Show cover of Single Mom Stories with Kelly Travis

Single Mom Stories with Kelly Travis

This podcast is dedicated to sharing real life stories of that single mom life. Yep, the messy parts and the not-so-messy parts. The funny moments and the bring-you-to-your-knees-I'm-gonna-cry-in-the-bathroom moments too. You'll find interviews, insights and a community right here. Whether you're a single parent, someone who does a lot of parenting on your own, or a mom who has an extra set of hands to help, you’re bound to see yourself in these stories.


017: Has Motherhood Impacted Your Body Image?
On this episode of the Single Mom Stories podcast I’m diving into a topic that many listeners—and yours truly—find challenging: body image, the relationship we have with our bodies, and how to positively change this in our culture. In North America, 85-95% of women are either extremely dissatisfied with or flat-out hate their bodies. That’s an epidemic of poor self-image and self-worth, one so widespread that there’s no single cause.During a recent girls trip with two other  moms, we talked about body image - specifically as it relates to motherhood. The pressures of returning to our pre-baby bodies, changes we face as we age and the challenges in finding the time to care for ourselves. So for this episode, I’m going to discuss how body image can be an intergenerational issue, explain why body positivity can backfire, give you some tools to improve body image —and leave you with some powerful parting words from Mirna Vilero  The Finer Details of This Episode: Changing the expectations around our bodiesHating your bodyThe disguise of diet cultureThe challenges of self loveSetting social media boundariesRadical self compassionQuotes: “If you've had your own kids, or if you've adopted, we feel pressure to look the way we did before having kids, right.”“I correlated shrinking myself with success. It just made sense.”“And using food to control what our body looks like gives us an illusion of safety.”“You don't have to wait for something to change to accept yourself… Your target will always be moving, if you're always waiting.”“I think one of the best ways to shift this is to move out of focusing on how your body looks, and instead, what your body can do.”“Your body, whatever it is, whatever its size, whatever its hair color and hairstyle, however its height, whatever its age is acceptable. Your body is acceptable.”“I delight in seeing people's looks when I tell them that I finished a 22-mile run.”Links:Kelly Travis ​​Kelly Travis on InstagramSingle Mom Stories HomepageSingle Mom Stories Instagram
52:49 8/11/22
016: Enneagram and Parenting
On the 16th episode of Single Mom Stories, Kelly introduces the audience to enneagrams.  The Enneagram of Personality is a typology of the nine different personality types, and, as many of you may know already, Kelly is an expert. She uses enneagrams with her clients to highlight their strengths, parenting styles, and where they might have opportunities for growth.  The nine enneagram types in total, and, as Kelly demonstrates today,  we have every number in us.  In working with Kelly or any other legitimate Enneagram personality expert, clients will find that they might see themselves in multiple types, and there’s a reason for that.  Through the assessment, Kelly helps her clients discover what type they think like, what type they act like, and what type they feel like.  When working with enneagrams, however, the goal is never to change who we are or our personality. Enneagram personality tests help us understand how we behave, why behave that way, and that those around us view the world differently than we do. It’s all about using the tools in your own toolbox, and Kelly introduces it all to you here today. The Finer Details of This Episode: EnneagramsThe ReformerThe Empathetic HelperThe Goal-oriented AchieverThe IndividualistThe InvestigatorThe Anxious LoyalistThe EnthusiastThe ChallengerThe PeacemakerHolding different identitiesQuotes: “So it gives you these opportunities to go for some milestones in terms of growth and change. Never in using Enneagram is the purpose to change who we are, to change our personality. It's to understand our personality, identify how we can get better, but never to change.”“Now, the growth here, which probably won't be a surprise if you're one, but it's really to work on becoming less rigid, right, trying to be more spontaneous, learning how to process and express anger properly.”“So twos tend to neglect their own needs, it doesn't come natural for them to put themselves first to ask for help. And this can lead to burnout, frustration, not allowing time for yourself. And as we know, as parents, we have to have that to be able to show up for our kids’ triggers.”“What I often say about sixes are they are the ones who bought up the toilet paper at the beginning of COVID. They prepare for the worst case scenario. So as parents, what strengths a loyalist brings is with their trustworthiness, their protection, their loyalty, their skeptical nature, and a healthy sense of responsibility.”“So of my six clients, and I have quite a few. We do a lot of work around getting out of our head into our body, a lot of breathwork, meditation, and anything that kind of just brings you back to being present.”“We all have every number in us. So if you take an assessment, you'll learn how different numbers show up in your life and in your personality…when we take an assessment, you'll find out what type you think like, what type you act like, and what type you feel like.”Links: Kelly Travis ​​Kelly Travis on InstagramSingle Mom Stories HomepageSingle Mom Stories Instagram
37:43 7/21/22
015: Hyperhealing: A Conversation about ADHD
