Reflecting on my 5th Wedding Anniversary: How I Found Love Again After Being a Single Mom

Reflecting on my 5th Wedding Anniversary: How I Found Love Again After Being a Single Mom

I have a special episode for you all today, and it’s more personal in nature, rather than business-oriented. In honor of my fifth wedding anniversary, I wanted to share a bit about my love story with my husband, MP. 

I get a lot of questions about our relationship and our kids and I thought it’d be fun for you to hear how our blended family came to be. It hasn’t been all puppies and rainbows all the time, but we’ve found our second chance at love and it’s a great story.  

I can’t share our love story without relaying my experience (and struggles!) as a single mom and I have some advice I’d love to share if you’re in that same boat. I’ve been there and I’m here to tell you that it’s going to be OK. 

If there’s anything that tugged on your heartstrings from this episode, or something you need advice about, especially for the single moms out there, please send me a DM @morethannicolej on Instagram! I love talking all things business and life with you, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

In this episode, you’ll learn…

  • [04:01] How my husband, MP, and our children from previous relationships all became a blended family
  • [05:43] How I left my first marriage and became a single mom
  • [09:32] How MP and I immediately connected and started dating
  • [31:33] My advice to the single moms out there

If you loved this episode, get access to even more incredible resources over in my group coaching program TFE. We’re all in this together, and this group is such an open and supportive place for anyone at any stage of their business. I can’t wait to see you there. 


Links mentioned in this episode…

Watch our wedding video!

Book a FREE 15 minute strategy call with me!

Join TFE (short for The Friendly Entrepreneur) my group coaching program!

Apply for 1:1 Coaching with me!

Send me a DM on Instagram!



[00:00:06] Nicole Welcome to the More than Clothes podcast. I'm your host, Nicole Jay, a mama wife and entrepreneur who makes the most out of the hours in between morning school drop off and afternoon pickup. After ten years of building a successful clothing boutique, I decided to close the doors. When I realized that the fast fashion world just did not align with the slow and simple life that I had been craving. You're in the right place if you're looking for real life advice or proven steps to building your business. I'll be going behind the scenes of my life as a working mom, surviving in the chaos and choosing to start over. And details of how I built a multimillion dollar business by the time I was 30 years old. We're sharing some of the mistakes I made. I'm hoping to help you avoid them. And by telling you about some of the hard lessons I've learned, I'm hoping to inspire you to finally let go of other people's expectations and start prioritizing your happiness. Thank you guys, so much for being here. Let's get to it. 

[00:01:11] Nicole Hello. Hello. Welcome back to the More than Close podcast. I have a very special episode for you today. I want to get a little personal and I feel like some of the upcoming episodes, including this one, are going to be more like my story with a little bit of life lessons, with a bit of messages for the audience and really just leaning into life in general. I'm sure there will still be some business stuff kind of mixed in, you know. But I have a few things just on my mind that I want to share with you guys. And today, my husband and I just celebrated our fifth year wedding anniversary, which we are in such a unique situation that five years honestly feels like it could be 50 at this point for us, you know, and I don't share much of our love story. So I figured today, since we are just celebrating five years, I wanted to kind of just share that share our journey and how we got here. 

[00:02:13] Nicole A lot of you know that I was a single mom to Ellie and Jace for a while and just share a little bit of like what that looked like and how Matt and I met and, you know, became a blended bunch. And I just it's all my heart to share it. And so I'm going to share that today. I briefly, you know, mentioned it before. There's some older podcast episodes you can go back to where you hear I think it's like the first ten episodes really. I share a lot about my story and it's crazy because so much has stayed the same and so much so, so much has changed, but I haven't really talked about it since then. And that was probably who maybe three years ago. I don't even know at this point. But I want to share it. I want to share our love story here just so it's like a place, you know, that maybe the kids can find one day and an episode. The kids can find one day and listen to it. And I just think it'd be really cool. 

