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You've been through something like this, right?

I was huddled over a near-flat tire, fumbling with an ancient air hose at a rather scary Speedway gas station in the middle of Strip Mall, Indiana yesterday afternoon. My pants were leather, my heels were high, my blouse was sophisticated, my rose gold hair and hot pink lipstick were somehow still perfectly in place.

But my hands? They were covered in grease, dirt, and God only know what else lives in the underbelly of family SUVs. 

All I needed to do was refill the tire, slip into some yoga pants and boots, and turn left on to the interstate home. That's not what happened. 

Instead, after a lovely but immeasurably long weekend celebrating my grandmother's 99th birthday (and this fierce lady is not slowing down!) with my parents and kids and cousins and a giant Costco cake I sliced for 30 people with a butter knife, the air nozzle kissed the tire valve, which snapped it off, hurled it toward my face and sprayed every bit of remaining air from the tire into the ether.  The tire was totally out of commission. 

Outfit – amazing. Hands – dirty. Tire and energy and outlook – immediately deflated.

I felt the stress rise up.

"What do I do?! What do I do?," I called out to no one, as a flash of my family spending the night in the car by the fluorescent light of the Speedway overwhelmed my brain.

"You're going to call AAA," my dad said calmly. He was standing over my shoulder, peeking to see what was holding up our caravan home.

Right, right. I could do that. I could call for help.

And so I pulled out my roadside assistance membership card, dialed the number, explained the crap situation, and accepted the wait time until Joey from Joey's Auto Service would pull up and save my ass (and tire). Then I dug the spare tire out from under four suitcases, a haul of reusable bags, and enough American Doll clothing to dress all of our children's lovies, and changed into my comfy clothes.

I was more prepared than I realized in the oh, shit moment as my tire valve flipped me off. 

I pay my annual membership dues faithfully (a few days ago, in fact) just for times like that, so that I have the resources and sense of safety I need, and so that I don't have manage kids, parents, and lack of Starbucks on my own AND change a tire, too. 

My dad was there to remind me of that, and I know I would have eventually found space in my stress brain to recall that it'd all be OK. 

And it was all OK. Repair guy Joey gave me a stern warning about only driving 50 mph on the spare for the entire 150 miles home. There are times that would have added to my stress. 

Once we hit the road (slowly), I lost track of my parents' car almost immediately. Most trips, that would have irritated the hell out of me.

Thank goodness, the deep-sigh reminder that I was well prepared was still coursing through me, because I shrugged it all off. I would just drive 50 mph (OK, 58, but I did not want to be plowed over by every semi and self-righteous fast-driver), rely on my GPS instead of my dad's directions, and we would get home when we got home. 

We did get home. Just in time for dinner (and glass of red for me), laundry and a solid night's sleep. We made it, in part because I was prepared, and in part because I told myself I could either cry or I could just drive (both at the same time is obviously an option for skilled multi-taskers).

I know you've had your fair share of those crappy moments yourself when all your plans go sideways and you're left clutching a collapsed tire or barfing kid or soaking wet cell phone. What you really want to do is lose your ever-loving mind, scream all the swears, and run as fast your pointy-toe kitten heels will take you. 

Instead, you let in just enough oxygen so you can remember you've got skills, resources, experience, and even a few membership cards. 

Because AAA or red wine or even our dads can't save us from every mishap, and because it feels so freaking amazing to prepare for good stuff – adventures! travel! changing jobs! making all the money! snuggling into love! creating a safe, beautiful, bright home! – I made something to help all of us single moms move through the crap and the crazy and the celebrations with deep breaths and creativity.



I created IGNITE, a creative course just for single moms like you, to help explore, think through, doodle, and list how we can navigate nine critical areas in our lives:

FREEDOM * SHINING BRIGHT * ADVENTURE * SECURITY * STRENGTH *
GRACE * CHOICE *  FORGIVENESS * OPPORTUNITY

As an IGNITE member, you will receive: 
* one email each day for a month with
* words of encouragement as well as creative
* and thought exercises that you can whip out in five little minutes or linger on longer (your call).

