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Episode 1: Kickass Single Moms With Emma Johnson

ep-01-divorce-podcast-single-moms

There is not enough positive conversation about divorced women and single moms, and a lot of the conversation isn’t uplifting or productive. Worthy’s approach is to talk about this stage of life as a moment where you can embrace a fresh start and build the life you’ve always wanted for yourself.

 

So when we decided to start this podcast about life after divorce we knew that our first guest had to be Emma Johnson. You might know her from her website, WealthySingleMommy, or her wonderful book The Kickass Single Mom, which is all about your love life, parenting, and getting your career where you want it after divorce. We love the way she talks about divorce and life after divorce and we love her. We’ve been working together for a long time, so it was a total no brainer that she should be our first guest.
 

On this week’s episode:

  • How Emma created her business
  • Deciding to reject a victim narrative following your divorce
  • Being a role model for your kids as a single mom
  • Finding ways to empower yourself
  • Dating after divorce and love after divorce
  • Changing the conversation around divorce and single moms

 

Episode Transcription

Audrey: 00:01 Welcome to Divorce and Other Things You Can Handle, a branded podcast from Worthy. I’m Audrey, and I’m your host. “A woman is unstoppable after she realizes she deserves better.” This is one of the quotes you guys have liked the most on our Instagram, and it’s actually one of the reasons we’re starting this podcast. We think that you deserve better. There is not enough positive conversation about divorced women and single moms, and a lot of the conversation isn’t uplifting or productive.
 
Audrey: 00:33 That’s why Worthy’s approach is to talk about this stage of life as a moment where you can embrace a fresh start and build the life that you always wanted for yourself. When we decided to start this podcast, we knew that our first guest had to be Emma Johnson. You might know her from her website Wealthy Single Mommy, or her wonderful book, The Kickass Single Mom, which is all about your love life, parenting, and getting your career where you want it after divorce.
 
Audrey: 00:59 We love the way that she talks about divorce and life after divorce, and we love her. We’ve been working together for a long time, so it was a total no-brainer that she should be our first guest. Divorce and Other Things You Can Handle is a weekly podcast, so make sure you subscribe to keep up with new episodes we’re curating to help and empower and uplift you as you embrace your fresh start.
 
Audrey: 01:19 This podcast is for you, so reach out to us at podcast@worthy.com to let us know what you think, and what kinds of things you want to hear. You can also get more at worthy.com/podcast. We’re going to take a quick break, and then we will be right back with Emma.
 
Audrey: 01:34 When you sell a piece of jewelry, you can’t control how much it’s worth, but you can make sure that you’re selling smart with a team of experts and advocates behind you at Worthy. Your engagement ring can be a financial asset that allows you to embrace a new and fulfilling life after divorce. Let us help you get the best deal possible for the jewelry you’ve outgrown. Go to worthy.com/podcast to learn more. I think that there’s a bit of a stigma in the United States surrounding divorced women and single moms, and we can work together to fight that. Emma does a better job of that than anyone I know. Emma, welcome to the podcast.
 
Emma Johnson: 02:17 Thank you so much for having me, Audrey.
 
Audrey: 02:23 Of course, we’re so excited you’re here. I am hoping that you can start by telling us a little bit about the beginning of Wealthy Single Mommy, what you do, and where our listeners might know you from.
 
Emma Johnson: 02:37 Sure. Well, I’ve been a financial journalist my whole career, and I did, I went through a divorce about … well, 10 years ago now. Wow. My son just hit his birthday, so that’s like my marker. I was raised by a single mom, I’m from a divorced family, and for me it was very negative. I felt a lot of social stigma, which I think really came from my family, and not so much as the world at large. I think this is very much a case of something that was internally bred, and not externally inflicted on me and us.
 
Emma Johnson: 03:13 But my mom really struggled financially, I think romantically, and I think there’s a lot of shame around the idea that she was a single mom. This was a different time. This was in the ’80s, and then I guess the ’90s as we grew up. I, as all kids do, we want to do better than our parents. For me, part of that story was I was going to be a married mom. That was the success story, I was going to be a married mom, married to a nice guy. I wasn’t going to be broke, we weren’t going to have this shame of being a single parent household.
 
Emma Johnson: 03:42 I did that, and I was a married mom to a nice guy that wasn’t broke for like one year. I achieved the dream for one year, and it was nice. I picked a really good husband, a good father for my kids, and then unfortunately there was a lot of tragedy in my family, and my husband had an accident and a brain injury, and our family destabilized, and it led to the end of our marriage not too long after that.
 
