S3E1 - What's it Like Being a Mom Who Podcasts

Episode 1 May 08, 2024 00:28:32
S3E1 - What's it Like Being a Mom Who Podcasts
Start to Finish Motherhood with Aisha
S3E1 - What's it Like Being a Mom Who Podcasts

May 08 2024 | 00:28:32

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Hosted By

Aisha Jenkins

Show Notes

Welcome to the third season of Start to Finish Motherhood, a podcast where the vibrant Aisha partners with listeners navigating the unique journey of single motherhood by choice. In this first episode, Aisha warmly ushers in the new season with excitement, reflecting on the unexpected twists and turns of life and how each year offers new challenges and opportunities, and a delightful conversation around what it's like to be a mother who podcasts!

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:04] Welcome to start to finish motherhood, a podcast for those thinking or already single mothers by choice. Just looking for practical advice for navigating life's relationships. When you decide to have children on your own, it doesn't mean that you're completely alone. I'm Aisha Jenkins, and I'm partnering with you every step of your journey. [00:00:26] Hi, everybody. Well, I am back with season three, and season three is going to be a jeezy. Can I just say that 2024 started off like no year I have experienced thus far. And I guess each year is different, and you go into it anticipating what the first quarter is going to be like, because it kind of sets the tone for the rest of the year. And as per usual, January gets off to a slow start, and then it picks up a little bit in February. For some reason, this February felt like the longest February. Like that extra day ended up being about an extra week in the matrix time. And then March came in like a lion and left like a lion. And so, so much has happened, and I am so grateful to be here. I won't get into everything that has happened, but I wanted to start this season off on a high and reflective note. So it's funny, one of the mindfulness practices that I really lean into is pausing and reflecting so that I can put things into perspective. And at this age, where there's just so much going on politically, in the community, in our nation, globally, I have really tried to do things to stay grounded in what is real and what I can impact. And for me, that is really making the most of the human connections that I am able to follow. Foster. What that means for me on a day to day basis is telling my friends and loved ones how much I love and appreciate them, hugging my kids more, snuggling them more, listening to their chipmunk chatter. It's been a lot to take in and process. I wanted to talk a little bit about why I love podcasting. When I started this podcast, so much was unknown. I had to find my footing. I needed to find my voice, and I really needed to have a clear approach for how I wanted this entire body of work to go. But I know that there's power in telling stories and walking and talking your truth. The art of storytelling, I think, is just built into the DNA of who we are as part of the african diaspora, and whether we could read, sing, dance, or what have you, we were always, and have always and will continue to be good at telling our stories. And so not only did I want to share parts of my story because I am still pulling away the different layers of what makes me me. But I also wanted to hear your stories. I spend a lot of time listening and just enjoying the way people evolve, the way their stories evolve, and just following those stories with season three first. Wow. It's season three already, and I, you know, I'm so excited. So what I wanted to do with season three was be real intentional about seeking out new and interesting stories to bring into the start to finish motherhood mix. And through podcasting, I have met so many people. So when I started my single mother by choice journey, I was ten years out from a heartbreaking divorce. And having experienced marriage the way that I thought it should be, where you're pouring into your partner. And when that didn't necessarily pan out into pouring into me, I had to leave that marriage. And I realized that having had that experience, I knew with certainty that I would not miss marriage. I would not regret ending that marriage, but I would regret not having children and not having the children that I envisioned having the little people who would allow me to nurture them. And we would kind of work together to find that balance between me guiding them into adulthood and them being who they wanted to be. And I could honestly say at 24, 25, 26, I would not have had such a crystal clear vision of who I needed to be as a parent. And so things just work out the way that they're meant to work out. But losing my marriage was not the end all, be all. I entered into that marriage with my eyes wide open. I left the marriage with my eyes wide open. There are no tears to shed anymore, and there's no looking back. I never really wonder what this parenting thing would have been like with a partner or any of that. I'm just moving forward with a clear head. So now, almost ten years into being a single parent by choice, I can say that I love being a mother to the two children that I have. I think many of us have a love hate relationship with other people's children, and I am no different. Sometimes I have a love hate relationship with my own kids, but I do love being able to nurture them as their mom, but also to watch them develop as people and to look at them in a similar lens, but smaller to the way I look at my friends. And so I can also say now, being a mom and having been married and having been surrounded by supportive and loving friendships, I truly miss adult conversation. I can give or take adults being in my presence and in my physical space. But over the past 1520, years I have kind of honed in on, I enjoy the art of conversation and critical thinking and the exchange of thought and challenging my own thought processes and say, pause, let me research that and really researching it and then adding something new to who I am and how I express myself and my thoughts as a person. And so what I have found myself doing is listening to podcasts, audiobooks, watching and