As we go through life, we encounter all sorts of women and form all sorts of relationships. A few will become people whom we massively respect and admire. I’m lucky enough to have more than a few inspiring women and I felt it was time I sat down with them over a coffee and hashed out what makes them tick. How did they get where they are; how do they balance their lives and what struggles have they overcome.
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I’m sure you’ll agree as you continue reading that the first in our series, the one and only Cherrelle Slaney, is a funny, relatable nerd whom speaks passionately and informatively about the business she has cradled and grown.
As a Mum of two young children and her Husband working away frequently, Cherrelle found herself lost in the day to day. With the prospect of returning to work on the not so distance horizon, She set up Cherrelle Slaney (Neé LilyRoo) which quickly became her creative outlet, and over time, a sustainable business.
Cherrelle has had her struggles though as we discuss; from lack of self esteem, relationships problems and the oh too common Mum Guilt!
But she has also learned a lot about putting ourselves first without guilt, recognising our own coping mechanisms and the importance of self love!
(P.S I really wish I’d podcast’d this as it was amazing to sit down and just chat! Maybe coming in the future, what do we think?)
MEET CHERRELLE SLANEY
Sam: So… Hi! *Grinning*
Cherrelle: Hi *sits sheepishly in her cosy armchair, cradling her tea & biscuits*
Sam: You’re doing quite well with your business at the moment but it’s been a real journey hasn’t it? How long has Lilyroo/CherrelleSlaney Been Going?
Cherrelle: Since October 2015
Sam: Wow, so 4 years! It’s fair to say when you look back on the first things you created…
Cherrelle: *Laughs* yeah! That’s embarrassing!
Sam: You’ve really found your niche. How did you go from making painted letters & home decor to now specialising in Wedding Stationary & Accessories?
Cherrelle: Well, basically… I fumbled my way through the dark til I got to where I am now. I essentially had a baby, and knew that at some point I would have to go back to work.
Sam: Yeah, which is tough.
Cherrelle: Yeah, and that wasn’t an option as far as I was concerned. She wasn’t even 6 months old and I thought ‘when she starts school, I’m going to have to go back to work’.
It just wasn’t an option for me personally. So I decided I needed to do something; make a business and give myself 4 years to grow it before she started school.
Sam: And that was your ‘big goal’.
Cherrelle: That was my goal yeah. My big aim was that by the time she started school, I needed to have an income so I don’t have to go back to a normal job.
Sam: Because I guess – I feel the same way – being a stay at home mum for an amount of time, the idea of having to go back into a workplace becomes terrifying.
Cherrelle: Yeah to the point that I wasn’t even considering that, it wasn’t a possibility. I wasn’t even considering that. By that point I’d been a stay at home mum for 3 years already and I was starting to lose my sanity a little bit.
It’s lovely to have a baby and I was fortunate not to have to go back to work when Oscar was 9 months old but at the same time you lose your identity.
You get to this point where you ask yourself what value do I offer?
Sam: You get kind of stuck in the mundanity of life, of doing the chores, errands and especially at the time lewis was working offshore, so how long was he gone?
Cherrelle: 2 Weeks away, then 2 Weeks at home.
Sam: And That was tough on you?
Cherrelle: It was 4 weeks, originally and 2 weeks at home. And then it settled into 2 & 2.
But yeah it was, it was like living 2 separate lives and it was part of the reason we had such big relationship problems. I felt like a single parent for half the year.
Within that time I was doing whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. I was home with 1 or 2 children and I didn’t have to answer to anybody else. So when he’d come home it threw the whole dynamic out.
Sam: I can completely sympathise.
Cherrelle: I think when he was away I got so used to doing things on my own, so when he was home I found it more difficult.
Sam: So have you found that your business expanded more since you’ve had more stability?
Cherrelle: Now that he’s at home more and I’m more open to asking for help. That’s been a major issue for me, personally, to say ‘I can’t do all this stuff so I need you do to X, Y, Z.’
Now he’s at home more and I’m ok with that concept. I’m more comfortable with telling him what I need to get done and take off the pressure by asking him to pick the kids up or put the laundry on.
I don’t have to have that all in my brain. It takes up so much headspace trying to balance everything.
Sam: I think a lot of women, particularly, feel that. There’s been a lot of pressure over the last 10 or 15 years that we need to be everything. We need to be the Mum, the worker, maintain the house, keep fit and do ALL the things and if we do struggle it’s a sign of weakness.
How long did it take you to accept that you need to ask for help, and that you couldn’t do everything?
Cherrelle: I’m still getting there.
There’s always going to be this part of me in my head that’s always going to be guilty for asking for help.
Sam: Mum Guilt
Cherrelle: Yeah that’s the thing! I think that’s always gonna be there, but I have to reason with myself and tell myself thats ok, and that I can’t do everything.