On this week’s episode of Single Mom Stories, Kelly welcomes Avigail Gimpel to the show to talk about her work, both personal and professional, involving children living with ADHD. She starts off by addressing the recent spike in prescribing medication and attributes that to people incorrectly using medicine as a form of discipline. Avigail notes that when you really start to listen and pay attention to kids with ADHD, you will find that helping them is about so much more than a dosage. In fact, her own daughter was diagnosed with ADHD only after transferring to a much more pressure filled school. What Gimpel found was that there was an incredible lack of accommodations for children like hers, so she took it upon herself to do the work. Gimpel learned that people with ADHD tend to be all or nothing. They may have intense reactions to otherwise minor issues, but if you start to break things down into manageable chunks, you and the child will be able to identify their trigger. Together, she and Kelly draw this episode to a close by talking about the importance of structure, feedback, and boundaries for children living with ADHD, and how Avigail details this and all of her valuable findings in her book, Hyperhealing.The Finer Details of This Episode:Medication for the sake of discipline ADHD behaviors in the classroomAvigail’s daughter Lack of accommodations Creating manageable segmentsThe value of feedback and boundariesFinding comfort in structure Quotes:“The most intriguing were the students with ‘special energy’, the ones who were trying to drink from a waterfall instead of a glass. I love that. The ones who dreamed all day but then said something that no one else thought of. The ones whose engines ran on instant gratification… They were creative, funny, out of the box, and struggling.”“The minute we moved back to Israel, that was a crash and burn. And that's when I went for her diagnosis, because suddenly I put her into a classroom of 28 students and a much more high pressured school where they were not tolerating.”“It never occurred to me that this amazing kid was a bother to anybody.”“I just started reading and just dragging information from everywhere in order to help my kids, and that's how the book started taking shape.”“They're all or nothing. So if they don't get part of the morning right, they wake up a little bit too late, and it all goes in the garbage. ‘Forget it. I'm not getting out of bed’…So we divide that up.”“I didn't realize that kids with ADHD and adults really too, are more sensitive to others and about things happening to them.”“A lot of times we look at the kid and say, ‘Just respond normally. What is all of this tantruming? Why are you crying in the supermarket?’…But they're not able to because we didn't help them break it down and really understand what the trigger was.”“We're not psychologists. We’re moms and dads. So I give the parents the tools to ask the questions a certain way, be patient, and tell your own personal stories. There are things we can do to get the child to be less shameful and to be able to share what they're really feeling.”“The reason I did it was, because I feel like parents do not have informed consent when it comes to their kid’s intervention program. So the first book really gives the parents an alternative program.”Links:Kelly Travis ​​Kelly Travis on InstagramSingle Mom Stories...
50:44 7/7/22
014: Soldier Syndrome, Community and Education with Dr. Jennoa Graham
Kelly welcomes Dr. Jennoa Graham to the podcast today to chat about her experience beginning her single mom journey at 15 and making it as an entrepreneur at the same time. Dr. Graham opens up the episode by discussing her uniquely grueling experience of working, going to school, and raising a child full time. Dr. Graham finds that it wasn’t until she had her son that she was forced to reckon with her soldier syndrome and PTSD. And while she attributes her hardworking nature and orderliness to this soldier syndrome, it also prevented her from taking care of herself mentally and emotionally, a common thread that seems to be woven in most single mom stories we’ve listened to here.Dr. Graham recounts how she was one of the few that was quick to ask for help, but she didn’t wait around for anyone to come and answer her prayers. One of her biggest struggles, however, remains in developing a healthy relationship for herself, noting that she still has a lot of growth to do. Now that her son is 27, out of the house, and successful, she finds that she finally has the time to focus on herself. Dr. Graham closes out today’s episode by emphasizing the importance of role models, especially as this relates to fathers and sons. Children need something positive to look up to, and she provided her son with just that while also being self-aware enough to realize when he needed someone else. Since she was 15, Graham has always put others’ needs first before her own. Now, it’s her turn.The Finer Details of This Episode:Beginning her single mom journey at 15Working and going to school full time Soldier syndromeMissing  out on young, crazy adulthoodPursuing her Ph.D and Masters degreesNot receiving child support for 8 yearsAsking for supportRelationship development challengesUp next for Graham: communityThe importance of positive role models Corporate AmericaQuotes:“She is an international public speaker and author, a professor and an adjunct executive team leader. Her 20 year career of combined multinational corporate accounting, and consulting experience reflects core values of transparency, integrity, efficiency, and sustainability resulting in multimillion dollar savings.”“When I got into my teens, like anybody else, you know, looking for something better, I fell in love early at the tender age of 14. And about a year and a half later, I was expecting our firstborn.”“A counselor actually found a scholarship for me that I was perfect for. And she literally snatched me out of class. I hadn't had to do the application. And it was the Dale Davis scholarship. There was a basketball player in Indiana at the time, and I was the first recipient. And because of that scholarship, I was able to go to college.”“I kind of felt like I was punished, because I was wanting to better myself. But at the same time, because I wanted to better myself, I couldn't take advantage of some of the free help that was available.”“I know something's wrong with me because of what I've been through, but I need to figure out what's wrong with me, so I don't damage him. And so through that journey of self=discovery and self-healing and getting healthy, I learned of my PTSD and what types and all of it.”“It is hard to get support. I asked for help very easily. I don't always wait for the answer. Because if I'm asking, I need it, and if you're not quick to help me, then for whatever reason, you're not going to and then I just move on.”"I just am a project based person who's making myself available to corporations, individuals, and small businesses to help them save money and time.”“You would have never told me that I would have been an entrepreneur. I mean, I really thought that I was either going to be a
39:10 6/16/22
013: From Teen Parent to Parenting Counselor with Helen Hicks