You will also have direct access to me to: 
* share your insights and inspiration,
* ask questions,
* and get coaching if you're stuck or want more out of the course.

You will get all of this for only $19. Why? HELLO, it is 2019 and this is your damn year! 
 
I am pretty sure that feeling prepared is worth 63 cents a day and a few minutes of quiet self-care time. 

You are going to love IGNITE, not only for each moment when it arrives in your inbox, but also in days, weeks, and (oh, yes) long, long time to come when your reaction to the unexpected is the sweet smile of knowing you're completely prepared handle it all. Even if it is at a super-slow speed. Especially in your highest heels.

IGNITE is available right now, just for you and for the many other amazing single mamas you know who you'd love to gift this to as a kickass New Year present. 
Start today, thank your badass self all year long.

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Is one of your resolutions to press pause on the Frozen soundtrack once the kids hop out of the car at morning drop-off and press play on something far less Olaf-y?

Are you exhausted from asking your friends which podcast you should listen to only to discover none of the hosts speak your language or really get your single-mom life?

We’ve got what you’re looking for to make 2019 the year of amazing you. Find all the inspiration, field-tested advice, laughs, deep questions and stories from real moms just like you on our podcast.

Your time to yourself is precious, so we will make it super-simple for you to get started. Here are two easy options.

  1. Subscribe to the Single Mom Nation podcast right here and just let the episodes play. (It is also available on Libsyn, Stitcher and your favorite place to stream podcasts.)

  2. Or choose an episode that calls to you from this list of our listener favorites.

  • If you are a badass entrepreneur, want to turn your side hustle into your main gig, or have dreams way bigger than this damn cubicle, listen in to straight-up wisdom from our favorite girl’s girl, single mama, and bossy boss, Stefania Pomponi, who built CLEVER agency from the ground wayyy up with her best friends.

  • If you feel like you lost too much in your divorce, find solace, understanding and the steps to recovering your gratitude in this conversation on the grief and grace of losing important items with author, coach, and Hurricane Harvey survivor Karen Walrond.

  • If you are loaded down with marriage crap and have no idea what to do with it, you need these ingenious tips from professional organizer and former single mother, Rachel Rosenthal. (Psst, her Real Housewives client is listening, if that sways you…and we know it does.)

  • If you’re not quite a widow and are grieving the death of your child’s other parent, join us for extraordinary, compassionate advice by author and single mom Amy Sue Nathan on how get yourself and your kids through the trauma.

  • If you have divorce regrets (and you do, which is cool because that just means you are a part of the super-sexy Everyone Who Divorces club), it is time to let go with this no-nonsense ways to release and reset from writer, photographer and professional intention-setter, single mom Lucrecer Braxton.

Did we miss your favorite episode? Let us know in the comments what it is! We’d love to hear why you replay that bad-girl so often.

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Tinder, eHarmony, Plenty of Fish, even the playground at (ahem) pick-up time – wherever and however you're meeting your matches, you won't be prepared unless you've first heard Ewa Baran's dating stories. We're making sense of what makes dating as a single mom so sweet, so spicy and sometimes, so sour.  Warning: Contains cussing and many references to dating site profiles with bad leather couches and dollar bill-collecting dancers in the background. 

Listen in now

 

Oh, hey. Here's another show you'd love

This single mom unexpectedly found love on a free dating site. Listen to Ashlee's Single Mom Love Story right here

While you're in the mood, read my piece on why we should all try out dating someone older and someone wayyyy younger. 

Talk to us

Have a question, something to add to the conversation or want to share your single mom experience? We'd love to hear from you. Contact jessica@single-momnation.com or join us right here on Facebook

Want to sponsor a show?