[00:03:04] Nicole And I get questions too, like the kindest questions, but, you know, like people are curious, like, as did Matt and I have Jace together or did I have Jace before we were married? Because, you know, he's eight years old. We've been married for five years. So it's like I can understand how it overlaps and gets tricky. So now that I owe anybody an explanation by any means that I'm like, you know, I just kind of want to share it so that way maybe it makes sense to those who are wondering. And so that's what we're going to do today. 

[00:03:30] Nicole And then Mother's Day is right around the corner. So I'm going to deep dive further into like my motherhood journey of the moment. I found out I was going to be a mom till now and just sort of like some of my parenting styles and things that I've learned and mistakes that I've made and just just different things. So that's an upcoming episode for you guys. 

[00:03:51] Nicole And then I just have a few other things planned, but today we're going to talk about love. I always tease. So let me back it up a second because. So Matt and I have been together for eight years now. On and off. Eight years, right? We've been married for five. We just celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary. Jace is eight years old, so a lot of people get confused of wondering if Matt and I had Jace together. Well, I always like to tease and say, Well, we had a baby on our first date, but it's not what you think. So MP is not Jace, his biological father? MP is very much the father figure and Jace is life and always has been. And then Shane So we have three kiddos together, right? So from a previous relationship, Matt has. Shane, my stepson, who is 13, going to be 14 this week actually this week that I'm recording it, which is so crazy. So 14 And then I have Ellie and Jace from my previous marriage. So Ellie is 11 going to be 12 in September and Jace is eight going to be nine in June. So we are full on blended family. Matt and I do not have any children together, but we are all a family together, so it's a hard thing to explain when you become a blended bunch because I don't even like referring to Shane as my stepson, but you know, like he's my son. I love him as if he's one of my own because that's how I see him. But I also have so much respect for his mom as his mom, you know? So it's like this it's hard to describe unless you are in this situation of of being a stepmom and being a blended family. It's like you don't want to cross the boundaries, but you want to say the right thing. But, you know, it's just weird. It's weird. And I know that anybody who's kind of in a similar situation as me can totally understand that. 

[00:05:43] Nicole So back it up a little bit. So I was married before and I was in a really just toxic sort of marriage. I found myself and it wasn't always that way. And, you know, there was a point of our relationship, Ellie and Jason's father and his relationship, that we were very much in love and having a lot of fun together. And, you know, it just kind of really took a turn. And that's not something that I talk about a lot, and it's not something that I will talk about a lot because it's just a personal situation. And, you know, with respect for my kids, I just like to keep a lot of that private. 

[00:06:18] Nicole But so I was so when I was 21, I moved back from New York City. I had moved away a month after I graduated high school. I was there for a few years studying fashion design. I was in a long distance relationship at this point with Ellie and Jason's father, and so when I moved back to New York, we were engaged pretty quickly and I had started my business around that same time. So I was 21 years old. Our plan was to get married eventually. Like I said, we were engaged, but we did have sort of a surprise pregnancy when we found out we were pregnant with Ellie, and it was terrifying and scary, But I knew that it was happening for a reason, and that's something I'll dive deeper into in the next episode with my motherhood journey. But so we did end up speeding up the marriage. So we got married. Let's see, we were engaged in September, we were married in April, and then Ellie came the following September. So within a year, engagement, marriage, baby and a lot of things changed pretty quickly. But I was still trying to build my business. You know, I had a lot of moments feeling like this house that I'm in does not feel like a home, and I don't know how to get out of it. I don't know how to get out of this situation, you know, And a few years go by and as you you know, if you're married or or not, if you've been in a relationship, it takes work. It's hard. It's hard work. And we had been through a lot and we had decided to separate. I had decided to leave after, you know, again, personal situations. But shortly after I decided to leave is when I found out that I was pregnant with Jace. So I had this moment of like, All right, am I staying? Am I making this work or am I sticking to my decision and knowing that, you know, I need to get out of this? So I decided I needed to get out of it. 