Kelly welcomes Helen Hicks to the podcast this week.  A counselor with a Masters in Business, and a single mother of five, Helen knows a thing or two about multitasking.  She first got pregnant at the age of 19 at the hands of an abusive boyfriend turned abusive parent, and then went on to finish school with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with the help of a free daycare.  Despite how busy Helen was while both studying and parenting, her ex, who didn’t remain in contact with his children, wanted lower and lower child support rates and the ability to control where she could live.  Her sons struggled without a father figure as they grew up - one of the reasons why she encouraged her children to start going to therapy.  When they did, her children even started calling her out for using her “therapist voice” in the home.  After the dust settled, Helen started dating again, and she recalls the chaos of it all.  When her children were still young, she implemented a new practice in the home where she could have private time for a short period during the day.  Looking back, she feels like it made her a better parent, while also noting that she owes a lot of her success as a parent to her experience as a counselor.  Helen and Kelly draw this episode to a close as they chat about Helen’s podcast What Would Helen Say, which showcases real life therapy sessions with clients of hers. They also discuss her upcoming book, The Parenting Treatment Plan, which has a similar aim: to help parents parent, instead of fighting for the right to parent in the first place - a shift that, as you will hear today, makes all the difference. The Finer Details of This Episode: Getting pregnant at the age of 19The expensive side of childcareHicks’ bachelor's degree in PsychologyHer mother’s paranoiaLeaving an abusive partnerHer ex’s lack of contactChild supportHer sons’ experiences lacking a father figureThe chaos of dating as a single momHer second divorceHer son’s decision to leave the nestSetting aside personal time for herselfParenting as a counselorWhat Would Helen Say?Fighting for the right to parentQuotes: “He was just like, ‘Let me know.  Send me a picture’.”“Many people never saw that side of her until much later in life.”“I have been working with kids in nonprofits and things of that nature. And in working with kids, you have to work with parents, as well. And I encountered so many parents who were like, do you work with adults? Can I work with you.”“I didn't find out until afterwards that other people had witnessed him mistreating my older boys, and nobody had said anything to me at all. They saw him. They told me after the fact.”“I had to negotiate with them, because he had put into our divorce that I could not move without his permission. So I had to get in contact with him even though he had no contact for three years. I still had to negotiate with him. And part of that was to pretty much reduce his child support.”“I know it's damaging for children to feel put in the middle of their parents… So I told them, you know, these are my feelings, because it's my experience. But you can have totally different feelings and totally different experiences. That's up to you. If you tell me you want to see him. Fine.”“He had his perceptions of what parenting meant and what it looked like. And he tried to implement his view, despite me saying you don't work like that. But he wanted to pursue his idea of what should or shouldn't happen. That's ultimately what pushed the boys away, because he wasn't receptive to what they were saying.”“They saw the tension between us and the arguments that would happen,...
52:56 6/9/22
012: Sharing Adulthood with Your Child: A Conversation with Natasha Steer
Today Kelly welcomes Natasha Steer to the Single Mom Stories podcast.  Giving birth as a teenage mother and going it alone without the help of a partner, Natasha introduces the audience to her inspiring story in which she and her son moved from Toronto to China, traveled abundantly abroad, and they found solace in each other.  Natasha opens up the conversation by talking about her teaching career and how she completed her degree in five years, despite raising a child on her own.  Luckily, during this time, she received lots of support from her own mom so that she could enjoy some semblance of life as a “normal” 19 year old.  It was this unwavering support that allowed her to silence the haters and turn her cheek to the teen mom stigma.A short eight years later, however, her life was far from normal.  She accepted a teaching position in China, where she and her son would live for the next four years.  During their time abroad, mother and son were able to travel all across Asia and eventually Europe.  Having graduated with a mountain of student debt, she’d finally reached a point in her financial life where she could spend money on surprises for her son.  Natasha draws this episode to a close as she talks about spending the entirety of her adult life with her son.  With her son, now 18, ready to begin his own adult life, she finds that she’s returning to herself for the first time since she was a child, and she’s even picked up a few old hobbies.  The Finer Details of this Episode: Natasha’s jump into her teaching careerThe importance of familial supportHow children change your prioritiesFacing the teen mom stigmaRaising a child and starting a careerMoving with her son to ChinaThe uncertainty of living abroadThe joy in surprising her sonSpending your entire adult life with your childPicking up old hobbiesQuotes: “So I had my son quite young. I was 19, and I hadn't started university yet. So I waited until he was just about two, and then I started the programs… and that took me about five years.”“It was the first night my son was home from the hospital, and I was about to run out the door with two of my teenage friends. And I sort of caught sight of him, and I was like, ‘Whoa, what do I do with that?’”“I was just another single teen mom trying to navigate a narrative that had been put on me.”“That was maybe one of the hardest things I think about living abroad, that thought process and that uncertainty: Where do we go back? And do we go back?”“Traveling over there is very different than it is here. It's a lot less money on flights. You know, you can go to Japan for the weekend.  You can go wherever for the weekend.  We had a lot of vacation time. They had a Fall Festival, Spring Festival, and Chinese New Year.”“Being able to sort of navigate the travel world, and get a little bit more comfortable buying the tickets, organizing the things, and planning it all out meant that I could offer him some of those opportunities.”“I mean, you think about how you started the journey: 19, no money, no college education, and all by yourself. And you're at this point where you're traveling to 40 countries with your son. I mean, that's so special.”“I can't speak for all single moms, but I think that you get comfortable being on your own.”Links: Kelly Travis ​​Kelly Travis on InstagramSingle Mom Stories...