Of course you do! Because you know that single mothers make 100% of their household purchases and because we rely on word of mouth recommendations from other mothers who really get our big, busy lives. We cover money, divorce, dating, co-parenting, style and a long list of other dynamic topics and we'd love to partner with your brand on an upcoming episode. Let's talk – jessica@single-momnation.com. 

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Single Mom Nation by Jessica Ashley - 1y ago

You know that elated feeling that washes over you when you look around the table or room or conference panel and realize that not only are you sitting with some kickass women, you are actually a part of the group? That's how we feel whenever we get a nod from other single mothers who are empowering, elevating and connecting women like us. 

We are so honored to be included on ESME's list of Podcasts to Keep You Grounded Amidst the Chaos. ESME is a community built by and for solo moms, and Single Mom Nation's spot on their podcast list is basically rubbing booties with the Obamas of digital airwaves, Dear Sugars, so yes, I am a little weepy and squee-y about that. 

Podcasts to Keep You Grounded Amidst the Chaos https://t.co/YXrno7lA8q @podcasts @1a @singlemomnation @dearsugars @MomStuffPodcast pic.twitter.com/xJyij4sZQX

— ESME.com (@ESME_SoloMoms) April 10, 2018

We also got an electrifying mention from @kaitygoestoonederland about how much YASSSSS she felt while listening to our recent Single Mom Love Stories featuring Ashlee Dean Wells. What a thrill! We wish we could show you but, alas, it was on Instagram Stories and we all know we are too exhausted/lazy/preoccupied with the Chan+Jenna breakup to worry about how much we suck with a capitol IG. Instead, just take our word for it and follow our new Insta-friend's transformational posts which are full of single mama/badass tattooed and bikini-ed lady inspiration.  Thanks, Kaity! We love that you loved the epi.

 

 

 

 

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Welcome to Single Mom Love Stories! "I've always found more beauty in the grit," photographer, activist and (former) single mamas Ashlee Dean Wells explained of how revealing scars has helped her share her own stories and the testimony of other mothers, build community and make her way through life with kids, loss and now, what she calls "a big love." Ashlee reveals her Single Mom Love Story with partner Froilan, dubbed Flowers by her young daughter, and how they're building a beautiful, unexpected life and family together. 

 

Listen in now

 

What we mentioned in the show

Find Ashlee Dean Wells on her site here. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Check out the photo galleries, book and upcoming tour schedule for the 4th Trimester Bodies Project and follow 4th Tri on Instagram. 

Her amazing boudoir and timeless pin-up photography and services are at Windy City Pin Up

Oh, hey. Here's another show you'd love

Here's our first Single Mom Love Stories *VIDEO* (gasp), featuring the sweet story of a single mom's cross-country love, with Wendy Fontaine. 

How about a love story to yourself? You will be captivated by the delightful and insightful Casey Brown discussing how divorce made them get really real about their gender identity.

Talk to us

Have a question, something to add to the conversation or want to share your single mom experience? We'd love to hear from you. Contact jessica@single-momnation.com or join us right here on Facebook

Want to sponsor a show?

Of course you do! Because you know that single mothers make 100% of their household purchases and because we rely on word of mouth recommendations from other mothers who really get our big, busy lives. We cover money, divorce, dating, co-parenting, style and a long list of other dynamic topics and we'd love to partner with your brand on an upcoming episode. Let's talk – jessica@single-momnation.com. 

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Single Mom Nation by Jessica Ashley - 1y ago

Those things we believe in the hot molten core of us, that we lavish on a crying or raging or desperately lonely girlfriend, that we will profess in Facebook updates or in a workshop with clients or to our daughters – we need to hear them, too. Single moms need these reminders over and over because it takes some time and persistence to break through the thoughts on fast-forward, the scrolling to-do lists, the scripts for that dreaded talk with an ex, the "Mommymommymommymommy," the plans, the regrets, the movies we play over and over of times long past. Here are four to start your week, tiny thoughts with big impact about the you who is bigger, braver, even more beautiful than you let yourself believe too often.