Emma Johnson: 04:09 By that time, I was pregnant again, and I was on my own. The big part of the story was that I was financially dependent on him. I had scaled my freelance writing business way back. He and I just kind of blindly assumed that I would be the stay at home mom. He earned more, he had a corporate job with benefits, and that was just the presumption. He also came from a divorced single parent family, and we both wanted the same thing. It just seemed like a very prescribed recipe for success and happiness, until life happens. In my case, life happened in a really bad and ugly way. I just very early on, I mean, despite … I had all those fears.
 
Emma Johnson: 04:48 Now fast forward 10 years, and I have this big business serving single moms, and I know that my fears were every separating single mom’s nightmares, and I would really … I had my baby. Well, first I was pregnant single mom, and then I was a divorced single mom, and I had my babies with me in bed and I would think, “Oh my god. Okay, we’re going to be living out of my old red Subaru. That’s just how it’s going to be, because there’s no money.”
 
Emma Johnson: 05:16 It wasn’t like a funny thing that I was being unreasonable and hysterical, it was like there was no money, and I had to take care of them. There wasn’t any other money. My ex-husband, he made good money, but his career was destabilizing, and I don’t have family money, and it was just like, “That’s going to be the route.”
 
Emma Johnson: 05:34 But for me it wasn’t, because frankly, I’m a rich white privileged woman, and even though there wasn’t money in the bank account, I had lots of resources, so I had my education, and I had a resume, and I had networked, and I knew I had made money before, and I just figured that I’m just going to make it again. And I did, and I kind of overshot, because I sort of became a lot of my … I made more money than my husband, and before that, I assumed that was not possible, because I told myself that, right? That became my truth and it manifested itself.
 
Emma Johnson: 06:05 I just made a lot of money. So that was for a couple years, I’d sell freelance writing, and then I started this blog. It was just sort of like if you’re a writer you had a blog. It wasn’t like a big master business plan, it was more of a personal project.
 
Audrey: 06:18 Do you remember the moment where you decided to pursue this blog, and you kind of identified the idea that you had something that other women would want to listen to?
 
Emma Johnson: 06:29 Sure, I mean, it was really … I think at that time I was really coming into my own as a woman. I was a new mom, a young mom, and I really enjoyed motherhood. Eventually I started dating, and I really enjoyed dating at that phase of my life. Then I was really excited about business, and then what’s going on in the macro-world, like women in business, and money, and politics, and gender politics. This is all what we’re talking about right now. This is the moment.
 
Emma Johnson: 06:58 I had this little niche idea, so I was having these really fascinating conversations with all of my girlfriends, and a lot of my friends come from my business world. I was like, you know, all these questions, like, “How do you date when you are a mom and you make good money? How does that play out?” Or, “How do you balance all this pressure to spend so much time with our kids when we also have to be building businesses and we enjoy building those.” You know, all of these things where there were no answers, because this is really unprecedented what we’re doing in history. And no one was talking about this. If I wanted to find some content on single motherhood, it was like this really cheesy, poorly written crap out there, or it was targeted at a different demographic that was not me. It was a poorer demographic, and that was serving a population, but it wasn’t speaking to me, so I was like, “Well, I have an obligation to create that, because P.S., I’m a writer. So that’s what I’ll do.”
 
Emma Johnson: 07:53 So I did, and it just really coincided with a personal journey for me, which I had a real creative burst, and creative writing, and also … everything that was going on in my life kind of came out on this blog, and it just immediately resonated.
 
Audrey: 08:08 I think that your story and the way that you have taken control of this narrative is just really inspiring for so many people. I mean, we see how our audience responds to it. We’re all so inspired by this story. One of the quotes that we see that Worthy women love the most is, “I am not what is happened to me, I am what I choose to become.”
 
Audrey: 08:29 This is so powerful, because it really underscores this idea that while you might have had some hardships, they don’t define you, and you get to plan the rest of your story, and you are in control of your destiny. And Emma, you are such a good example of this. I want to know how you relate to that quote.
 
Emma Johnson: 08:50 You know, I hate to be always be ragging on my mom, because I have two brothers, and they were great guys, and they’ve got great wives and families, and I like to think I’m a good person, and my mom, she really … she cooked us home cooked meals, she made sure that we had sports, and music lessons, and took trips, even though she didn’t have a lot of financial resources. She really did give us a really, really nice life, but there was a lot of what I’ve done in my life that’s like, she’s like … I want to do different than her.
 