[00:08:12] Nicole So I became a single mom to Ellie, and I was pregnant with my son Jace, and I was alone this entire pregnancy. I went through it by myself. I did, you know, the doctor's appointments, the ultrasounds, all of that alone. I did have my family support, which I'm so thankful for because they have truly my parents have helped me raise my two kids, and I'm forever grateful for that. So I really had their support during that time. But, you know, it was really just like a lonely sort of sad feeling. And I was excited about the baby, but also just sort of like. Grieving this loss of somebody who was still alive. And that's a really weird thing to sort of describe. But if anybody has gone through something where you've been through a breakup, a divorce or have lost a family member, maybe you're no longer speaking to grieve. Somebody that is still very much alive is incredibly difficult. Maybe that could be another another conversation. So I decided to continue this journey as a single mom. And so ultimately, I had Jace by myself. I was with my mom and then eventually my dad. They were there when I delivered. Jace And, you know, they are like I said, they've helped me raise my kids. It's kind of wild. 

[00:09:32] Nicole But fast forward a little bit to when Jace was about three months old, and Ellie at this time would have been, I guess, like three and a half, four years old. And we were having like a family party at my house. So my family's pretty close and we were always looking for a reason to get together, you know? And so usually during the fall, we'll have bonfires out at my parents house. And I was living with my parents at this point. So once I made the decision to leave and to file for divorce, I moved back in with my parents, with Ellie, with the baby, and it was chaos. But that was where I needed to be, you know, And again, so grateful for that. But we were having a bonfire one night with family and friends and just, you know, kind of hanging out. Nothing crazy, just casual. And so. Enter MP So MP we call my husband MP because his name is Matt. Matt Palmer and my brother is also named Matt. My brother and my husband are really good friends and have been for a very long time, so I have known MP for quite some time. So you know, he was kind of coming over, hanging out with my brother and his group of friends or whatever. So it was kind of one of those things where I was like totally not expecting to like, see him in this moment. I had a newborn baby practically, and I'm like, you know, obviously just not ready to date or anything. Like, I had no idea what was going on in my life at that point. So dating somebody was like, Yeah, never going to happen. Like, I swore I was never getting married again. I said that over and over and over to my mom, like, I will never get married again. I promise I will never get married again. We laugh about that now, obviously. So Jase was about three months old. We had this little bonfire at my parents house with some friends and some family and MP came over and, you know, we just like, started a conversation. And have you ever had a conversation with somebody where it feels like, number one, that you've known them forever, that it's the easiest conversation you've ever had, that you could just talk for hours and hours and hours and like it's it's so, so, so hard to explain. But this happened to us that night. And we just talked and talked and talked and talked until like early hours in the morning when finally we're like, okay, we've been talking for hours, you know, and and then that was it, right? Like that was it. We just kind of let it go. And we just had this wonderful conversation and it was wild. So from then on, we exchanged numbers. This, like so many random things, you know, I was like begging my brother for his number at some point, you know? 

[00:12:22] Nicole So we went on a date, I think not even a couple of weeks later. And so that's why I say we had a baby on our first date, because at that point, Jase was about three months old. We were going on our first date. And so while Jace wasn't physically with us on our first date, you know, we it's that we had a baby on our first date. And by our second date, we had three kids. And I think for us, we just kind of knew almost immediately that, like, our connection was strong. The thing for Matt and I was that we had both been through a lot in our lives, aside from just relationships, just in general. We had been through a lot. He has been through so much, you know, and so we were just getting to know each other like even deeper. Like I know all of his past. He knows all of my past. And that's outside of our dating, that was outside of our relationship. That was really just for me, like knowing him as my brother's friend, you know? So, like, there was no secrets, really. Like, I knew and he knew. And so that made just kind of like getting to the truth a lot easier of like, who you are and what your intentions are and that kind of thing. Right? 