41:10 6/2/22
011: Advice from an Empty Nester with J. Rosemarie
J. Rosemarie joins Kelly on the podcast today to give her perspective on raising her children as a single mom and coming out the other side.  She first became a single mom when she came home one day to find that her husband had abandoned her and her children, taking valuables with him, including the kids’ piggy bank.  Rosemarie admits that those first few years were hard, and she remembers fondly the moments when even random strangers would come to her rescue.  It wasn’t until she started going to group therapy with other single parents that she realized that she wasn’t alone in this life.  It was also the first time that she was forced to reckon with the negative perception of being a single mom.  Likewise, she remembers struggling to balance a job whilst being a single parent, and how, for a while, she suffered from imposter syndrome and couldn’t juggle the many hats she was forced to wear.  Rosemarie goes on to talk about a topic few on this podcast have: raising your children to leave the home.  As an empty nester, she’s often overwhelmed with this sense of loss for her children, but she reminds herself of how proud of them she is. Now that she is on her own, she has finally found the time to take care of herself, and after years of putting others first, she’s glad that she is at last her number one priority. The Finer Details of This Episode:Being abandoned unexpectedlyThe value in the kindness of strangersHer experience in group therapyThe negative perception of single momsImposter SyndromeA lack of foundation during Rosemarie’s childhoodJuggling a job as a single momRaising your children to leave the homeThe importance of taking care of herselfQuotes: “And then as I went to walk through the house, I realized that, you know, my ex had just packed, left, and took even the kids’ piggy bank.”“I thought I was the only one, you know, going through all this mental anguish… And I thought to myself, ‘it would be nice if all single moms at the time tried this resource.’”“It took me six years to start the podcast, because my mind just told me that, one: nobody wanted to hear it.”“It's really scary, because I didn't have to think about just me.”“Kids are resilient, and it's not as bad as you think.”“It's inevitable, and it's not a loss. It's something for you to be proud of that you raised these humans on your own. And now they're good enough, big enough, and old enough to raise their own humans.”“The children need a father.  Hopefully their father is willing and able, but at the very least, find your child a male mentor who can be a good example to him.”Links:Solo Moms Talk WebsiteJ. Rosemarie on InstagramJ. Rosemarie on Facebook Kelly Travis ​​Kelly Travis on InstagramSingle Mom Stories HomepageSingle Mom Stories Instagram
36:52 5/26/22
010: Coping with Shame, Guilt, and Feelings of Inadequacy
Kelly goes it solo again on this week’s episode of Single Mom Stories, as she discusses the immense guilt and shame that single parents feel, especially when they compare themselves to their fellow coupled peers.  This undeserved shame and guilt partially stem from the stigma surrounding single parenthood, but also a large portion stems from within.  Many single parents experience feelings of inadequacy out of fear that they’re being bad parents in the absence of their “other half,” and it’s certainly hard to dig oneself out of that negative mindset.  That’s why Kelly goes on to talk about coping techniques to help single parents overcome unnecessary guilt and shame that they burden themselves with.  At the end of the day, we’re all just doing the best we can, and it’s important to remember that.  As a coach, Kelly likes to help her clients create positive mindsets and healthy thinking patterns.  So in this particular case, when worries about being a bad parent creep in, start focusing on neutral and eventually positive thoughts if possible.  Shifting oneself towards a neutral mindset, away from negativity that plagues the minds of single parents, isn’t always easy, but it’s most certainly worth it for the children’s sake and that of the parents. The Finer Details of This Episode:Undeserved shame and guilt surrounding single motherhoodSingle motherhood stigmaFeelings of inadequacyWorries about being a bad parentCreating a positive mindsetUsing neutral thoughts to move through negativityQuotes: “Motherhood in particular, as Brene Brown will tell you, is a big shame trigger for women; single motherhood even more so. And I've even noticed in having conversations with women around this single mom podcast, there's like an apology about the label.”“I don't really want to call myself a single mom. And I think that so many of us don't want to wear that identity, because there's such a negative connotation, and it carries more shame.”“So we need to get away from this feeling that we need to apologize to people who are still in relationships, and explain ourselves as though still being in relationships makes other people experts at something that we failed at.” “If we let definitions of good parenting or relationships impact us, we have expectations of ourselves that are not realistic.”“When people ask me, ‘How do you do it? I just say, ‘You would be able to do it too.’ We figure it out. And is every day beautiful? No, definitely not. It's exhausting, and I'm in tears a lot. Nobody's going to lie about that. But we're all doing the best that we can in the circumstances we have.  And some days are amazing. And some days are just shit.”Links:Kelly Travis ​​Kelly Travis on InstagramSingle Mom Stories HomepageSingle Mom Stories Instagram
21:34 5/19/22
009: Grief, Family Meetings and Dating Rules with Pascale Brady
