A little about Cheryl, in her own words…
I spent the last 18 years of my life raising the most amazing daughter. In August, when I dropped her off at college, I reluctantly retired my job title, “Stay at Home Mom”. It was tough, but I am excited to see what life has in store for me!
I love to cook. I am an Aquarius. I used to say my favorite color was blue, because I didn’t want to seem girly, but is has really always been pink. I have the sense of humor of a 5 year old boy. I can’t stop myself from saying, “that’s what she said” in really inappropriate situations. I pass out, like a lot. I have a lipstick obsession. I have two best friends, one I have been friends with for 20 years, the other I have been friends with for 10. That girl scout song is stupid, they are both gold. I used to write, and perform slam poetry. I live in Cincinnati with my awesome supportive husband and two dopey dogs.
I have a funny little blog, called Home Haircuts and Other Misguided Missteps and Mysteries of A Girls Life. You can read it HERE.
What’s in your purse?
Well first I have to find it! With the weather as cold and gross as it has been, I haven’t left the house in a couple days, so really, it could be anywhere!
Okay, so here goes! I always have my winter essentials, my EOS vanilla mint lip balm and my Perlier Shea Butter hand cream with lavender extract. My hands and lips get so dry and chapped in the winter, so I keep these on hand at all time! Also, a pack of Orbit gum, a pack of old fashioned Teaberry gum that I purchased at the adorable Teds Toy Store in Madeira (thanks for suggesting it Johnna, it really is so sweet!), two comically long receipts from CVS (For real CVS, a foot long receipt for one bottle of Perrier!), my wallet and lipstick. Maybe I’m being a bit vague by saying, “and lipstick”. I have a bit of a lipstick obsession. I’m not much of a makeup girl, but I can not live without lipstick. I have some weird hang up about having clear lips. I mean, I know they aren’t actually clear, but I feel like they are the same color as the rest of my face. So I’ve forever been on a journey to achieve those perfect berry lips, and also get sidetracked with coral, fuchsia, lilac, marsala, and whatever color Pantone says is the color of the year. So yea, there are currently 7 lipsticks in my purse. My name is Cheryl, and I have a problem. Next question.
What is your favorite thing to do for yourself?
I would love to say, working out, or staying hydrated, or something like that. While I have recently made those healthy activities important to do for myself, I can’t say they are my favorite things. I would have to say my favorite wholly selfish thing to do is take a long hot bath. Turn on some good music, run a warm bath with lavender Epsom salts, slather some dead sea facial mud on my face and neck, maybe even put some cucumber slices on my eyes and just be alone with my thoughts. Everyone that knows me well, knows that I need more alone time than the average gal, and what better place to escape than the water! I’m an Aquarius, after all! The Epsom salts relax my muscles, the lavender relaxes my mind, the facial is the best way to get some intense moisture and the cucumbers are nice and cooling. Pretty perfect.
What, do you believe, is the most important thing that women can do to promote positive energy + actions between themselves and other women?
Stop judging each other! It’s so hard, I know I struggle with it. It’s embedded in our culture, and it breeds negativity. It doesn’t matter what you call it, judging, hating, looking down upon each other. Either for having more than what you have, or not having enough of what you have. Whether it comes from a place of snobbery, jealousy, insecurity, or a combination of all three it’s just toxic. I have been working very hard the last few years to improve every aspect of my life. I have worked to become a healthier, happier version of myself. I knew I needed to eat better, exercise more, be more educated, these were all a given. What surprised me along the way was the realization that to become a happier person myself, I first had to become happier for other people! If you spend any significant amount of time talking bad about other people, you are wasting a significant amount of time in a negative thought process! You then become more aware of your own faults, because you think, “if I make fun of others, surely others are making fun of me!”. You then become constantly defensive, and are likely to assume the worst in people, because you are spending much of your own time looking for it. I now try to spend more time celebrating others’ successes. I especially try to let the successes of other women inspire me as a woman, instead of becoming jealous or critical. Women need to pat each other on the back more. Compliment each other instead of criticize. Look up to each other instead of looking down. The next time you catch yourself rolling your eyes at a overly positive post, a selfie, a pic of someone’s meal, ask yourself why you are offended. Try to turn that thought process around and think of something positive to say.
As a woman (or just as a human being) what would you consider your biggest hurdle day-to-day? How do you overcome that?
