A few years ago, my daughter was in a combo K/1 class. Although the first grade parents didn't really seem to want to have much to do with us Kinder parents, I also didn't really go out of my way to make new parent friends either. The entire went by and right at the very end, I made Elisa's acquaintance. She had two sons and came from a teaching background. Ironically, it wouldn't be until the following school year that we start meeting for morning walks on a regular basis. I had told her I wanted to get into better shape. Being an encouraging individual, she offered to come along with me. When you're going on an hour long walk, it gives you time to chat. All of the surface level chats went away and we started to discuss things on a deeper perspective. She was non-judgmental, understanding and every so often would surprise me with little gems about herself that were quite entertaining. We could talk about absolutely everything. Her words were wise, kind and heartfelt. She told me stories of when she was a teacher, the adoption of her eldest son and her college days. I learned values in marriage and lessons of parenting. All the while, she would say it with a smile.
This year, she and her husband decided it was best for their family for her to stop working. As if she wasn't already doing an incredible job as a working mom, she has shifted gears to now being a stay-at-home mom. Her boys are so blessed to have her even more so than they already did. She has become like the big sister I always wanted and I absolutely treasure the hard working woman that she is.
What is your name and how do we know each other?
"Elisa Fraytet. Our kids were in the same classroom 4 years ago."
How old are you?
What are you currently doing with yourself?
"Well, right now I am stay at home mom. Our plan was originally for me to go back to work at certain time and I did but after that year, we re-evaluated the situation and we felt it wasn’t best for our family. I’d also like to mention that working moms are just as important and are sometimes looked down on by stay-at- home moms and I would never want to perpetuate that negativity. We couldn’t do it all in our circumstance, and the thing that needed to give was my job. I also help with my parents and I have 2 sons under the age of 11."
Are you where you hoped you would be? If not/ Why? If so-what do you love about it and could you see yourself doing anything else?
"This is 100% where I want to be and I feel lucky that I can be here."
Women are becoming a resilient sound that cannot be silenced. What are you doing to contribute that sound?
"Being purposeful about raising my children to be strong men to be a hopeful advocate for women in the future. It’s also part of my faith. I believe that Jesus was the most famous feminist of his time. Another thing that I am doing is being a scientist and being a female engineer teacher. Last year, I had a mom come up to me who was an engineer. She was so thankful that there was a woman in the position (of STEM lab teacher) and not a man to show little girls that they can be in positions of science and engineering. Even now when I sub I always include scientific experiments as part of the day. It’s my reward system. You can learn more if you’re good!" (She laughs)
What is something you learned from a younger age that has stuck with you?
"Something I’ve learned..that there is a season for everything. That something you may be into at one season in your life, now may be different in another. For instance, I used to do music. I was in an orchestra but now I am more passionate about teaching and science."
Who is an individual who made a profound impact on you and why?
"It’s probably my sister. Partly because all growing up, I think she would do normal mom duties-shaving legs, period...etc. My sister stepped into that role. Not anything against my mom, but my sister was right there. She is very empathetic and very present. She is very wise but she didn’t make the mistakes to earn that. I made the mistakes to learn my wisdom whereas my sister has always just had a good grip on loving people. I admire that and it’s to something to what I aspire. She also will always tell you the truth. She paved the way for me. It wasn’t always peaches and cream. I definitely drove her nuts but I remember when I was going into HS, she took me out with her friends before I started to give me an idea of what it would be like. As an adult, our relationship has changed. Her hurts are my hurts and we have an incredibly deep bond."
What is a weakness or something that exposes your vulnerability and what do you do to combat/embrace it in order to grow?
"I worry a lot. I realize that as a mom that’s kinda just how it rolls. So what I do is I pray. I talk to my friends. Carl (her husband) is really good about bringing it back into perspective and not letting me spiral. I am also a perfectionist. I face it. I look at the bigger picture rather than focus on the small in the grand scheme of things. Also, my faith is a big thing in that....as far as letting it go."
What is something that you want to accomplish and what are you doing to get to that place, if anything?
"I don’t know about goals that I have. I know that in my future that teaching will be involved but it won’t be like a regular teaching position. It may be like classes I do on the side. The only accomplishments that I want to do are being creative and hobbies. Those ideals change all the time. I’ve always known that family is my biggest purpose in life. I felt like I was called to be a mom which is why I also felt like I was called to be a teacher. I think it can get confusing when it comes to what an 'accomplishment' is. I think we automatically go to 'career' etc. I think that I am filled up with the love that I give my children and friendships."
And now..a few questions to lighten the mood...
Dogs or Cats?
Cheeseburgers or Salad?
"I actually like both. I actually might do the salad. I like hamburgers better than cheeseburgers but I think I’d do the salads. I‘m not just saying that because I think i should say that." ( I laugh because of how that answer was formulated).
Beach or Mountains?
Sweet or Salty?
Lose all of your old memories or never make new ones?
"Oh my gosh that totally sucks. NO. Never make new ones..I couldn’t part with them. That’s just mean."
Disney..or is there any alternative?
"Disney is sucking up everything. I would say Star Wars..but Disney owns that too...So, is doesn’t it really JUST mean everything?"
What is a fun fact that someone may not know about you?
"When I was in Paris, I ran out of money and I wound up sleeping in phone booth with a friend." (See what I mean about surprising gems?)
And the final two important questions...
What is a common misconception about you that people make based on your appearance? What is your truth and how do you personify strength?
"It’s changed through out the years how people perceive me. I think people think I have together but Idon’t. I’m like everybody else."
You have inspired me. What about yourself do you hope to put out in order to inspire other young people?
"I guess that women’s lib we have the choice to do whatever we want but that doesn’t mean we HAVE to do it. I hope that women make the choice not to do everything. The reality is that FB and other forms of social media have put pressure on everyone to be good at everything. You don’t have to be good at it all....pick and choose. Balance is so important and something I always need to work and this is something I need to hear myself."