Emma Johnson: 09:21 One of them is I really felt she was just angry about her divorce and her ex-husband in a way that I did not want to be. I just saw how she carried it with her for decades, and decades, and decades, and how that tore at her at different … and all sorts of parts of our lives. I just remember when I was going through my crisis, and I believe that even in the best situations where people are very civilized, they leave their marriages as friends, make great co-parents, and everybody is an adult about it, it’s still a trauma. It’s still a loss. You thought your life was going to be one way, you thought your relationship was one thing, and it’s turning out to be completely different, and it’s effecting every vertical of your life. It’s always a trauma.
 
Emma Johnson: 09:57 I don’t ever pretend like my trauma was worse than your trauma, but I will just say that I went through it. It was horrible, horrible, horrible, and I kind of kept my shit together all day long, taking care of my baby, and my business, and there was a lot of people around. I kept it together, and I put makeup on every morning, and then I put my daughter to bed, and I’d go in my room, and I would bawl my eyes out. Usually I was laying on the floor, because I try to do a little yoga every evening, and I was just like, ugly, ugly sobbing, letting it out.
 
Emma Johnson: 10:28 I just would pray, and pray, and pray, and pray, and I think it’s my way when I get super upset, I just start talking, and what crap that comes out of my mouth is my truth. My prayer was always, “Please let me get through this without being angry.” I was angry, I had lots of anger and rage, you know, and I’m still working through some of it, I’m human, but I’m like, “Please let me get through this with love and have love for my ex-husband, and understand this. Help me get through this without being bitter.” That was like one of my mantras.
 
Emma Johnson: 11:00 I like to think that that was it. Sometimes you have to fake it til you make it. Sometimes you’re really bitter.
 
Audrey: 11:07 Right. I think that you were able to identify that moment. We hear from so many people about that moment when they’re crying on the floor. That’s something so many people talk about, that terrible moment, and how hard it is to get back up. I mean, what do you attribute that to, because I think there’s a lot in society that makes it more challenging for women to feel like they have the ability or even the right to be pursuing their dreams. You were able to channel that.
 
Emma Johnson: 11:35 That’s very insightful.
 
Audrey: 11:35 Right, I mean, what makes you feel confident?
 
Emma Johnson: 11:38 I never fit in. I work at home alone, like I’m talking to you from my home office in my bedroom right now, and there’s a reason that I have worked in social isolation for 15 years. It just is part of who I am. My first career was as a reporter, and a journalist, and journalists are always on the outside, right? You always are the skeptical outsider that’s critical of the status quo. That’s your paid job.
 
Emma Johnson: 12:05 What I do now has very much to do with that, and it’s very true to who I am as just a person … in my personal life too, which is like yeah, so I’m supposed to be this broke, single mom, but why? Let’s really pick that apart. I have every freaking privilege in the world. I could cry you a river about my poor single mom, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, but you know what? Look at me. I have every white privilege. I grew up in a safe country at a time of prosperity. I had a good education. It’s not a fancy Ivy League school, I went to a state school in the Midwest. Does not matter.
 
Emma Johnson: 12:42 I am the most privileged like 1% of the world in the history of time and women ever. .0001%. I think also a big part of my just spiritual practice, and personal … is gratitude, and if you take stock and really, really take stock of all of your blessings, you don’t have any excuse but to succeed. I don’t care what hardships you have in life, that’s part of being a human. If you are listening to this podcast in the Western world, you have so much to be grateful for. It takes away, again, all those excuses not to succeed.
 
Audrey: 13:15 That is so true. I mean, it can be so hard when you’re feeling pain, and you’re going through a hard time to identify the reasons that you have to be grateful, and I think that’s one of the things that make women so strong and so amazing, and I think that this narrative that you just shared is such a good example of that. I hope that some of our listeners will be able to identify with that.
 
Audrey: 13:37 We all have opportunities, and we all have the ability to make things a little bit better for ourselves. When we’re in that tough, dark moment on the floor, we can pick ourselves up, and we have the stuff in us that’s going to take us to the next level.
 
Emma Johnson: 13:52 Yeah.
 
Audrey: 13:52 And you’re such a good example of that.
 