On this episode of Single Mom Stories, Kelly chats with Pascale Brady, a single mother, widow, and coach.  After moving to the US at the age of 26, she married a man, only to lose him to illness a few years later.  While becoming a single mother and losing her husband was remarkably difficult, she finds it important to acknowledge the struggles of children of divorced or single parents.  Too often, adults let their issues get in the way of parenting, and that’s why, when she started dating again, she felt it important to take baby steps.  Balancing a relationship with children is no small feat, so taking things slowly and keeping communication lines open are paramount.  Pascale prides herself on her close relationship with her kids, and she owes much of this success to her weekly family meetings.  Every Sunday, they meet to discuss the upcoming week and any difficulties they may be going through.  She notes that it’s been a tool to help empower her children and provide them with some semblance of autonomy and control.  As she and Kelly draw this episode to a close, she attributes much of her successful parenting to her work as a coach, and how, if she’s learned anything from her career and her experience as a mom, it’s the value of self-care. After all, how can you be a good parent to someone else when you can’t properly take care of yourself.The Finer Details of This Episode:Grieving the loss of her husband as a single momMoving to the US at 26Struggles for children of divorce/single parentWhen adulting gets in the way of parentingBalancing relationships with childrenThe importance of baby stepsPascale’s wonderful relationship with her children Family meetingsEmpowering your children Brady’s work with PEPThe value in self-careQuotes: “Of course, after that, I fell back in the hole, you know, many times, but it gave me hope again; it gave me hope that there could be a place that was no longer so dark all the time.”“There are people who are single parents, not by definition, but by circumstance, right? They're in relationships, but they're really doing it all by themselves.”“We need to continue living our adult lives. I mean, that's the way I felt. I needed to continue living my life. So finding that middle ground where you live your adult life, honor yourself, find joy and happiness again, and you also respect your kids and their needs and their wants.”“So my recommendation is just really take your time and leave the kids out of it as long as you can.”“When the going gets tough, and it gets tough, even for intact families that don't have single parenting issues, that's the one thing that's such an important job, right? We're raising the human beings of tomorrow.”“It's always the same stuff, but you need to be better at it when you're facing really difficult circumstances.”“We cannot be parents, let alone good parents, if we are not doing what brings us joy, doing what makes us strong, doing what makes us healthy, mentally and physically.”Links: Kelly Travis ​​Kelly Travis on InstagramSingle Mom Stories HomepageSingle Mom Stories InstagramParent Encouragement Program Homepage
52:54 5/12/22
008: How to Make Transitions Easier
In this week’s episode of Single Mom Stories, Kelly talks about the prominence of change during divorce, and how both parents and children benefit from predictable and stress-free transitions.  It’s no secret that going through a divorce changes your life, and it can be overwhelming. That being said, Kelly realizes that the more seamless the change, the better children and parents are able to cope with divorce.  She urges listeners to create some form of structure or expectations for transitions, especially as it relates to custody schedules and day-to-day life. Kelly notes, however, that building structure can be somewhat of a fine line between being overcontrolling and reliant.  She finds it paramount that she creates boundaries - for example, out of respect for her children’s father, she doesn’t reach out to her kids when they are at his house.  So long as her children are out of danger, she tries to avoid stepping on toes, and when her children return to her house, she expects the same courtesy in return.  As she draws this episode to a close, Kelly does concede that it’s always a struggle when her kids leave for their dad’s.  Combating loneliness after a divorce is no small feat, but if you create boundaries and structure for yourself like you would for your children, loneliness is far less likely to rear its ugly head.The Finer Details of This Episode: The prominence of transitions for children of divorceThe importance of structureCreating boundaries Setting expectations for transitionsCombating loneliness post-divorceQuotes: “I got divorced when my youngest was a little over a year old, and my oldest was three, so I immediately realized how important transitions were.”“If you can have two sets of everything at both houses, it’s so much better, less stress over forgetting things, and identifying what belongs where.  We don't want our kids to feel like a visitor in one of the parents' homes.”“I've had to come to the realization over the years that it's actually none of my business most of the time, what goes on over there, unless I'm concerned about harm.”“My kids, when they go to their dad’s, it's like a vacation.  Then they come back, and they have to be back to reality.  I have more rules.  I handle the day-to-day.  They go to school.  There's chores and all the things.  So it's an adjustment every time they come back, and I have to be prepared.”“When I was first divorced, I didn't know what to do with myself. For those 48 hours, I was in tears. I didn't know how to be alone, I felt like I was missing something.”“As moms especially, we feel like if we're not ‘mommying’, if we're not doing the things to take care of our kids, then there's something wrong.”Links: Kelly Travis ​​Kelly Travis on InstagramSingle Mom Stories HomepageSingle Mom Stories Instagram
20:07 5/5/22
007: Learning From Her Mom with Cathy McKinnon
On today’s episode of Single Mom Stories, we welcome Cathy McKinnon, a transformation coach, author, and mother who became single when her son was just barely out of diapers.  She and I open up the conversation by detailing the initial shock that one experiences after filing for divorce, and Cathy says she and her son found solace in a schedule.  Setting weekly and daily expectations for them both, she finds that she’s less stressed than she would be otherwise.  Being a child of divorce herself, she was angry that she couldn’t learn from her parents’ mistakes, although it has given her a single mother role model.  While Cathy struggles to ask for help, her mother’s continuous help and support has lightened her load immensely.  She goes on to talk about how her mother’s example inspired her to be the best she could be for her son.  Cathy draws this episode to a heartwarming close by reminiscing on all of the vacations she and her son go on together.  After all, it’s this quality time she gets to share with her child that she values above all else.  