[00:13:34] Nicole So for him and I think what happened in the beginning of our relationship and after we were dating for a little while, as we both had up this intense wall, we had built this like wall around ourselves that was not coming down. And it was really hard for us to just trust, to like, open our hearts again, to love. And we both wanted to be happy. We knew we deserved to be happy. It was just like really hard to, like I said, just open yourself up to love again. And so we were on and off for a little while. And, you know, ultimately we just had this moment of like, if we're going to do this, we have to like, go all in, right? Like, we have kids, we have lives, we have a business, a career, you know, And we were we were both at the point of like, we just want to be happy and each other makes each other happy. And so let me back up. So the MP thing. So because my brother is Max and MP is Max, we came up with MP for the kids to make it easier for them. So Ellie started calling him MP and then eventually just when he was able to talk. MP And it's funny because even Shane, I mean to Shane, his dad, you know, and even to Jason, every now and then he's he'll say Dad, but it's a shame he's MP too. So like and then everybody in our family that calls him MP so MP has really stuck. So if you ever hear me refer to him as MP, that's where that came from. And if you're ever around our family or around the kids, you'll hear them call him MP as well. And it's really cute and it's just it's become one of those things I said to him not that long ago. I was like, Is it weird that I introduce you as MP? Like, I'm never like, this is my husband mad? Like, this is my husband? MP And that's all the kids are DO So it's just so funny that that's. MP That's how the name came about. And that's kind of really when we first started dating. 

[00:15:27] Nicole So when I say we were dating with a baby, like we thought we went right into a relationship with not just three kids, like three small kids, two very small kids and a baby. And we had some long nights, I mean, after we eventually had the kids kind of meet each other and we started like hanging out as a family and thing. We were really kind of slow about doing that because we wanted to just be respectful of the kids being so young, you know? And there was like a lot of confusion and just we wanted to make sure we were doing it right. So I am really proud of us in that sense because I think we took our time with just sort of meshing everybody and making sure that we were good before doing that. And it's just so funny because when we got to the point of like, All right, now we're staying together, you know, now he's spending the night and we're trying to ease into that. Like there I mean, I had a I had two babies, right? So Ellie was going through her nightmare phase of screaming in the middle of the night, and then she would finally fall asleep and then Jess would be screaming. And I was still nursing at this point, like, how weird is this? Right? So I'm like, nursing, nursing J's. Well, trying to calm down Ellie and and be stayed there, all of that. And it was just like I would cry to him like, you don't have to be here. You don't have to stay you know. And he did. And we all I teach about it now is like, I this is definitely TMI, but this is just the truth of our story. And it's it's ridiculous. But like, so our first sleepovers, I'm literally nursing. So I would like, wake up and it'd be like, you know, you've nursed before, like, you'll look all over the place and like, Oh my God, this is so embarrassing. This is so embarrassing. Like, this is not how it's supposed to be, you know? So it was just it was so funny and it's so crazy to think about now, but, you know, so it wasn't like I had Jason Rush right into some random dude or anything like that. And it was about almost, let's see, I would say almost a full pregnancy was just that I was, you know, a single mom and all that. So it's just it's just our story. It's just kind of how we reconnected and all of that. And when we first started hanging out again, I said to my mom, I was like, This is my soulmate. I don't know how to describe it. I don't know, you know, what it is about him. But like, I am connected at the soul to this man. And, you know, then I still said I wasn't going to get married again, but that's that. 

[00:17:57] Nicole So, you know, one of the things that was really just one of the biggest things, I guess I'm really grateful about the timing of our relationship was that, you know, when you're going through a divorce with children and you have your custody situation and you're going back and forth in court, and our situation was not easy at all. I mean, it was it was really difficult. But on the days where I had to, you know, when we were sharing custody at one point, we're no longer doing that with Ellie and Jace. But when we were I had somebody there for me, because it is the most unnatural feeling to not be with your kids by choice, like not having a choice, you know? And I think a lot of people will say, Well, you did. Make a choice. There's so many conversations that happen around when you're sharing children or when you're going through a divorce or a custody battle, like people who just don't get it say the most inappropriate things like, Oh, you're so lucky to have time to yourself every other weekend. Excuse me. Fuck, no, I'm not. And it is the most unnatural feeling to not have your kids when you want to have your kids. Like, don't tell me I'm lucky. Oh, my God. That's one of my biggest. But the pet peeves, you know, it's like this. There's nothing. Look about it. I can't even tell you the amount of times that I spent on my floor holding a blanket or a toy, just sobbing, wishing that, you know, my life didn't have to be this at this point of having to share my kids like it is just the most unnatural feelings, the only way I know how to describe it. And it's so hard. And I have had people tell me, well, you chose this. You could have just stayed. It's like, no, that's not that wasn't the choice. Like there was there was a choice for me to leave. Yes. But like, you know, this isn't this isn't why I got married in the first place to separate. You know, I think it's just something that we need to be mindful of when we're having conversations with people. If it's a situation that we've never been in or a situation that we don't fully understand, like some of those things, I can remember specific people saying specific things to me that were truly hurtful and whether they meant it or not, I don't I don't think there was any ill will meant. It was just that they didn't fully understand the situation that I was in, you know, And it's again, it's it's incredibly difficult to explain. It's just the most unnatural feeling having to hand your kids over to that person that I had mentioned before. You're like grieving the loss of a person that is still alive. 

