Every day, I ask myself “How do single mothers do it?” Now that I am a mother, I look back at my mom’s journey raising two children as a single mom. I can’t imagine. Parenting is the most rewarding, but most exhausting role. There is resilience and unspoken strength in the single mother.

Janelle Sam’s story is one to be inspired by. Stumbling across a Tik Tok video, I learned that after going through a divorce after 13 years of marriage, Janelle stayed home with her two children but then discovered self-love by going back to school and traveling the world on her own.

Janelle is the founder of a tech start-up, Cambium Consultants, Inc. She is also a divorced single mother of two teenagers who decided to go back to school to pursue an Executive MBA. She did this while working full-time and graduated this year from Cornell University.  

Her story is one of finding the courage to love herself after going through a high-conflict divorce. Her personal story of overcoming obstacles such as returning to the workforce after being a stay-at-home mother and an unexpected divorce has inspired thousands of women. It is her belief that success is not always defined by the degrees we earn or the titles we hold, but by the hurdles we overcome along the way. Additionally, Janelle has a passion for creating inspirational content on TikTok with thousands of followers and millions of views of her videos. 

She shares her personal story and what she has learned in single motherhood:

1.) Be kind to yourself. There will be days when you could barely get out of bed.  There will be days when you feel superhuman.

2.) Confidence is grown from a seed.  It starts off as a small decision to do something, anything, to completion. 

3.) Each time I made a decision, any decision, and followed through with it, I gained more confidence and daring to take control of my life.

4.) I was liberated and became a different person when I started to actively CHOOSE to not give meaning to hurtful words and opinions of others.  I started to fly when I realized that my feeling of inadequacy was actually a choice of feeling… not the reality of who I am. 

5.) Each day is a gift, a chance to try again.  Some days may not go as planned, but success comes from the will to keep trying, keep taking one step after a next until you get to the place of unlimited possibilities.

6.) Once I chose to love myself just as I was, I attracted others who loved me as well.

What was the hardest part of single-motherhood?

The feeling of “never having a break”.  It doesn’t matter if I get sick, am exhausted, or trying to figure out how to get everything done. It is the persistent thought is that it all falls on my shoulders and if I quit, it is my children who will suffer most.  It’s a feeling of isolation that is difficult to explain unless you have been through it

How did you overcome?

In the beginning, I felt lost. I cried.  Cried a lot. Then cried some more.  I was going through the motions each day. Finding a job. Taking care of my kids. Looking for and moving into a new place.  Starting over after being with one person for 17 years was incredibly difficult.  My divorce was finalized two days after my 40th birthday, and one day after our 13th wedding anniversary. It was then I decided that I will not remember my 40th birthday feeling sorry for everything that I just went through and am about to go through.  The next spring break was the first week long vacation that I was not going to have my kids with me. So I decided that it would be the best time to do something I have never done, that I always wanted to do. 

I booked a solo ticket to Europe and visited Iceland, Amsterdam and France!  It was the most daring thing I had ever done and had such a wonderful time that it inspired me to want to go back to school so that I could learn how to run a business. Each time I made a decision, any decision, and followed through with it, I gained more confidence and daring to take control of my life.

What was the best part?

Learning that I had more power within me that I could have dared to dream.  That once I chose to be happy, I actually was happy… even when things were tough.  That once I chose to love myself just as I was, I attracted others who loved me as well.

What would you advise women going through the same?

Be kind to yourself.  It is difficult being a single parent. There will be days when you could barely get out of bed.  There will be days when you feel superhuman.  There will be days where you question what the purpose of anything is.  All are valid days, all are part of being human.  

On your empowerment journey, what did you discover about yourself that you were perhaps unable to in the wrong relationship?

The power of choice.  It is incredible.  This is not just about choosing what to wear, what to eat, etc…it is also about choosing what to let into my mind to make me happy. I was liberated and became a different person when I started to actively CHOOSE to not give meaning to hurtful words and opinions of others.  I started to fly when I realized that my feeling of inadequacy was actually a choice of feeling… not the reality of who I am.  For many years my own beliefs were tied to the approval or disapproval of another and I did not realize it.  So my journey has taught me how powerful it is to exercise choice in every area of my life.

6.)    How would you advise women to find the confidence to move forward?

Confidence is grown from a seed.  It starts off as a small decision to do something, anything, to completion.  It could be making the bed in the morning, or paying rent, or exercising for 10 mins in the morning.  The feeling of accomplishment is like water for the seed of confidence. Each day is a gift, a chance to try again.  Some days may not go as planned, but success comes from the will to keep trying, keep taking one step after a next until you get to the place of unlimited possibilities.

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