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Episode 137 - Help for Single Moms - The Single Mom Network

Episode 137 - Help for Single Moms - The Single Mom Network Image

09/04/2019 10:46 am

TJ Ware joins Leh and Todd in Studio to talk about The Single Mom Network. As a single mom herself, she saw a real need to help single parent households, especially moms. According to research, there are 11,667,000 Single Parent Families. Of those, 81.4% are headed by single mothers. Of the 81.4%, 35.6% were poor, 27.5% were jobless for an entire year, and 31.6% were food insecure. TJ explains what programs she is developing (with the help from others) for all single moms. Her goal is to help single moms succeed in life, regardless of where they are on the economic ladder.


Leh Meriwether: Welcome everyone, I'm Leh Meriwether and with me is Todd Orston. Todd and I are partners at the law firm of Meriwether & Tharpe, and you're listening to the Meriwether & Tharpe Show. Here you'll learn about divorce, family law, tips on how to save your marriage if it's in the middle of a crisis, and from time to time even tips on how to take your marriage to the next level. If you want to read more about us, you can always check us out online

Todd Orston: Great job.

Leh Meriwether: Thank you.

Todd Orston: No, seriously. Not one mistake, I'm proud of you.

Leh Meriwether: You know, I've been listening to the show like afterwards on iTunes because that's where we post it.

Todd Orston: It's your ego. You just need to hear yourself talk.

Leh Meriwether: That and you've been saying that a lot so I've been just getting it right every time, I love hearing it. Well Todd.

Todd Orston: Yes, Leh?

Leh Meriwether: I'm excited.

Todd Orston: Always.

Leh Meriwether: Well we've got ... as we usually do, some days we pick a topic that focuses on the law. And then other days we focus on resources that can help people. And recently, I discovered something that I think is pretty fantastic, and I was actually ... was honored to be invited on the show. So I figured, well why not have her on our show? With us today is TJ Ware, she's the executive producer of the The Single Mom Life, and founder of the The Single Mom Network. She is passionate about providing moms with the encouragement they need to strive forward. She was born in Montgomery, Alabama and raised in Tallahassee, Alabama. I didn't know there was a Tallahassee, Alabama.

TJ Ware: There's a Tallassee.

Leh Meriwether: Tallassee.

TJ Ware: Yes.

Leh Meriwether: Oh-

Todd Orston: You just angered an entire city.

Leh Meriwether: Tallassee, okay. I should've been ... I need new glasses.

TJ Ware: It's okay, everybody does it.

Leh Meriwether: She comes from humble beginnings and is excited about building a network of resources for moms all over the world. She has a background in marketing and sales, and continues to build her businesses while working to inspire other single moms. Thanks for coming on the show.

TJ Ware: Thank you guys for having me.

Todd Orston: Welcome.

TJ Ware: Glad to be here.

Leh Meriwether: So I will say that if you're a man listening, this is not a man bashing networks by any stretch of the imagination. I really loved the messages that I heard when I was on the show, because I actually stayed around to hear a couple other episodes to be recorded. And I just ... it was so positive, and it was uplifting, and in fact, I came on to talk about co-parenting and how important it is for moms to work with fathers.

TJ Ware: Yes.

Leh Meriwether: Because they need as much help as possible. Meaning like it's hard to do it on your own, and unfortunately, single moms, they ... well, let's talk about the stats. I mean-

TJ Ware: Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: Let's talk about there's a reason why you started it, and I don't want to ... you're here to tell the story, not me. So why did you start The Single Mom Network?

TJ Ware: Well, for one, I am a single mom. And I just seen like that there was a need in my own life, of things and resources that I couldn't find at my fingertips, like really easily. And the more I started digging in the numbers and the data behind like some of the things that are out there, I realized, wait, this is a trend. Like this is ... there are things that are happening in several different communities, not just mine, where there is limited support for people that are in these type of situations.

TJ Ware: And so the more I would hear arguments of people that are on these ... like on assistance, or single moms that don't necessarily have the means, but the way the system is set up, it's like if you're on welfare or you're on these assistance, like you can only work a certain amount of hours, or if you work over that, then they no longer assist you with some of the things that you need. And then they don't provide a lot of tools for training to help you kind of get where you need to be. And a lot, 90% of the issue is finances. Like it is having-

Leh Meriwether: Sure.