My biggest hurdle in my day to day life is definitely my disability (no idea how much I hate that word). I have a condition known as POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome). You know how you get dizzy, and see stars and get a head rush when you stand up too quickly? Well, I get that feeling every time I change positions, raise my hands over my head, lift something heavy, get too hot, get really stressed out, and lots of other times. When you get that dizzy feeling, your brain sends a message to your blood vessels to tighten so they push blood back up into your head, you know, so you don’t pass out. My brain sends the wrong signal, it tells my blood vessels to open wide, and all my blood rushes to my feet, and many times, I pass out. This condition causes many other health issues. I struggle with migraines, fatigue, exercise intolerance, gi issues, brain fog, anxiety, muscle pain all related to my POTS. It’s rough sometimes. I have days I can pretty much do anything a normal healthy person can do, and then I have days that I can’t walk a straight line, or see straight, or speak coherently, or think clearly. Most days are some combination of the two. If I conserve my energy properly, I can get at least the minimal housework done, plus do something for myself (do a workout, cook a special meal, update my blog, etc…). The biggest problem with this is my inability to schedule anything. I have no idea until I wake up what kind of day I will be having. I can prepare and conserve energy all I want, and it helps, but really it’s luck of the draw.
It’s been a struggle to figure out how to use the energy I have in the best, most productive way. The most helpful tool in figuring it all out is applying The Spoon Theory, by Christine Miserandino. I was directed to her WEBSITE by a fellow spoonie (those of us with invisible chronic illnesses, think RA, POTS, lupus, etc…). What a great resource for information, community and commiseration! I found people who were dealing with the same issues! We all operate on the the spoon theory, which basically says that most people wake up everyday with an unlimited amount of spoons. Each action you take (getting out of bed, brushing your teeth, making breakfast etc…) takes a spoon. People struggling with an illness wake up with a limited amount of spoons, when the spoons are all gone, we are done for the day! So we learn to conserve spoons. Conserving my daily and weekly “spoons” is definitely key to overcoming my hurdles.
What advice can you give to new mothers?
Time > money. Love > toys. When it comes to material things, don’t give your kid everything they want, just try to give them everything they need. Though fits may be thrown, kids are happier when they have things to wish for. When they don’t get every little thing they want, they will be more grateful for the things that they have.
Don’t tell your kid they can be anything they want to be. Instead, tell them they can be anything they are willing to work hard enough to be. Let your kid fall, and pick themselves up. As a mother, you will always be there to dust them off, but let them fall. Let them figure out, under your caring watch, how to pick themselves up. They will be able to take care of themselves better when they are adults, and they will thank you for that.
Never disrespect, or speak negatively about their fathers (even if they deserve it) in front of your child. They see their fathers as part of what made them, and talking bad about them makes children feel bad about themselves.
Give your kids goals and expect the best from them. Give them the confidence to achieve those goals. They will want to rise to the occasion!
Take the advice that others give you and make it work in your own way. Raising kids is not one size fits all. Kids are all different, and respond to different parenting styles. Do what you feel is best for your child (but understand that doesn’t always mean what is easiest for you, there’s a difference) and you will be okay! Be loving in the now, and invested in their future, and never let anyone (especially yourself) doubt your ability to be a wonderful mommy!
What has been a big lesson you’ve learned, transitioning from your teen years up till now?
Everyone elses opinion of me is not nearly as important as my own opinion of me. Basically, you won’t ever be happy trying to be what everyone else expects you to be. You can only be happy living authentically.
Who would you consider to be your hero or your biggest inspiration?
My biggest hero/inspiration is my sister-in-law. She has had more than her fair share of obstacles in her life. She has to work extremely hard on a daily basis to overcome these obstacles. Almost a year ago, at the age of 35, she had to have a double hip replacement. She is still struggling to walk the way she used to, but she never gives up! She is a huge inspiration to me, and a lot of other women. She is the best wife to my brother and the best mom to my nephew. She is extremely artistic and creative and has had a hand in my daughters’ appreciation of the arts. She is funny and smart and courageous, and her Sequence game is untouchable (inside joke).
What are you most proud of about yourself?
I am proud to have raised a responsible, independent, self sufficient young woman. This year, in August, I dropped my only child off at college. She had her pick of a few. She received over $180k in scholarship offers from the 4 schools she applied to. She graduated 4th in her class with a 4.07 gpa. She did all the work herself. I was just there to guide her, and make her accountable and responsible. She just finished her first semester in college on the honor roll. She volunteers at a suicide prevention hotline, she got swabbed for the bone marrow registry, she has applied to be a peer mentor. I am beyond proud of her. To think that I could have had anything to do with how well she turned out makes me pretty proud of myself as a parent. It wasn’t always easy, the road got bumpy at times. I didn’t have the money to buy her a car, the best clothes, or fancy electronics. She never complained, she never asked for anything. She appreciated everything she had and she never gave me much hassle or grief. I feel pretty lucky. Lucky and proud. She is my best achievement!
All the photos in this post were provided by Cheryl Frasier for this interview that originally appeared on my previous blog, THE SENTIMENTAL CYNIC in January of 2015