binge watching shows and engaging about those shows, podcasts, books, music on social media. And so I feel like I'm a content fully actualized, complete adult, simply by having my kids safely in my home, knowing who I am, but also being able to engage in adult conversation. And I think that this is why I love podcasting. And being a mom who podcasts has given me both the adult conversation I needed, the creative outlet, and the third piece that it has given me is a legacy, a driving force that I felt I've needed in my life. And so what I mean by that is that I am so tickled to hear my nine year old mimic me, saying in a little chickmunk voice, I'm Aisha, and this is start to finish motherhood. I'm partnering with you every step of your journey. Like, she's been around me enough to know that I do podcasts, to know what that means and to actually mimic me, which I'm like, I'll sway. But also, who are you? And it's just so adorable to watch them watch you be something that they want to mimic because it is such a unique thing about you that they're mimicking. So it has definitely been a journey to watch. And my nine year old is a talker and I'm interested to see who is inside that developing person. But stay tuned. More on that. So I've met so many interesting and good natured people through podcasting. I'm grateful for this platform and I'm thankful for having so many loyal listeners. It's just been such an amazing journey for me. Okay, so let me get you caught up. It is the middle of spring. I am back in the garden. I have the garden set up so I will eventually get a video up on the YouTube channel. Just giving a beginning springtime garden tour, trying something different with capturing video and audio separately and see if I can bring the two together. So that's going to be a fun update. Let's see. Over the winter, my gazebo collapsed and so now I have to rebuild the gazebo. I have a couple of citrus plants that I've been bringing into the house to overwinter this year, I think I am going to make the investment and get an actual kind of greenhouse structure, not one of the plastic ones, but an actual structure to house the two citrus plants that I have and anything else that I want to overwinter. And so that's a new adventure. So we'll see how it goes. Interested in this year, we'll be inviting friends over to help have a building party because I need to get my gazebo ready for summer. And so just lots of fun things in creating my peaceful, humble, outdoor, nourishing space. And so more to come on that I meet interesting people throughout the year and I know the conversation is going someplace. I make a note of those people, and then once I have a concept of what the season is going to be like, I start to reach out to people. And so I began fleshing out the season July of last year, and it really came together like a nourishing and delicious stew. I searched high and low to find people to address this season's theme question, which is, what's it like as a single mother by choice. Once I tell people that that is my lifestyle, people ask the what's it like? Question, so what's it like parenting without a partner? What's it like being a working mom and taking care of two kids? I really wanted to address some of the what's it like questions. So, for example, over the course of this season, we're going to answer the questions of what's it like to welcome a new baby. We have a SMC who had a baby in January, and so I managed to catch her at the early stages to kind of catch her in the moment. What's it like to work with a known donor? The melanated single mothers by choice community is full of people who have come to the solo parenting journey from a number of different places, avenues, and perspectives. And I really wanted to be intentional about delving into as many of those perspectives as possible. So what's it like to work with a known donor? What's it like navigating infertility as a black woman? I think regardless of whether you're single, partnered, or what have you, there are some things that are just common and just part of the human experience. And so I really wanted to focus on that. So I do have an OB to discuss her infertility journey and the infertility that can be attributed to sperm. Also, what's it like parenting as a black expat? I have had podcast episodes on my previous series where we talk to people who are living the expat lifestyle and parenting. And. And while the single mother by choice community is full of a lot of non black women who are doing that, I really wanted to talk to black women who are living this lifestyle because I think that some of the challenges that we encounter due to our intersectional identities really do make a difference in that experience. And so, while I had a choice of who to bring on to talk about parenting as an expat, I was specific that I wanted it to be the black women's experience, people of the diaspora that I really wanted to capture. And then also, what's it like navigating parenting in the midst of a health crisis? So these are just some of the what's it like? Stories that I am going to bring to you in season three, just to name a few of the topics. I think you'll enjoy the diversity. This has always been a podcast that was meant to talk about the common things with the single mother by choice journey, but also to discuss the highs and the lows that the unexpected things that can happen to you as a human being as you're navigating this journey. Okay, quick update on the kids. My nine year old is months away from turning ten, and this year we've been focusing on communication, executing on tasks, and sibling dynamics, like how to keep the four year old alive. My four year old will soon be five, and to be honest, I'm not ready. I'm experiencing quite a bit of emotions around that, because just watching her evolve and know that she is my last baby, and she is oscillating between being a big girl and being a baby. So I still get the snuggles and the spontaneous kisses and hugs, but then it's also the struggles of her little identity, and it's been amazing. And I'm that mom who will just look at my kids and they will be like, you're gonna cry? You're gonna hug me, right? And I'm like, yeah. Yes. Can I? And so she's fully coming into