TJ Ware: A job that is providing the opportunity to make a six figure income for these moms, for people that actually want the change. So the more and more I talked to moms, and like myself, the more I realized that there was a huge need for people like me that just need help, need support, we need ... programs in place that can help train us to kind of get where I need to be.

Leh Meriwether: And I think that ... can you share with us the stats, the numbers-

TJ Ware: Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: Because to me that was very ... I knew single moms was the majority of single parent households, and there's a lot of burden on them.

TJ Ware: Right.

Leh Meriwether: I knew that already. But when I saw these stats, it was eye opening for me.

TJ Ware: Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: I had severely underestimated the problem. Do you mind sharing that with the listeners?

TJ Ware: Absolutely. So the Single Mother Guide reports, and this is as of 2017, that there are 11.6 million single parent family homes, and 81% of those are headed by single mothers. And there is, of that, 35% are poor. And 27% are jobless, pretty much, and 32% are food insecure, meaning they don't have access to food and things like that.

Leh Meriwether: Wow.

Todd Orston: And those stats go right to ... sort of what we were touching on a little bit, that while this is the Single Mom Network, this is something that affects millions of fathers also.

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: A single parent. Okay. But of course, what your purpose is, and maybe you can ... how about this, tell me what is the mission statement of this organization?

TJ Ware: Right. So our mission is to connect moms to the resources and things they need to help them combat challenges that they face in their every day life, from personally, business, career wise. So it really is to connect them to resources. And so the Network stands for like a network of resources, so the idea is to bring in people that can provide some type of resource to the group of people that we are servicing.

Todd Orston: So this is not simply a ... you're trying to create a platform for all single mothers to be able to communicate and maybe share some ideas, and ... talk about their struggles, and all that.

TJ Ware: Right.

Todd Orston: This is a program where you're trying to get all this data-

TJ Ware: Yes.

Todd Orston: Of programs that are available to mothers, and put it within reach.

TJ Ware: Absolutely. Because we find that a lot of moms, like they are ... or single parents in general, they don't know where to go for the resources, and then like I've been in a situation where I've had to call that 211 number and there's just like a list of people for assistance and for ... and you just, you kind of don't really know where to go. And then also, a lot of the programs, you have to be referred in. So if you're not referred in, you ... it's almost like you can't get that assistance. And it is just ... it's very ... it's very disheartening. Because if you're trying to ... if your lights about to get shut off, or if you're about to get evicted, and you are needing some help and you can't ... you've got to go through, jump through all these hoops and different things just to get that-

Todd Orston: Well you don't even know where to start.

TJ Ware: Right.

Todd Orston: Yeah.

TJ Ware: And the 211 ... I know that there are a lot of resources that are provided through that, but I just feel like if it was a little bit more ... kind of ...

Todd Orston: Organized.

TJ Ware: Well organized, yes, for people to like a button, okay, boom, this is who I can contact and I don't need a referral, this is who I can contact but I need to go through these people to get that help.

Todd Orston: Look, that resonates with me and I know with Leh as well, because as a firm, we try to put a lot of data out there to educate people. Because giving people that education, that's the first step in being able to basically take care of yourself.

TJ Ware: Absolutely.

Todd Orston: You know, and accomplish whatever it is you need to accomplish. And so we have put ... like on our website, we have thousands of pages of content. And why do we do it?

TJ Ware: I've seen that.

Todd Orston: Yeah, but for that reason. And I'm not just trying to brag about our website-

TJ Ware: No, that's great.

Todd Orston: But it's because we want people, we understand they need information and sometimes they don't know where to go.

TJ Ware: Right.

Todd Orston: I mean, the internet's a big place and just finding the starting point-

TJ Ware: Right.

Todd Orston: Can sometimes be ... I bet you there are a lot of people, a lot of single moms, who after eight hours online trying to even find where to start, they give up.

TJ Ware: Yeah. They really do. And one of the topics that we just previously talked about is single moms dealing with special needs kids, and the ... the amount of resources out there being limited for them, so imagine being a single mom ... like being a single mom in itself is like a hard thing to kind of task, and to take I guess the responsibility of-

Todd Orston: Sure.

TJ Ware: Both the man and the woman, you've got all of that responsibility on you, but to deal with having to take care of a special needs child-

Leh Meriwether: Yeah.

