Walking in confidence as a single mother
4:49PM Jan 14, 2020
Well, I certainly don't claim to be the most savvy business person ever. But I do know to run a good business or great service or an impactful charity, you have to listen to the market. That is why in 2020, we are intentionally making a pivot in how we podcast and what we podcast. We are going to be doing way more deep dive into what exactly emerge mothers Academy is offering to single moms and using interviews with our single moms. So that in the course of hearing from them, we can explain what it is that we are doing that is so impactful at emerge mothers Academy and why we are doing that. What is it about social services and advocating for the lives of humans? What is it about coming alongside other mothers to make sure that they can stabilize and become independent? And where is that secret sauce laying that makes some moms so resilient, where they will not back down? And in the midst of circumstance, she will choose to rise up, she'll emerge. And in the to emerge podcast for 2020. Our intentional interview style will be interjected with service and programming information about emerge mothers Academy because we want you to truly understand what we do and why it is so effective. In 2019, we served 107 moms, which is the most we have ever served. And we are a small, small, small but mighty charity. That means we impacted 247 of their children, which by November, put us over 1000 children served. Whoa, whoa, you guys emerged mothers Academy is no small story. When you look at the measure and the value and the depth of a human life, even impacting one means all the world but in this case, we keep on chugging to affect and change trajectory of a single mom's life because we believe when you get her started, she will do the rest. Please enjoy the new to emerge podcast.
Today we're going to hear from a lovely mom of ours, Cindy, Cindy believes so much in personal challenge in advocacy, you know as advocacy of self advocating for your children. She also believes in the true importance of stabilizing and not just living a willy nilly life having been raised by a single mom and becoming a single mom herself. She knows the importance of stabilizing and becoming independent. And that is so much about what we do when we come alongside single moms. At emerge mothers Academy, we work to equip them so they become confident as a woman and caring as a mom. What that means is that in the workplace in public, and at home, she is stable and she's independent. It can make her confident as a woman, while also balancing being a compassionate, caring and resilient mom. We hold a tension between contributing to the workplace and being a woman who can carry her head who can rise up and emerge, while also going home with a level of confidence, but a certain softness to who we are, that as our children watch us they know mommy is so tough, but mommy is so safe. How do we do that? That is holding a tension. A beautiful thing about this interview is you're going to see people like Cindy who do it because she believes in how she advocated for herself and her children, to not lose herself in the midst of feelings or being hurt or being very confused or fighting for the safety of herself or her children. But you know what, there is a will that supersedes anything you feel. And Cindy shows us that because you are the adult, you must look yourself square in the eye in that mirror and tell yourself who you are. You have a Will you have agency over yourself to explain to yourself what is happening. It is not the circumstance that can tell you who you are. It is determined by you. You choose. So, moms, anyone. You will have feelings throughout this year throughout your lifetime. You may be hurt you will be confused. You will be searching for who it is you are supposed to be. But because you're the adult you can tell yourself with resilience. I will get through this with a square look at who I am. I can do this. And people like Cindy are a great example. The sacrifice of self at the sacrifice to anything no matter what someone might think of me, no matter how I look, no matter what the circumstance could no matter what people are gonna say about this, I will protect my children. Cindy is one of these moms who at every cost, puts her kids first. And even at the sacrifice of self, she will make sure that our kids grow up to contribute to society and not become trouble to society. Because of anything else, our goal as a parent, is to be sure that our children are launched that the next generation goes into our community well, and doesn't go into the community as another bit of statistic or any type of trouble. This is why social service means serving the social value of each person. emerge mothers Academy tremendously values, not just case management, but person to person connection, so that a woman truly feels we have come alongside her A woman truly feels that as we advocate for her, she begins to advocate for herself, and that protects her children. It covers them like a blanket. That's what security that's what stability and that's what the independence looks like. And sometimes all you need to know is that there is another person in your corner and emerge mothers Academy is an organization but far more than just being some kind of organization. We're just a person in the corner. cheering you on. emerge. You mothers emerge. Rise up, you mothers, rise up. As you look at yourself each morning, you get to choose tell yourself who you are. Rise up Mother, you can emerge. Hey everybody, so glad you're with us for another week on the to emerge podcast. Today I have the most pizzazzy fabulous woman ever. Who you will love. I need it. even give her much of an intro because as soon as her mouth opens, they're gonna love her. She is a single mom Twin Cities, but has a long immigration story before coming to the Twin Cities even so I would love for her to share her story. I'm not gonna do any more. Take it away, my good friend Cindy.