Credit: Just Eat Real Food

You are both courageous and beautiful. Also, super smart and styley.

Kickass words courtesy Emma Stone, image courtesy Girl Boss.

Wise words from Rachel Macy Stafford.

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Have you ever wished your ex would fall off the planet? What if they did? In this episode, we dive into the deep waters of grief, panic, compassion and anger that bubble up when a child’s other parent dies. Author Amy Sue Nathan shares the complicated story of her ex-husband’s death, her children’s profound loss and the surprising ways her family and friends responded. She also offers advice on the practicalities and tenderness on swimming back to the surface with children, as only another single mom who has been through it can.

Listen in now

 

What we mentioned in the show

Connect with Amy here and read the novel inspired by her experiences here.

Oh, hey. Here's another show you'd love

What happens when you lose things, time, self-esteem and friends in a divorce? Hurricane Harvey survivor, professional gratitude practitioner, author, speaker and divine lady of light and love Karen Walrond talks about grieving the stuff and rebuilding from the rubble in this episode, Everything I Lost in the Gulf of Divorce.

Talk to us

Have a question, something to add to the conversation or want to share your single mom experience? We'd love to hear from you. Contact jessica@single-momnation.com or join us right here on Facebook

Want to sponsor a show?

Of course you do! Because you know that single mothers make 100% of their household purchases and because we rely on word of mouth recommendations from other mothers who really get our big, busy lives. We cover money, divorce, dating, co-parenting, style and a long list of other dynamic topics and we'd love to partner with your brand on an upcoming episode. Let's talk – jessica@single-momnation.com. 

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I read today that Vanessa Trump, who filed for papers five to seven minutes ago vs. the evil-who-shant-be-named's eldest child, was named "Most Likely to Be Divorced" in her high school yearbook. Oof. And she was named "Most Likely to be on Ricki Lake." Also, oof. I am guessing that wasn't to talk about natural childbirth and grinding placenta into pills. (More oofs.)

The designation in a yearbook felt stabby, maybe because it was created by asshole teenagers who self-elevate by putting others down. And even if that's something she exuded or even aspired to out loud, putting that to paper for all time feels like a bad message to the universe (and not just about Vanessa). 

I was a kid who believed at one point I'd be married a few times. That wasn't because it sounded like fun. It is because all of my aunts had been divorced and several of them had multiple husbands. The aunt I was closest to, whose sweeping style was luxe and polished, was brash, glamorous, independent, fun and funny, and cussed like a goddamn sailor. I wanted to be like her. In my growing mind, that included having several husbands who could make things like Jaguars and box seats at the horse races and ridiculous Christmas presents and a condo in the same building as Oprah, all come true. The glamorous life, I thought for a time way back then, required marriages plural.

I didn't know a lot back then. Like how my aunt's marriages that seemed healthy, wealthy and happy in a ten-year old's flashing pictures of memory were really laden with abuse, infidelity and addiction. I didn't consider that my aunt, who never graduated from high school and was a teenaged bride and mother, rose up over and over again on her own. She blazed her own path into careers that we know would insist require a master's degree or venture capitol or something else she surely didn't have in the last few decades of the last century. She became a buyer for a national furniture chain, did interior design, owned a high-end children's clothing boutique, proclaimed herself a shaman, moved across country and opened a fine arts and jewelry store, chaired galas, raised lots and lots of money from socialites and business owners for major nonprofit organizations. She had her own luxury sports car when I was a kid (a convertible at that) and a stunning apartment overlooking the city, and she wasn't married at all then.

She wasn't and isn't an easy person. She has her own demons. And in blazing that path, she burned past and through people I do believe she greatly loved or respected or wanted near her despite what she said and did. She's old now and there's no longer a need to rehash our own difficulties or emotions. We also connect, mostly over being ambitious and fiercely our own women, but also over divorce and dating stories and single mothering. 