her own. She's very vocal, she has a personality and her own determined sense of style. I had decided early on that I was gonna be one of those parents that if it's clean and if it fits, you can rock with it, and if it sees inappropriate. And so my kids have a very unique and interesting sense of style that I think works with the environment that they are going to school and the environment that we live in. And so I just look at her teachers, like, look, you fight with her. I'm not gonna do it. Going from one child to two children has almost been like going from one kid to 2.5, because in the midst of managing the individual identities of your kids, you also manage their relationship. And so as a pair, they're learning to gel like oil and water, and I am the soap that shakes things up and gets it all to meld together. It's been fun. It's been interesting keeping that balance between trying to keep the four year old alive and developing in her own individual identity, while also allowing the older sibling, her older sibling, to really enjoy some of the joy and privilege of being the older sibling. Because when you have a small one, you're doting on them, but you're also trying to keep them alive. And while the smaller one could, you know, really irk the older sibling, the older sibling has the capability, just by sheer physical strength, to kind of overpower and hurt the smaller one. So I find myself trying to balance, interceding in their squabbles and when they fight, because that little one, she is little, but she is mighty, and she will punch and kick and scream because her sister is trying to take advantage of her. So I find myself balancing that relationship between the two of them. But it has been a joy. It's hella messy, but it is so filled with love and humor. When my oldest was on spring break, the little one would come home and say, I want to see my big sister. I miss her. And then she will go and just give her a hug. And then the big sister is just looking like, I know you love it. And so it is just. It's a joy to kind of watch them together. Let's see what else is going on. [00:16:43] The melanated single mothers by choice group, which is the Facebook group that I run for black women who were on the single mother by choice journey. I do love my non black single mother by choice friends. I participate in the various groups, but I felt that there's a need to have a very safe space for black women who are navigating this journey. So if you identify as a black woman and, and you want to get that additional support, to ask specific questions to you being a black woman in this fertility infertility parenting space, then you're welcome to join the melanated single mothers by choice group on Facebook. You must have a picture of yourself in order to join the group, and then you have an opportunity to also join the mailing list and get some additional support and information. I will say that the group is growing, and I love watching it grow grow, because each person who requests to join. I read your stories, I read your names, and as I'm putting together resources like the podcast, the YouTube channel and the blog post, I am doing so with you in mind and with the the situations that you identify in your join request. And so I will say that I'm surrounded one by day one people who I have known since I started, started my single mother by choice journey. People who were with me in the old group, people who have just been part of my SMC world. I have old friends, I have new friends, and I have people who are lurking and waiting for their opportunities to jump in and introduce themselves to you all. I say thank you and warm welcome to the new people. I appreciate each one of you as members and I thank you for trusting me to create a safe space for you to navigate this journey. I appreciate their perspectives, the warmth and the love that we share in the group, the respect, and especially the diversity of personalities in the group. I think that we are not a monolith and we should be able to push and pull against the different thoughts and conversations we have in the group. And I think that we've done that in a really respectful and uplifting way. And I appreciate you all for that. One of the things I've carried over from my professional life is that I wanted to be a different type of leader. I think that in the society that we live in, it tells you that there's a specific way to lead. And that can be quite toxic where people say, this is me, I'm just a jerk, or I'm just this or what have you. And I'm just. [00:19:20] I push up against that, that we don't have to be. I think we can choose to be something different. So I'm a different type of leader. I lead with transparency. I lead with honesty and vulnerability. And so I'm proud of our community. And thank you for allowing me to witness your journeys and support you as I can. And best of all, thank you for allowing me to watch you parent your kids as they thrive. And it's such a joy because some. Some journeys go on longer than expected. And so to be there when people get to experience the dream of becoming a parent and watching their kids grow, it is an honor and a privilege. And so thank you. [00:20:05] Okay, summer plans? Well, we know once January hits, almost, I think in December, once December hits, that's where we start to see all the camp offerings come out for the year. And I will say, I saw them come in and I just didn't have it in me to make hard decisions. And so I was really focused on this year because my youngest turns five and that I was excited about not having to pay for daycare, to be quite honest. And so I knew that at the end of June, we were going to go into this new phase, and. But I didn't really have a plan for what happens after June. So that was a big conversation amongst the, the preschool parents that I talked to. What are we doing with the kids? Because a lot of the little five year olds, some of them had older siblings and some did not. And so we were all trying to figure out where is this group of small kids going to go? And so I thought, hey, I'm putting my kids into camp. But then I realized that with my older daughter having an IEP, her school offers a free school based camp. So she's going to be going