Here's to strong women...may we know them, may we be them, and may we raise them.
Oct. 26, 2021

Freedom, Responsibility & Trust in Tough Times // with Cheryl Spalding (Mom Who's Been There)

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What if your daughter decided to move out at 16? Our first “mom who’s been there” guest is Cheryl Spalding, a midlife empowerment coach.  Now a mom to two daughters in their 20’s, Cheryl and host Carmelita Tiu talk about raising girls through tough times, what worked for her, and more.

Cheryl shares:

  • What her parenting approach was like, and her relationship with her daughters now
  • How she handled her daughter moving out in her teens
  • The importance of trust and reasonable boundaries
  • The one thought she wants to share with all moms


Some key takeaways: Find allies you can rely on to help you through hard times. Allow freedom with reasonable boundaries. Instill in your daughter the trust that in her freedom she'll make the right decisions.

Listen for more nuggets of wisdom!

Follow Cheryl Spalding here:

  • Instagram: @liveyourbestlifenow.coaching
  • Facebook:  live your best life now


Know Them, Be Them, Raise Them

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[00:00:00]Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:Welcome to Know Them, Be Them, Raise Them, a show to help moms stay informed and inspired so they can show up for themselves and their daughters the way they want to. I'm your host, Carmelita Tiu. Join me each week as I cover a variety of topics, all designed to support, mindful, and growth-oriented moms navigating these crucial years. I'll talk to experts, moms who've been there and read a curated selection of articles with the author's permission and drop in with my own thoughts on occasion. With that, let's get right into today's episode.

[00:00:37]When curating the content for this podcast, it was important to me to highlight not just experts and facts, but the experience and wisdom that lives within women who raised their daughters and seen them into adulthood. There's this notion that everyone's life is worthy of an autobiography and in a similar vein, I think every mom has wisdom that's worth sharing.

[00:01:00]My guest this week and the first featured mom who's been there, is Cheryl Spalding. Cheryl began her career in the field of sociology and gerontology. Her study of the aging process led her to a very rewarding career in the long-term care sector, where she spent 15 years developing and managing community programs to support older adults.

[00:01:22]A life change came about when Cheryl experienced her own personal challenges with health, relationships, parenting, divorce, and career. She realized that self-care, self-love, healthy living and empowerment for women were so important for a fulfilling life. It became her mission to inspire women, to take action for themselves.

[00:01:45]With an entrepreneurial spirit, Cheryl went for further training and acquired her coaching certification combined with her sociology and gerontology background, as well as her life experience. She's now a midlife empowerment coach offering women hope, change, and new ways of being, living, and thinking.

[00:02:04]Her website is That's C H E R Y L S P A L D I N And on Instagram, she's @liveyourbestlifenow.coaching. Here's our conversation. 

[00:02:24]Cheryl Spalding:My name is Cheryl Spalding and I am 56. Currently with my–well, hopefully forever, my forever partner, Greg, who I've been with now for five years.

[00:02:39]We have five children between the two of us, but I have two daughters of my own Victoria who is 26 and Amelia who is 21. And they are on their own. I am a empty-nester. 

[00:02:56] Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:As I like to think of it, a mom who's been there, as compared to those moms like me who are in the thick of the tweens and teens phase. From previous conversations, it sounds like you have realized that your daughter's, now that they're fully grown, they have become humans that you are proud to say, are your daughters. 

[00:03:23] Cheryl Spalding:Truly, yes. Yes. 

[00:03:25]Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:If I recall, it wasn't all smooth sailing. So I'd love to hear a little more about, what you consider to be your parenting approach, if there was any approach? And, how was it when they were tweens and teens? 

[00:03:41]Cheryl Spalding:Yeah. You know, I guess it can speak for maybe half the population of women out there who may currently be raising teens as a single mom. Cause that's a whole other dynamic that I, that I need to be aware of too. Because and you know how challenging it is to raise children with a partner, but just imagine, raising girls without a partner? That's not there to help you, and support you, and back you up when you're in those moments of struggle. Because there are tough, tough moments.

[00:04:25]A my daughters both were very strong personalities. And in the course of maneuvering through a separation and divorce. And the girls, being teenagers, it definitely took a lot of strength. It takes a lot of inner power to stay strong through those tough moments. And there were lots of tough moments and I think, I can recall sharing with you this one, particularly difficult time. When my daughter Amelia was 16 and decided that  she didn't really like some of the things that I was–you know, some of the rules you might say that I had for her boundaries, perhaps.

[00:05:30]And so she decided that it would be better to live at her girlfriend's house than to live at home. So you can imagine, there you are a single mom doing your best, working your guts out and giving it everything you can.

[00:05:50]And one day, she said, I'm moving out. I don't like it here anymore, mom. 

[00:05:56] Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:Wow. And how did you manage that? That must've hurt so much in the moment? 