TJ Ware: Like there's a whole wealth ... there's just a whole nother thing that you're dealing with. So where do they find the resources, and then there's not as many topics or people aren't really talking about these things, and they do happen within a community, because there are single moms that are just ... I mean, the girl that ... the lady that was on the show, [inaudible 00:09:57] Martin, her situation is a bit ... it's very sensitive. Because she just didn't have those resources initially.

Leh Meriwether: When we come back, I'm going to tell just a brief story where I had an opportunity to walk in the shoes of a single parent for just two weeks and I was ready to give up.

TJ Ware: Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: I mean, so sometimes ... that was a huge eye opener for me. I mean, I was sort of aware of it, but until you actually walk into someone's shoes and what they could potentially be going through, you don't fully grasp-

TJ Ware: Right.

Leh Meriwether: The challenges and so it's easy to jump to generic stereotypes. And I'm not saying put the person down, but you may not mean it that way, but the person can take it that way.

TJ Ware: Right.

Leh Meriwether: And up next we're going to talk about that, we're going to talk about their tagline, which is, "Where dreams meet opportunity."

Leh Meriwether: Welcome everyone, I'm Leh Meriwether and with me is Todd Orston. Todd and I are partners at the law firm of Meriwether & Tharpe, and you're listening to the Meriwether & Tharpe Show. If you want to read more about us, you can always check us out online,

Leh Meriwether: Well today with us, we in studio have TJ Ware, who's the executive producer of The Single Mom Life, and the founder of The Single Mom Network. We're so excited you're here, TJ I forgot to ask you this last time, so please forgive me. How can people the Network online?

TJ Ware: Mm-hmm (affirmative). They can go to SingleMom ... www.SingleMomNetwork-

Leh Meriwether: Okay.

TJ Ware: Dot info. That gives them all the information about our organization, and kind of some of our mission, goals. And if they want to follow the show, they can type in www.TheSingleMomLife-

Leh Meriwether: Okay.

TJ Ware: Dot US.

Leh Meriwether: Dot US, okay. That's important to remember.

TJ Ware: Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: All right, and we're going to talk about the show later-

TJ Ware: Okay.

Leh Meriwether: I want to talk a little bit about that, but ... so a few years ago my wife's sister had a massive heart attack and almost died, actually, and she had to be ... she had to be ... a helicopter had to meet her on the interstate, because she had a heart attack while she was on the interstate in the middle of nowhere in South Carolina.

TJ Ware: Oh my gosh.

Leh Meriwether: Thankfully her husband actually had some aspirin with her, because apparently it saved her life. And she flat lined three times on the way to the hospital. So she took off to be with her sister and care for her, and everything, just be there for her, so I ... well, as soon as it happened, I'm like, "I've got everything." And then I was like, "Wait, where's this? What's that? Where's the kids' lunch boxes?"

Todd Orston: Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: And so-

Todd Orston: He didn't have everything.

Leh Meriwether: So yeah. The kids survived, that's the good thing.

TJ Ware: That's good, that's good.

Leh Meriwether: But for ... it was between two and three weeks-

TJ Ware: Wow.

Leh Meriwether: That she was in South Carolina with her. And it kind of reminded me of the most recent ... Incredibles. Number two where the-

Todd Orston: Oh yeah.

Leh Meriwether: So Mr. Incredible was trying to ... "I've got this!" And he was just lying to his wife, and he was really dying. That was me. I was ... you know, because I was having to balance ... so, I mean, I got a feel for it. Obviously I haven't lived longer than a few weeks, but just those few weeks was incredibly eye opening. I had to get the kids to school on time, I had to make sure their lunches were packed. I had to ... and then I had to make sure I was in to court on time, and I had all my files for my clients, and I had to take care of them. And so ... and then I had to make sure, because I knew I'd be in trial all day, I had to make sure someone could pick up my kids from school, after school, so I was coordinating with grandparents, "Hey, can you get them today? Can you get them tomorrow?" Because I knew I wasn't going to be able to get them.

Leh Meriwether: And then I'd get home, we'd cook dinner, and by the time I helped them with their homework and ... I mean, it was like Mr. Incredible-

TJ Ware: Did you eat? Were you able to eat?