there. And then the five year old is really small. So when you think of the age range between five and eight is the age range for the lowest level camp. That is a big age and physical difference. And I can't see dropping my little five year old off with big, giant eight year olds, and her sister is not there with her in the morning. And so that put me kind of in a bind where it's just like, okay, what are my alternatives? So I still haven't really figured out what. And I think that's okay for me. I've been really structured for most of my life, and I think I'm entering into a season where a lot of the structure is gone and I'm navigating it. So I'm trying to be less rigid and more flexible. So for me, where I am developmentally, I think it's okay for me to not know what the next thing is. And so I'm going to take summer as it comes. You know, life is lifeing. And so summer is all the way up in the air for me. I just know what my big girl is going to be doing for part of the summer. She's going to go to a school based camp, and she's going to go to a sleepaway camp. The little one, she keeps asking for some mommy and Cece time, and so maybe she'll get a little bit of that this summer. I know I need to get her into a pool and maybe get her onto a bicycle. And so we'll see. I will keep you posted, but I know whatever we decide to do, it will be an epic summer. It's going to be filled with love, laughter, adventure, and lots of friends. And that's it. I said what I said, so stay tuned. Okay, so last but not least, I'm going through a major, major transition. I'm still processing it all, and I'm not 100% sure how I'm going to articulate it, but I do know that I'm better with these things. Things when I've had distance. So the gift of distance and perspective away from events really helps me to deliver the information better. So maybe in season four, maybe in season five, I don't know. But I do know that change is constant. And I remember going to church and I was like, 16, maybe. And one of the things that the lady preacher said was that growth demands change. And I can honestly say that sometimes we push up against change, but I think I've just learned to just kind of welcome it and just roll with it while I don't understand it. And change can cause some disruptions and upheavals. I'm just like, I know well enough from having lived, you know, through a lot of tumultuous changes in my earlier days to just kind of roll with it. It's like when you get into a car accident and they say the worst thing you can do is tense up, but if you stay relaxed, it makes the impact less traumatic. And so I think that that is what I try to do on a day to day basis. I'm still processing things, but growth demands change. So I feel like I'm in a season. I have been in a season of tremendous growth. And some things I can actually see happening, and some things I know is going to happen also. Health is a gift. So listen to your body. I think our body tells us when things don't feel right, when things are coming to a head, and it manifests in each person differently. And I beg each of you to just take the time and sit quietly with yourself so that you're able to recognize when things are going awry. To see the flags and heed those warning signs. Make sure that you're working with supportive, knowledgeable, and responsive medical professionals. I think there have been a few times in my life, and I talked about the one time in particular, when I was going through a miscarriage, that I actually had a medical professional stop see me, listen and then took action on my behalf to advocate for a particular type of health care that I needed. And this has also happened to me a couple of times, you know, since then, whereas you have to really, really articulate what your needs are even as you're going through a time of distress. And I found that by doing that, it helps you figure out if you stay with this medical provider or if you move to a different provider. But many times the medical team that you have in place can make the difference between life or death. And so we do talk about a few of these trusted professionals as we progress through the season and things to listen to and to listen for. As I mentioned, we will have an episode where someone was dealing with a cancer diagnosis and how they paired with a knowledgeable and supportive medical team, and it makes all the difference. So health is a gift, and I'm forever grateful to the people who intercede on my behalf. And then lastly, the healing gift of a friendship. To my dear, dear SMC friends, to my ride or die friends, Andrea Font, Ayanna Kim and to my North Star team. Thank you for allowing me to melt down and be reconstituted in your presence. I mean, when I say that I want to be intentional about how I manage and how I navigate relationships, whether they are personal or professional relationships, it is a metamorphosis that you go through. You feel your way through. And in trying to manage differently, I've had to become even more self aware than I like to say that I am. And I've had to pause and take steps back from certain situations to get myself, to gather myself and make sure that I am not the person that is causing harm. And when you have a team around you that you trust that you can be vulnerable around, I think it adds a layer of transparency that can make someone a transformative leader. And so that's the way that I'm choosing to move forward with leading, with being a part of team. And so to that, I say thank you and to my listeners, this season is dedicated to you and thank you for joining me on this journey. [00:27:51] All right, let's get going. [00:27:58] Thanks for listening to start to finish motherhood with Ayesha. If you want to keep the conversation going, follow start to finish motherhood on Instagram or email meishaerttofinishmotherhood.com. If you love this episode, please share it with anyone who's thinking of becoming a single mother by choice, anyone who's already parenting as a single mother by choice and just looking for advice on navigating it all, or a friend or family member who's looking to support someone else's single mother by choice journey. Until next time. Bye now.

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