[00:06:01] Cheryl Spalding:Yeah. It truly hurt. You could, yeah, there's a lot of self–know, you, you look at yourself and say, what did I do wrong? You know, what am I doing wrong?

[00:06:13]And you've can really, you know, beat yourself up over something like that. And it could be a lot of shame and even embarrassment, you know, with, with other parents and friends to say, my God, your daughter moved out? But you have to stay strong through that and she did, she left for about six months.

[00:06:38]And I honored her choice. I actually honored the choice and gave her that out to do that. Knowing in the back of my head, there were lessons for her to learn in this decision that she'd made for herself. And so–I, yeah.

[00:07:01] Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:So, if I could ask? When she left, were you–did you have a sense for what the future might hold?

[00:07:10]Like, did you have some sense that things will work out fine? Or did you think, like I might be losing my daughter forever? You know, what were the thoughts running through your head and what were you hoping for? 

[00:07:21]Cheryl Spalding:Right. Well, I guess I was hoping that at some point she would realize that home wasn't such a bad place because no matter what home you go to, we all have home life issues, you know, we’re all human. And so the grass isn't greener necessarily on the other side. But I, what I did do was I was in very close contact with the parents, and this was important that I maintained a good relationship with the parents and the parents also understood that this was a very strong young woman putting a stake in the ground.

[00:08:09]And they knew that this was a challenging time for me as well. So they were very cooperative in communicating and they had rules for her in the home. There was things that she was expected to do. She wasn't just coming and going as she pleased. So that was extremely helpful. And if this does happen to to other women that might be listening to this discussion I would just advise that you do keep in contact with the other parents.

[00:08:43]You maintain a healthy relationship and ask them, are there rules? Is there a curfew? Does she have chores to do? Is she getting her homework? Like you have that ongoing dialogue. So you're still having that sense of responsibility for your child.

[00:09:01] Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:Right. You still had insights, you still had kind of an ear to the ground and eyes watching. It wasn't as if she was completely off your radar. It sounds like you were able to find some real allies and yeah. Like others who could support you and your daughter, as she discovered and had to find things out for herself.

[00:09:24]Cheryl Spalding:That's right. That’s right.

[00:09:26] Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:  That’s so smart. 

[00:09:27] Cheryl Spalding:And she did. And about six months later, she said, mom, I want to come home. And I understand. And she respected the fact that I gave her that freedom to make that choice to go through what she needed to go through. To experience what she needed to experience on then come home. We're best friends today. Like we're very close. We're very, very close. And we were then too, but those years, 16, 17, 15, 16, 17. They can be tough. 

[00:10:00]Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:Wow. That definitely seems like a tough journey for any mom, especially being a single mom, I can. Wow. So, you know, given your experience and knowing how tough it can be, what would you encourage moms–you know, how can we kind of emulate things that we want our daughters to–as role models? Are there things that you would advise moms to kind of embody or think about? So that we can show up in a way that makes our daughters open and independent. Yeah, I guess I'll start with that. Does that? Cause you–whether you knew it or not?

[00:10:44]I think when you were choosing to let her discover on her own, you also are giving her that option as a parent, when, if she ever has her own family. She will now parent in a way that allows her children to have their own journey of self discovery, to be able to make decisions on their own at that age.

[00:11:06]And I think that's, that's really profound and really wonderful that you have. Whether you knew it or not, you kinda knew it was important that you learned this. Even if maybe it meant less control for you, which I think a lot of parents would prefer like, nope, you are under my roof.

[00:11:24]You are staying right here. And then, you know, arguments, et cetera, might ensue, but you kind of trusted that this is something that she needs to figure out. And I also think that's something she's now going to carry if she has, has children of her own, which is great. So, yeah. Is there anything, do you have any advice for moms, I guess that you–

[00:11:45] Cheryl Spalding:You know what, Cat, you just nailed it. You just absolutely capsulated exactly what I would, what I want to share. And then I had a little chat with my daughter Amelia today about what we were talking about. And she said to me, mom, she said your parenting style was amazing. She said you had the most incredible parenting style because you allowed me freedoms with reasonable boundaries.

[00:12:27]But you also, what I did was is I instilled in them the trust and the expectation. That they would make the right decision in the freedom that they were given. 

[00:12:42] Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:Yes. I love that. 

[00:12:44] Cheryl Spalding:Right. It gives me goosebumps. I just had goosebumps head to toe. And I do, when I say something like that, that's so soulful for me and that's not easy to do as a parent.

[00:12:55]And she said, you know, mom, she said a lot of my friends who are not allowed to cross a busy street, who are not allowed to walk to school, who were not allowed to go to parties, who are not allowed to date, all of these stepping stones, you know, even from a young age, a lot of kids were not allowed to cross a certain road in our community, and it starts there.

