How to Go From Struggling Single Mom to Mompreneur with Emma Ferrick-Trigger Warning-Abuse
Welcome to this episode of The Determined Mom Show today, I have the lovely Emma Farrick with us, and she is going to talk about how to go from struggling single mom to mom so welcome, Emma.
And this is your second time on the podcast, which is very exciting. You were on episode one 70 talking about the importance of having a virtual headquarters to grow your remote team. So I’m very excited to have you back. And today we’re gonna talk about a more personal issue, personal slash business.
So I’m very excited about that. Before we get started. I know you’ve already introduced yourself last time, but this time you can introduce yourself in a little bit of a different way and explain how you became a single mom and kind the story behind that.
So it’s related to my business but in a different sense. So almost three years now I was, I found out. I guess four years, cause my daughter will be four here in a couple of weeks. That I found out I was expecting, but it was not an ideal or planned situation. And I was just about to graduate college, I was on top of that, a young mom and in a not-ideal situation.
When I found out I was expecting and I wanted to do what I thought was best for our daughter. And that was with her biological dad at the time. It wasn’t until after she was born that I realized like there were red flags before she was born, but I just told myself. It’s not what it is, everything that you say to yourself to make it seem not so bad.
And it wasn’t until after she was born, the physical abuse started there had been emotional, mental, and financial abuse throughout the whole relationship. And finally, when she was about 10 months old, I went to the hospital for a broken nose and just a bunch of bruising. And I knew from others. Personal experiences because my aunt had gone through a similar experience growing up.
So I knew to go document it. How, and what kind of processes needed to happen? Like calling the police to have witnesses and things like that. So I went to the hospital to get everything documented, and that was life-changing. Point in my life where I was like, I can’t keep this up.
I had to do something better for my daughter and that’s when I became a single mom. I decided after I left the hospital, went to file a PFA, went to file all the paperwork to charge him with assault, and everything like that. And that set off the chain of events of, putting on going through this struggle as a single mom, realizing I didn’t want to.
Be financially controlled by someone because he was the type of person who, if I send you child support, I expect this and this. I want this time with her. I want this. Or, still trying to use money as a manipulation. Because he constantly would tell me, you’re not good enough. You’re not smart enough. You’ll never start a business.
Cuz that was something I’ve always wanted to do. And fresh outta college, I was in no position. So I thought about starting a business. It was a single income and I was drowning in bills, drowning in expenses. And I didn’t want to have any ties with him. So I was like, what can I do to provide an extra income for me, for us, and not have to sacrifice time with my daughter?
And that’s what led to my business. Discovering the online space and how incredible it was. And at first, I was like, oh, maybe I’ll do blogging. And then I was like, no, I’m a terrible writer. So I picked VA work because I already had a background in corporate life and it was the easiest way for me to start my business and.
Then my business started to grow and with COVID everything that happened, I went full time and I just continued to niche further down and to get to the point where I am today, where I’m operations and system specialist. So have you heard of the last episode? I won’t get into that part, but that’s the series of events that led to it.
Okay. That’s it. It’s a very brave story. I think that’s the best word to describe it because the things that you’ve gone through obviously have been very difficult. And for you to know at that moment, when you’re in the hospital, like this is never going to happen again.
Takes a lot of bravery to front, if that makes sense, because a lot of women think, oh, he’s not, this is just a one-time thing. It’s not gonna happen again. And then they go back and it keeps happening repeatedly.
And then, it’s just harder and harder to leave. Yeah, that was the hospital one. The first time. Okay. So I wanted audience members to know. Sorry. You guys can hear the baby’s coughing.
We love this. exactly got a multitask. But that wasn’t the first time, and I had actually moved out of our house once before after an argument and him basically throwing me and my daughter.
When she was only a couple of months old, we heard the promise of I’ll change. I’ll change this, that, and the other thing. We went to two therapy sessions. He manipulated the therapist into, basically, he heard the one thing that he wanted to hear that the therapist was like, you have postpartum, you need to get help. And I was like, I’m already seeing a therapist myself.
This is, there’s more to this conversation than just my postpartum and you’re not carrying his side or what, anything, so as soon as he heard The therapist say, you, you need to get help. You’re postpartum depression. That’s just all he needed. And it was like, I’m not going back. You’re the problem. You need to get help.
And I was like, I’m already going. I’m not the one who’s throwing us out of the house. I’m not the one who’s making it difficult. And there was another time where he almost left me in Cleveland and took my car like, wow. Left me stranded almost basically. And that was like one of the other times that was like the first physical piece. Gonna like left marks and everything. But once I went to the hospital, I was like, I can keep hiding this.