Leh Meriwether: I was able to eat, but it was like how Mr. Incredible was reading to his son and he's like [inaudible 00:13:58], that was kind of me when I was trying-

TJ Ware: Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: Help them with their homework. So I mean, I had ... and I know there's these moms that-

Todd Orston: And that's two weeks.

Leh Meriwether: That's two weeks.

Todd Orston: And they're talking about people who it's every day.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah.

TJ Ware: Yeah.

Todd Orston: Every year, every, every day.

TJ Ware: Yeah.

Todd Orston: That basically everything is on them, and I've ... not because of a story like what you're sharing-

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: But my wife through work will have to go out of town every once in a while, and will be gone. And four days later, five days later when she gets back, I'm like, "Oh, I'm so happy you're here."

Leh Meriwether: Yeah.

Todd Orston: So what I was maybe taking for granted before-

Leh Meriwether: Yep.

Todd Orston: It's an eye opener, and I'm like, "Wow."

TJ Ware: Yeah.

Todd Orston: Thank you very much for participating, if not even carrying the lion's share. Yes, honey, thank you very much.

Leh Meriwether: Just being honest.

Todd Orston: I'm being very honest, that it's ... wow, there is so much that needs to be done. And both, again, I can speak for Leh, we've both represented people who were single moms or are single moms, and dealing with custody issues, and contempt issues, and whatever, where unfortunately the other spouse just ... isn't stepping up.

TJ Ware: Yeah.

Todd Orston: And then we will sit-

TJ Ware: It happens.

Todd Orston: As part of our work, we'll sit down with them, we'll be like, "Okay, well let's talk about what a day looks like, and a week looks like, and when you're saying that they're not helping, what does that mean?" And it is eye opening.

TJ Ware: Yeah.

Todd Orston: You know, just ... oftentimes, we will look at our clients and say, "I don't know how you do it. I'll be honest with you."

Leh Meriwether: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

TJ Ware: I will say that because of all of that, if you can imagine that all that's happening and then you still have to work, and then you still have to provide the finances to take care of your family. And then what happens when none of that ... say you don't have that support, or you don't have that structure in place, things start to fall apart, and so what I've found with a lot of the single moms, including myself, we are always in like fight or flight mode.

Leh Meriwether: Yes.

TJ Ware: And it is always like survive ... like we're trying to just survive.

Todd Orston: That's right.

TJ Ware: And when you go so long like that, I mean we're even ... we will be touching on a lot of things, even with mental health when it comes to single moms, because-

Todd Orston: The mental exhaustion.

TJ Ware: Right, it's not ... it is not normal, like the type of work that we have to do, and then still show up and be bubbly for a job, and to ... we're exhausted.

Todd Orston: Or how about just show love to the kids-

TJ Ware: Right.

Todd Orston: And by that, I don't ... I mean, obviously-

Leh Meriwether: Yeah.

Todd Orston: Everybody shows love to the kids-

TJ Ware: Yeah.

Todd Orston: But a quick hug, a peck on the cheek, and then it's leave me alone because I-

TJ Ware: Yeah.

Todd Orston: Need to go do 12 other loads of laundry and whatever. That detracts from your ability to spend what I'm going to call quality time-

TJ Ware: Absolutely.

Todd Orston: With the family.

Leh Meriwether: Well that, and we're going to get to some of the stuff that y'all do, but how do you move to the next level as far as employment?

Todd Orston: Right.

Leh Meriwether: You're so busy just maintaining life, how do you learn, how do you go to school? I mean, there's just no time for it. So and where do you start? And so that's where The Single Mom Network comes in.

TJ Ware: Yeah. You'd be ... we were surprised to find that there are a lot of employers, like that sometimes they won't even hire a single mom, because they ... you know, like it's just ... they may not say this, they may not ... but it's like-

Todd Orston: Well they certainly don't say it.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah.

TJ Ware: Absolutely. But we know that-

Leh Meriwether: Oh yeah, sure.

TJ Ware: That isn't a ... they can't ask certain things, but there are things happening on the behind the scenes where it's like, okay ...

Leh Meriwether: Yeah.

TJ Ware: How do we know if something happens that you can actually make the job, because when you're the only person doing all the stuff from the household to your kids, if something happens you've kind of got to go, and you don't have a budget-

Leh Meriwether: Yeah.

