When my three sons were four, six, and twelve years old my ex and I separated. There were a whole set of reasons I decided to leave the marriage, and I never regretted it. Breaking up a household is a hard and sad event for everyone involved. All of a sudden I found myself solely responsible for three kids. Thankfully I managed to find the courage and insights to give it my all. Over time the sorrow was slowly replaced by increasing wisdom and power. I find it amazing what people are capable of when hit with adversity.
Our family house was sold within four weeks. This was much faster than I anticipated. I became desperate to find a place big enough for the four of us. I could not find a rental because local landlords would not allow pets, and my kids needed their beloved dog. I could only find one house for sale in my price range. It was meant as a temporary home where I have now been for 17 years. .
At the time I was pursuing a masters degree in psychology. Due to the age differences of my kids, the four of us were attending five different schools. It was a hectic time, we moved to the house, I was working, writing a thesis, went to classes, did my internship, and I needed to devote a lot of attention to my kids to make sure they were ok. I was generally exhausted, and looking back it is amazing to see what I was actually capable of doing. I graduated and started my own private psychology practice, which was time consuming but emotionally rewarding. Fast forward, my three sons are successfully launched into the world as good, smart, and fun men.
Those sixteen years as a single mother were wonderful, and not always easy on many levels. I had my moments of anxiety, sadness, and financial challenges. Thankfully I was surrounded by great friends. We supported one another through it all. I was very lucky. Now, reflecting over my own personal and professional experiences, I realize how forgotten single mothers are. There are 9.2 million single mothers in the US alone. 45% live under the poverty level. 26% do not get child support, and 30% are dealing with depression due to financial hardships and isolation. Many work two or three jobs to make ends meet.
It made me think a lot about single mothers in general. Then one morning I woke up with the idea to develop a social media network for single mothers and women to create a mutual supportive environment. I went online, figured out how to write a business plan, found an investor, and Persisters.com (and the Apps) was born. I wanted it to have everything singles moms need. So I made sure single moms can match on distance, age, education, politics, spirituality, and hobbies. They can share and find recycled items and resources, and create special interests groups and events. I realized it would also be important for every women to be able to become part of Persisters because single mothers could use all the help they can get.
So from my experience and challenges as a single mother Persisters was created. It is brand new, and now I am challenged yet again to get the word out. Because of the gifts of my difficult times I have learned that I am a strong, resourceful, and creative woman, so I know I will succeed.
I urge you to ask yourself, “what can I learn from my difficult times?” Be creative, think out of the box, and trust that you have the power to do pretty much anything you set your heart and mind to, and lets make things happen, together!