Emma Johnson: 13:55 Yeah, you know, but it’s also like … I think you are going to be angry. You have to honor that anger, but can you funnel into something good. I just had a memory of-
 
Emma Johnson: … anger, but can you funnel it into something good? So I just had a memory of … I live in this co-op building in New York in Queens, and it’s a really special place. It’s a really beautiful building and it’s very neighborly, which you don’t find, I don’t think, very many places in the world, much less in New York. And it’s just really wonderful, and so when my family went through this really bad time, they were just great. People brought by food, and they offered to babysit.
 
Audrey: That’s amazing.
 
Emma Johnson: And they just came and visited, like old-fashioned visiting that people don’t do anymore. [00:14:30] It was really great, and an older woman … Well, let’s say she was 60-ish, and she was friendly. She was part of that network, but I remember … This is a couple years after my divorce, and I had a breakup with my first boyfriend and it was so, so painful.
That’s a whole nother topic, but FYI, ladies, if you’re listening to this and your first breakup hurts like holy hell, that is a very normal thing and I have a whole … It took me a long time to figure out why, but I figured it out.
[00:15:00] But anyways, I was going through that and it was even more painful than my divorce. Which, again, very common. And I was just a mess, and I was in the elevator with my kids, in this little tiny elevator. And so this lady and I are eye level and crammed in this elevator with a stroller and everything, and she’s like, “Oh, you broke up with your boyfriend. That’s too bad. It’s gonna be so hard for you to find somebody else.”
And this was my friend, you know? This is not like me, but I just let it go. I go, “You know what? Fuck you.” And I walked out. [00:15:30] And I think that that is like, a lot of it was, “You can’t tell me I’m gonna be broke. Fuck you. You can’t tell me I’m gonna be lonely. Fuck you. You can’t tell me my kids are gonna be messed up. Fuck you.” And it was just like, I was just gonna prove everybody wrong.
 
Audrey: Absolutely. And sometimes there is a place for anger, like anger can be the fuel that gets you to the next level. You just don’t want it to be the thing that keeps you on the floor, and in your case, obviously, that’s not what happens.
 
Emma Johnson: Right, or just keeps you going. [00:16:00] You gotta make a choice. You have a choice to let it go.
 
Audrey: Absolutely.
 
Emma Johnson: Yeah, you do.
 
Audrey: You get to choose what you become. One of the things that I wanna talk about is the amazing book that you wrote, Kickass Single Mom. We love this hot, pink, sexy book about single motherhood where you talk about career, dating, all of the different parts of parenting that go into being a single mom, and it’s really great. And you can go to worthy.com/podcast [00:16:30] to see how you can get your copy, but Emma, we talked about an excerpt that we wanted to share.
 
Emma Johnson: So here in this part of the book, I’m talking about, I went to family court and I filed for child support, and it was a low. I had just had my baby son, he’s my second, and I had a C-section. It’s funny that you’re having me remember this, because I didn’t have a car, so my friend Carmilla had to drive me and it’s funny. She just passed [00:17:00] away this past week, so I kinda forgot about this memory even though it’s in the back.
And so, I couldn’t carry him because I had a C-section and didn’t have a car, so my friend came with me and I expected to be there all day because that’s how family court goes, and I brought all these peanut butter sandwiches and water because I was nursing and I was just starving all the time. I could not eat enough.
This is what I remember from that moment. In that waiting room, I looked around me. The women were both familiar [00:17:30] and alien. We were all mothers, all of us wanting, needing to care for our babies, navigating the impersonal and antiquated court system in an effort to do so. All of us were up against men who earned money that they were not spending on their children. All of us cared. All of us broke. Yet I did not fit in there.
Yes, I could barely make ends meet. Yes, I was terrified for myself and my babies, but this was not my future. [00:18:00] I decided. I decided that I had blessings and gifts that other women in this world do not. I have an education. I have a Rolodex, contacts, a resume, and a reputation. I have social skills and professional skills that can be leveraged. I had an obligation not to be in that court house seeking services and money, no matter how legally or morally my kids and I were entitled to that support.
Because I could earn, I felt like I should earn, [00:18:30] and if I was going to earn, why not earn a lot? I would not give up on my ex’s recovery. I could still see glimmers of my old husband, the one who could be reasonable and incredibly thoughtful, who was indeed committed to his family and was an adoring, playful dad. But I could not wait, either, for a version of that man that I could depend on. I had to take care of all of us by myself, now.
 
