To listen to the blog post “How I Went From Single Mom Struggling To Being Successful” over reading it then click the play button below.
I want to tell you about the time I was a single mom struggling to make ends meet and I was failing as a parent. Notice I did not say that I FELT I was failing as a parent. Nope, I really was failing as a parent. POINT, BLANK, PERIOD. I had no money, I had no food, and there was a time that I did not think I would even have a place to live.
AND to top it all off, I had a bachelor’s degree and was working on my Master’s degree when all this happened. You may be thinking how on Earth does an educated woman find herself as a single mom struggling to get by. But I am not the only struggling single mom and my story are so many other struggling single mom stories.
And maybe, in a sense my single mom struggling story was God-ordained. Because it was this same single mom struggle that led my into my purpose. Perhaps before this happened to me I thought I could set myself up for success. Do the right things, hold a job, buy a house, I was ballin and oblivous to what so many other single moms go through. BUT all of that stopped when life threw me a curve ball and I found myself in a stereotypical single mom struggling to get by.
But it was a life lesson and this struggling single mom story is that it lead me to my purpose. How could I ever help people who struggle if I do not even know what struggle is? And even though it is hard for me to share my situation because pride gets the best of me I know I need to do it because so many single mothers face the same struggle. But even though there is a struggle there is always light at the end of the rainbow.
Normally I am not the type of person that likes to sit and talk about my problems or what happened to me. So people assume I have it all together and that I have always had it together. And I do, NOW. But that was not always the case and it was a lot of uphill battles. I just kept fighting and pushing, until it came together. Also check out my single mom story. And you can watch my video on how I leveled up as a single mom below and don’t forget to subscribe to my channel by clicking here.
1. Single Mom Struggling & How I Became A Single Mom Struggling Financially
I was working at a job, making really good money, it was two weeks before I was about to close on my first home, and I got called into the office and was told that I did not have a job anymore. Thus because my whole single mom struggling story that would last for years. I was about to finish my Master’s program in a few months and was still working on my internship (AKA free work). So I had no job, still had to go to school, and still had to work for free. Not to mention I had a new home, a new mortgage that came with that home, and a child to take care of. All of these really means that I had no money to survive and no money to pay my bills.
I had just signed all the paperwork for my new home just week prior. So not buying my house was not an option that would have meant I was going to be homeless and I already put my savings into the home for a down payment. So I moved into my new home, new morgage, with no job but I was confident that I could find another one. But I didn’t not for nearly six month and even then I was making 20k less than what I was used to making. Meaning that I legit did not have enough money to maintain my life, my morgage my car payment. Because I am a hustler at heart I did what I had to do to try to make money which I talked about in the video below, but it was hard to say the least.
2. Single Mom Struggling ~ I Was A Single Mom Struggling Financially I Couldn’t Even Afford Food
Flash forward all my savings were running out, I had not gotten another job yet. I was still doing my internship and I kept applying for jobs and going on interviews. But I still had NO job and NO money. This was my first failure as a single mom. For any single mom out there who is truly a single mom who depends on no one, can you imagine what it is like to have no money in your bank account, get no child support, and you literally have no money to pay your bills or to get food?
One may say that I could get on public assistance, and guess what happened when I tried. Department of Social Services tells you, you qualify for nothing because you still have some money in your bank account even though you do not have much money. Literally at that time I had enough money to pay one month’s morgage and it was mid month.
Followed by them telling me that I was too productive for social services to help you out, so therefore you get no help. You have a college degree they said, why can’t you find a job? Like I wanted to be out of work and struggling. Like it was a choice. Once I was rejected and made fun of at social services, I did not come back. I just figured out a way to survive, which I talk about in my video below.
There would be times that I thought about donating plasma, blood, or anything to get some money in my account. I become savvy in coming up with money on a whim (click to read my blog on my suggestions).
At that point, even if I got $35 I felt that was enough food or something, I started buying food at the Dollar Tree NO LIE. And everyday my account did not go in the negative I felt like I was winning. I still had a car payment and a house payment and literally, my car could have been repossessed and my home foreclosed on.
I hid my car in the garage to prevent that from happening. And I had to hustle to make sure that did not happen. In my single mom’s devotional which you can buy here I said the following about that time.