Oh, thank you. Thank you, thank you. I love talking about these, like these conversations that need to be had. And I'm so glad that I get to be a part of the bigger picture. So I was born in Colombia. I came to the US when I was 13 years old, and I lived in Florida. And then from there, I so I finished high school there. And then I moved here to Minnesota right from Florida. Crazy had never seen snow. It was quite the thing. But I love change and I adjust quickly to things and I love a challenge. So I came here to a small Christian College in Bloomington. That is where as met my now ex husband. And yeah just just kind of went from there getting married. I was married for a few years and divorced now and I have two beautiful kids. And yeah, they're they're the love of my life. They're the engine of my life. And and yeah here I am as a single mother and honestly I kind of love it.
But what I mean what parts of it Do you love more than the heart ache of it? Like how does that outweigh it?
gosh, there's so much good
that has come from something so
and believably hurtful and painful.
There's freedom and not just for my kids and I but their safety.
so much and I think I can line to the store have to kind of tell you what I have gotten out of, and what the beauty of my life is not compared to what I had before. But
ultimately, what it is, is these two boys that have to watch your lifestyle to develop a worldview for themselves. And so you get to be an agent over you and then you get to be the one that instructs them in trying to figure out who they are.
Absolutely, and goodness gracious. And I mean, Becca, let's be real honest here. I saw my mom, I know you're gonna I wear my heart on my sleeve. Get ready cuz I'm gonna get real honest. I grew up so I grew up in Colombia, in my mom was a single mother. And I never had my dad in the picture. Really, thankfully, just because he was dealing with addiction, he was an alcoholic and such thing so so my mom just kind of got me out of the situation. And every decision I made from a little girl to really I was married. I I made sure I did everything with one goal in mind and either it was to avoid being a single mother. Because I knew how hard it was because I knew the struggle of a mom and I went through because I knew what hunger felt, because I knew what what scarcity was because they knew what just the emotional trauma that it brings. Because I knew what what it's like to to see a mother just break down at night. And you know, and be an emotional support for her because I just was so yeah, that was just something I didn't want. I didn't want for my kids, obviously. So I really, really tried to avoid that. So when I got married, truly,
it was it.
I could I didn't know any better man. He was incredible, hard working. Just kind generous soul in Truly at the time when I married him there were no signs of what was to come. There were no huge red flags. They he really was. I wanted to go with this man. I loved him dearly I everything I had I gave to him I yeah, yeah. I made the best decision decision at that time with the information I had had I known anything that was going to happen.
Girl. I exactly
I believe in in China. And I know everything like no, I would have never gotten into it. But
right, of course, your head was straight on your shoulders and you use the information you had you looked at this person who was absolutely wonderful to you and such a good hard worker, good person. But see here we get into like kind of the philosophy about human nature. Does that mean people can change? Or does brain chemistry change? Or do we just get duped and really that is who they are. They just knew how to pretend to For a while, sure, what is it?
I think it can be both for for me.
Goodness, he, he was such a catch. I feel so lucky. But for in my situation he, he was predisposed in a way to mental illness. So there is history of mental illness and his family from his mother, his dad, his sister, brother, so in my eyes, he was great. He was such a sane person, but this specifically illness that he deals with is it doesn't show up in men until late 20s. And we married early 20s. And I had no idea I will be dealing with something like that. And it's, I think, you know, it was something that crept up on us and that also brought addiction which we were in treatment for, for this addiction for three and a half years. I mean, we went to the couple's counts, and the group comes on this the one on one counseling, I mean, we were to one of the best counseling places for this one particular addiction in the world for for quite a few years when we were married, so yeah,
so did you stay in for three and a half years of therapy because you felt like well, I miss hope I'm his reason I'm responsible for him or you truly believed he'd be able to change, break some of the addictions get get his life back in order, like three and a half years is a long time to like hang through someone's therapy.
