This week's post, “Do you need to break up with your single mom friend?” really resonated with readers. It got me thinking about how I have met so many amazing single moms since I started on my own single-parent journey six years ago, and of course especially since launching this blog three years back.
I am on a mission to elevate single moms beyond all those single-mom stereotypes. You know: the welfare mom, the mom milking her rich ex for alimony while she goes to pilates and fucks the pool boy every day, the sugar-daddy-seeker, and other cliches.
The single moms who thrive that I know are NOTHING like any of those archetypes. These are women of all kinds. Some are wildly wealthy entrepreneurs and executives. Others are passionate educators and artists.
But the single moms who thrive financially, emotionally — even romantically — all have one very important thing in common.
They take responsibility for their lives.
When their boss is really horrible, they don't bitch and complain about it. They try to resolve the conflict, find a way to rise above it, or simply look for a new opportunity.
When a relationship doesn't work out, they don't start hating on all men. They don't generalize how men are, or complain that all the good men are taken. They look within themselves, examine what they really want in a relationship, try to understand why they are not attracting that man or arrangement, and seek to fix it. Within themselves.
When money gets tight, or they want to upgrade their lifestyles, these moms never get angry at their job for not paying enough, or their ex for not paying enough, or the welfare system, for discriminating against moms, the tax code for being crappy for working parents or the real estate market for not handing them a bigger house.
No way. These single moms don't blame everyone else for their financial situations. These single moms just figure out how to make more money.
And when these women want to make important changes in their lives, they get over any natural fear they have of investing in themselves to make it happen. When they want to lose weight, but are stuck in the same size and bad habits, they hire a nutrition coach or personal trainer. Because they know the investment in their health is important.
When they are stuck financially, or want to reach new goals in their career, single moms who thrive invest in new training, a new degree or an expert to help.
These moms who thrive do not feel guilty for hiring a housekeeper, or babysitters so that they can date, spend time with girlfriends, exercise, or any other critical self-care activity. Because they know that it takes money to make money. Because it takes investing time and care and energy and fun in yourself so that you can serve your kids, your career, your community and your finances.
I am one of these moms. Over the years I have had to overcome mental and emotional roadblocks that kept me from making those very investments.
Early on, I bit the bullet and committed to the daycare that was the most expensive in my neighborhood — it was an investment in my peace of mind because I knew my kids would thrive there. But even more than that — it was just 2 blocks from my apartment, so it would save me so much time each and every day.
Even when money was so, so tight, I committed to a weekly visit from my housekeeper, because doing so frees up so man valuable hours that I use to grow my business, exercise, enjoy my kids — and have a clean freaking house!
In my business, I have paid top-dollar for excellent web design to replace the functional, free and ass-ugly blog I designed myself (complete with iPhone snapshot that elicited comments from trolls who snarked: “she;s a horse-faced dog — no wonder she's still single.” I realized that my shame around that site kept me from promoting it, my business and myself fully.
It wasn't until I spent 5-figures on a redesign and professional headshots from a New York City photographer that I felt confident to really step into my full power and reach for my goals in a big way.
And it paid off — big-time.
My blog redesign launched July 2014. Since then I have attracted 8,000 new email members, appearances on CNN, CNBC, Elle, New York Daily News (which wrote a full-page feature of my business, with pics of my kids and me!), and so much more.
Brands started calling, and asked me to partner for thousands and thousands of dollars. Reality shows asked me to audition and book agents started calling.
Immediately after I got over my fear of “wasting” money on my business.
Single moms I know who thrive in their lives — whatever it means for them — think like I think.
They NEVER say things like: “Oh, I know it takes money to make money. But I just don't have it right now. I'm a single mom! My boss should just give me a raise!”
They just scrape their balls together, spend the money — even if it means putting it on a credit card, or taking out a student loan, or cashing in on a favor from a friend — and make shit happen.
Because they believe in themselves. They take responsibility for themselves. And the single moms know, intuitively, that risk is ultimately rewarded.
Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.
Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.