12: Finding a New Life as a Single Mom with Carmen Reed-Gilkison

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What happens when you suddenly find out you're pregnant and alone? Do you become overwhelmed with fear or use it as the catalyst to move your life forward? That is the crossroad that Carmen Reed-Gilkison found herself in during her late 20s. As a single mom (and now stepmom) who is an empty-nester and launching her own marketing business, Carmen knows that personal sacrifices are worth the rewards.

After living what she calls the “party lifestyle,” Carmen wanted to create a better life for her unborn daughter. She quit the party scene, redoubled her efforts at work, and cut ties with relationships that she knew to be toxic. Her hard work paid off. She saw to it that she had financial freedom and an affordable and safe living situation for her daughter. She did it all on her own with hard work and self-sacrifice. 

As her daughter grew, it became clear that she had some unique challenges to overcome. After an ADHD diagnosis, Carmen knew that she would need to become her daughter’s advocate. Even though she was doing it all on her own, she never lost sight of her main purpose. If you are a single mom, a working mom, or a mother of a child with learning differences, I think you’ll have a lot to learn from Carmen’s story. She shares so many inspiring pieces of wisdom no matter where you are on your journey of motherhood.

When you have the love and the need of another little person in your life, you can do things you never thought possible. 
— Carmen Reed-Gilkison


Show Highlights:

  • Carmen shares how her daughter inspires her to chase her passion and start her own business. 
  • Dealing with everything on her own from day one as a single mom was challenging but so worthwhile. 
  • After her father’s suicide, Carmen spiraled down as a way to cope. Her daughter was not in the plan. 
  • Carmen shares her advice to always follow your internal guides, because you have the strength to do it. 
  • How her family and friends reacted when Carmen announced she was pregnant. 
  • Cutting ties was important for Carmen early on in her daughter’s life. 
  • Handling the rocky relationship with her daughter’s father, leaning on the support of friends, and learning to make positive decisions to make her life better. 
  • Carmen healed from her own childhood through her daughter. 
  • The struggle of trusting another person to care for your child while you work. 
  • Battling mom-guilt with gratitude. 
  • Her daughter’s ADHD diagnosis and the later decision to get their GEDs together. 
  • Listen to your children and what they need. 
  • The transition to being a stepmom. 
  • Being aware of how to be sensitive to single moms. 
  • Take care of yourself so you can take care of others. 

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Carmen is an ambitious 50-something hell-bent on changing the world one business at a time. She derives her passion and fire from overcoming life experiences that would have shut down other people. Those experiences gave her a need to help people go from overwhelmed to empowered in their businesses. She is a coach, consultant and teacher.

If you are interested in sharing your story, hop over to messyroads.com/beaguest.


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