I was hopeful. I think just who I am as a person, I always think there's hope. I always think there's something matter that if I work hard enough that if I, you know, I put enough effort that something good will come out that there'll be a result that will get through this that there will be freedom that there will be sobriety And there were times of the ad there were attempts of breakthrough there were times of sobriety, but there was always that relapse. And every time that relapse, it was like a bigger and bigger bomb and a bigger bigger bomb and, and now we're starting to suffer. I stayed in it one because I didn't love myself. And I wasn't as confident as I am now. One, two, yeah, I just didn't have boundaries. So, I mean, keep it calm and do and go, isn't it? You know, I say, he dictated of the temperature of the relationship, you know, he all the attention was was on this one thing and him and his ups and downs and his emotional instability. And
yeah, it was, it was just,
yeah, I was devoted to him. I loved him. Girl, I prayed over that man. Hundreds. Like there truly was so much that was done in hopes of this would change that was always my hope. But there was another layer to this too is that we were part of a community who was very conservative who is very traditional who has this narrative and they kind of use on all the marriages to be honest is like okay you this is your suffering like this this year. We were thinking we have to carry like you are Paul and Mrs. Your own on your side and you have to stick to the with this man through anything, which I think there's wisdom in that but and there's always the, you could never under any circumstance divorce.
So then how do you get to a place where you like, I watched my mom be a single mom. I am so in love with him and so committed to him. There's all these factors saying, I don't I don't want to ever get divorced. But then at some point, there must have been something that broke it that was like, absolutely I will not live the rest of my 80 years on earth like this.
two things. One, my mental health.
Yeah, you are starting to feel like you with a crazy one.
Right? And because again going back to this Yeah, you can never divorce I mean, unless you have a bruise on your face Becca, it is not okay to separate or divorce from your husband under it. Like there isn't like you have to stick with them. Even if there is emotional trauma, even if there are psychological trauma like you've got to stick through it and that's absolutely and and I started to doubt my own sanity in my own perspective of life. Just making excuses and dis pressure that you cannot divorce. I mean, we were leaders in the church and we were mentoring young people and we were part of this community that looked a certain way and so the so much pressure, that my mental illness, I was like, Holy moly, this is I'm suffering and it seems like the only way out of this Death
and things like
every first around me is telling me that my reality is not correct that what I'm thinking is wrong or what I'm feeling is wrong. I wasn't I mean, I wasn't a pregnant mother because it was always just so sad music, the wisdom and so I was on antidepressants for a while and I just needed it was just so dark I just remember my bed just cry and cry and just fallen asleep kind of like God is like getting out of this but I don't want to have to honestly feel myself or my children to get out of this.
It was you know?
Yeah, I think the worst set us free but and yeah, that was something that was not present and then I started having added rate. Yeah. So then I had this happen twice to towards the end of a marriage and it is not like me to do this to lose control of my body to not be present to just kind of take out of my mind and out of my body and to not be able to move. And you know I draw was clan day I couldn't get out of this matter and and this happened usually after really heavy arguments and i was i was so drained after that like after this attack something I didn't know it was so humbling to experience that because I now have more compassion for those who go through that because I'm like, Okay, I'll just get out of it. But the music on let's go, let's go, you truly can't and is this trauma is your body and literally every cell of your brain, your muscles, your nerves, just responding to this extreme stress. And it's awful. So that was new for me. So I had two of those. And I was like that this is not sustainable. I cannot keep going through this because I'm not going to be a good daughter, good mom, a good sister, a good friend. And then another thing that got me out of this was the boys. I started noticing, because of the mental and emotional state of my ex husband was in and myself too. There was just, it was toxic, it wasn't safe. There was a lot of arguing there was a lot of ups and downs emotionally, emotionally where there was no consistency either. You know, the boys and I started walking on eggshells, and I'm like, I am not a good mother, if I let my kids witness this, and if I let them live through this, and if I say that it is okay to go through this, I will not be a good mother. You know, as long as I
live, I will do anything
to provide a safe environment for them. Whatever. No matter what costs, even if it costs To be misunderstood by the church, even if it costs of having literally negative $30 in my account, and not knowing where this month's rent was going to come from, even if it costs it standing in line at the local food shop for an hour to get
canned corn, like no matter. Yeah, it.
Yeah, I'll do anything for those boys. So.
So yeah, it was those two things that were like, yeah, we gotta get out of this and you
don't know where that strength came from, but I did it.
So did it feel like an instant light and lifting and ease as soon as like the divorce was final, or did it just trudge on and get harder before it got better?