The Finer Details of This Episode: The initial shock of divorce50/50 custody The importance of a scheduleGrowing up as a child of divorceLearning from her mother’s mistakesDating as a single motherCathy on spending quality time with her sonQuotes: “Yeah, there's dishes in the sink, there might be laundry to be folded, but I don't get this time back with him. And so it's all about the experiences and having fun together.”“I didn't want to be like my parents. I swore to myself that I would be different than my parents. Then here, I was almost in the same exact spot. So I put a lot of judgment on myself in the beginning–why couldn't I have figured it out?“I'm back to the dating world, but my son to this point has not met any person that I've gone on a date with. I'm under the premise that until there is something that is permanent, he doesn't.”“We have this close relationship where he talks to me about anything and everything; I love that he feels that I'm a safe space.”“We're all humans. This is an imperfect journey. There is no guidebook.  There is no instruction book. So give yourself grace and remember to just have some time to sit and laugh with your kids.”Links: Kelly Travis ​​Kelly Travis on InstagramSingle Mom Stories HomepageSingle Mom Stories InstagramKathy's Instagram
38:05 4/21/22
006: Financial Stress in London with Amy Bullman
Today on another episode of the Single Mom Stories Podcast, I welcome fellow podcaster, Amy Bullman, to the show.  Having divorced when her children were very young, Amy opens up today’s conversation by saying that she’d already felt like a single parent far before signing her divorce papers.  The only difference after the divorce was that her poor financial situation intensified.  She struggled to receive any help from her ex, but she recalls how her family was her greatest support system.  Her sister even moved in with her for a brief period.  Amy goes on to discuss the financial woes she suffered and how this was only exacerbated by living in London.  Despite monetary stress, Amy has plenty of wonderful memories with her children and has a rather laid back lifestyle.  Her children definitely prefer staying with her, although they still have a relationship with their dad.  She says it’s important to check in on her children to see how they’re coping with their divorce.  While one daughter copes well, Amy feels that her other one is struggling, and she has since started taking her to therapy.   We draw this episode to a close by talking about what seems to be a recurring theme on this podcast: asking for help.The Finer Details of This Episode: Why Amy made the decision to get a divorceNot receiving financial help from her exThe importance of familial support What it’s like suffering financially as a single parentGood memories with her childrenHow Amy’s children cope with the divorceThe importance of asking for helpQuotes: “Our relationship was kind of a bit strained. And there were other issues kind of happening, but I just wasn't happy. And we were arguing a lot. And just it wasn't working for either of us. It wasn't what either of us wanted, and I was just going to be better off on my own.”“I did everything anyway. The easiest thing for me was the fact that I didn't have to feel annoyed at someone for not doing what I wanted them to do and just doing it myself.”“When I became a single mom, that's really when I started to cut alcohol out of my life, because I was like, I can't do this. Even just like once a week having a few drinks. I just felt horrible.”“I didn't start on the apps, it was about two years after, because I didn't think it just took me a real long time to get my head around the fact that I was single again, I've never really had a lot of relationships anyway.”“I've been doing a lot of work on myself lately. There's a fine line between feeling like you're being selfish and setting an example of, ‘I need to do this myself’, because you need to spend time on yourself.”“The most important thing I've learned is that you need to be happy. Because if you're not happy, then you can't parent as well.”Links: Kelly Travis ​​Kelly Travis on InstagramSingle Mom Stories HomepageSingle Mom Stories InstagramMum and Mummer Podcast on Facebook
46:02 4/14/22
005: Does Self-Care for Single Parents Exist?
Welcome to another episode of the Single Mom Stories Podcast! Today I don’t have a guest joining us, but that feels rather fitting considering I will talk about the importance of self-compassion.  As single parents, we often feel guilty and frustrated that we don’t have enough time to wash our hair, let alone do something for ourselves.  It’s hard to practice self-care when you’re raising children alone.  Recently, my therapist suggested that I start doing nice things for myself once a day. I looked at him like he was crazy and I resisted it for a while because I didn’t even know how to do it let alone when I would do it. Listen in to hear how that all transpired and my challenge to you. I hope you’ll join me. You can do anything from reading a book and taking yourself out to eat to accepting help from someone and buying yourself flowers. I’d love to hear from you if you have more ideas for simple self care practices, so let me know by reaching out on social media or my website. I can’t wait to hear from you!The Finer Details of This Episode:Why self compassion is difficult to achieveLearning to let things goWhy Kelly’s therapist recommended that she do something nice for herself once a dayIdeas of ways to treat yourselfQuotes:“It's difficult to have self-compassion. If you're feeling bad about your situation, we’ve got to move forward, right?”“A lot of us feel like we're doing something wrong, right? What am I doing wrong that I can't have this routine that lasts an hour? Oh, right. I have children running amuck, and I have to take care of them in the morning.”“I just have to loosen up, I have learned to just let things go. And it doesn't matter how many times I ask them to, you know, put their lunchbox in their backpack and grab their water bottles, somebody inevitably forgets something, is busy doing something else– it doesn't matter.”“All this is to say if you don't have this beautifully laid out morning routine, you are not alone. And also you need to do what works best for you.”“I know that when I am running on fumes, and I'm stressed and I'm low on sleep, and not feeling like I've had a minute to myself, I am a nightmare. I am a nightmare, and I don't show up very well in my home. So I need to do better about putting aside time for myself to do little things that bring me joy.”Links:Kelly Travis ​​Kelly Travis on InstagramSingle Mom Stories HomepageSingle Mom Stories InstagramPodcast Interviewee Application