Cause everybody, no one had known really up until that point And it was so hard for me to even like the nurses at the ho in the emergency room were just the kindest women. I wish I remembered all of their names because yeah. They were like, you need to report this cuz they see this kind of stuff. So they were like, you need to report this. You need to call your parents.
Cuz at the time I was the only one. 22 and no one in I lived on my own, I just graduated college in this city. My parents were two hours away. And I think that was the hardest phone call. Having to make that phone call to my mom and say, this is what’s been going on. Can you come to pick me up from the hospital, basically that’s because you don’t want anybody to know. You’re experiencing this.
And I think that’s also a very common thing that happens is that nobody does know, and people are like, surprised wow, that person did this to you. No, I don’t think so. And then it makes it harder to believe and it, yeah, it’s just a very vicious cycle.
Yeah. And he, his, it didn’t help that he liked financially. Control over his family cuz they always needed help with money and he was always the one helping them. But then when it came to everything that happened, they of course took his side even after seeing the proof they were like, you’re just, you’re the one who’s causing the problem I was like, but no, I don’t think so.
I’m, you cuz of gaslighting and mental abuse, you start to believe that, especially if you’re in this situation, they isolate you. That’s the biggest thing. And I didn’t even realize what was going on until I took a step back objectively months after we had been outta the relationship. I did. I realize that’s what was happening.
Yeah. Wow. You mentioned some red flags. Do you wanna just mention a couple of those just in case anybody that’s listening is experiencing this right now? Or thinks that they might be so that way they can maybe catch it early before that physical abuse starts because it is an escalation.
Yeah, it’s an escalation. And one of my favorites, there’s a book. I’ll have to send you the name of it, so you can put it in the show notes that it’s all about narcissistic abuse. And AF I read that because of my therapist. It’s about surviving a narcissistic narcissist abuse.
That’s why the title is something more specific, but I’ll send you the link after because the name is escaping me, but it, when I read that book, I was like, these are all the red flags that I noticed but didn’t have a name for and it wasn’t until after that I could pinpoint it, but it was, two months in, I had found out I was pregnant and then after.
When we got into that discussion, I was like, I’m keeping the baby. This is what I want. I found out he had been lying about his aid. It’s a huge red flag. Number one. That’s a really big one. yeah. So he told me he was 27. Cause at the time I was 22, not that big of an age gap, he’s 30. There’s a huge big age gap.
And other red flags. Bombarding me with gifts, like extravagant over-the-top gifts at the time. Didn’t do anything about it. But he would have those gifts and then there would be subtle knocks.
So like they build you up and then they like to completely knock you down. And just to see how far they can push you. So he would cause these big blow bites and make it my fault.
And I never realized, looking. He was just blowing these things out of proportion. And then they would get followed up with ex like extremely nice gifts. So those were some of the big red flags.
And when I was pregnant towards the end, he was like, never home. Never I was, could have been due any day. He would be gone, I don’t even know. I don’t know where. And so like those kinds of red flags, just not being treated properly, at all or showing any kind, kind of respect.
And I had so much else going on in my life at the time, not just only being pregnant, and graduating, I had other personal family stuff going on. So I was so just blinded by it. Everything that I couldn’t see. Cuz there, it was the least of my focus at that time.
You were busy and it was, the busyness was keeping you from actually analyzing your situation and evaluating and feeling probable.
Yeah. And I was like, what am I supposed to do? Eight months pregnant or seven months pregnant. Like I wanna leave, but I can’t like, I just, there was all these. Practical factors and the pressure of society of I just was so under my head, in my head of, I don’t want my child to come from a broken home.
That was what I would tell myself because I just didn’t want to be that stereotype. But then when all the abuse started happening, it finally clicked in my head. I was like, it’s better. And somewhat I forget who said this means she should have a split home than see her mom. Be abused or put down constantly and did not have that like level of self, not realizing his worth like that. Wasn’t what I wanted to model for her.
That’s very true. Very true. So we’ve gone over the red flags, you mentioned financial abuse and for someone that’s giving you extravagant gifts for them to withhold money from you seems contradictory, especially knowing that he’s supporting his family. How did you overcome that or did that get overcome? As, when you left okay, now I’m gone and now I have control of my finances. Yeah.
The financial peace was a, it was like when I left, I realized, I constantly would think I didn’t, and I was not good at budgeting too. Cause I was so young and it was my first time dealing with normal bills and I had some in college. But then on top of that factoring in, child expenses, and daycare, cuz I was working full time. All the extra stuff. I just didn’t think I could afford everything. And he just could keep reiterating, you can’t afford this by yourself.
