Chiara Fritzler is a 40-something single mom of a dynamo toddler who is feisty, loving, and hilarious… just like her mom. Chiara has found her passion and life’s purpose in writing, and is a ghostwriter, author, and blogger. Her eBook and workbook about supporting those going through a tough time sold out in 24 hours, and has since helped so many who struggle with the “right thing to say”. She is a contributor to Mama Brain magazine, is currently co-authoring two books that will be released in 2021, and is a consultant. She has an unhealthy obsession with Hawkins cheezies and gummy coke bottles, only drinks red wine, coffee and water, and loves playing soccer.
In this episode:
- Unfortunate blessings are the challenging times & circumstances that can provide clarity & positive change.
- Successful co-parenting, for Chiara, is based on her daughter knowing that both of her parents love her.
- All of your baggage should be carry on. We all have baggage but have you dealt with it enough that you can manage it?
- Post-traumatic growth With the proper supports in place & the proper outlook, we can discover things about ourselves that we wouldn’t know otherwise.
Connect with Chiara:
On this episode of The Part-Time Jungle Podcast, I had a great conversation with Chiara! We talked about unfortunate blessings, co-parenting, post traumatic growth, how all your baggage should be carry on, and so much more!
If you prefer to listen, check out Episode 35 of The Part-Time Jungle Podcast.
Full disclosure, Chiara and I have been friends since we were 7 years old and best friends for most of that time! We have literally been through all the ages and stages of life together. This episode doesn’t divulge the many adventures we have shared together or the memories we have made. That’s for another time. However, I know you will be inspired by Chiara and her story, her authenticity, and her heart of gold.
A CHANGE IN PERSPECTIVE
Chiara is a single mom and someone who works part-time and sort of full-time. Before becoming a mom, she never thought that if she had children, that she would want to stay at home with them. Chiara was so career focused and so oriented on climbing that ladder. She didn’t understand why women would give up their careers to stay at home with children. Chiara felt that she always had the best advice and the most keen insight on being a mom and parenting before she actually became one.
Chiara had some unfortunate blessings come through her life where she actually was headhunted by a company that seemed really great at the time. They hired her for a director position and then, they laid her off three months later. This was right when the oil and gas industry started to crash and work was really hard to find. At this time, Chiara and her now ex-husband were also going through fertility treatments.
A LACK OF IDENTITY
Chiara felt like she had no identity. She didn’t have a career and she didn’t have a child. Chiara plunged into a deep depression and didn’t know what to make of herself. She calls this an unfortunate blessing because it forced her to figure out who she was, aside from all of the definitions and titles that we give ourselves and other people give us. Her husband would tell her that she was his wife and he loved her. For Chiara, that wasn’t enough. She didn’t want just that to be her thing. Chiara needed to figure out who she was aside from what other people said.
BECOMING A MOM
Chiara ended up getting pregnant and had a daughter who’s now two and a half years old. At the time she was working part-time doing some consulting on and off in the field of occupational health and safety. Becoming a mom really changed her world and the person she thought that she wanted to be.
All of a sudden, she was a mom. This tiny human was more important to her than work although work was still important. Chiara thinks that if she would’ve had a full-time job, she may have seen things a little bit differently. However, becoming a mom gave her the opportunity to look at her life and sort out how she could make that all work. She decided that she would never go back to a Monday to Friday 8:00 – 4:30 job or sit in an office again. Chiara wanted to be there with her daughter to see her grow and learn.
MAKING IT WORK
Now, Chiara does consulting 30 hours or so a week and then writes as well. Her daughter goes to various places during the week. Chiara thinks that it’s really good for her to let other people love her. Becoming a single mom, Chiara knew that she needed to do more work because she didn’t have extra income. She also wanted to raise her daughter. Making this work for her was really important. Chiara had done occupational safety for about 17 years. She was angry every day and knew that had to figure out what she loved.
Chiara logically knew that being a mom would be exhausting. However, she didn’t realize how emotionally exhausting it would be until she had her daughter. You love somebody so much that you would literally give your life for them. Then in the same breath, you want to get this little person as far away from you as possible.