18:24 4/7/22
004: Learning to Love Again with Emma Ferrick
Today’s guest on the Single Mom Stories podcast is Emma, an ex-single mom, business owner, and domestic violence survivor. We begin today’s conversation by reviewing the moment when Emma found out she was pregnant.  She remembers feeling scared to tell her Catholic parents that she was pregnant, especially since she had yet to graduate college.  A lot of monumental events in Emma’s family also took place during this time making her feel like a burden.  Emma notes that she was somewhat distracted from the abuse she suffered at the hands of her child’s father as a result, and she only decided to leave him after he had physically abused her for the third time.  She said it was at this moment that she went into survival mode.We go on to talk about her experience fighting the same man for custody over their daughter. It was a frustrating time when she felt like the legal system wasn’t protecting her like it should.  After, however, she talks about her fiance and what it was like to have to relearn how to trust again - sharing a life with someone is no small feat.  She says living with someone presents new challenges, but she’s also grateful that she’s found her greatest supporter and partner.  We draw this episode to a close as Emma remembers some of her favorite memories with her daughter; she cherishes the bygone therapy days when she would get dinner with her daughter after an appointment.The Finer Details of This Episode: Emma’s story of finding out that she was pregnantHer experience of escaping an abusive partnerThe custody battle that aroseLearning to trust againWhat it’s like to be in a relationship againGetting dinner with her daughter on therapy daysQuotes:“I was like, so scared, and clearly, I don't want people to know. I don't want people to judge me. I was so afraid of what people would think. But once I announced it and things like that, people were– I was really just in my own head.”“There were all these major life events that distracted me from the abusive relationship that I didn't really start to realize like I can't tolerate this anymore. It wasn't until probably the third or fourth physical altercation; that was the one that actually sent me to the hospital.”“So anyone who's going through this, if you are struggling with it, keep using the legal aspect as best as you can, even though it's frustrating and can be slow–But using that to your advantage as best as you can to help you get free is so important.”“Honestly, I was ready to give up on trying to go on dates. I was definitely putting myself out there way earlier than most people would or feel comfortable to.”“I can decide to see the good in a person and not let my experience ruin it for everyone, because it's part of my therapy and part of my healing.”“You don't have to on-paper be a single mom to feel like a single mom, right? There are so many women who are doing the bulk of the work. Maybe they have some financial support, but they are doing most of this.”Links: Single Mom Stories Instagram - Mom Stories Facebook - - www.singlemomstories Emma Ferrick instagram -
40:07 3/31/22
003: Khadijah Tishan on Compassion and Forgiving Yourself
Khadijah Tishan, author, speaker, licensed therapist, founder of Real Healing Center, and single mom joins me on the podcast this week. In her role as a REAL Life Strategist, Khadijah offers support, strategies and tools to assist people experiencing overwhelm, anxiety, and burnout.  Today, she joins me to talk about her life journey and the important role that compassion plays in it.Khadijah begins our conversation by sharing her  experience as a single mom fresh out of college.  While she notes that the expectations for what a traditional family should look like is changing, she found it difficult to stop comparing herself to other mothers in relationships and how she thought that would be.  As a single mom going through grad school and eventually working two jobs, Khadijah had to learn the importance of compassion and acceptance, especially when her son’s father didn’t seem to pull the same weight. We also discuss how compassion for others doesn’t need to supersede the compassion we have for ourselves, and how, as single moms, it’s easy to feel inadequate to those around us. Khadijah mentions she even felt guilty when comparing herself to other moms, wishing that she could have given her son more.  Khadijah and I end this episode on a positive note as she discusses her present contentment and gratitude in the 20 years since having her son. The Finer Details of This Episode: How traditional family tropes are changingGetting her start in clinical social workFrustration regarding other parent’s parenting styleThe importance of compassion and acceptanceFeelings of inadequacy as a motherContentment in the presentQuotes: “Having a baby like that helped me to even do clinical social work, and really understand all of the different dynamics. ““I think that the worst thing that people say that you hear on social media all the time is like, there's someone giving advice about a relationship and someone’s comeback is, ‘Well, that's why you're still single.’ They think that's actually a jab at the person who's giving maybe even solid advice”“I can't be a single mom without someone leaving, right? In some form or fashion, something had to end for me to even get a title. But we focus a lot of our energy on them.”“You’ve got a job to do.  You do your part. I do mine. The world is supposed to be about balance, not about me owning everything.”“There's men out here today who grow up thinking that women are supposed to be some in some kind of shape or way emotionally responsible for them, or even financially responsible for them. Or they should do things to make them comfortable. And I don't want my son to learn that.”Links: Single Mom Stories on Instagram​​Kelly Travis on Instagramwww.singlemomstories.netKhadijah TishanKhadijah Tishan on Facebook 
46:53 3/25/22
002: Finding Strength in Loss with Jeni Besworth