Audrey: This is such a powerful part [00:19:00] of the book and I think so many people can just totally relate to that feeling of, “How did I get here and why am I here?” And I think it’s just so amazing how you were able to identify in that moment that you didn’t need to be there, and that you could get yourself out. We talked a little bit before about anger and where that fit into it, but to me this is such a compassionate moment.
You’re compassionate for your ex. You’re compassionate for yourself, and you’re mostly compassionate for your children, I think. I mean, you’re [00:19:30] there with them. It’s this tough moment, and it’s kind of a moment of survival too, but for a lot of people, that’s a very relatable moment, and it’s the beginning of this book. It’s not the end of your story.
 
Emma Johnson: Right. I think that’s interesting, that compassion for our exes. They are people too, and especially when your guy is not stepping up. He’s not financially [00:20:00] stepping up. He’s not seeing the kids.
 
Audrey: And also not being a partner to you. I mean, you deserve that too.
 
Emma Johnson: Well, yeah, there’s that. But longer term … like, that’s a given. He’s done. That part of the engagement is done, but you guys are still parents together. It’s so hard not to be really, really angry and I still go there. I do, but I try to remind myself that if he is not being the best dad that I know he can be, [00:20:30] it’s because he’s hurting.
And ultimately, the most awesome thing that we can do as people, as parents, is to have the pride of knowing that we did our best. And we’re there, and that we are confident that our children see that or are hopeful at least that they can see that and will grow up to appreciate us.
And if they’re not, then there’s something else. There is something going on, and it’s very easy to dismiss as just narcissistic jerks, but [00:21:00] there’s some kind of suffering going on there that prevents them from stepping up. And I try to be mindful of that, though I don’t always succeed.
 
Audrey: Well, I think one thing that you definitely do succeed at is being an amazing role model, for your daughter especially, but for both of your kids. I mean, we were able to be together for your book launch party which was a really special event on the rooftop of our offices, and my favorite part of the whole night … which was an amazing night, by [00:21:30] the way. I mean, catered, it was a great party. The New York times was there.
But my favorite part of the night was seeing your kids watch you have this moment, and I think for a lot of moms who are listening, I wanna ask on their behalf. Being a mother and knowing that there’s these eyes on you, what role does that play in what you’re producing and what you’re doing?
 
Emma Johnson: Like I said, I’ve always been a writer and [00:22:00] I’ve always enjoyed my work and I’ve done all kinds of stuff. For a lot of years, when I was … I consider myself a freelance writer, so I had clients, and some of them were big name publications like the Times and Glamor magazine and Men’s Health, all these really exciting places.
And then I did a lot of corporate writing too, or stuff that was maybe not as exciting, but I actually enjoyed it. I worked with cool people. I’d always learn good stuff. I really loved the part about making money, but I wasn’t necessarily changing the world, [00:22:30] right?
And my daughter is the older, and she’s very precocious and really creative. And when she was very young, maybe I’m projecting, but I thought her an artist and I was like, “She is gonna grow up to be an actor or a playwright or writer.” Like, of course I think she’s gonna be a writer because I’m a writer and that’s like my paradigm and I’m putting all of my stuff on her.
 
Audrey: That’s healthy. That’s fine.
 
Emma Johnson: A little unhealthy, but I do it. I own [00:23:00] it. I’m working on it. But I was like, “She’s gonna be a writer. Okay, is she gonna grow up to be proud of me when she becomes a Pulitzer prize or Booker prize-winning writer? Is she gonna be proud of my work?”
And that really inspires me. I was like, “Am I using my skills?” I have these skills that include writing. I have other skills. I’m good at marketing. I’m good at messaging, connecting with people. I feel like I am figuring out social [00:23:30] change through my work, all of these other things, and all of that. Am I using that to my greater good?
And I decided I wasn’t, and that’s really part of me focusing on my blog, Wealthy Single Mommy, which it’s my podcast. A mother, the book, all this media public speaking. It was, again, taking stock of my blessings and those include skills. Some of them, I worked very hard to develop, and some of them I just was lucky [00:24:00] to get too.
 
Audrey: Well, I think they’re super, super lucky to have you as a mom to look up to, and I can promise they’re proud.
 
Emma Johnson: I’ll tell them you said that.
 
Audrey: I can promise you that they’re proud. I saw it and I felt it. It was very, very sweet. So we’re gonna take a quick break right now, and then we’re gonna be back with Emma Johnson and we’re gonna talk about dating.
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Okay, we are back with Emma Johnson, and [00:25:00] a little bit earlier in the podcast, you mentioned getting back out there and dating. I have so many questions about dating after divorcing and relationships after divorce, so why don’t you tell us a little bit what it was like getting back out there in the beginning, in that first kind of step out the door again?
 