KEY TO CHIARA’S MOTHERHOOD WORK JUGGLE:
- ASKING FOR HELP: Asking for help and not being ashamed has been key to Chiara’s motherhood journey. We have this thing where as women we’re expected to do it all and be it all and be strong all the time. Asking for help can be seen as a weakness. Chiara has come to realize that allowing people to help you is allowing them to love you. Not asking for help is actually selfish because you are denying other people the opportunity to love you.
- FINDING YOUR COMMUNITY: Chiara also recommends finding a community of women that can love you through things, talk you off ledges, and kick your butt a bit. She is grateful for the amazing women in her life. One of the things she does struggle with is that she doesn’t really know many single moms.
- REMEMBERING THAT THE GRASS IS NOT ALWAYS GREENER: Chiara says that it’s important to make sure that as a mom, regardless of your work situation, that you don’t want to swap your life with someone else all the time. Then, you’re just switching your problems for somebody else’s. It’s always easy to look at someone else’s life and think that it’s better and that they’re doing a better job managing their work and their kids. Maybe it looks that way, but they have problems too.
Chiara recognizes that she and her ex-husband are doing a great job of co-parenting. One of the reasons behind that is her belief in her motto that her opinion of him is none of her daughter’s business. This has brought so much peace to their co-parenting and into Chiara’s home.
LOVE FROM BOTH PARENTS
Chiara has seen angst, hatred, anger with others who are co-parenting. This is not to say that this is not normal. It’s okay to feel that way. Chiara has but that was never something that her daughter needed to know. She needs to know that her dad loves her. Children can get caught in the crosshairs of two people who, for whatever reason, are not going to be together anymore. All they really need to know is that they have parents who love them.
A RELATIONSHIP WITH DAD
Chiara has never been interested in limiting her daughter and ex-husband’s time together. Her daughter needed to develop a relationship with her dad. This was important. Her daughter needed to know that her dad was important in her life.
TAKING A BREAK
Chiara once had a friend who once told her that needing to take breaks from your kids is inexcusable. She says, for her, that is all kinds of crazy talk! Chiara says that she needs breaks. It’s important to her.
KEEPING IT POSITIVE
Chiara’s ex-husband is the first one that she goes to whenever she needs to talk about something to do with her daughter. She doesn’t ever allow anyone to speak negatively about her ex-husband in front of her daughter ever. People have opinions, they always do, but she doesn’t need to know that. They are still a family. Having this type of relationship with him has supported Chiara’s journey in finding her passion and pursuing that.
A LOVE FOR WRITING
Chiara has always loved writing. This is the easiest way for her to express herself and to get her opinions, thoughts, and considerations out. Chiara also thinks that she is hilarious! She likes to write things to make people laugh and smile. Chiara finds that the written word has staying power. There’s something about reading something that has actually been written down that affects you in your heart more. So much of Chiara’s life has been shaped by things that she has read.
A TUG TOWARDS WRITING
Chiara kept feeling this tugging towards being a writer. She would think about it and daydream about it. When she was getting offered better and better positions in her previous career, she kept pushing it aside.
HEADING BACK TO SCHOOL
About a year ago, she decided that she was going to be a psychologist. Chiara had hired a career consultant to help her redefine her career path. She was going to start her Master’s Degree in Psychology but prior to starting, she suffered a really severe concussion. Chiara couldn’t remember a four-digit pin let alone start a Master’s Degree.
Chiara started looking at other options and thought that she could be a pharmaceutical sales rep or… a writer. She decided to go forward with pharmaceutical sales. Chiara met with somebody who could help her get started. Then, COVID hit and the pharmaceutical sales opportunity was no longer an option. Pursuing writing seemed to be the right thing to do and this seemed to be the time to give it a go.
CARRY ON CHIARA
Chiara did research on how to write and how to blog. Then, she got started! The name of her blog, Carry on Chiara, was the by-product of trying to find a URL that wasn’t taken. However, it’s become something that she likes the sound of. Chiara likes the alliteration and it is what she is doing. She is constantly carrying on.
ALL OF YOUR BAGGAGE SHOULD BE CARRY ON
When she was dating back in her twenties, her dating profile said that we all have baggage but your bag should be carry on. The way that she thought of this is have you dealt with it enough that you can manage it? She doesn’t expect anyone to show up without baggage. But how many porters do you need?