As a single mother, I have gone through so many things, especially when it came to money. I never really got a steady stream of child support, mainly because my child’s father was in prison for seven years after my son was born. After I got laid off from my job, the only emotion I felt was FEAR and ANXIETY. I felt fear when I heard a truck in my neighborhood, thinking they were coming to turn the lights off because I was late paying my utilities. I felt fear over not knowing how I was going to get food or pay my son’s tuition so that he could keep going to school. I was a nervous wreck about any and everything. Because everything was going so wrong, and I did not know what tomorrow would bring, I felt fear and anxiety. All of the time. Even though that was a hard time in my life, I literally lacked for nothing. We always had something to eat, and I had the basic utilities that I needed. I feared, because I did not know. I did not know how, when, or what, so that made me afraid. But despite the fact that was a terrible time in my life I would NEVER want to repeat, it was the time in my life where I learned not to fear.
3. Single Mom Struggling ~ As I Was Struggling As A Single Mom I Learned To Eat Humble Pie
I wrote about this in my single moms in the Bible blog that you can read here. In that blog, I explained that I felt like that widow who told Elijah that she and her son had no food and when all of the food was gone, she and her son would just lay down and die. I legit felt like that. There was a time where we had almost no food left, I had no money, and I thought to myself well at least my son eats at school. At least he will have one meal which was better than what I had, which was no meals a day. But something comes out of you when you are a single mother, call it God, call it prayer, and call it the need to survive.
But I made sure we did not starve. Although I had to eat some humble pie I went to food pantries and even got some food from my local church so that we would have something. I did not tell most people what we were going through. Not friends, not family, not anyone. I was ashamed and to the people who did know I was looked at like a burden. Like I had done something wrong and it was my fault I was in this situation.
When I was struggling as a single mom I felt like a failure but this was a good lesson. Even though it did not feel good. I went to the food pantry because I was so out of food. I did not know how I was going to eat so I had to do something. So here I was going to the food pantry a woman with two degrees, begging for food. I was so embarrassed. When I got there, there were other families, other people, and other moms, in my upper middle class community. When I looked at some of them I could not even tell they were struggling.
But that just goes to show you never know what other people are going through behind closed doors. It made me more aware of the world around me. There were many single mothers who were ALWAYS in the situation that I was in, sometimes for longer, and sometimes they never get out. Of all races, classes, and you just never know who is going through what. When I was “winning” with my good job, I was ignorant to that fact. And being in it myself made me very aware. But food was not the only thing. Also you can check out my video down below for more on my struggling single mom stories.
4. Struggling Single Mom And The Struggle To Get My Son’s Immunizations With No Insurance
Around this time my son was starting the second grade at a private school, he had always gone to and my mother was paying his tuition. As I went to register him for school I found out that he needed to have his shots. Mind you I had no job, no health insurance, and no way to pay out of pocket for shots. Through a little research, I found that there was a health van that would give kids free shots for school. I was so happy that I packed up my son and went to the place where the van was.
My son saw this cool little bus and told me that he wanted to take a ride on it and that he cannot wait to get on it. I also wanted him to get on it because that meant he was going to get his shots and he was going to be able to go to school. And the shots were going to cost me nothing.
As soon as I entered the building, I was turned away. I had lined up at 8 am because that is when they opened, only to realize that I should have started lining up at 4 am and stood outside for four hours to get there first. Because they only let the first X amount of people in and I was too late.
As I walked off not knowing how my son was going to get any shots or how he was going to get to school. I was keeping it all together trying not to let my son know that anything was wrong. But as we walked away from the bus that he wanted to get on so bad, he started to make a scene and he teared up because he wanted to get on the bus, thinking that it was some adventure.
He thought it was so colorful and so cool and he wanted to get on so he started to cry. I almost started to cry. I did not want him to get on the bus because it was some adventure. I wanted him to get on the bus so he could go to school. But I could not cry. I had to keep it together. As a single mom, you just have to put on a brave face for your child and not fall apart. I grabbed my son and he began to get upset and walked off. Not knowing how I was going to get his shots or how he was going to be allowed to go to school.
Call it the fight or flight response, but my response, when faced with hardship, has always been to FIGHT. I researched and I was going to find a way to get my son these shots. Once I got over myself and my son’s emotional response, I soon found out that our local health department was given shots for immunizations and they were giving them for free.
The first day I went they were closed, also the second, but the third day I was in luck. I was able to get my son his shots and he started school the following week. Once again I was in the department of social services I was ashamed to be there because I wondered how did I get in this situation, it was not like me to be out of a job and be broke and struggling.
But what I will say is when I got my son’s shots at the health department, I meant the nicest nurse. She gave me a flu shots, my son shots, and I found myself telling her what happened when she asked why I was not on services. How I was rejected and her response was to actually showed that she cared. That my story of being rejected for help was common. And although there was nothing she could do about it, just her expressing something meant alot.