TJ Ware: To have a babysitter, or to have someone.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah, and I'll say this to ... so, to one of those employers that may be out there listening, that we employ at Meriwether & Tharpe a lot of single moms. And they are so appreciative that they work extra to make sure that they're there.

TJ Ware: Absolutely.

Leh Meriwether: And then there's days where it doesn't work, where school gets canceled, and it's one of those false ... so if you're in Georgia we have those false snowstorms.

TJ Ware: Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: And so school gets canceled and they don't have the money to put them in daycare, so they come work.

TJ Ware: Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: And we're okay with that, and sometimes I've had some little helpers, and I just hope we never get accused of child labor or anything like that. I'm just kidding, I'm just kidding.

Todd Orston: It's okay, we have a room in the basement where we lock ... no, I'm kidding, I'm just kidding.

Leh Meriwether: Just kidding. But no, we try to create an environment where it's okay for them to bring their kids. I mean, and sometimes we have to ask them to calm down-

TJ Ware: Right.

Leh Meriwether: They get excited they're there, but ... because we do have serious things going on.

Todd Orston: And if we have to talk to the employee, and if it's something where every single day there's something, then we just have a conversation with them.

TJ Ware: Right.

Todd Orston: And we say, "Look, I know you're trying to ... you're struggling to find some balance, let us help you." Meaning like I can't babysit for you, but the point is what do you need-

TJ Ware: Right.

Todd Orston: For you to be successful? And to your point, Leh, to anybody out there thinking about it, or questioning whether you should hire a single mom, I agree with you, Leh. I mean, we have some fantastic single mom employees that I don't know how they do it.

TJ Ware: Right.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah.

Todd Orston: Because they come in day in, day out and work ... put forth the amount of effort that we want and more. And they are still able to balance it with a family. And it's amazing.

TJ Ware: Yeah, and for me I feel like a big part of having that support system, like what you guys are doing, and providing that type of work environment, like that's important. And we want to see that, because when you're in an environment where you are not appreciated, like I just read a post not too long ago, and a lady that she had her son, who's a special needs child, and she had been working with this company for a very long time, and she had a situation where she couldn't get someone to watch her child, and the employer told her to get creative. And so-

Todd Orston: Creative, huh?

TJ Ware: Without having to ... and they fired her. So, because she couldn't make it, and it's just ... it's unfortunate, and then if you think about the cost of childcare alone. I mean, we did the numbers on that and it's like if you break it down, you ... if you're making minimum wage, you're not surviving if you have to pay childcare. So it's ... real tough.

Leh Meriwether: Let's transition a little bit, because I think that's a good transition point to talk about the different resources that y'all provide, because going through your website, you have resources for different stages that single moms may be in. So the first resource I noticed was Welfare to Workforce. And in the short little bit of seconds we have left, you want to start that?

Todd Orston: Why don't you highlight the different things that we'll talk about-

Leh Meriwether: Okay, yeah, let's-

Todd Orston: And then-

Leh Meriwether: Great idea.

Todd Orston: I have many of them.

Leh Meriwether: I knew there was a reason why you were here. So we're going to talk about ... when we come back, we're going to talk about Welfare to Workforce, what strategic steps to take. Talk about career building, connecting your talent to a career you thrive in. And these are the resources y'all offer. Personal and Professional Development, Sustainability is they Key, Moms Who Code, I'm really interested in that, Financial Freedom, Building Generational Wealth. So like I said, at every state of where a mom might be at, y'all have some resources to potentially help. And then Counseling, I'm my sister's keeper. Stay tuned, because we're going to get into how The Single Mom Network can help you have dreams become opportunities.

Leh Meriwether: Welcome everyone, I'm Leh Meriwether and with me is Todd Orston. Todd and I are partners at the law firm of Meriwether & Tharpe, and you're listening to the Meriwether & Tharpe Show. If you want to read more about us, you can always check us out online,

Leh Meriwether: Well today, we have TJ Ware with us, and she is from The Single Mom Network, something that she has founded. And it's a great resource, she's building it, so we're going to ... as we go in the show, there's going to be some requests to see if some listeners might be able to help build resources inside this network. So she's trying to get something started from the ground up. Real quick, what are the websites that people can go check out?

TJ Ware:

Leh Meriwether: Okay.