You’re not gonna be able to afford the rent by yourself. And I just thought, you’re right. I can’t like having to keep everything split. He would have, he had money and would just I was always a point of argument though, for us, yeah. And making me feel bad. Anything and everything, or just making me feel bad for buying groceries or in access.
There are just all these random things that would just make me feel bad about anything. But the finance piece was, he would always say you’re not gonna be able to support yourself or you need me was always the underlying message. Because you’re gonna be stuck. Like you were gonna be stuck at this corporate career.
And then once I finally left, I had to get serious about my finances by writing all of them down. What did I have to pay? What was just like a necessity? How much was I making? I knew how much I was making monthly, but what kind of discrepancy was there, and how was I gonna cover it?
And for a long time, I lived with my aunt. Thank God. So she didn’t charge us rent or anything like that. And she helped me get on my feet. So we didn’t have to live in a shelter. Which would’ve been the other option. But I didn’t realize how many resources and I was so blinded that I just asked for help because I didn’t, it was really like pride and thinking, I don’t want people to know that this is happening.
And I think that’s a very common human condition. Like anything that happens in your life, you’re like, okay. I would rather, no one knows about this, but yeah. If it comes out, then it comes out and you just have to go from where you are.
And it was really like the fears of my home head. So after starting my business, I’ve noticed. This is a lot more. Cause like when you’re an entrepreneur, you have all these fears of what people are gonna think and you have to address a lot of mindset issues. But those mindset issues were also playing a part in a lot of those mindset issues.
The abuse is like making it public. It was the same thing. It was a fear of how other people were gonna respond. I was so worried about what other people were gonna think. And half the time, the response that I thought they were gonna have wasn’t that at all, even close, like they were super supportive. They were understanding all of this stuff, it was just all the fear that had been made up. In my head, trying to. Keep me, I don’t know. It was all the subconscious.
It’s trying to keep you where he wants you and where he has told you that you belong all that time, and yeah definitely not good for you. One kind of question that I have is if there is anybody listening because obviously, the goal of this episode is to help other women that may be experiencing the same thing right now.
How. Did you go through that process of leaving? Did you just leave all of your stuff? Did you just never go back to the house after you left the hospital, how did you separate finances? I think those are logistical questions that are never really addressed, but I think they do need to be addressed.
So yes. So luckily we weren’t. My situation is different from some people’s. If you’re usually a little bit different once you’re married, luckily we were not legally. We didn’t have anything legal finding us together in no official finances together. Like we kept most of everything. Like we knew our joint bills, but we didn’t have any accounts together, or like I wasn’t.
So he didn’t have access to my money, which was good. That’s a lot harder, I think. And I’ve talked to women who’ve experienced it. Where it’s a different circumstance in that it takes a little bit more. Cause my now mother-in-law is an advocate cause she went through something very similar. So now she’s an advocate and we’ve talked and talked about a lot of her cases.
It requires a couple of weeks more planning sometimes to get some people out, depending on the situation But there are resources like that where women’s advocates are. The women’s shelter is somewhere I called after everything happened. So the logistics of what, when I left was to go to the court.
File protection from abuse order, emergency protection of abuse order, cuz it was the weekend. So in our county, it was something called a night court. If you’re listening and you might have something different in your county or you might be able to go to the police station and file some type of report so once you got that, you.
Since I put our house, our shared house in the protection of abuse, he wasn’t allowed to come there. He was arrested. The night before, when everything happened, there was physical abuse shown, like I was physically injured. In Pennsylvania, they have to arrest on the scene if someone is physically injured and then you can decide if you want to continue pressing charges, which I did, which was a whole year-long process.
But He was, he had to leave so I could stay there and collect and figure everything out. And I stayed there for probably about a year or so because once he got outta jail, he could still find me and the police didn’t do that. Like much, cuz one it was a couple of days after he had gotten outta jail, we were at the house and he was like circling the house, trying to get ahold of me.
I had blocked him on stuff. But he had tried to message me and was trying to find out where I was and I called the police at, I don’t know midnight. And they were like, you have to go to night court. And I was like, okay, thank you. I’m still alive at eight hours when the night court opens. I will go there.
There are Difficulties. And it always depends on the county and what they’ll do. And the police are always their entity. There is a lot of police that help me, but there is a lot of police that don’t wanna get involved cuz it’s family. So I was like, okay, I have to leave.