And perhaps like her, going through it and how she saw this daily. It gave me a new perspective on what people had to do just to do for their children and to get by every month, for healthcare. It also made me see that there were no excuses for me to sit around and keep doing nothing. I knew that I did not want this struggle to be my everyday life. And low and behold my momtrepreneur began.
5. Single Mom Struggling Financially ~ To Make Ends Meet Third Failure Couldn’t Make Money
After a few months of finishing my internship and graduating with my Master’s degree, I was ready to jump into my new life and my new high paying job right, WRONG! I did get a job a few months after being laid off from my last job and it was making $20,000 less than what my last job was making. I applied for so many jobs but still, no one was really paying what I had been making. I was less broke then NOT having a job but in reality I was still broke.
I had no more savings, I had qualified for a house on my old income, my new check barely covered my mortgage, and I had to continue to pay for child care. It seemed like this nightmare would not end. Every time I had a redemption it was always a setback.
And I worked under this struggling, barely broke conditions, for the next two years. Living paycheck to paycheck and then trying to come up with new and creative ways to save money. I could not really buy my son’s nice Christmas gifts, clothes, and we could not go out to eat at a restaurant. I felt like I was not even able to enjoy the simple things in life. I had lost so much weight because I did not eat as much and I wanted to save all the food for my son.
You do not know what that feeling is like when you have to choose for yourself to eat or for your child to eat. And I always chose him and there would be days where I chose not to eat at all. But in the meantime I was started building my business. It took a long time because I did not know what I was doing but I did know I did not want my money being controlled by what people wanted to pay me.
The fact of the matter was that even when I found a new job, I found myself making less then those around me depsite being the most qualified. And coperate jobs telling me that because I was a woman, single mom, or black that I should be okay with making less. And I wasn’t. So depsite having a job, I never stopped building my own business. See my video below on some situations I faced at work that encouraged me to start my own business.
6. Struggling Single Mom Stories ~ Lessons Learned
As the old saying goes, trouble does not last always. My single mom struggling did not last always. If you hit rock bottom at some point you have to start going up. Trouble did not last always, but it did last for a very long time and it did take me a long time to recover from. Even though I built my business, I went through a huge learning curve. I did not have money to invest in it. Leading to a poorly built blog, which eventually I relaunched and designed myself (the one you are reading now). A failed book on Amazon, which eventually I wrote another single mom’s devotional now a best seller that you can buy here.
I am in a much better place NOW and I have learned some VALUABLE lessons in all my failures. Ones that I think I needed to learn in order to make me a better person and a better mom.
- I learned that I want to provide encouragement to single mothers because the Lord knows that I have been through some things. (Hence the launching of this blog). I had to learn how to do everything on my own in my business with no real money to invest. Which led me to want to teach others.
- I learned not to rely on a man but to rely on God. There was a time when a man (AKA Department of Social Services) would not give me anything. But God worked it out. It was hard, but the lesson in it all was for me to rely on God and learn to not trust what I see, but to trust Him. Now because of that experience, I know that no matter what He will work it out. Not always as fast as I like, the way that liked, or a comfortable as I would like; but it did work out in the end. And I became the person that I was destined to be because of it.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
- I learned humility. I was faced with the idea of not being able to have food, so now I have this thing where I do not like to waste food. Because there are so many people in the world who go without it. I look at people’s situations differently and now I am more empathetic to what people are going through. Whereas before I am not really sure I cared.
- I learned to keep a smile on my face. Even though I was failing as a parent, I never let my son know it. I smiled, I kept happy, and I kept him happy. He probably never knew I was scared that our lights were going to get turned off every time I saw a utility truck come by. It was not his place to know, it was my place as a mother to keep a steady environment for him and not make my problems his problems.
For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13
- I learned to fight and to fight with God. I have always been a fighter, but I learned that when you have no fight left, then ask God to join in the fight. Whenever something bad happened and I did not know how to fix, I would pray for God to give me wisdom. That is when He told me about the food pantries and that is when he told me about the health department. That is how I was able to survive. Literally.
Often times when people look at Dr. Reed (AKA ME) they think that just because I have a smile on my face and three degrees that I have not gone through anything. That I have never failed. I have failed and I have learned to push past my failures. In the midst of my failures, I develop a sense that I wanted to help people. I have been that single mom struggling and not knowing what to do.
If you are a single mom struggling to make ends meet, then trust that you can get through it. Look at all my failures, all that I have learned, and all that I had to fight through to make my life better. I know that whatever you are going through then you can push past your situation as well.
But we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-5
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Did you know that I have a book specifically for single moms? Click here to get it and if you want the first few chapters free, then click the picture below.