TJ Ware: Is where they can go and find all of the things that we offer, and any information on the programs.

Leh Meriwether: And then y'all have a show, too.

TJ Ware: Yes, we-

Leh Meriwether: And what's the website for the show?

TJ Ware: It's TheSingleMomLife-

Leh Meriwether: Okay.

TJ Ware: Dot US.

Leh Meriwether: Okay. And that show you invite guests on.

TJ Ware: Yes, we-

Leh Meriwether: Some better than others, like this guy named Leh Meriwether-

TJ Ware: We just had Leh on, he was awesome, it was really, really good. He had a single mom crying, so ...

Todd Orston: Oh he has me crying almost every show.

Leh Meriwether: So all right, well, let's talk about what you're building out, some of the stuff's built out, some of it's not yet but let's go ahead and let people know, because if there's something you're like, "Hey, this is our plan is to add this in," and they're listening and they're like, "Hey, I want to be a part of that." This is the opportunity to get that message out.

TJ Ware: Absolutely.

Leh Meriwether: Okay. So the first thing I noticed was you had From Welfare to Workforce, and I heard ... I can imagine that there's a lot of people that want to go out there and work, but they're caught between ... they're caught in this window where if I go work, I lose my welfare benefits. But if I go work, I can't make enough money to pay for daycare, for example-

TJ Ware: Oh my gosh, yes.

Leh Meriwether: Or pay my bills, so they're just ... it makes more financial sense to stay-

TJ Ware: To not work.

Leh Meriwether: Right. And they don't want to, but what are you going to do? So you've got some ... you're working on to try to help people make this a reality.

TJ Ware: Right. And the idea of course is we want people to thrive in whatever careers they're in if they decide to choose or go a specific way. So our thing is to help them come up with a strategic plan on how to get from where they are, to where they want to be. And sometimes that is going back to school, and sometimes that is taking up a trade, and sometimes that is ... because the workforce, that is working a regular job, or waiting tables, like I mean, anybody can do that, but how do you take what you have, just in front of you, and transition into a higher realm of just income.

Leh Meriwether: A higher income bracket, yeah.

TJ Ware: Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Leh Meriwether: And there's actually a lot of resources. So a while back I was working with somebody to help bring back the trade, because the trade schools have been disappearing.

TJ Ware: Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: And so I learned that a lot of these community colleges have free programs for people.

TJ Ware: Right.

Leh Meriwether: And I didn't even know this.

TJ Ware: They do.

Leh Meriwether: And so when I was doing my research to try to work with someone to help create a trade school a while back, we were learning about all these free opportunities, they just weren't well advertised.

TJ Ware: Absolutely. And that is the thing, it's like we put all of these funds, the government, towards these programs, but if people are not ... they don't know about them, it's not helping a soul. And so a part of what we, our research and development team, as we are building through our programs, we are looking for the data that backs up, like okay, where are these programs, where is the money going, are people ... is the information getting to these communities? That people need this help if it's out there, why are we not using it? Because we can easily say, "Oh, they don't want to work, like they sit at home and they want to be on food stamps, or they want to be on welfare," yada, yada, yada. But these people, they have no choice, some of them. There may be a small percentage that hey, they're just ... but I do have, I have understood that when you've got beat down like so-

Leh Meriwether: Yeah.

TJ Ware: Much, there are certain people that can't take that mental beat down.

Leh Meriwether: Right.

TJ Ware: So they do spiral down this road.

Todd Orston: Absolutely.

TJ Ware: And that's why we don't judge people.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah.

TJ Ware: You're not supposed ... you're not supposed to, because you just never know what they've went through.

Todd Orston: You know, I don't like to overgeneralize.

TJ Ware: Yeah.

Todd Orston: Right? And to your point, are there people who abuse the system?

TJ Ware: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Todd Orston: Absolutely.

TJ Ware: Yeah.

Todd Orston: All right, and at all different levels and-

Leh Meriwether: Of income.

TJ Ware: Absolutely.

Todd Orston: Right, that they try and game the system. And when I was in college I had a study group, and I'll never forget this guy got kicked out because he went on food stamps, he was a student in college, and we found that out, and he was bragging about how he took that money and he went and he bought steaks and lobster and all this stuff. And we were like, "Yeah, get out."

TJ Ware: Right.

