How does a mom dealing with the consequences of her past decisions, postpartum depression, and domestic violence find the time to focus on earning a college degree?
How does she even develop a mindset to dream about helping formerly incarcerated individuals?
"Times can be hard but there's always something to look forward to in the future. Just don't give up." Estefany Mendez
There are so many directions Estefany's story could take. But through abounding grace, this young lady is taking responsibility for her own life.
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Intro song from the single "Desperate" by Damien Ellison
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Transcripts: From Teen Mom to Advocate - Estefany Mendez (w/minimal edits)J. Rosemarie 0:00 Today I'm talking to Estefany Mendez hi Estefany, how are you? EstefanyI'm doing good. How are you? J. Rosemarie
I'm good, happy you're here. First question I usually ask all my guests is, how did you become a solo mom? EstefanyAt the age of 16, I became solomo. The partner I was with currently was a crime and got incarcerated.
Show Outro.Tired, weary, frustrated, what would you be doing? If you weren't raising children alone? What's stopping you from living your best life now? unsolo mom's talk I discussed with solo mothers the challenges you face raising children alone. So if you're a working solo mom, dealing with independent children in sensitive boss's way, and health issues, or even death collectors. Join us as we discover your path to get and stay healthy. increase your income, and live with joy and purpose.J. Rosemarie 1:21
I'm talking with Estefany Mendez, and we're picking up our conversation where we left off, where she shared about how she became a solo, Mom, thank you, Estefany. And how many children do you have? Estefany
I have three children. I have a 10 year old, a three year old and a one year old.
J. Rosemarie 1:46 Oh, wow, you have your hands full? EstefanyYeah. J. RosemarieAnd what has been your biggest challenge?
Estefany 1:54 My biggest challenge with dealing with the kid
you know, being a mom and a dad at the same time, and having to cope with all their emotions. And you know, their different stages of fear.
Estefany 2:08 My 10 year old wants something different than my three year old. They're always asking for different stuff. J. Rosemarie Right? So you have three different personalities all at once. With three different mindset. Estefany
Yes, yes. Yes, I do. Okay. J. RosemarieAnd dad isn't around at all?Estefany 2:31
The father of the two little ones, he doesn't, he's not really around as much.
J. Rosemarie Okay. Estefany 2:44And he doesn't know the one year old. He has no contact with the one year old. He just as contact with a three year old because court, the court has issued that. And then the for the 10 year old her her father's incarcerated. J. Rosemarie 2:56 Okay. All right. So you are what about any help and assistance first financial assistance from anyone? Or personal assistance?Estefany 3:11 Well I am a current college student actually go part time right now. But I usually I'm usually full time and I usually survive out of financial aid.J. Rosemarie 3:26 Okay. Estefany 3:31
I asked for food stamps as well, and I'm not ashamed of it. If I raise my kids.
J. Rosemarie 3:43 Okay, so financially, it's tight, because you're going to school, what are you studying? EstefanyBehavioral Science? J. Rosemarie
Okay, what's your what are you planning on doing with your degree? Or what are your dreams as far as a career is concerned? Estefany 4:07
... I want and I'm going to do it. I want to create it. I want to create a diversion program. Actually, you know, my grandpa was actually in the middle of doing that. And I wanted I told him that I wanted to run it. J. Rosemarie
Okay. I want does that involve?Estefany 4:21 Helping people are were formerly incarcerated.J. RosemarieOkay. So women, Estefanyalso women, too. J. Rosemarie Okay. So the general population. Okay. So you have this desire to assist formerly incarcerated people. I have a friend who has a podcast as a mutual friend who has he has a podcast about incarcerated people. Is there a reason why you're focusing on that population? Is that something you want to talk about? Estefany 5:00Yes, well, I was formerly incarcerated as a juvenile. I was pregnant at the time, and I was charged as an adult, I was actually incarcerated for probably like, 90 days until they actually took me out. Because of my condition, I was pregnant, my probation officer, he kind of fought for me to get out because I was already at. I was six months, I was six months pregnant. My probation officer thought for the judge to get me out early. He put me on three years of probation. I, it was a it was a really tough time at that time, because I was put in a position where the judge was, had told me that if you know, I could have had a baby inside prison and have her been removed from my care. Luckily, I didn't do the judge went kind of easy on me. And let me out on probation, I had to follow a bunch of things. I had to do community service, had to pay restitution, I had to go to parenting classes, I had to go to drug cop counseling, and through all that stuff, I actually ended up having my daughter 13. At seven months she was whyJ. Rosemarie 6:13 difficult, right? And if you're married and get divorce, and you're on your own, it's tough, right? It's tough with children, even after you had a stable environment. But you, you started as a child, as a mother as a child, mother, right? And in the middle of all these difficulties, incarceration, dealing with the courts, I don't like to deal with the courts, even for simple things. And so I can't imagine what that was like for you. And, and having to worry and think about your children. What What is your mindset right now? And how old are you now? EstefanyI'm 26? J. Rosemarie
