she’s Gwyneth’s right hand as the Chief Content Officer at Goop. The CCO and mom (Max is 6, Sam is 3) spends her days interviewing CEOs, doctors, and spiritual healers for the brand’s podcast, leading fascinating conversations that push against the status quo and make you think (deeply).
Of course, a dream job like this doesn’t come without a downside. “I’m plagued by working mom guilt. My youngest son recently told his teacher ‘I live in my house with my dad and brother, and my mom lives at the office.’ To be fair, I think he confuses my traveling for work with being at work, but it still stings. It’s a constant struggle to balance the work I do out in the world with the work I do at home, and I’m an overly indulgent mom because of it.”
Read on for the parenting book she swears by, brilliant relationship advice, and what it’s really like to work with GP from one of the coolest, most open-minded moms we know.
One of the greatest gifts of working with Gwyneth is watching how exceptionally good she is at emotional excavation. She doesn’t operate like a normal corporate executive – she’s always pushing and changing, so the brand is too. You have to keep up with her pace and have that same insatiable curiosity. She can be incredibly challenging in a good way: She forces a level of introspection, which is a powerful tool for me personally. When something triggers me, I’ve learned through her example to lift up the hood and figure out why it’s bothering me. The criticism out there is fear, which is interesting. Is it fear of authority over our own bodies? Fear of women asking questions? What is it? That’s a useful tool.
As a writer, my role for so many years was behind-the-scenes. Goop Lab was born out of the podcast, so it felt natural for me to be on camera for the show. I could easily go back to being behind-the-scenes – I don’t feel attached to it. It’s an honor to be recognized for the work and conversations we’re starting, and it feels good to know what we’re doing is connecting with people. I do feel ready to write something though. I don’t want to rush it, but I feel close to coming up with the right idea.
I’m the pushover. I have the same working mom guilt as every other parent. We all get a raw deal in that we’re pitted against each other where one kind of work is perceived as more valuable than the other. My non-negotiable is kindness – that’s the only thing I really police. They have the kindest, most wonderful nanny, and she models that for them incredibly well, and we talk a lot about things that are unkind in the world (including politics). I model reading, being curious, and asking questions, but I’m not on them to be performers at this point. They’re little, and I want them to be happy and play.
In His Feelings
My youngest, Sam, is a sturdy kid with thick skin, while my older one, Max, is very porous and sweet. It concerns me that he’s so gentle, but I don’t want to tell him to armour up. I want him to experience his emotions. What I work on with him is to not use his emotions to be manipulative. Like, if you’re crying because I won’t let you have the iPad, I don’t know when you’re really feeling sad. I want him to get clear on that.
When You Think About It This Way...
Your primary relationship is with your partner. Your kids are going to grow up, leave you, and have their own primary relationships. They’ll still love you and come visit, but you can’t bank future happiness on your connection with them. You can’t abandon your partner. I subscribe to the idea that we have soul contracts with the people we choose to parent with. I try and be a little objective about kids – they aren’t an extension of you. My husband has to be my first priority, even if my kids are my 1.1 priority.
Break On Through To The Other Side
One of the most impactful experiences I’ve had was touching the other side with psychic medium Laura Lynne Jackson. It was so nice to talk to someone who has passed, but it reframed everything for me. Instead of feeling like this existence is fun, weird, random, and potentially meaningless, it raises the idea that we all have some sort of higher purpose to tap into. It gave me more detachment, so I can let things happen and unfold without having to dictate or control them.
Bring Back The Village
We are all time-, resource-, and money-starved. I think collectively, we need to be more supportive of one another. We’re missing sisterhood and the way we used to raise kids as a community: The idea that I’ll take your kid for 3 hours on Saturday while you go to a spa or do something for yourself, and then you reciprocate that for me. We need less stranger danger and more community helping each other.
Just Read It
Raising Lions, by Joe Newman. He had classic ADHD as a child and now works with kids perceived to be troubled, unreachable, or defiant, and he’s incredible at connecting with them. You don’t have to be raising that kind of child, it’s a very helpful must-read for all parents. He’s absolutely brilliant.
At Her Ideal Dinner Party
I would invite Gloria Steinem. Just her. I want to talk about her work and the feminist movement, and just soak up her wisdom.
Clean Beauty Must-Haves
Being in nature: When we go for hikes and the kids are exploring and looking for bugs under rocks. That’s when the peace comes.
Photos courtesy of Goop and Rip & Tan.