Emma Johnson: Well, I was so checked out of my sexuality. After all this crap in the other parts of my life, [00:25:30] like I just … It wasn’t even like a lot of women, “I am not dating for four years,” and they’ve got all these edicts about it. I wasn’t like that. It was just the last thing on my mind.
And then it was probably about a year after my separation, divorce, and some good friends of mine were like, “You are going on a date. We’re gonna set you up with somebody.” And it wasn’t even like-
 
Audrey: Oh, good friends.
 
Emma Johnson: “We know the perfect person for you.” It was just like, “Look, you need to go out. We know a lot of people and so we’ll set you up.” And so they set me up on a couple dates and at first I [00:26:00] didn’t see it coming. It was almost like I’d never heard of dating before, because it was so just not part of my thinking or my body or any … and so I was like, “What?”
And I did, I went on these dates and it was great because it was like, they were nice people that I was not interested in at all. But it wasn’t like my friends were jerks. They were totally in my demo.
 
Audrey: Maybe it’s like the kiddie pool [00:26:30] before going in the deep end?
 
Emma Johnson: Well, they were sensible partners. They were attractive, successful, charming people. They could have been for me, but they just weren’t. They were people I probably would have set up with my friends.
So that was really good and it just really jarred me into remembering that I’m a sexual adult woman, and that was like, I don’t know. It probably was six or eight months after I went on a couple dates. I just was kinda like, “Oh.”
And then I … [00:27:00] You know what it was? My kids starting spending the night over at their dad’s. They didn’t for that first year, year and a half. They would just visit with him, and all of a sudden I had some time on my hands, and I just started recognizing how lonely I was.
Like, deeply, deeply lonely and so I went online and I just really had started a full-on relationship with somebody that lasted about a year, and that was really important for me. It was a very sexually intense experience, and I have found that that was also extremely painful [00:27:30] when it ended.
He was also a recently-divorced person, and I found that that experience is very common. Like super duper sexually intense, and then very, very, very painful when it ends. And then when I licked my wounds from that, I just dated like a maniac for maybe five years, like bananas. I’d have a different date every Saturday night when my kids were with the dad. Man, I would just dial up.
I’d just order. It’s like, order [inaudible 00:27:56]. Just go on, keep it in your city and get a cute date to take you out for Mexican [00:28:00] food. It was just bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. And sometimes I’d see somebody for a bunch …
 
Emma Johnson: … but it was just like, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. And sometimes I date somebody for a bunch of months or whatever, and that would fizzle out or whatever. And then I travel in the summer. My kids go to grace with their dad, so I had this lover in Denmark, and that was really fabulous.
 
Audrey: Oh, that is fabulous.
 
Emma Johnson: So I was just loving life. I love my romantic life. And then over the last year and change, I’ve had a really wonderful boyfriend. Just monogamous. All American man. [00:28:30] Totally appropriate for me. Really involved with my family, and that’s been super wonderful, too.
 
Audrey: So, okay, one of the things that I don’t think people are talking enough about, when we see all these different people writing about dating after divorce. You can find tips online, but I want to know if you had two experiences when it came to dating after divorce and love after divorce. If you experienced them as part of the same challenge, or [00:29:00] did you think about them separately? Is it the same anxieties?
 
Emma Johnson: Well, so I think when I first started, I assumed, “Oh, I’m dating to find another husband.” Because that’s really the only paradigm in our world. Like, why else would you date except to find Ward Cleaver? It just is such an unimaginative way. I mean, that might be for you. But why don’t you think about that for a second? You know, why don’t? Why? In my case I already had my kids, so I didn’t need … I had [00:29:30] my own money.
 
Audrey: Right. You don’t need a hero. You’re this remarkable woman who doesn’t need to find a male counterpart to complete her story. You have this amazing story that you’ve written and there’s room in that story for a male partner, but it’s not that prototype husband that you’re describing, right?
 