[00:20:33] Nicole So fast forward a little bit. Let's say we moved into it together. We were in like this little apartment for a little bit that we moved into a townhouse. One of my favorite stories of like we call it, we call ourselves like the Palmer bunch, kind of like the Brady Bunch, but we're the Palmer Bunch. So we rented for, I guess a little over a year. And then we're like, okay, we need to get serious about buying a house. So we actually found our house without the kids knowing and we told them we had a surprise for them. And one of my favorite videos, when I favorite moments with them ever is when we surprise them with our house and we drove up. We had them close their eyes, we walked them to the door, and then we let them run through the house and they're like, Is this our house? Is this our house? And they were like running around to find their rooms. We had signs on their doors and we had their beds sort of just like quickly made so they know whose room was who. And this was Jason's first big boy bed in our townhouse. He had a crib and him and Ellie shared a room and Shane had his own room. So here they have their own rooms. So they were so excited about that. And in the video, Jason's going, I have a big boy bed, Mama. I have a big one. Oh, my gosh. Is the cutest thing. And Sane goes into his room and he just like falls to the ground and they're just like, speechless. They find their toy room. They're like running through. It was just the best, best thing ever. And honestly, it's like one of those core memories that if we were to ever move out of this house, which I'm sure we will at some point, it's like going to be so bittersweet. All of the just little memories like that, like the kids have truly grown up here and they've grown up together, you know? 

[00:22:16] Nicole And I think because they were so little when we first started dating that they all three of them, they don't know a life without each other, you know, And that's really, really special. And as we came up on five years, I said to me the other day, I said, Can you believe it's been five years? But like at the same time, doesn't it feel like it's been forever? And he's like, it literally feels like forever. And we were just saying how we can't even, like, imagine the life we had before each other. We watch our wedding video every year on our anniversary and we wrote our own vows. I'll have to you know, I'll include a link here. So you got single out it if you want to. But the video organizers did such a amazing job. And if you're somebody who's getting married and you're considering the video, I highly recommend it. I love rewatching our video. It is just I mean, I don't know if it's the kids that are in it that make it or our vows that we're reading to one another or just like seeing all of the special people that were there with us that day, I guess is just one of my favorite, like most prized possessions, having this wedding video. So we'll definitely I'll share that in the links. You guys can check it out if you want to. 

[00:23:29] Nicole But, you know, and here's the thing. So we're five years in. I always say five, but feels like like 50, you know, And our situation is unique and but it's ours. And I think that no matter what you're going through, maybe you're a single mom listening to this, or maybe you're not a mom yet and you're listening to this and. Maybe you're just engaged or newly married, like your story is going to be your story. And there was a huge part of me that felt like I was really I'm just going to say it really fucking up. When I was 23 years old, getting a divorce with two children, like, I felt like a failure. I felt like I was just not good enough. I felt like I was just really letting my kids down. And I don't get me wrong, I still have moments like that some days where it's like, you know, Ellie brings we have difficult conversations and, you know, the older she gets, the more questions she's asked. And it can be very heartbreaking to kind of revisit certain things. So there was a time where I was like 23 years old and just like, how did this happen to me? I would I never imagined a divorce in my life. I didn't come from a divorced family. My parents have been together since they were 12 years old. Like what? You know, so this word, this situation was so foreign to me that it felt like I had just failed. And I wish I could, like, hug that version of me and just say, like, trust the journey that you're on. And honestly, if you're listening to this and you're going through something or you're wondering what your future looks like, I wish I could just reach through this microphone and hug you and just say, like, trust to the journey that you're on and know that your love story is going to be beautiful and it doesn't have to be in the order that you think it will be. It's, you know, it's your journey and it's going to be unique in your own way and so special in your own way. And where I'm at now is not a place that I would ever imagine myself being. Like I said, I, I was never getting married, you know? 