Todd Orston: I don't like you as a human anymore. But the point is, that's a small-

TJ Ware: Right.

Todd Orston: I believe, amount. I think most of the people who are looking to get on welfare and get some assistance-

TJ Ware: They need it.

Todd Orston: They don't want to be in that place, they want to be on their own two feet, working, earning, and providing for their families.

TJ Ware: Absolutely.

Todd Orston: But to your point also, they don't know where to go to even start.

TJ Ware: Well there's not even a structured system, in my opinion, in place to pipeline ... or a pipeline to get these people from that point-

Todd Orston: Yeah.

TJ Ware: In their lives to the workforce. And so that is a part of what we will be lobbying on in DC. DC, you guys will see my soon. I mean, we just want to make sure that there are a lot of things that we want to tackle, but like if resources are there, great, absolutely fantastic, how do we get them involved with the people that actually need them, and is this being measured? Like we just want to find what we can to help moms. And single parents in general.

Leh Meriwether: Right.

TJ Ware: Because we are ... we're open to anybody that needs the resources, so ...

Leh Meriwether: Yeah, because I heard one of your ... co-hosts on the show was talking about look, this is for anybody.

TJ Ware: Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: We're focused on the single moms because that's 81% of the people.

TJ Ware: Exactly.

Leh Meriwether: So, but, this information can help anybody.

TJ Ware: Exactly.

Leh Meriwether: So, all right, so, you moved from ... we moved from Welfare to Workforce to Career Building. So you've got some information on your ... or you're trying to set up part of that network to help people build their careers.

TJ Ware: Exactly.

Todd Orston: Not just a job, a career.

TJ Ware: Right. A career. There's training that goes into that, there's executive coaching and things like that that can help, because identifying what you gift is and sometimes that helps, because if a lot of people just don't know like ... they've never figured out what they want to do.

Todd Orston: Leh is still searching.

TJ Ware: Leh, are you still searching? Oh my gosh.

Leh Meriwether: I'm going to give you a call.

TJ Ware: So-

Todd Orston: Leh, I promise, that'll be the last jab I take in this segment.

TJ Ware: Oh my gosh. No but I just ... I feel like that is part of what we initially do, is the personality test, and trying to understand like what field would you ...

Leh Meriwether: Right, sure.

TJ Ware: There are more jobs out there than you just working at a ... waiting tables, or working at a daycare, because a lot of moms, they go into that field because it's like okay, I can have a place I can make money, and I can watch kids, and other kids, so there are other opportunities out there, which is ... leads me into like a part of that is the Single Moms Who Code and Moms Who Code. There's a huge opportunity there, but really just trying to fine tune that and say, okay, what field ... if you go into these different fields, like this is what you can get, this is what it requires. Thank God the technology nowadays there are so many things that are happening that you can get a few months of training, go through some courses, and walk into a six figure income.

Leh Meriwether: Wow. And I will say that for some people maybe they're exceptional servers. I don't want to try to pick on waiters and waitresses, but-

Todd Orston: No, but then they're turning it into a career.

Leh Meriwether: Right.

TJ Ware: Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: Because I know some people how make over $100,000.00 waiting tables, but-

TJ Ware: Absolutely.

Leh Meriwether: They're working at the finest restaurants.

TJ Ware: Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: But the hours are off, so that's why going back to what you-

TJ Ware: I waited tables. Like it's a great thing-

Todd Orston: But you may have identified you don't want that as your career.

Leh Meriwether: Right.

TJ Ware: Exactly.

Todd Orston: You had a different plan. But there are plenty of people who they're like, I not only enjoy it but I think I can make a good living.

TJ Ware: Absolutely.

Todd Orston: And they work at this restaurant, then a higher level restaurant.

TJ Ware: Absolutely.

Todd Orston: Until the next thing you know, you're making a lot of money.

TJ Ware: Exactly.

Todd Orston: So-

TJ Ware: That's a career in itself.

Leh Meriwether: Some people may not realize that. Like I've seen people that they're sitting there like, "Gosh, I really love this, but I barely make any money, and ... " I like to talk to people all the time-

TJ Ware: Right.

Leh Meriwether: But have you ever thought of being a server of at ... I forgot, this was years ago, what was ... I had a client that's what-

TJ Ware: A waitress.