I can’t stay here. We, I left a bunch of stuff that would’ve caused a bite, like anything that was shared or bought during anything that wasn’t. Clearcut mine or clearcut Charlottes. I took it, and I left. So I took whatever I needed. My mom and dad were like, don’t even think about it. We can buy you new stuff.
Don’t worry about the money. Just like we need to go. Then I went and moved in with my aunt, but I did call the women’s shelter a lot. Cause they have support groups for women who are transitioning through that. And most counties or states have some type of version of this or multiple kinds.
Private, some are government funded, but they have resources and support groups to help you through shelters. So if anyone’s listening and they’re like, how can I help? I always advocate donating to the shelters because there are so many kids and so many moms, who don’t even get the chance to pack, or pack their stuff up and have to leave with nothing.
So that was the logistical aspect. Getting protection from abuse was like being able to stay in the house and collect my stuff. And if he needed to come and get anything that like the police had to be there but it just depends on the situation, but there are those resources, like the women’s shelter or some type of female advocate groups that can and will help you.
If you have to leave with nothing and then the finance piece is. I had been saving for a while, putting some money away to have a nest egg. Cause I knew it was coming, but I didn’t know how, what, like how it was gonna happen. I just knew I was trying to save this money so that I could leave after she turned one.
Like I was like, okay, if I make it to one, she had a year with us both, but I can’t keep doing this so you can store some money away. Not gonna get you in, like in trouble or put you in a dangerous circumstance. Like you can hide money or give money to somebody to hold onto for you. Or start a name, bank account in your name, or something. That’s usually a good way to do it. So if you’re, if you have signed a prep or worried about finances.
Yeah, that makes sense. And it makes sense if you’re married, I think the holding of the money by another individual, like a, I guess a friend or a family member or someone that you trust would probably be a good idea because I don’t know. I guess you get online bank statements now. I don’t know. I guess it depends on everybody’s situation and how involved they are. Everything is, like you said, every day.
Not holding onto the material piece and that money, you need the money, but there’s a lot of groups and people out there who can help you because I know of a group locally to us that I just talked to. They. Started to go fund for someone and were able to like, or they had donors and they were able to raise six or $7,000 for this woman and her child who were homeless and the air, like just to help them get their life back on track.
So there are resources out there for any of the situations. So don’t hold onto it. They don’t let the material aspect of it. Hold you back. Some people will help you. It’s just getting in touch with them. There are so many that wanna help.
This is amazing advice and amazing that you’re sharing your experience with us and I truly appreciate it. So how did you use this experience? Build your business. That’s really where it started, right?
A lot. And I always say my business is what helped my healing. Like I did go to therapy. I was going to therapy before the relationship ended. That was the crazy part. Not even my therapist knew. Cause because I didn’t wanna bring that kind of stuff up, even though we were in therapy. So she didn’t know about the abuse.
After I had left, which was like a whole can of worms, I started the business. When I was like that, I ran out of options. I can’t keep staying in my company. I liked my corporate job. It was safe, and it felt good, but I was like, I need something more. And I had, no, I felt no control over my money. In corporate.
And so I had found all these books, all these podcasts, and it led me on my journey of self-healing and self-love and self-acceptance. Cuz I met so many other women. Who helped me on my journey. Like my first VA client was a life coach and she ended up helping me with a lot of my business. Helping me with that self-love and self-acceptance piece, because I had felt so crappy about where I was at.
So the journey of my business got me in contact with so many women and so many other people that were gonna help me on my journey. And I didn’t realize it yet. And I’ve met so many women. Who’s gone through an experience like I have because I’m so vocal about it because that was also part of the healing?
If I’m making it through this, I’m helping other people get through this because I listened to so many stories like this on podcasts or books. And I could, I was like, okay if they can do it, I can do it. Like we just, it’s just one step at a time. But I would, I met so many life coaches or healers of different sorts. There were so many healing tools that I didn’t even know about until I met them at a networking event or some type of other business event or through a friend like rapid transformation therapy.
I’ve done that, and that helps wonders with just some subconscious fears. That was still holding onto me. Like I thought I had, out, I was over everything with him. I was out of it. Like I had met my now fiance and, I felt good, but it was really like the fear of him and his, my ex and my abuser, his repercussions were holding me back.
The thought of it was holding me back at the beginning of my business of success. So I was so afraid to get big and so afraid to like, actually do what I wanted because of what happens if he finds out and what happens, this, that, and the other. So that was like a huge part of the journey, but Yeah, rapid transformation therapy.
I worked with a coach. She’s not a coach. She does inner healing, but it’s very spiritual, very niche, not like mainstream or talked about, but she has her way of doing it through religion and I am religious. And so it was crazy how much one of those sessions helped because of me. Pregnant at the time.