[00:25:35] Nicole And when Matt proposed, so we moved into this house and we had our housewarming party. We had all of our family and friends here. And I walked into the backyard and the kids were holding signs that said, Will you marry me? And I think time just sort of froze for a minute. And I couldn't believe that this was happening to me. All I could do was look in his eyes and just like, search for her approval. And I was just beaming all over her face and I just sobbed. I was sobbing, so sobbing like Matt was calling me Chewbacca, because I just kept going, Oh, I look like Chewbacca. I just couldn't believe this was happening, you know? And I just feel so thankful that our paths crossed when they needed to. I've become a better person, and so has he, by our relationship and just being together. But it took a lot of work. It took a lot of trust building. It took a lot of I hate to say trial and error, but I mean, we made mistakes in our relationship and we have gone through so much together. But we've we've really reached a point where we just understand each other and it's easy. The relationship is easy, and that's the way it should be, guys. It really should. And we have a lot of big conversations too, where I need something from him or he needs something from me. Like communication is everything. It is so, so crucial and it's hard to have those big conversations of like, tell me why you're upset or what did I do to hurt your feelings? Or, you know, we just had a conversation about each other's biggest pet peeves and we were, oh my gosh, we were like, laughing by the end of the conversation because I had no idea that some silly things that I did was pet peeves of his and vice versa. So by the end of it, we were just laughing and I'm like, I'm so glad that we had this conversation because, you know, it's like little things that I can I have no problem adjusting the way that I do stupid shit, like the way that I So this is something that I do. I pull out the trash bag and when I'm, like, emptying out, you know, you're cleaning up dinner and you have, like, the dinner plates, You're scraping off the dinner plates or you're in the fridge emptying out like just old shit from the fridge before trash day. Well, one of my things is, instead of pushing the trash into, like, back in, I tie it up in a big not and I leave it. And then sometimes I'll dig it out. Sometimes I'll take it out, or sometimes it'll sit there overnight. Music. I don't understand why you do that if you're tying it and go to pull it out anyway. Like, why can't we just take it out to the trash? Whether you ask me to take it out or you take it out, because I want that to sit there and I'm just laughing so hard. I was like, That is such a silly thing that I would have never realized bothered you so badly, you know? Oh my gosh. We were laughing so hard. I thought it was like, I don't really like the way that you fooled by T-shirts. I appreciate that you do laundry to help me out, but the way you fold my sleeves is just like a little wrinkle. You know, we just had this conversation of laying out our pet peeves, and we were laughing so hard. And I'm like, This is it. This is this is where you find those little moments that are big moments, you know, and. 

[00:28:48] Nicole This week, for example, like we we try really hard to have our morning routine together because right now, especially, we're in spring sports. So it's busy, busy every night. We got something going on, practice schedule, dinner. We know our dinner, practice games, dinner. You know, we're trying to make it work. So in the morning before everybody is up in the house, like we can have a quiet moment. Sometimes we're just literally standing in the kitchen like zombies waiting for the coffee pot to be done. Some days we're standing there hugging. Some mornings we have enough time to actually have a cup of coffee on the couch. But no matter what, like that's ah, even if it's just 5 minutes, that's our time together. And we never leave the house without, you know, hugging or kissing and like, those little moments are big moments to me. Like, I will sit there and watch him put his work boots on for the day and just in all in appreciation for him getting up and going to work for us and our family. Like there's just little moments that I try to slow down and just soak up, realizing that these are actually big moments in our lives and big moments in our love story, like moments that I can truly appreciate my partner and, you know, the relationship that we have. 