[00:13:25]It starts young with little things like that. And yes, it's a busy road, but you know, you teach them how to look both ways and watch the lights and, you know, always keep looking as you're crossing the road. It starts a young and instilling the level of responsibility so that they can grow up to be independent, to be able to make good choices, and good decisions, and feel empowered by that opportunity. As opposed to taking away that element of independence, decision-making choices, and never being allowed to be trusted given the chance to be able to make those decisions for themselves.

[00:14:15] Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:Right. It's giving them skills and information and then ultimately freedom. That freedom part is hard because of, again, that lack of control.

[00:14:30]My daughter has just asked the other day, can we walk there alone? And I, you know, there's that part of me, that's–hesitates but, in those moments when I have let them do things independently, even if it's a little outside of my comfort zone, you're right. They come back feeling, they have an addition to their sense of self when they accomplish something on their own.

[00:14:56] Cheryl Spalding:And knowing that you're trusting them to know that's the piece, that's the important piece. You're not just, you're not just going. Okay. You're saying yes. You can text me when you get there or wherever they're going. And I trust that you will make good decisions on your way there. Instill in them that element of responsibility to be able to make good choices on their route of where they're headed, or the party, or wherever they're going to. Driving a car with their friends, like again, another massive step in responsibility, but again, in trusting them and empowering them to be able to say, no too friends who might not be appropriate to be in the car with them.

[00:15:52]And so, again, going back to these early days of their lives, being able to say no and make those decisions, even when their peers might be pressuring them or they might feel intimidated. It's empowering. Yeah. 

[00:16:08] Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:Yeah. Yeah. I think that when there's a crossroads for parents and kids, I can certainly see myself thinking I'm telling you this, or I'm saying you shouldn't do this, or you can't do this.

[00:16:25]Not because I don't trust them necessarily, but you think of it as, oh, there's all these other threats. But the message that they're hearing and the opportunity that they're losing out on and being able to be entrusted with taking care of themselves in that scenario I could, I can see how that's the tension and that's the trade-off.

[00:16:46]And if we're not giving them these experiences to make choices and on their own, without–and not us making it for them, I can see that we're kind of robbing them of a chance to build the strength. And build a relationship with their parents in that way, like to prove to us that they are capable. Cause how do we ever know? Unless we let them try. 

[00:17:11] Cheryl Spalding:Yeah, exactly. And you, can you go put safety nets in place? Like I said, now that most kids have phones of course, there's always that communication where, you know when they've arrived safely. And if they do make some bad choices and they don't follow through on what happens then you–they have to prove to you that the next time they will.

[00:17:39]But again, I think they begin to want to earn your trust. They want you to trust them and they want you to be proud of them. And I think that that also becomes part of the scenario. They want to make you proud, right? And I think of course, the communication is huge too. I mean, if a child comes home and tells you something, be careful how you react because again, you want them to confide in you, but if we have a massive reaction. They may not be as inclined to want to tell you the truth. So I think that's another one too, is just take it as it comes and make note of it. And have a discussion around it as opposed to, uh, a negative reaction. 

[00:18:39] Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:Yes. I'd like to kind of end with a parting thought of yours. 

[00:18:45]Cheryl Spalding:Well, I thought about this and you know, what came up for me right away was honor yourself.

[00:18:52]Honor yourself. As a woman, as a parent, and know that you are worthy and know that you are strong, you know, have faith in your own strength. And your happiness is important too. We don't want to sacrifice our own power. That's part of, I guess, you know, being a good influence, especially for daughters when we ourselves are empowered, the kids will pick up on that.

[00:19:31] Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:I'm so grateful to Cheryl for sharing her stories and advice. Some key takeaways for me. Find allies, people you can rely on to help you through hard times. If your daughter does pull away and maybe even move out, try to make sure she still has structure and that you're connected with others who can be your eyes and ears. Allow freedom with reasonable boundaries, instill in your child, the trust and expectation that in their freedom they'll make the right decisions.

[00:20:01]Also instill in them the responsibility of making good choices. Manage your reactions to what they say, discuss and ask questions, honor yourself, and know that you're worthy and strong. To learn more about Cheryl, you can visit her website, and you can find her on Instagram.

[00:20:25]She's @liveyourbestlifenow.coaching. These links will also be in the show notes. And thank you for listening today. I am truly grateful for your time. I'd love to hear what you think of today's episode format and what other topics you'd like to hear about. So follow @knowberaisethem on Instagram and DM me to let me know what you think. You can also respond to posts with your feedback or insights. Comments are great because I read every one of them. And your thoughts may strike a chord in someone else. If you're enjoying the podcast, please make sure you subscribe and I'd love it if you could leave a review in Apple Podcasts reviews do impact a show's visibility so even though it only takes a few seconds, it really does make a difference. Thanks again for listening and here's to strong. Maybe we know them, may we be them, and may we raise them.