Hey there Tampa Bay Moms! Did you feel that way when your first child (or second one) was born? I know I did. They handed me this beautifully perfect baby girl and after checking fingers and toes, I opened up that blanket and searched high and low and there was NO manual! No Instructions, no care label – NOTHING. OH MY GOSH WHAT DO I DO NOW?!
Well I’m happy to report that my two kids, Ashley age 27 and DJ age 25 survived and so did I, but boy, oh boy, I wish they had come with some type of instructions to help me throughout the years. You know, something that told me how to handle colic, teething, sleepless nights, sibling quarrels, balancing out being a wife and mom, keeping the romance in my marriage when I couldn’t stay awake, how to handle teenage girl hormones, breakups with their first boy or girl friend, teenage meltdowns, and of course, the ever popular favorite of all moms, the moment your teenager informs you that YOU DO NOT know anything. Ah yes, I remember it well.
There were many successes and a few failures throughout the years as a mom, not to mention lots of tears, numerous pints of Ben and Jerry’s, and for sure, LOTS of chocolate. That’s one reason I’ve had a passion to help moms out because I can honestly say I’ve been there, done that, and I have the ENTIRE outfit which includes the “I’ve Been There” t-shirt, sweatpants, socks, undies, etc.
I started leading moms groups back in Upstate New York around 2005 and continued once I moved to the Tampa Bay area. Seeing what moms go through and knowing the emotions that go with those experiences, I wanted to let moms know that not only will they SURVIVE their mom adventure, but they can THRIVE through their mom adventure. Out of that desire, I’ve been privileged to be given the endearing term by many young moms of “Mama Cheryl” and I wear it proudly. I’ve held them as they’ve cried, eaten appetizers with them while discussing their marriage problems, consumed tons of chocolate at gatherings with them, ingested all different cultural foods on Moms Nights Out and even started a Moms Book Club at my home where most of the time we talked about the book for maybe ten minutes and spent the rest of the night drinking wine and laughing or encouraging one another in our mom journey. In turn, they have blessed my life in more ways than I can even list, including being there for me when my husband was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in November of 2012. They cried with me, took care of me, brought me food, did fundraisers, sent cards, gave us gift cards, prayed for us, came up to the hospital just to hug me when I couldn’t even catch my breath because of all that was going on, and stayed in constant contact with me in case I needed something. (My hubby is doing great and has been in remission since 12/4/12).
Moms, I could lie and tell you it gets easier and in some ways it does, but in other ways it gets harder. When they become adults you can’t protect them from everything. You can’t make their decisions for them, and pretty much you can’t control anything that happens in their lives either. Then add a granddaughter into the mix and there’s a whole new dimension to not just being “Mom” but now “Grandma” or in my case, “Nonna.” I’m excited to answer your questions and to share my experiences with you and how I handled things (or maybe even messed them up a little) and hopefully encourage you to do what I‘ve always told all my moms, “Baby Girl, just BREATHE…..”
Editor’s Note: We are so excited to have Cheryl joining our team. Sometimes as moms we need an experienced mom who has “been there, done that.” Cheryl is going to run a featured article called, “Ask Mama Cheryl” where she will use her years of experience to help give you sensible answers to all of your questions on being a mom. Feel free to seek her advice by posting your questions below in the comments! She may use YOUR question in an upcoming article!