Emma Johnson: Yeah. And it can be. But for women, especially you’re starting this journey, or maybe you’re deep in it, and you’re frustrated or [00:30:00] heartbroken. It’s like, just chill out. Just enjoy the journey. Like me, my journey had lots of casual sex. Maybe that’s not for you. Maybe you are … It can just look like all kids of things. Maybe you have this idea in mind who the guy is. Well, open your mind up to who that guy is. Maybe he’s a younger guy. Maybe he’s a different race. Maybe, you know, just be open and the beauty of the moment that we’re living in, is socially, is way more … depending on where you live, [00:30:30] but it’s way more acceptable than it’s ever been before. We have Tinder. You can find whatever weirdo you want if you want to experiment. That is easy. That’s the easy part of it.
And it’s just like, go for the ride and see what … Because just because you grew up thinking you wanted to be in this princess fantasy, doesn’t mean that is what is going to make you fulfilled. And I am still figuring this out myself. My boyfriend lived in my neighborhood, but he just moved to Kentucky where he’s from [00:31:00] recently. And he’ll probably be there for a year and a half or two years. And it’s sad and all that jazz, but it’s like, well one, whatever. We’re old people. We’ve both been through so much shit. You want to tell me only seeing my boyfriend once a month is big deal? It’s not. There’s way harder things in life.
But also, I know, and I’ve learned this over the years, I need a lot of time alone. So we didn’t live together, but he was over here all the time. And he’s great. He’s tidy, cleans up, he helps [00:31:30] cook. He’s great with my kids. I have no no no complaints about cohabiting with him, except that I don’t want to cohabit. And I had to learn that about myself. And I would not have been able to discover that if I had gone this journey.
 
Audrey: Yeah, I mean, one of the things that you were saying before about you expect certain things out of your life, and you find yourself divorced and it’s not what you expected, and that’s kind of the starting point. And so, we know that you live your life and you don’t get to pick how everything goes. [00:32:00] And so maybe you think you know exactly who you’re looking for, but exactly what you were saying, about opening yourself up to meeting different kinds of people and experiencing new things, and not trying to fit things into a box that you’ve decided is where your life belongs. And beautiful things can happen when you open yourself up to that.
 
Emma Johnson: I know. I mean, I just know women, one in particular comes to mind, and it’s like she was just so, just, she needs a man. And she’s found herself literally in a physically [00:32:30] abusive relationship with an unemployed racist alcoholic.
 
Audrey: That’s terrible.
 
Emma Johnson: And she’s a very accomplished person. And she’s like, “Well, at least I have a man and you don’t.” And I’m like, “Well, yeah, but, he’s a horrible human being and your children see that every day. So I actually win.” But it’s that pressure that’s both external and internal. And it’s tough. And again, it takes stepping outside, it takes some bravery, and it takes a lot of fuck you to the world.
You know, I come from [00:33:00] a progressive family that’s usually pretty supportive of whatever I’m up to. I live in New York City, but people in America that are listening to this. I get it. I’m from a small town. Maybe you live in a religious community where there’s so much pressure to be partnered and have that little nuclear June Cleaver thing going on, but it’s hard. That is really hard for women.
 
Audrey: And if you don’t think that you’ve got it in you to be able to tell yourself that the way that Emma does, you can buy Emma’s book and she can tell you.
 
Emma Johnson: [00:33:30] I will tell. And find community. The thing is, we live in this time of unbelievable technology. So, like, Worthy has a community online. I have this great Facebook group called Millionaire Single Moms. There’s 12,000 women in there and we have a 90% engagement rate, and it is all women, all economic levels, all incomes. But we all get it. Like, we are all making money, we all believe women adhere to this. Like the mission of the group. You can be sexually free in whatever way you want. You’ve not committed to finding a partner. [00:34:00] There are those people out there even if they’re not in your town.
 
Audrey: I think this is one of my favorite things that I read. I don’t know if this is in your book, or one of your posts that I read, but one of the things I really put into my life is that you are the company that you keep. So you have to make sure that you’re surrounding yourself with people who are challenging you to be your best self. And it’s exactly what you said. I mean, we’re living in a time where you can read, you can engage with people online, and you’re not as limited as where you live as you maybe [00:34:30] once would have been.
 
Emma Johnson: That’s so true.
 
Audrey: I really recommend Emma’s voice and her book, her Facebook group, and of course the Worthy blog, and all of our channels. But you know, there are good influences out there if you’re hearing this and it feels little bit beyond what you’re able to provide for yourself, you’re not alone and there are communities that want to support you and help you live your best life too.
So Emma, I have a couple of questions left, and then we’re going to have to let you go. One of the things that we love to talk about at [00:35:00] Worthy is how single moms just seem to be doing it the most. So, I want to know one thing that you’re proud of and one thing that you’re working on right now.
 