FIND YOUR JOY
Chiara’s blog is for anyone who is feeling stuck and like they are struggling with defining themselves beyond a diagnosis or past a circumstance. It is for people who want to find joy beyond any sort of definitions that society has placed on them. The blog is a place to remind you to stop feeling sorry for yourself and to go out and find your joy.
A GRIEVING PROCESS
Chiara is not saying that you cannot and should not honor any feelings of despair or sadness or hopelessness that you may be feeling. Because when we get struck with news that we don’t know what to do with that, that’s normal and natural. It’s important to honor a grieving process when your life doesn’t go the way you planned. However, equally as important to honoring that is then seeing yourself as strong and as the person you were created to be. You were not given that situation to wallow in it and to allow it to define you.
Chiara has never believed in the why me phenomenon. Instead, she has always thought what am I meant to do with this situation? The why is so irrelevant because it’s already happened. Chiara struggles with depression and anxiety. She has polycystic ovarian syndrome and went through infertility. Chiara is getting divorced and she’s a single mom. These things, if she allowed them to, would define her. However, they don’t define Chiara. They are part of who she is. Every morning, Chiara and her daughter say: I am kind, I am smart. I am brave. I’m strong. I’m beautiful.
One of the main purposes of Chiara’s blog and writing is to connect with other people and to make them not feel alone. She wants to help them see that after you go through trauma, it isn’t something that needs to stick with you.
We talk a lot about post-traumatic stress disorder, which is a very real and debilitating thing. For some reason, nobody talks about post-traumatic growth. People who go through life altering traumatic circumstances, with the proper supports in place and the proper outlook, can actually discover things about themselves that they would have never known. There is an inner strength and resilience and incredible part of them that they would have never known about had they not gone through that.
JOY VS. HAPPINESS
Finding your joy in those circumstances, is taking the opportunity that you’ve been given. For Chiara, it is important to distinguish between joy and happiness, She says that finding happiness and seeking happiness can actually lead to depression because you can’t be happy all the time. This can be harmful to your mental health because happiness is not a state of being, it’s a by-product of contentment. If you can be content with where you’re at, then you will find moments of joy. There will be moments of sadness as well.
Joy is also a by-product of contentment. For Chiara, joy is better than happiness because it’s less fleeting. Joy is something that you feel within you and that you’ve created as opposed to something external,
JOY IN FAITH
One of the key things that has helped Chiara find joy is her faith and believing that there is a greater purpose for her. She believes that moving on and honoring all of these things is important because she is here to make other people not feel alone and to remove the stigma. Nobody wants to talk about these things. Chiara thinks that it should be normal to talk about stuff that is affecting you. You don’t need to go and talk to a stranger about it. However, we should remove a lot of the shame.
Chiara’s daughter is pretty spicy. She likes to do this thing where if Chiara asks her if she wants to do something, she’ll say no. When Chiara says okay her daughter then, wants to do it. One day, she and her daughter were about to head out the door to go for a walk. Her daughter said that she didn’t want to go for a walk. Chiara decided that she wasn’t going to play this game anymore so she opened the door and started walking. She wasn’t actually going to go more than a few steps.
LESSONS NOT LEARNED
Chiara’s daughter said “Bye Mama” and then slammed the door. When Chiara went to open the door the outside latch had been disengaged and she couldn’t open it. She started to panic because now her daughter was locked inside the house! Chiara started pounding on the window and screaming her daughters name. She tried to get her daughter to move the knob and re-engage the door. Eventually Chiara’s daughter opened the door and Chiara replaced the knob the next day. Sometimes when we try to make a point or teach our kids a lesson, they learn nothing.
One of the most important self-realizations that Chiara has had while juggling work, single parenting, and life was highlighted while talking to her therapist. Her therapist told her that she was proud of Chiara for doing all of this for her daughter. Chiara responded that she responded that she was doing all this, not for her daughter, but for herself. In doing so, her daughter reaps the benefits of Chiara finding balance with work and life and in creating a really good co-parenting relationship.
YOU ARE WORTH IT
If you don’t think that you are important enough, then nobody else really is. Putting that pressure on other people to be your reason to get things done, isn’t fair to them or to you. As a woman, you are worthy and you are capable of finding that balance and making things work for you. Then, everyone around you reaps the benefits because you’ve then decided that you’re worth it.
Thanks so much to Chiara for this awesome conversation and thank YOU for tuning in!