The two bravest single moms I know.

by mssinglemama on May 16, 2008

Being a single parent is one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences a person can go through. But what often can make or break your sanity – is having true friends. And when those friends are also single parents the bond is palpable. You can relate. You can feel each other’s pain and joy. Finding each other though – not so easy.

It’s why Morgan and Clare started a social network just for us! To do it, they both took a giant leap of faith and quit their day jobs. Why? Because they wanted every other single parent to connect with each other and discover how beneficial those relationships can be to their well-being, and their children’s well-being.

If you haven’t joined already – get over there. You’ll find single dads and single moms just like you. It’s not a dating site, although you could definitely find someone, it’s a social network. You can start discussions, make new friends, post pictures and just be yourself!

Last week Morgan, Clare and I finally connected on the phone. I think all three of us are kindred spirits! The next day I sent Morgan some questions … and here are her answers. I think you’ll find their story incredibly inspiring – I know I have.

Why did you start iHeartSingleParents?

There are huge social networking sites out there, like MySpace and Facebook, and there are dating sites–even some smaller single parent themed ones too…but none of these were the type of connections we were looking for. We wanted an authentic community where we could meet other single moms and single dads who were cool…who we resonated with, could learn from, be inspired by, and/or just share a laugh with. Not necessarily dating related, nor anti-romance….just a real community of people who shared the single parent lifestyle and who were striving for the same thing we were: finding balance and happiness in being a parent and being an unattached grown-up, (and enjoying a ego-boosting flirt every now and then too).

How did you and Claire meet?

Through a mutual friend. We hit it off right away– we shared a similar optimism and vision of what was possible as single parents… we encouraged each other to dream big… and bigger! Both of us have been single moms from the get-go and have baby boys who are 4 months apart and are fast becoming like brothers.

When was your ah-hah moment?

My ah-hah moment was really a succession of a few ah-hah moments, beginning with this one: Reading for the thousandth time a philosophical text on the nature of reality it suddenly dawned on me: all this talk about us humans being the creators of our own universe isn’t just food for thought!– it’s actually a golden key telling each of us how powerful we really are begging us to recognize it so we can start having some fun and doing some good.

The next ah-hah moment came when I turned to Lucca and saw in his eyes how instinctively he felt his power and connection with the bigger world (all kids do!) I knew he would expect his momma to feel hers too, and so I decided it was time to re-claim it. The third ah-hah moment is the one that set in motion iHeart…I was with Clare, we were in the midst of sharing our attitudes about life and the challenges of single motherhood. Despite our shared struggles with finances and living at home, all of a sudden we were both feeling on top of the world. Nothing in our physical situation had changed, but the world was very different– we didn’t feel alone anymore!

You know that feeling you get when you are around someone who always sees the best in you and believes in you so much you think you could fly if you just put your mind to it? Well, that energy was there and we began talking about how we wished more single parents could feel empowered like we did in that moment. Sharing our experiences enabled us to laugh, feel a little lighter, and remember that even though we didn’t fit the cookie-cutter family model, we still had the power to be happy. Most importantly the support we had from each other emboldened us to take on ‘being creators of our own universe’ and attempt a shift in the single parent paradigm that was more positive and empowering for all. We wanted to create a social network with this vibe and even though neither of us had the background nor the pedigree to know how to do it, we knew we just would, because heck! we believed in it! We knew in ourselves it was time to let go of single parent stigma and shame…and perhaps other single moms and single dads had been feeling that too, and would be inspired to join us!

How do you do it?

Keep the coffee and positive thoughts brewing!

I get up when the birds do and have a little “me” time– I just lie there half in, half out, of sleep and think about how cool life is to have given me this opportunity to be a mom, to be build this community, and to possibly inspire other single parents to recognize the inherent awesomeness in their lives as well. Then, totally to the brim with joy and gratefulness, I pop out of bed and put on my ipod (Lucca is still asleep and we share the same room) to blast Miley Cyrus in my ear and jump on the mini-tramp. I’m a cheese ball and love to dance first thing in the morning. It puts me in a good mood for the rest of the day and I love the thought of Lucca remembering how his momma would rock out as she fixed him breakfast and took him to daycare.

