I’m Vanessa - founder of Mom Solo Project, proud single mom, life coach, and parent educator. I know you, and I see you. I’ve been exactly where you are today. ...and it is BRUTAL!
In 2004, I met and fell madly in love with a good-natured, fun-loving man who seemed to be absolutely in love with and devoted to me. We delighted in our time together, adored each other’s families and friends, and it only seemed natural to get married and keep the party going for life!
Except it didn’t work out that way. It started out so beautifully (including a dreamy destination wedding in Venice) but gradually our connection eroded piece by piece. Nine years later, we were barely holding our marriage together. Therapy wasn’t helping, and we found it impossible to communicate without arguing. My husband basically stopped interacting with me beyond necessities, logistics about the children, and small talk in the company of friends. Resentment and bitterness built up, and we quarreled often. The tension in the house was unbearable. I wanted so badly to stop this toxic cycle and give our children a healthy model of a loving relationship. In January 2017, we split up for what I thought would be a trial separation - to reset our relationship, to focus on our own inner development, and to honestly evaluate our marriage.
I quickly found that my husband had no intention of working on our relationship, and he quickly found a new girlfriend. Womp womp.
I was completely devastated.
Both my personal life and professional life were centered around family. How could I possibly be part of breaking up my own family?! What the hell had just happened?! I had completely lost myself in my role as wife and mother. Who was I now? Was there anyone left? I felt hopelessly adrift.
In order to survive and be the mother my children needed, I HAD to make a shift! The first thing I had to do was accept my situation and new role. It didn’t matter that I didn’t choose it or whether I deserved it. It was my new reality. I had to own it. Because Vanessa was in no shape to own this new role, I created “Mom Solo” - a fierce and golden-hearted mama figure who saw opportunity instead of adversity, freedom instead of loneliness, a brilliant beginning instead of a tragic end. Whenever I felt overwhelmed with pain and uncertainty about my future, I’d channel my inner Mom Solo and approach the challenge with courage, love and a sense of humor.
I used the figure of Mom Solo and all the resources I could gather to accept the end of my marriage, cope with the loss, support my children, and rebuild my life. I used my education in human development and early childhood education, my experience as a teacher and parent educator, all the books I could read on psychology of grief and resilience, several types of spiritual practice, encouragement from old and new friends, love from dear family members. It took ALL of these to slowly but surely pull myself out of despair and confusion, into recognition and eventually into a place of grace and compassion for myself, my children and, yep, even my ex-husband.
Through this process, I saw how intensely isolated and overwhelmed a mama can easily become. There is no easily-accessed roadmap through divorce. For life’s other major milestones like weddings and pregnancies, there are thousands of books, articles, and checklists almost everywhere you look. And the people around you are generally delighted that you’re getting married or having a baby. They offer advice, gifts, and lots of support throughout the process. Separation and divorce is quite the opposite. Family may question your motives for divorce or efforts to save the marriage. They may be quick to judge a decision that you labored over for years or didn’t even choose. Even the most well-meaning friends may grow tired of hearing about the pain you’re experiencing or why you’d consider going back to your ex. Other married couples may steer clear of you because your situation shines a bright light on what may be missing in their own relationships. Therapists are definitely helpful and even essential during a divorce but they are only accessible one hour a week, and your progress will follow that pace. I recognized a need for a clear, actionable plan and a nurturing, objective guide to help mamas through this journey.
I started to document and organize my process and dubbed it The Mom Solo Project in case it might help another mama. When I shared MSP with friends and family who had been through a divorce with children, the response was amazingly positive. They loved it and so many people said they wished they had a program and community to guide them through this treacherous journey with love, hope, and sisterhood. The need and enthusiasm for MSP has led me to refine my work with clients. I now work exclusively with newly single mamas and mamas who are stuck in their process. The MSP program guides mamas out of the doubt and confusion, reconnects them with their inner strength and beauty, and helps them build a new life that aligns with their values and fills them with joy and gratitude.
I’d love to help you start your own Mom Solo Project!
Schedule a free 20 minute discovery call to see how the Mom Solo Project can help you cope with your divorce and reclaim your joy!