Oh, girl, and I think it's different for every divorce. But in my case, it took two years
for my diversity.
Wow, that's a long time. Right? And then I just
you guys couldn't agree on anything or what
at Yeah, absolutely not. And the
people say that Minnesota is about the woman state in many ways it is but certainly not.
When it comes to former law, there are a lot of slaps on the wrist that the really takes a lot for a judge to to create a, you know,
and any can't. It was hard omeka it was
excruciating work. Whenever I had those meetings with our lawyers, or when I was at the court in front of that judge, my body ate like, it was
awful. So there was no lightness
at all. Not when I get out of the divorce, not when I was going through it.
Not at all, however
in that trouble. I was very intentional about keeping my own sanity and about invested in myself and in my kids. So that brought about some lightness and some hope and some rebuilding and self confidence and you know it, it looked like you know more of the practical stuff was like okay, well I'm going to go to bed early and I'm going to set myself up for success and baby girl you're going to be up at five in the morning you're gonna wash your face take a cold shower moisturizes can drink that water drink that coffee girl You better go get that money back and provide for those boys because as long as in my life they will never be hungry and you just like get you know the president bomb playlist girl you put on a face of makeup like you're feeling us have lady can do anything you know, you will apply for that job and and so in my case, I you know, I went back to school for the edit and I took some credits and I was like goodness gracious. What is the one thing I know how to do? Well, and then someone told me, you know, they're like, Oh, you know, they can translate. And so again, I became a professional translator that sustained the boys and I for for a long time, but yeah, it was hard. And to this day Becca, even interacting with my ex husband brings that heaviness,
but there is more lightness and, and happiness and joy to my life than there ever was.
So that is hard in good
is heavy in light. Yeah,
I understand that. I mean, I feel like you build a sacred history with person so they know all the things about you, right? So they kind of always have a little bit of a thumbprint on you even though you're working towards, you know, becoming free and separating yourself from their life. It does, it causes some tearing, and so the tearing always leaves a little bit of threads that they know how to pull on. So I love that you were like, I got myself up. I put on a you know full face of makeup because I had to find my identity or hand To figure out the ways that I was going to fight for my boys and fight for myself and go to sleep and at least act like you're not depressed even though maybe your brain chemistry is what what are a couple other things where you were like, This day is one of those days where you know, we're going to court or I know I'm going to bump into him or how do you even prepare yourself for a day like that?
Very cold shower in the morning?
Yeah, that's true. It gets you out of a mood. You know what I mean? With the music on loud. It might take some like, rap music, you know, you and you put on a bomb outfit like something that makes you so confident so whenever I prepare myself for these meetings, girl I put on a suit I was cute. I did my hair did my makeup. I was confident I had my suitcase you know I was ready. And then in the car, very loudly This is by myself obviously not with the boys around but I had this girl is on fire now. wouldn't just last thing on repeat, singing it and saying it to myself a leg girl, you're on fire. I am a survivor. And I'm going to work hard and I am going to fight until the fifth heaven for these boys and for fairness and for everything that they need. And so that's how I prepared for the courts. And it was hard for the day sometimes. Honestly. This is a picture. It feels just like this. Like you have a semi truck like the league semi trucks on your shoulders. And you are carrying that every day. So you do all this things. Yeah, to get ready for the day in the morning. You get those boys dress, you pack their lunches, get their lunch, ready to go go in the car, you drop them off a little bit, get to work and you work really hard the whole day. Then the night time comes, and then you're alone with yourself and your thoughts and your emotions and the heartbreak and the vulnerability of just being alone with your thoughts. And so, something I recommend is you have to, you have to write through those emotions. You literally have to like Superman yourself, like, you know how Superman like opens up your shirt. And just like locks poses, girl, you need to break yourself open at night. And you let all those emotions pour out His anger, Go, Go punch a pillow. Be quiet because the boys are sleeping, you know, but punch, need a clean, go clean that entire housing, sweat doing it, create some physical energy to feel good. Put in the music and cry and cry and cry and look at yourself in the mirror and be like, girl, you're a survivor. You're gonna work hard. Are you gonna give up? I'm not gonna give up literally just talking to yourself in the mirror just right through Lissa motions, cry it out. still get up at five in the morning girl, and still be present for those boys and stuff everything down and you talk to them and you walk your heart things with them, and you be happy and take them on walks. And you in a way, you have to pretend sometimes, sometimes you just have to walk it out for their own safety for their own happiness for their own joy. And the more you start acting that out, the more you become that thing. So the more right like, the more happy you are, the more confident you are, the more you become it, right.
