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Jessica Rector Goes From Single Motherhood To A National Movement

She had come to terms with their relationship being over. Social entrepreneur Jessica Rector was in the throes of building her life coaching business while working a part-time job, and though she initially thought that her boyfriend was “the one,” in the end he wasn’t. So three days after their breakup, the then 37-year-old was shocked to discover she was pregnant.

Jessica Rector is the creator of The Single Mom Movement.

She had come to terms with their relationship being over. Jessica Rector was in the throes of building her life coaching business while working a part-time job, and though she initially thought that her boyfriend was “the one,” in the end he wasn’t. So three days after their breakup, the then 37-year-old was shocked to discover she was pregnant.

She could feel everything that she had been working toward slipping away. Children needed stability and now she was thinking about getting a corporate job even though she would hate every minute of it. As she began to adjust to life as a single mother, she had the rug pulled out from her yet again when she lost her part-time job.

This was not where Rector imagined she would be – approaching 40, a single mother, jobless. How was she going to provide for her son now? How she would answer that question would not only change her life, it would be a saving grace to thousands of single mothers around the world.

The Single Mom Movement.

More than 4.1 million unmarried women between the ages of 15 and 50 gave birth in 2011. Contrary to many stereotypes associated with these women, statistics show that “the majority of single mothers in the United States are separated, divorced or widowed; and they work more hours and yet have higher poverty rates than single mothers in other high-income countries.”

Consider the emotional, mental and physical effects of carrying the load of responsibilities alone, and single mothers easily become candidates for depression, exhaustion and many other health risks.

Rector explained that common threads faced by single mothers also include loneliness, shame and feeling worthless. “Many of them feel alone, not only [because of not having a partner], but like they are on an isolated island. There is so much shame around being a single mom.

“Most times they have no idea they feel shame. [And] when we’re beat down enough, we start to believe it. We don’t feel like we’re good enough … Don’t carry that shame around like a backpack with you,” she warned.

When Rector decided it was sink or swim time three years ago, she boomeranged from her situation with a blazing desire to take other single moms with her and she did it doing what she does best – coaching.

The Single Mom Movement (TSMM) was created to empower single moms to lead happy, fulfilling lives so they can better empower the children of our future and to change public perception of single mothers.

Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, Rector said the first thing people need to understand is that single motherhood affects everyone. There are siblings, friends and co-workers of single mothers. The work she is doing at TSMM is for those who want to help but don’t know how.

“Single moms lack support. We want to help single moms thrive. Single moms are barely keeping their head’s above water. We want to get them to the next step, from surviving to thriving,” Rector explained. “We have a huge single mom community.”

At her site, www.thesinglemommovement.com, hundreds of users each day are visiting to find resources, support, education and empowerment.

Juggling Single Motherhood And The Startup Life.

single logo“To say that the last two or three years have been transformational is an under statement,” Rector, now a respected author with two undergraduate degrees and an MBA, said with a hearty laugh.

While she worked to launch TSMM and raise her son, the social entrepreneur still had to navigate the world of startup life.

“It was a challenge to say the least. I learned so much of it on my own. Starting up I didn’t have the money to outsource everything and to pay people to do it. I would Google HTML code for whatever [website stuff] I needed. But I think it makes me more well-rounded and gives me a different perspective,” Rector said. “Being an entrepreneur, you have to want that, desire it. As an entrepreneur and a single mom your time is so limited. Instead of sleeping 10 hours, now you sleep six and use the other four for your business. When you feel it in your gut, you’ll do what it takes to make it happen. Branding, logos, you learn along the way. My best advice would be to surround yourself with other entrepreneurs. Find those people who you want to be like who are up your ladder.”

Rector initially self-funded her movement. She earned cash to reinvest in her startup strictly through clientele and partnering with larger organizations. She believes women entrepreneurs need to think bigger. “There are so many large corporations and organizations that will pay for their services. [Women business owners who offer services] think one-on-one when they need to be thinking larger.”

Now that she is looking to scale her company and offer more programming, Rector has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise $50,000. The campaign focuses on three major initiatives:

  • The Single Mom Movement Community. This provides opportunities for single moms to get together, grow, and support one another. Every $100.00 raised goes to sponsoring a single mom to become part of this community.
  • Educational retreats and mentoring weekends. This project creates programs and getaways including destinations like Belize, Disney World, and Italy, where single mothers can connect and enjoy returning home feeling refreshed and empowered.
  • Hospital Programs for unsupported single women. This initiative reaches single moms right at the beginning of the single-mom journey; pregnancy. The goal is to raise money to conduct a pilot program to implement into hospitals with monthly workshops.

Rector is looking forward to the next chapter of TSMM and motherhood, as she expands her brand with public speaking tours and new coaching opportunities while enjoying her growing toddler who she hopes to make proud.

She recalled a moment she experienced years ago as a reminder of her purpose. “I went to a seminar and [the speaker] asked, ‘why do you do what you do?’ And he put a picture of his kids up there and I started crying. I can’t tell my child he can be and do whatever he wants to do if I am not doing it for myself,” Rector said.

The Single Mom Movement crowdfunding campaign ends Nov. 23, 2014. To learn more and to donate, visit http://igg.me/at/TheSingleMomMovement.

About the author

Natasha Zena

Around age eight Natasha Zena was told it was a woman’s job to take care of the home and since then she has built a career out of telling women they can do whatever the hell they want to do. She is the co-founder of Lioness, the go-to news source for everything female entrepreneur. Natasha was recognized as an emerging leader in digital media by The Poynter Institute and the National Association of Black Journalists. She has mentored women entrepreneurs and moderated panels at a number of national accelerators, Startup Weekends and conferences such as The Lean Startup Conference, the Massachusetts Conference for Women, Women Empower Expo and Smart Cities Connect. Natasha is also the author of the popular whitepaper, "How To Close The Gender Gap In Startup Land By 2021." In her spare time, she writes short fiction and hangs out with her son, Shaun.

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  • I’m a single mother of 3 children who lives in Lebanon, and going through a divorce with a middle eastern American X Husband that just left me and the children with out any support… I’m trying to be strong and keep it together for the sake of my children at least. I’ve been through so much and I’ve learned so much about the legal rights, manipulation, stress, and everything else that I really would like to start some kind of a supportive organization here in the Middle East and change the whole perspective of “single mothers” and the way men treat them like a piece of furniture that they are done with and throw on the street. We women here don’t have any support not even by our government or laws that protect our dignity or pride after all what we go through. It’s time that someone speaks up and unite us. I would like to become a part of your movement in the Middle East.