After I drop L off at daycare, I head to my favorite free-wi-fi cafe under the overpass of the free-way, order a cup of Stumptown Coffee, and get to work! I meet with people who I want to share the iHeart vision with, brainstorm ways to collaborate with those who are in alignment with our mission, think of creative-shoe-string-budget ways to get the word out about what we are doing, and continue our efforts to track down a ning developer to help us expand the site (these guys seem to be more elusive than a unicorn and more in demand than corn). At 5pm, I pick up Lucca and am all his till 9 or 10 when he goes to bed (not a lover of sleep, that boy) and then I hop online to iHeart and say hi to all the new members and if I still have energy left, or am feeling particularly inspired, I write a post for my Modern Single Momma blog.

You left your day jobs? What were they and what is it like working for yourself?

I think I always have worked for myself at heart…I could never get into being an employee for someone else’s dream– I had too many of my own I wanted to spend the hours of the day working on! But I have put in my time and worn the uniform as a waitress; a tutor; a cardio kick-boxing instructor; an office manager and a flight attendant. I got my master’s degree in Eastern Classics, proof that my tendency was to daydream and philosophize about what it means to be human, rather than strategize effectively about career choices and retirement plans.

As you can imagine, when I became a single mom, things changed. I got a lot more grounded. I toned down my obsession with questioning and reflecting on the meaning of life, and got down to the business of living it the best I could. For my son’s sake it was time to start taking action. Just me I could wander the globe reading Rumi and taking odd jobs all I want; there was no rush to get on with life. But bringing Lucca into the world as a single mother, I experienced a major shift in drive–it was time for me to bring one of those pies in the sky down to earth. I’m sure a lot of newly single mothers have felt the same overwhelming rush of responsibility. How do you deal with that pressure and stress? For some the answer is getting a good job with nice benefits and child care options. For others, it may mean finding a hubby ASAP. To be true to who I was, however, it meant working my butt off pursuing the path of an entrepreneur. (Security never did it for me anyways; I’ve always felt it is a false comfort for people, and not even the role of parent makes be believe otherwise).

What did friends and family say about your decision?

People tell Clare and I that we are brave for quiting our day jobs to pursue iHeart…is that their nice way of saying we are crazy? (“You got little chicks to feed in the nest! What are you guys doing!?”) Maybe….but that doesn’t bother us. We have a lot of faith in our vision. And we are having a lot of fun building this community and connecting with so many inspiring single parents out there– the type of single moms and single dads we always hoped we could meet, but before iHeart were unsure if they even existed.

Read Morgan’s blog here. And when you join iHeart find me by searching for “Alaina”.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

mariah May 16, 2008 at 12:04 pm

I was a single mom for many years before settling in with my new husband ( who is great) I have had to quit MANY jobs just to be able to be there to pick the kids up and get them to their activities, after figuring out the finances, it didn’t make sense for someone else to do it and have me lose out on doing those things. So good Luck and I’m so impressed


greenbeanmama May 17, 2008 at 4:39 pm

Hi Alaina, thank you so much for your amazing support and for posting this. It just really warms my heart to know that there’s someone in the midwest thinking about us. You are in my thoughts and I’m so happy to know you!


ss2 May 18, 2008 at 9:44 pm

i’m gonna check it out!


Kenta February 4, 2015 at 8:24 am

i laughed as i igeimnad you saying that-wonderful! i’m not a mum and am lucky that other than working full time and making sure i spend quality time with my fur babies, i have time to spend on art but still things seem to get in the way so i can imagine that having a little person’s needs to attend to would distract you even more! i love this wee bird and am not sure what you don’t like about it!


greenbeanmama May 30, 2008 at 7:52 pm

hey Alaina, just wanted to let you know I blogged about you on our press page blog here We so appreciate you and can’t thank you enough!


ModernSingleMomma April 22, 2009 at 11:11 am

It's so fun going back and reading this….you have always been such a cheerleader for us, Thank you!


Djampatuan February 5, 2015 at 5:53 pm

Hi Diana!!Happy New Year!! I love your new years resolution! I know eatcxly what you mean though! This year I’m kinda thinking that way too. My youngest starts full time school and so I’m thinking it’s time that I did something new (besides our business). So I’m going to do some art study, I’m hoping to do cartooning or illustration to help with my art! I really like your bird!!! Love that little hat!!!xxx


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