So called the as if theory right if you act as if it's going to be okay. Someday, the actual feelings will follow what your will what your mind was choosing. Right someday the feelings will follow along with the will
Yeah, yeah. And you're right. Yeah, the more Yeah, the more you think this is gonna be okay. It will be and I'm here on the other side and, yeah, it. It passed. It passed like a kidney stone on will tell you your past. Right?
It's awful. It's horrible. Can you give us just a like a short phrase or even one word? That you're very like worst day where you're like, I know I'm supposed to be up right now it's 515 I am not up I don't even know how to get out of this bed. But then you decided Nope, I'm getting up for what reason? Like what's what is it that got you to get through this?
the boys Yeah, sometimes you really don't want to get up sometimes you're tired sometimes you have the stomach flu
sometimes all three of you have a stomach
Oh yeah. So I just focus on the next thing I'm eating frozen to
know we haven't seen it yet.
Oh girl no spoilers but there's a song there with on Don't say anything but the song is what's the next right thing? So unlike the whole day seems so overwhelming to me I have to work after week I have to clean have to do laundry I have to keep it together I have to go to court I have to do with paperwork I have to deal with people coming at me with their opinions. I have to do all those things because they seem so or well overwhelming. I don't want to do it. But you just said you know what's the next thing? Okay mean breakfast Okay, let's get up let's get some breakfast. Okay, what's the next thing? Let's clean up clean up dishes okay. So it really is that that little what's the next thing what's the next thing and then eventually you get through the day and the day those boys go through hardship or struggles the day because that that's all that there's one thing I know how to do in life is to really good mother. And my Yeah, I know under no circumstances will those boys boys go hungry not have a roof over their head does not an option. I will do anything for the
Yeah, like you said in the beginning, they're your engine.
Yeah, True. True. Yeah.
Cindy, thank you so much for just being so honest with us and also for giving us these like practical ideas, you and your cold showers. I tell you, you'd love your cold showers. Just even the image I'm kind of left with an image of you standing in a long line waiting for just a Capricorn even because I know how dang committed you are to your sons. And I think it's women who it's the kind of women that have so much grit, who have so much resilience because they choose an act of the will and act of the will and act of the will until one day the feelings matchup. And you You are the kind of woman who says I will emerge and my children will watch me triumph because of it.
Yeah. Thank you, Becca. And, and for anyone out there too. I mean, you don't go into single parenting with a lot of confidence already. You're like, Oh, I felt in this relationship. My kids are going to grow up in a broken home, they're going to be whatever society's with all their attic, they have issue bubbles law, they're going to be lacking resources, whatever, whatever.
I want to create morality and
you don't come into this with a lot of confidence. However, through this process, you gain confidence. And I'm over here on this side. Now this the movement woman I was two years ago. I'm so much stronger because every time I got through a day, I was like, Okay, I did yesterday, so I think I can do today. Oh, okay. So I got through that month. Oh, I think I can do another month. And another year, and more confidence and more and more because you just look back and you're like, Yeah, I got through that
today. Right, the pages of your catalog, start adding up until it becomes such a vast experience of who you are that you're like, now I know what I am and I'm good with it. Well, guys, like I said, Cindy's just one of those moms who at any cost or work to protect her children and be sure that they're secure, we determine what safety, security and stability looks like for our children. And when we become the most safe person for them to go to, they can let their guard down, and the trauma can start to melt. So as you work on yourself, and you make sure that you've advocated for who you are, you choose a will over a feeling and you let the feelings follow. Eventually they will. But when you decide who you are, you can be as resilient or as weak as you let yourself but as you rise up, you will see there's power in your choice. to intentionally build more community, we'd love to have you follow along with us at emerged twin cities.org, especially our blog and merge twin cities.org slash blog. Follow us as we make this intentional pivot to podcasts about our single moms and what it is that we're doing. actually doing to help them change. Because you know what if we can't reach you face to face, we hope that we can reach you through the airwaves and that in some way, we inspire you to choose to rise up. Listen, you will emerge