I would like to introduce you to this month’s featured Mom, Teri Smart. Teri is a writer and graphic artist. Through her work, she helps small businesses find the images and words that would genuinely connect them to their clients. Her journey was not easy and through the pain, the tears, and abuse, she is still here to share the defining moments that brought her to the place where she is today: impacting lives by allowing others to shine in their areas of expertise.
My story began years ago as a teenager looking for love in all the wrong places. I left home at an early age to serve my rebellious heart and escape a dysfunctional family life, and ended up married and mommy at 18. I bought into what I thought was happily ever after but was destined for a future of destruction and devastation.
At the age of 21, I was trapped in a cycle of violence and married to a drug addicted husband with 4 baby boys that I had no clue how to take care of. I was secluded from my family and scared to tell anyone what I was going through. Convinced that everything that happened to me was exactly what I deserved, I accepted my lifestyle. This was my life. This was my normal.
After 8 years of verbal and physical assaults and no stability for my young family, I got up the courage to pack up my children and leave. I took one last look behind at our homeless shack, and drove away. I knew I could never return. This was my last hope for a new life for me and my boys.
The Sisters at the Good Shepherd Shelter for Women and Children in Los Angeles took us in, gave us a warm place to lay our head, and a safe place to call home. That night as I watched my boys sleep, I remember a feeling of calm and peace, something I hadn’t felt in a very long time. I thanked God, closed my eyes and finally rested.
Over the next several months my family and I went through a long and difficult healing process. We eventually moved to our own home and started a new life. We had some hard times but we shared so many memories together. Being a single mom has shaped and molded me into who I am today, and I am so grateful for every experience that has brought me to today.
It has never been an easy process but the most difficult part of being a mom has been watching my boys grow into young men, move out into the world, and say, “goodbye Mom”. I don’t know if there are words to describe what it’s like to be a mom. To have a baby grow within you, to give birth, to cuddle and care for him. To nurture, to protect and watch him grow. To cherish every moment of his life, and then to watch this little human become an adult and walk out of your life as unexpectedly as he came in. The emotions that a mom experiences as the years pass by, the proud moments (and the not so proud, you know the ones). And then to suddenly not be needed like you once were, (tears).
Of course the title “Mom” will never change. But the role we play in our childrens lives will drastically change over time. When my boys moved into adulthood, I was so desperately lost. I remarried to the love of my life when my boys were teenagers so I had my husband beside me, but as my boys graduated into adulthood I felt as if my role as their mom had been ripped out from under me. Enter the empty nest stage. In my saddest moments I would sit on my bed, rocking my pillow close to my heart and just sob. I went through a time where I was stuck in a rut and just didn’t know what to do with myself.
Finally I reclaimed my love for art and writing, joined them together with a new excitement for social media, and started my own business. Now I write and create graphics for other small businesses to help them communicate their message to the world through their online and social media presence, while also helping them save time so they can focus and shine in their area of expertise. Sheeba is one of the many amazing coaches that I have met on this journey as an entrepreneur, and it has been an honor to watch as she has an impact on so many lives with her message to help moms thrive and live a life they truly love!
If you are feeling stuck, complacent, asking the question: “NOW WHAT?” - you don’t have to stay there. You CAN live a life you love and THRIVE. You can find the answers to the question, “NOW WHAT?” To find out more, enter your name and email address above and you will receive my weekly newsletter with words of encouragement and tips to help you begin to thrive and start living a life you love.