Emma Johnson: I’m really proud, again, this takes some … This is hard for me because I am proud that I give my kids as much freedom and shoving them towards independence which is hard to do in a culture that really prizes helicoptering the heck out of our kids. [00:35:30] And they are independent. I live in New York, right, so we don’t have fenced yard where they can go play. We live in an apartment building with no, zero outside space. And I’m like, “All right, you guys are walking to the bus stop. You guys, here. Here’s some money go the bakery down the block. I don’t feel like getting croissants this morning, so you get your butt out there. You bring it home.” And just thinking for themselves. We talk about politics a lot. I encourage them to not just mimic me, but [00:36:00] develop their own opinions or at least be able to defend their opinions, even if they are mimicking me. Which is, let’s face it, the case. So I am proud of that. And they’re super cool people. They’re really funny. And bright. And I’m proud of that.
And the thing that I struggle with, you know, I think I would like to be doing more.
 
Audrey: That’s a crazy thing from you. You do so much.
 
Emma Johnson: But it’s not about working more hours. So, [00:36:30] a new thing in my business is I’ve been hiring a lot of people. And it’s been a new challenge, because I don’t have experience managing people. I also had a designer and stuff, but I have a personal assistant now, and she is amazing. Total godsend. But it’s a process for me to learn how to manage her. So I’m in the middle of it, and I just am thinking of all this other stuff I want to produce, and it’s good because I’m learning how to outsource all this stuff that I’m really overqualified for that she is very very good at. So, you know, it’s about trying to do more [00:37:00] with less, I guess. Or, to get more done without more hours. Just always be focusing on what’s going to move the needle. What’s going to be more politically impactful. What’s going to be more joyful for me. And just, focusing all my time and energy on that and then outsourcing the rest.
 
Audrey: We are so lucky to have you working on that because your influence is so positive for this community of women. And my last question is, I think that you do so much to help [00:37:30] inspire focus and confidence in women. And I’m wondering what you think we can all do to help inspire that same focus and confidence in each other.
 
Emma Johnson: Well, I really do believe that by you going out and living your fullest life. Ask for the damn raise. Start the business. Go on the date. Stop feeling guilty about not spending more time with your kids, [00:38:00] because studies show it does not matter how many hours you spend with your kids as a fact, but what does matter is your kids seeing you thriving. Your kids being financially secure. You being financially secure. And that by osmosis inspires other women. By you living your fullest life it gives women permission to do the same. The pie in infinite. Women have this thing, and the studies apply to primarily younger women, which is heartbreaking, but there’s this sense, in a way, it’s a sense of community and loyalty to each other, but there’s [00:38:30] a sense that there’s only so much. So it’s this fear that if I go ask for a raise, then that means that my beloved female colleague won’t get a raise or she’s not going to get as much. That’s not true. The pie in infinite. The economy is infinite. Right. When you go and succeed, you are giving other women permission to go and succeed and you’re growing the economy and you’re creating other opportunities for other people that deserve it.
 
Audrey: That is a perfect not to end on. I know that we’re all going to continue to enjoy that pie together. And [00:39:00] I’m so so glad that you were our first guest. I can’t think of a better way to kick off this podcast. And you know, we just love you so much at Worthy.
 
Emma Johnson: You guys have been such a beautiful partner to a Wealthy Single Mommy, and me personally. I mean, people, I don’t know if they get this, but we’ve all become personal friends, both in the New York the Tel Aviv offices, and it really has been a love fest. So I very much appreciate you guys too.
 
Audrey: Well, we miss you, and we’re so glad that we got to connect now. And [00:39:30] you should go to worthy.com/podcast to get all of the links to Emma’s social channels and to find out more about her book. We’ll even give a couple away, because we think it’s the new Bible if you’re a single mom. So, thank you again, Emma, and hopefully we’ll have you back soon to talk about that break up that you figured out. The break up.
 
Emma Johnson: That type of ugly crying. That was the worst.
 
Audrey: Tanks again to Emma Johnson [00:40:00] for joining us, and to all of you for listening. Next week we are so excited to be joined by Laura Lifschitz who will be talking about dating, love, and more after divorce. Make sure that you subscribe so you can catch every new episode of Divorce and Other Things you Can Handle in your feed weekly. If you like what you hear, rate and review us to help other women like you find us.
Thanks for listening to Divorce and Other Thing You Can Handle, a branded podcast from Worthy. Dedicated to celebrating [00:40:30] women like you, as you embrace a new beginning after divorce, separation, or whatever.
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