...Can you share your mindset right now, as a sole mother, raising these beautiful children, and trying to get your life on a track that you want it to be on? What are you what's going through your head?Estefany 7:19
you know, every day I wake up, I wake up, and I'm always thankful for everything that I have right now. Because, you know, 10 years ago, I didn't have people that I have around me, and I always give them, I'm always thanking them. And thanking myself, sometimes, I was a little hard on myself when I was younger, because I always thought I was the black sheep in my family. And I thought I was never going to get anywhere. But now that I see, and I see myself and I look back, and I'm like, I work so much, and and I appreciate what I have. Every day.J. Rosemarie...hanging on to that. What are you thankful for today, Estefanymy children, my grandparents, and just my life in general, but I'm actually alive and telling my story. J. Rosemarie
Yes, Yes, for sure. All right. So one of the things I like to talk to my guests about is how they take care of themselves. We as solo mothers, we tend to put all our energy into taking care of them and doing things that you know, lift us up as a family, but we forget ourselves. So do you practice any self care? And what does that look like for you? Estefany Oh, well, I usually go hiking or drop off like children from daycare. I go hiking, take probably like four mile five mile hike. I come back home. I have like a little gym set up in the back and I lift weights. J. RosemarieVery cool. Yeah, good. Good for you. You know, you're taking time for yourself. And those hikes are good, right? mentally and physically. EstefanyYeah, right. Yeah. J. RosemarieAll right. And do you have any advice for other solo moms, no matter where they are.Estefany 9:06 You know, time can be hard. But there's always something to look forward. You know, the future. Just don't give up. Good times to get hard. Time to be beautiful. At the time. J. RosemarieThere's hope. Estefany
Yes, yes. J. Rosemarie Yes, definitely. All right, anything else you want to share? EstefanyFor the age of 20 when I became a mother of my three year old, you know, I went through a struggle dealing with postpartum depression.
And, you know, it got kind of ugly at that time, because I was dealing also with domestic violence. ... the father of my daughter, and it all led me to you know, I overdosed on pills that I found in his possession and that I had picked up and I, you know, he had just beat me that night. And I decided that I might take those pills and I took those pills, I end up at a hospital unconscious for about a whole week. And, you know, when I woke up,
it was from a Sunday to Sunday, when I woke up on the Sunday, I woke up with a big headache. And I woke up, I couldn't walk, I couldn't talk. It's been a really long time to get to get myself together. That was just like my turning point of my whole life. I felt like my whole life just went through. Right. Like I see my whole life when I was when I had overdosed. It was a very, it was very scary and lonely place that I was. J. RosemarieYes. So that was a turning point for you?EstefanyYeah. J. RosemarieI'm sorry, you had you have to be going through all of that. It's just like one endless battle. But like you said, there is hope. It's never the end of the line. It's never bad enough for you to end it. Because your life is precious. And you also have three people looking up to you, if I have anything to say is that you're not alone. You know that. And you're strong. I mean, you've been through some stuff. And you're still here fighting. And that's what solo moms do. EstefanyYeah, yeah. J. RosemarieI I'm proud of you. And I'm happy that you took you have the courage to come and talk about yourself. tell your story, because it's not easy. I know. It's not.Estefany 11:44 It's tough for me. J. RosemarieYeah. All right. So you have another special project you're working on right now.
EstefanyI'm just working on... Actually, I've been getting involved in groups just to help, you know, we have impacted with the loved one in prison. So I've been getting, I've been involved with this great initiative, justice, and I've just been involved in helping going to the legislators and lobbying. That's what I do. J. RosemarieOkay, so even with your responsibilities of school and parenting alone, you're also advocating for those who are incarcerated and those who are out after being incarcerated. EstefanyCorrect. J. Rosemarie
See, I told you a very strong, and you're resilient and kudos. pat yourself on the back that when you get up in the morning, yeah, there you go.
J. Rosemarie 12:42 Thanks. Definitely. I appreciate you coming and talking to us. And I hope you'll come I want to keep up with you. You know, I want to monitor your progress and see how you're doing. And we have a, we have a Facebook group called solo moms talk. And I'd like you to join it if you don't mind. Because I want to I want to just keep up with you. And have you talked to some of those older moms who think we have it hard.J. Rosemarie 13:15
Thank you very much. What a story so are inspiring. This podcast is where the stories of moms raising children alone Connect. Another way to connect is during our monthly meetup. Solo moms talk Connect monthly meet up, click the link below to register and receive a free copy of my ebook, the solimar Manifesto. In addition, the first seven people to register from this podcast will receive a clubhouse invite study show, building healthy connections help you live longer. So click the link below and join us as the next solo moms talk. Connect monthly meetup. See you there.