[00:29:51] Nicole I love our family dinners. You know, we do. We are a blended bunch, so we have full custody of Ellie and Jay. So they're with us all the time. And then we have a 5050 arrangement with Shane and his mom. So we have him two or three nights a week, depending on the schedule, and then every other weekend. So when he's here, I really try. We really try our hardest to have that family dinner where it's the five of us sitting down, laughing, goofing off. Sometimes by the end of it, somebody is crying because they're fighting or I'm yelling if they're, you know, burping or farting at the table. Like, come on, family dinners can be crazy. But at the same time, it's like my favorite. Like, I just I love the relationship that the five of us have. 

[00:30:34] Nicole And it's just it's our story. It's our story of imperfections. Beautiful chaos, we call it. And yeah, that's kind of where we're at, this guy, where we're at. And MP doesn't like social media at all. And I always tease him. I'm like, People are going to think that I'm just not married. I don't have a husband, you know, But I respect that he doesn't like to be on camera. He doesn't like to be on videos. We have pictures together. But, you know, he's not one to hop in a selfie willingly or anything like that. So I really respect that boundary of his. But like, I'm going to share our story on the podcast and share a love story. So he's going to be mortified by this, probably. I would love to interview him. I always teased last season I was teasing like, I need to get MP on the podcast so you guys can just hear from him and maybe ask him like some rapid fire questions. 

[00:31:23] Nicole I would love to have the kids on the on the podcast too. We have Mother's Day coming up, so I'm trying to plan something out where you can hear from them too, because I think that would be really, really funny. But you know, guys, if you're somebody out there who is a single mom, let's start there. So all the single moms out there like. The depending on where you're at in your situation, I guess. I guess let me give just some of my my advice, if I could. Especially if you're in a situation like mine where you're kind of going back and forth and there's a lot of hatred and there's a lot of just ill will and spiteful ness and arguments and custody battles like I was in a really, really hard situation. And I wish I could have told myself, I wish I could give the advice, like just you have to put your differences aside. You have to you know, in our situation, it was a lot of safety concerns which I really stood my ground with. And I think that, you know, court can be a really emotional, just degrading sort of situation and it's hard, but just go in with your kids in mind, cut out the bullshit, cut out the spiteful myths, you know, don't try to tear each other down like it isn't about you. Again, if their safety situation's, that's different, you know, But when it comes to just your children and allowing them to be in each other's lives, really do your best to just make that the priority. Easier said than done. Trust me. I know. Don't speak badly about your ex in front of your kids. That is one thing that I have really stuck by, is just making sure that it's nothing but love and hope. And in our house, in regards to our situation, and I keep it open to where my children can talk to me if they're feeling some sort of way or if they have a question. And I will do my best to answer it in a way that I feel like is appropriate for them without bashing anybody, you know? And I think that just taking the high road can be so hard and a lot of people won't understand it. But I think that once you get through it and if you know that you have taken the high road, you have been respectful, you have done the right thing and kept your kids priority at the top, kept them at the top priority, then I think you will be able to sleep better at night. I do. I also want to say that again, your story is your own. And I think it's important to know that where you are right now is scary, hard and difficult and dark and lonely. And it feels like you're never going to get out of this dark tunnel. But there is there is light at the end of the tunnel, I promise you that. Take it from the girl who said she was never getting married again. I would never fall in love again. I would never trust another human being again. I was going to be alone for the rest of my life, just me and my kids forever. And it took me a long time to open my heart again. But I eventually did. And I have a house, a home that feels like a home, a cozy space full of love and laughter. And if I wouldn't have allowed myself to really just get through those dark moments but see hope at some point be open to a story that I would have never imagined for myself. I wouldn't have been here. 