And I was so stuck on all these subconscious things. Not only with my ex, but, yeah. Just another living thing that I was stuck on and pregnancy alone is one of those, one of those life things. So it was crazy how after we went through one of these sessions, my morning sickness, Totally cut down because I was holding so much tension in me that it was causing extra morning sickness.
It’s just, there’s all these things that these people don’t know about until they know, but that my business became a way for me to meet all these women and help other women who also experience this. And they were like, I had to start my business because. A similar situation or, and then it grew and now we’re working together because I’m helping them streamline and take back.
Their life is almost in a sense there are again because the business overran it and they’re like, they love their business, but it was taking up almost every hour of their day and they wanna be home with their kids. So what kind of tools can we put in place to help them do that? So that’s where the message stems from. Because of connecting with so many women who were in similar positions as me.
That is amazing. And I think for me, that is one of my favorite parts of being an online business owner. And I’m not even gonna say business owner because I connected with business owners. I had a brick-and-mortar like 15 years ago and I connected with people, but it’s not the same.
Like you make such deep connections online. Are impossible to make in person. And I don’t know how to explain it. You spend more time with people online. I think that sounds weird and backward, but especially since the pandemic, I’ve. Met some of the people that I’ve made friendships with online and it feels like I’ve never I’ve just known them forever. Like in person, it’s just so interesting.
I wouldn’t agree cuz I talk to my clients or potential people on my mastermind people, I talk to them a lot more like even my fiance. My one client, who’s you talk to her more than you talk to me. And we live in the same house and we’re always slacking on Facebook messaging and tagging each other and stuff.
You do get to know them because you’re talking to them every day. On a very deep level. Where I think you don’t talk like this. I know I never talk like this to people in my corporate job, when. An online business owner. I think the mental piece is so much more talked about.
As well. Yeah. And I think that’s the other part, one of the parts that are so restrictive about being working for someone else and having that. The expectation of, you can talk about this. You can’t talk about that. That is a very freeing part of it.
Not only the time you can control, but also what you do with your time. But you can also control who you’re around, your environment. You have so much more control of so many things being an entrepreneur. And I think that’s huge.
And I think that’s a double-edged sword in a sense. I was thinking about this the other day. Cause I’m. I finally deleted slack off my phone and I’m like, cuz you can work anywhere. But it’s the boundary of not working all the time. And like whenever you have a free moment. Yeah, and I was like, I had let slack overrun so much, and like my email overrun so much because of it. It’s like setting up those boundaries as well, in a sense too.
And I’m sure that you’ve created a wonderful system for that. So I do not doubt checking and keeping up with it and, I’m sure you have some sort of system in place for that.
It’s getting perfected because things look different now with having two kids, instead of one before my maternity leave, it was different. And I was definitely on the verge of burnout just from saying yes to too many projects and not bringing on enough help right away.
But now it’s at every stage of your life. And this is, I do this with business owners too. Your life changes. So your processes are gonna change with your, when with your business, as it grows, you’re gonna have different needs. Then when you start up and then when versus when you reach 200,000 or 500,000 things like that.
That’s so true. Thank you so much for sharing your story and being brave enough to talk about it. That’s a huge deal in itself. And going through it is a whole nother aspect. That’s not even, measurable.
Thank you so much for being here. Is there anything else that you wanna share with the audience that is listening? About, if they’re going through this what would you have wanted to hear at that moment?
I feel like I’ve heard so many things that did help and I’m trying to pinpoint the one that just resonated the most, but it’s hard to believe that you’re going through this, that you are strong enough to get through, and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
If you take it one day at a time, do not let the anxiety affect the next year. Just taking it one day at a time. And do not let what you can’t control bother you because it gets better with time. honestly. That’s a great message.
That’s awesome. Thank you so much, Emma, for being here. If people wanna get in touch with you, what is the best way to do that?
If you follow me at El underscore operations, and if you’re going through this and need someone to talk to, my DMS is always open in a safe space and I can help you find any resources that you need.
That is wonderful. Thank you for that resource. You’re a huge resource then. So thanks.
I try as I’ve connected with so many different kinds of programs and people which has been great yeah. To get that kind of network building. And we will put the link to the book that you’re talking about in the show notes as well.
If you’re going through it, I recommend cuz it’ll be an eye-opener that you’re not the, it was so weird to see the parallels that you’re not the only one going through it. Cause you feel like you are.
Thank you for sharing everything with us and thank you so much for being here.
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