10 (or so) questions with... Psalms Frye
Homeschooling mother of five and a professional doula.
Rochester Magazine: I’ll give you some names. You tell me the connection. Tiffany Estes. Ebony Jones. Qantas Penn.
Psalms Frye: You’ve been looking at my high school yearbook.
RM: Those were from St. Martin de Porres High School in Chicago. You also went to Maria High?
PF: So St. Martin de Porres was a co-ed, private Catholic high school, and then they closed my sophomore year. I had a scholarship there. The Father at Our Lady in the Gardens, where I went to school before St. Martin, said, “If you can pass the entrance exam to any Catholic high school you want to go to, I’ll pay all four years.” I passed. And then I chose to go to Maria High School, which was an all-girls Catholic high school.
RM: That’s awesome. How was the all-girls Catholic school?
PF: It was a little bit stricter than St. Martin. We wore name tags, they called name bars then. We wore uniforms, and you had to have this on correctly, you had to have this on correctly, you had to have this on correctly. If you didn’t, you’re going to get some type of disciplinary action. It was very strict, but I liked it, though. Even as a teenager I liked it.
RM: Are you Catholic?
PF: I am not Catholic. We are Pentecostal. We lived on the south side of Chicago, and my family just wanted me in private school. So I never attended public school until I went to college.
RM: And now you homeschool your children.
PF: Sidney is 11, Aria is 9, Simeon is 7, Solomon is 5, and Cadence is 2. Do you see a trend in the names?
RM: Hmmm, well, some Biblical names.
PF: All of my boys are S names, just like their father [Sidney Frye]. Also, they all have L for a middle initial, just like their father. And Aria and Cadence are musical terms, just like my name.
RM: Very cool. But I’m not going to lie, homeschooling five kids sounds like a nightmare. It’s got to be a full-time job.
PF: It’s amazing. And it’s such a rewarding job. I want to be able to educate my kids and let them grow at their own pace. Allow them to make the mistakes, and we can, at their own pace, gradually correct them. Wherever they fall short, I will be the first to see that and give them or get them the attention that they need. As long as you’re dedicated to giving that attention and that’s what you feel your calling is, then you’re not working. It’s not a job. It’s my passion.
RM: That’s amazing.
PF: I just think I’m in the season of rearing my children, planting seeds, and then watching them grow. I love my babies. I think about them all the time.
RM: You obviously love kids. You also own Peace And Compassion Birth Services, and work as a doula to “provide all the emotional, educational and physical support you need during pregnancy.”
PF: The use of doulas is growing, especially among the African American community. There are many disparities. A lot of women don’t feel heard. A lot of women feel pushed into decisions that were made for them. Doulas can advocate for them and advise them.
RM: When my wife was pregnant with our first child, the epidural person was caught in a snowstorm, she told the nurse, and I’m quoting here, “I don’t care if you have to stick the needle in my eyeball, I want an epidural now!” She’s normally pretty mild-mannered. As a doula, how do you deal with that sort of thing?
PF: I’ve heard the yelling, but not at me. And the way I try to combat that is, with everything else going on in the room, I’m trying to be the still, calm voice. When they are yelling “How am I going to get through this?” I’m saying “You’re almost there. You’re doing great.” And every mom says, “That helped. I heard you.”
RM: What was the scariest part about skydiving?
PF: Yes! That was for my 40th birthday. The scariest part was when we were riding in the plane, and the reality is setting in. I’m really about to jump out of this aircraft.
RM: Were you terrified? Was it fun? It looked like a little of both in the video I found.
PF: I was giggling the whole time.
RM: Is that your nervous reaction?
PF: No. It felt like a roller coaster.
RM: You giggle on roller coasters?
PF: Yes, because it tickles. This guy has jumped like 15,000 times, literally. I asked “Have you ever had anybody giggle this much?” He was like, “No, never.”
RM: Well. You’re a doula and you homeschool five kids. I guess not much scares you.
PF: That’s the truth.