[00:34:56] Nicole And so I just want to encourage you to stay positive and to lean on others for support, to learn to love yourself first. You don't need somebody else to completely complete you. You are enough by yourself. Your kids just need you. They need you. They need a happy mom. They need a mom who can set, you know, lead the lead by example and be that role model of you don't need anybody else to feel whole. You don't need anybody else to feel love. You can give that type of love to yourself. And I had that time by myself when I was pregnant with Jason. It was just Ellie and I. And there are just so many moments when it was just Ellie and I that I will just forever be grateful for, because it really just formed this bond between us. Of like. I mean, that's my girl. That is my girl right there, my best friend. You know, and not that we wouldn't have had this bond otherwise. I'm certain we would have. It's just different when you're a single mom and you have this alone time with your kids. It's exhausting. There's a lot of tears. There's a lot of frustration. But there are so many special moments when it's just you and them. And there is so much magic and beauty there. You guys, you don't need anything else. You need to know that when that addition comes along, when that person comes along and you're already complete, they're just an addition to your story. And then you evolve and you have your own story, right? So there's no missing piece to your puzzle. You have all the pieces. It's just this puzzle will get larger as the right person comes in. I believe that I know it to be true because it's true for my life. 

[00:36:48] Nicole And in my world, if you're a blended family, the sooner you can get to a point with co-parenting, the better. We have had some rocky years, but I'm so grateful that we've gotten to a point where Shane is our priority and on all ends, and we do our best to just make him happy and lean in to what he needs and what he wants. And, you know, it's so much easier when everybody can just get along and be respectful. And I'm so grateful that we're at a point in our dynamic of that. And I do have so much respect for his mom as his mom. And that's a boundary that I will never overstep. And I think that's important, especially if you're coming into a situation where you maybe don't have children and you become a stepmother. It's like always honoring and respecting mom as best as you can. I've been on both ends of it, and it's tricky. It's really tricky. But I think the more that your kids feel loved, the more that they know that they're loved and that the people around them all are on the same page of just making them feel their best, making their lives as easy as and safe and happy as possible. I mean, what a gift. What a gift. To have more people to love your children. I mean, it's so special. And my family has welcomed myself and my kids with open arms since day one. I always tease that his mum called me his girlfriend before he did because that is a true story. But, you know, it was never like a situation where I felt like an outsider. It was like I just have more people to love my kids. And what a gift. What a gift that is. And I'm just so grateful. So no matter where you are on this journey of being a parent or in love or out of love or heartbreak, or blending your family or getting remarried or going through a divorce, like. Find that little glimpse of hope. Hang on to it and learn to love yourself until you reach the light at the end of the tunnel. Because you will reach the light at the end of the tunnel. And when you get there, everything you've gone through is going to make sense. And the strength that you learn throughout your struggles will make sense. It feels hard right now because it is it is incredibly hard, incredibly difficult. But the lessons you're learning right now are shaping you into the person that you're meant to be. And you're learning to love yourself, respect yourself in a whole new way. So that way, when the right person comes along, you're already complete as is. They're just in addition. All right. 

[00:39:30] Nicole I hope you guys enjoyed this episode. I feel like there's so much more I could say, but I'm going to leave it there. I'm going to leave it at that. Thank you for listening to our love story. It's very special to me. And I just I love love. I love love. I love being in love. I love that I've married my best friend. I love that my kids are loved and happy and that we have this silly, dynamic, beautiful, chaotic family that we do. And I wouldn't trade it for the friggin world, man. And I hope the same for you one day. And I'm certain that it's on its way. Just learn to love where you are right now. Thank you, guys, for listening. And this is a conversation I would love to continue. So if there's anything that like, you know, really just tugged on your heartstrings, message me and let's chat. If you're you heard something and you need more advice on it or are curious or have a question, please message me, message me on Instagram and let's continue the conversation there. I love chatting with you guys. 

[00:40:29] Nicole And please take a second to leave a review. If you are on Apple Podcasts, you can go to my show and just scroll to the bottom. It only takes a second to leave a review. Those reviews means so much to me, especially as we try to grow the podcast here in this space. It's super helpful to me that's that. I hope everybody has a wonderful day and I will talk to you soon. Hey, friend, real quick. I would love to stay connected through Instagram. You can follow me at more than Nicole J. When you get a chance, would you mind leaving a review? These reviews are so helpful for podcasts like mine. If you leave a review, send me a screenshot on Instagram when you do so I can personally. Thank you. And one last thing your friendly reminder you get to choose what type of mood you want to be in. And today I hope you choose happy. 

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