“I got pregnant the summer of my sophomore year in college, after having my 21st birthday dinner. I went through a really dark time during pregnancy and felt like my life was ending. I am sure I was depressed but no one wanted to tell me. I had my daughter and took a year off from school. Her dad and I were still together, holding on to what we believed was a relationship. I went back to college while working two jobs and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology.
A year later, I was in the same place working the same jobs and barely making it. I knew things had to change. I ended the relationship with her dad and informed him of my decision to move. In June of 2015, I left Jackson, MS to move to Houston, TX with family members who said they would help me with my daughter. Although they did help out, things got to the point whey they took a turn for the worse and I began to feel mentally drained.
I had two car accidents back to back and I just remember one of the people saying to me, ‘The reason why this is happening to you is because you’re always chasing a dollar.’ At the time, I was working at a restaurant at night a couple of nights a week and one day on the weekend while working my full-time temporary job during the day. I thought to myself, ‘Why didn’t he even ask if I’m okay?’ What else is a single mom supposed to do other than work and save to provide for their child?
In this particular accident, my car was totaled. All of a sudden, I felt alone in a strange place. The family I was familiar with was over 400 miles away and I had just moved in with these family members who I did not have much contact with growing up. This would be the beginning of many harsh comments and complaints over a series of months. I had to create an exit plan.
At the time I had no permanent job and my child’s father and I were not communicating well. I knew I couldn’t afford a decent apartment with a temporary job. So, I had to find a permanent job and somewhere for us to live. March 2016, I got a full-time job thanks to family members’ recommendation. I moved out into my very first apartment and the communication with those family members went from rare communication to none at all.
Upon moving out, I was asked to turn in keys before I even had a chance to communicate that I wouldn’t be able to get furniture until three days later. At that point, I didn’t even bother. I simply finished getting my things and moved into my new, empty apartment in June. I was so desperate to move in and gain peace. I slept on an air mattress until my furniture was delivered.
This apartment would later have several problems (ex. pest issues, leaks in the roof, etc.) At that time, I had about $4K saved, which I would use to pay up the rent because my full-time job alone would not allow me to pay all of my bills and rent. This is when I first discovered work from home opportunities. I ended up getting a second job so for the next six months, I’d work my corporate job then literally run to turn my computer, warm up my daughter’s food, and clock in for my shift at night to take calls, then put her to bed.
I barely got to spend time with her during the week. I was present but not present. She once said, ‘It must be hard being a mom? You are always working and you never have much time to play with me.’ This conversation would continue to replay in my mind like a broken record over and over.
I knew there had to be something better coming. In December, the company lost the work from home contract so this meant I would no longer have that second job. I didn’t know what I was going to do but I vowed to not have another second job that would take more time away from my daughter. I started to look for another full-time job and I longed for the community.
I went to look for single mom podcasts. I needed to hear stories and connect with other moms that were experiencing similar things. Relocating without a support system, side hustles, increasing your income, developing a budget that works, keeping your sanity, etc. I started to listen to podcasts and realized that most of these moms had been divorced, didn’t discuss some of the things I thought should be discussed, were Caucasian, and had really good support systems. People always asked me, ‘How do you do it all? Where did you find the courage to move by yourself?’ The answer was that I don’t do it all and I knew I wasn’t making any progress where I was so I had to move and change my environment. I liked to talk and I figured since there wasn’t any young, African-American single moms podcasting, I should probably give it a shot and begin to share my journey and allow other moms to share their stories.
June came and I got a new job that allowed me to pay all of my bills and rent. Even my manager at the time said, ‘How do you do it? Being a single mom without any familial support must be tough.’ I simply responded saying I do what I have to do. I just figure it out as I go. Work, life, you name it… I made an effort to get my artwork done for the podcast because I realized that I needed to use my voice because I had a story. However, I didn’t launch the podcast. November of that year, a former colleague contacted me to see if I would be interested in sharing how I was able to pursue a relationship with God and manage single parenting. She felt like a lot of people our age made excuses for not being able to do certain things. This was more confirmation that I needed to just do it.
January of the following year, which would be 2018, I launched Experiencing Motherhood: Single & Black, the podcast, on the floor of my apartment while my daughter was asleep. I also launched the platform, Single Black Motherhood that would allow me to create a community for the podcast listeners. This allowed me to begin connecting with amazing women all over the world who could relate and even women and men who were raised by single moms. I no longer felt alone on the journey.
Since then, I have been able to meet with some local moms who are going through similar things. Our stories are different, but the one thing we have in common is being a single mom and parenting alone. In doing so, I’ve been able to use my story and things I’ve learned along the way to educate other moms and provide opportunities for them to connect.
One mom said, ‘All my close friends are not mothers. They don’t really understand some of my mommy struggles. I listen to your podcast in the mornings when I workout and it really impacts my day. Literally changed my mindset.’ This is the type of impact I look forward to having.
Through this journey of single motherhood, I’ve also learned to do the work internally with the help of a Licensed Professional Counselor, who once said, ‘I can tell you are burned out. I know it gets tough and you don’t ever get a break. Begin to incorporate adult-only time once a month without your child.’ I never said a word about feeling burned out but she was able to make that recommendation and continue giving me feedback based on my feelings shared and body language alone. Therapy has been life-changing for me. I can go there and lay all my thoughts and emotions on the table and leave with actionable steps to improve how I feel. I know that this journey and my feelings are both temporary but while I am here, I will continue to do the best I can as a parent and as an individual.”
This story was written by Kim Williams of Houston, Texas. You can follow her journey on Instagram here and visit her website here. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our free newsletter for our best stories.
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