As the first of many conversations with single moms, I welcome writer, producer, and podcast host Jeni Besworth to the first official episode of Single Mom Stories. We open up the episode by talking about the importance of starting new traditions with children, especially in the wake of drastic familial change.  Jeni discusses the heavy bouts of depression and exhaustion that plagued her when her children were younger, and goes on to express how dating is a challenge as a single parent.  Only after she started dating, though, did she learn about the importance of asking for help.  We go on to talk about Jeni’s experience losing her mom and support system, and how her mom’s death and her custody battle taught her how to do what’s best for herself and her children.  We go on to discuss the frustrations Jeni and I have when we see our exes living the ‘high life’ and how that frustration realistically gets us nowhere. To close out this episode, Jeni reminds herself of the past and how strong she has needed to be to get to the healthy place where she and her family are now.  The Finer Details of This Episode: Starting traditions with childrenJeni’s divorce experience with extremely young childrenFeelings of loneliness and exhaustionThe importance of asking for helpDating as a single parentJeni’s experience losing her mom and support systemJeni’s belief in doing what’s best for her and her childrenSingle parent strengthQuotes: “Well, maybe being divorced doesn't feel traditional. I guess that's probably it. And so all these families are setting this big dining room table and putting out the silverware or whatever, and we've got our TV trays in front of the TV, and we're watching ‘Gilmore Girls’, or you know, so you start to feel this weird guilt.”“We just obviously knew that it wasn't working, but then he ended up actually meeting somebody else, as it sometimes happens. He wanted to get divorced right away, obviously, because he was looking to marry her. When you think about the steps and the way that things are supposed to go or how they go or what have you, it didn't even occur to me that you had to do one thing or another. And I didn't even think about divorce. It was really just trying to survive.”“I remember Christmas Eve specifically, just being the lowest point. I remember being in the dining room, and the girls were asleep, and I was organizing everything and putting everything together just by myself. And honestly, had he been here, I don't know, I probably would have done it myself anyway.”“When you're by yourself, and you don't have anyone to talk to about that in the middle of the night, it's just really hard.”“I’m not desperate in any way, but it would be lovely to have a companion to sort of balance out the ‘mom life’.”“I've grown a lot in terms of my expectations of other people, but also my boundaries - I never really had any. I was really trying to please everybody; that is impossible – you cannot do that.”“I remember, as we were pulling out from the church, there were two kids on the sidewalk, and they were skipping rope, and laughing and having a time. And I remember looking at them thinking, ‘You don't know that my mum just died. You're just having the same Saturday you always have, and now my life is changed forever.’”“I looked at my kids and thought, ‘I still have to be your person, but my person is gone.’”“So you're really just doing it, and you're surviving it, and it is nice to sometimes look back on the stories and, like you said, ‘Well, I did that.’”Links: Single Mom Stories website
46:48 3/17/22
001: Welcome to Single Mom Stories
**Sorry for the patchy audio on this one. My furry child was chewing a bone and he gets loud for a bit.**Welcome to the very first episode of Single Mom Stories, a new podcast in which I seek to help single parents feel slightly less alone. Today,  I open up the episode with the remark that I don’t have other family members or friends who are single mothers and hope that this podcast will help single mothers feel more connected to one another.  Having been divorced for nearly six years, I’ve been a single mom since my children were extremely young, and I know that it’s taught me how to take care of myself, despite dedicating much of my life to my children. We’ll also look at how important storytelling is, and, in that spirit, I’ll share a story from my own life when I found my children playing with a toy mop and toilet water in the hallway. I close out this brief first episode by sharing the types of guests I intend to have on the podcast and reiterate my hope that, as this podcast moves forward, I can bring single moms of all types of backgrounds together.    The Finer Details of this Episode: Introduction to Single Mom StoriesMy goal in creating this podcastMy experience as a single motherThe importance of sharing storiesMy story of when my kids cleaned the house with toilet water.  My plans for the future of the podcast and the guests coming your wayQuotes: “We sit around and chat like we're having coffee or cocktails together. I hope if you're a listener, you feel like you're brought right into these conversations, because the point of this is for all of us to feel less alone – more seen, more connected.”“I am feeling like I am less alone, because I don't have single mom friends. I don't have family members who are single parents. And so while people can empathize, they don't really know what it's like to be in our shoes.”“Although it was very stressful to navigate the shift, it was also a really positive thing for me and for my family – it was also incredibly challenging.”“I love the idea of being able to share stories on here as we converse and just chat, so you're going to hear from moms who are newly solo parents all the way to empty nesters and everything in between.  We're going to talk about all the things: you know, the first time you didn't have your kids, the first time you tried to date after being divorced, the feeling of guilt that's associated with being a mom, the sacrifices we make– all of those things that come up as we navigate this journey and this single mom life.”Links:Single Mom Stories websiteSingle Mom Stories Instagram
10:13 3/17/22
This podcast is dedicated to sharing real life stories of that single mom life. Yep, the messy parts and the not-so-messy parts. The funny moments and the bring-you-to-your-knees-I'm-gonna-cry-in-the-bathroom moments too. You'll find interviews, insights and a community right here. Whether you're a single parent, someone who does a lot of parenting on your own, or a mom who has an extra set of hands to help, you’re bound to see yourself in these stories.
01:05 3/9/22