We had the good fortune of connecting with Vanessa Reyes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Vanessa, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
After my divorce, I applied for so many jobs, but it was either false advertising disguised as a job listing or a call saying “I am so sorry, you were one of our top 3 candidates, but we decided to go another route.” I assume the reasons it was challenging to find work this time around is two-fold; I had been out of the work force for 10 years and as a 40-year-old, I was going against 20-something recent graduates. When I met my now ex-husband, I was a full-time news reporter in the South Florida area, but we later moved to the NYC area for his job and soon after we had a child.
I was fortunate enough to have the choice to stay home and take care of him, but I was blissfully unaware of how much a baby changes your life.
I wouldn’t trade that time for the world, but at the same time, you lose a bit of yourself when you make that choice and I stopped writing for a long time.
Once things started going downhill with my ex, I no longer had that security, financial or otherwise. So when the job search didn’t pan out, I decided to use the skills I have to start something of my own.
With the help of friends who have been successful using social media, I started my own website.
I knew how alone I felt during this time and how scared, I had never been through these kinds of emotions at this level and I knew I couldn’t be alone in feeling this way. While the lack of security was scary, I knew it was even scarier to live in this kind of toxic relationship and get to the end of my life with regret and what ifs.
I love the concept of seeing this divorce as a transition and as a chance to start over, so I decided on the name www.singlemomstartingover.com.
It’s so easy to feel like a failure when you get divorced, but it is really the bravest thing you can do. You’re choosing to not continue in a relationship that doesn’t serve you in a positive way, that affects your mental health and you’re essentially saying ‘I can do better, I deserve better’.
Divorce has a stigma, and that stigma is especially strong in certain cultures and generational.
I am Peruvian, so in latin culture it is generally frowned upon, although that is changing little by little with the newer generations.
I truly believe divorce may be one of the best parenting decisions I ever made, because as a child of unhappy parents, I knew how much damage it can cause to see your parents unhappy and fighting. I would not put my kids through that.
This doesn’t mean people shouldn’t grieve, because it is a death. The death of the life and family unit you had and maybe even the death of the vision you had of what this marriage would be, but one of my aims with this site is to change that stigma in my own little way and show people that this is just a moment in time and it is now, in this transition, that you have the opportunities to make the choices to make this next chapter a better one.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a journalist, more specifically I was a newspaper writer. Unfortunately, news on print is a dying art form, so I am glad I can still write and share what I learn or inspires me through my website (www.singlemomstartingover.com) and through social media (@singlemomstartingover). I think what sets me apart from a lot of people is building something from zero as a 40-something. I don’t consider myself old, but let’s just say I needed a good amount of help tech-wise 😅. It’s exciting to know that this site does help people. I have messages from people who are where I was at three years ago and they feel seen. It can be a lonely place and when you have children, it can feel overwhelming.
What I didn’t mention before was during this time of divorce, I had also learned my mom has Alzheimer’s. I began to talk about this on the blog and on my social media and unfortunately so many can relate to this as well.
These two life events of divorce and having an ailing parent can take its toll on mental health.
So what started as a page about going through divorce and starting a new journey, now are under the umbrella of mental health.
I am not a licensed professional, but it is something I am passionate about and as a good reporter, I will research what I want to know about and I get to share this with people who want to learn more too.
If we are in good mental health, we are better partners, better parents, better friends and overall more healthy humans.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, I know the tourists like South Beach, but my South Beach days are long gone, so if I had a friend visiting, I would take a picnic blanket, a small speaker and some breakfast or lunch to eat on the lawn of the Deering Estate. For me, this place is magical and with such good energy. You have the ocean, manatee-sightings and it rarely gets crowded. It’s the perfect place to read a book or have a peaceful meal with a friend. Plus, I live in Palmetto Bay so it is literally in my backyard. I would also make time to take her to Robert is Here, a cute shake stand with petting zoo down south in Homestead. After the shake, I would take her next door to the Everglades Outpost, a non-profit rehabilitation and educational organization that houses unusual wildlife, most of which have been confiscated from illegal or abusive situations. We would see alligators, bears, cotton mouth snakes and so much more. I’d want to show her things outside the box.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I love this! I talk about showing appreciation a lot and what a great platform to do this, so thank you for that! I want to thank my kids Sebastian and Matteo for giving me so much courage; I always want to make them proud. Thank you to my partner, Jose Luis, who showed up in my life when I wasn’t ready. He encourages me, supports my efforts and inspires me to be a better partner, better mommy, better human. To my friend Annie (@thefashionpoet) who guided me through the website and instagram world. To the love of my family and friends, who support me in their own way: My mom, Rosalva, my brother Ricky, my dad Juan, my friends Regine, Gleicy, Lorena, Megan, Imelda, Claudia M, Claudia C, Jasmin, Antonio, Luisa, Iris, Angelina, Joseph, Eva, Kathy, Wendy, Debbie, Kary, Maite, Michael and my mentor Bruce.
Facebook: Single Mom Starting Over