Where we don't connect is politics (that is all I will say on that) and, interestingly, in that package deal I once bought into about attaching one's self to a rich husband (or just, man) in order to live your best life. I was young and impressionable and swayed by the intoxicating haze of Oscar de la Renta perfume that surrounded her when I thought being like my aunt meant marriage/divorce/marriage/divorce/marriage/divorce. Perhaps she, as a beautiful, brash young women in Southern Illinois in the 1940's was indeed "Most Likely to Divorce" and maybe I would have been, too, had I continued seeing only half the picture of my aunt and others who I idolized. 

But I didn't. The image got clearer, quickly. I am not sure exactly when or how, but what crystallized for me was something that I've really known my whole life – I am on this planet to be a writer and a mother. 

I became both. I didn't want to be divorced, but I am. And (as wrenchingly painful and also expensive in all ways as it was) it has probably been one of the greatest gifts of my lifetime. I've protected myself from being divorced another time by intentionally opting out of marriage for now, but I no longer see it as the worst thing that could happen in my world nor the key to grasping the glamorous life.

Whoever Vanessa Trump was in high school, whoever she is today and whoever she will be long after this divorce is finalized, I can say with assurance that her own glamorous life has been expensive, too. The more important story for her – and for each of us – is not what her yearbook "predicted" about how her life would unfold, but what images and intentions she's placing on the blank pages she's turning to now.

I hope I have the chance to talk more with my aunt about what she really wanted for herself, what she learned, what advice she has and all of those things we want for big, influential personalities in our lives to share before their own lives end. I want us to meet there in the middle of our stories, where the glamour takes different words and shapes and pathways, where there is no one way we think we have to be just because it is all we have seen or someone too long ago told us that  is who we are. 

I wish us all well, Vanessa and my aunt and even me, as we keep deciding for ourselves what we are most likely to want, to do, to find, and even to be.

 

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We asked listeners, friends and readers at Single Mom Nation to share what they lost in divorce. A hundred comments piled up in an hour, creating a profound list of Christmas ornaments to childhood photos, cars and homes to friends, dignity and mental wellness. That inventory was eerily similar to the overwhelming mountain of possessions outside the home of Karen Walrond, author, speaker, photographer and Hurricane Harvey survivor. Karen joins Jessica talk about why the little stuff matters so much to us, and to connect the great losses and even greater lessons of evacuating and recovering from a natural disaster – and divorce.

Listen in now

 

What we mentioned in the show

Karen’s incredible, inspirational work is at home on Chookooloonks, her Make Light podcast is here and her books are here. UPDATE: Six months after the flood, here's how – and where – Karen and family are. 

You will definitely want to watch the Facebook Live video that shored up this conversation right here.

And that post logging all the things we lost in divorce is right here.

We mention the wisdom of two talented writers who have been single moms.

Wendy Fontaine has written beautiful, pensive articles on divorce, single motherhood, and starting over. Here's a way-back interview with Wendy on finding love again.

Lorraine Ladish helped guide me in selling my wedding rings to pay rent by sharing her own story and understanding that the ancestors would've wanted her to care for her children at all cost. Her site is Viva Fifty.

 

Oh, hey. Here's another show you'd love

And now for the other side of this conversation: How to purge the marriage crap (yep, that includes paperwork, wedding china AND bad feelings.)

 

Talk to us

Have a question, something to add to the conversation or want to share your single mom experience? We'd love to hear from you. Contact jessica@single-momnation.com or join us right here on Facebook

Want to sponsor a show?

Of course you do! Because you know that single mothers make 100% of their household purchases and because we rely on word of mouth recommendations from other mothers who really get our big, busy lives. We cover money, divorce, dating, co-parenting, style and a long list of other dynamic topics and we'd love to partner with your brand on an upcoming episode. Let's talk – jessica@single-momnation.com. 

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