Leh Meriwether: A waiter. And he was ... it was a steakhouse, I can't remember which one, but it was over $100,000.00.

TJ Ware: Wow.

Todd Orston: Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: A year, just-

TJ Ware: You can ... I mean, I make good money waiting tables, you know-

Leh Meriwether: But you ... yeah.

Todd Orston: But you have to get good at your job.

TJ Ware: You do.

Todd Orston: Just as with anything, and that's going to come with training, and education-

TJ Ware: Absolutely.

Todd Orston: And what are the tricks of the trade? If you just want to work and make a little bit of money waiting tables-

TJ Ware: Right.

Todd Orston: Okay, fine, then that's a stopping point between now and when you start your career.

TJ Ware: Absolutely.

Todd Orston: If you want to make it your career, then hopefully-

TJ Ware: To be the best at it.

Todd Orston: To be the best at it, then hopefully you'll be able to-

TJ Ware: Absolutely.

Todd Orston: Help point people in the right direction.

TJ Ware: Yes, and we do have companies that we are partnering with, like JDB Hospitality, that provides all types of training, customer service, things like that.

Leh Meriwether: That's fantastic.

TJ Ware: So we can help, either whether they want to go into the hospitality industry, or if they wanted to go in the tech industry, or if they wanted to be whatever, you know.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah.

TJ Ware: They'd like to go into these-

Leh Meriwether: And so I would imagine the hospitality industry you would need a good co-parent. And that's where that comes into play, because you're-

Todd Orston: Because of the hours.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah.

TJ Ware: Absolutely.

Leh Meriwether: And if you have two good co-parents, let's say that for whatever reason the marriage didn't work, but they can stay in those kind of industries provided they're working well with each other so that the children always have a parent around them.

TJ Ware: Right.

Todd Orston: Or they have access to some really great resources to figure out how to make it work.

Leh Meriwether: That's right.

TJ Ware: Yes, that's true.

Leh Meriwether: Well up next we're going to talk about the show that you've put together and the co-hosts, and a lot of fun, they bring some great information in an entertaining way. And so you're going to learn more about that and a few more services that The Single Mom Network is developing.

Leh Meriwether: Welcome everyone, I'm Leh Meriwether and with me is Todd Orston. Todd and I are partners at the law firm of Meriwether & Tharpe, and you're listening to the Meriwether & Tharpe Show. If you want to listen to our show, you can check us out at, where you can find old shows and even find transcripts of the show. If you want to read more about us personally, you can always check us out online at

Leh Meriwether: Well enough about us, because in studio today we TJ Ware, and she is telling us all about The Single Mom Network. And remind me real quick, what's the name of the show?

TJ Ware: It's The Single Mom Life.

Leh Meriwether: The Single Mom Life, and if you missed the first three segments, this is something to help a group of single moms that are having to deal with a huge challenge. They're single moms, and this is we're talking about people that don't really have a whole lot of support from dads. They comprise about 81% of the single parent households, so this is not a network that's bashing men, or saying men are bad-

TJ Ware: No, no.

Leh Meriwether: In fact, the Network can help men as well. It just happens to be focused on the largest group, which is single moms.

TJ Ware: Right.

Leh Meriwether: And so check out, what's the website?

TJ Ware: for more information on The Single Mom Network. And if you want information on the show, you can go to TheSingleMomLife.US.

Leh Meriwether: Awesome. All right, so we've been talking about the different ... you have services and you're building more, so you don't have them all yet, but you're working on it. Which by the way, if you hear of a service out there that you think you can help The Single Mom Network, please reach out. What's the best way for them to reach out to you if they say, "Hey, I can help with your network."

TJ Ware: Absolutely. They can email TheSingleMomNetwork-

Leh Meriwether: Okay.

TJ Ware: At gmail. That's the easy-

Leh Meriwether: It's

TJ Ware: Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: Okay. And you're on LinkedIn, too.

TJ Ware: Yes, I am on LinkedIn.

Leh Meriwether: So can you say your first name, because if I do, Todd's going to make fun of me.

TJ Ware: It's Taujuanna.

Leh Meriwether: Taujuanna.

TJ Ware: Taujuanna.

Leh Meriwether: Okay. Ware. So they can reach out to you on LinkedIn as well?

TJ Ware: Yes.

Leh Meriwether: Okay, great. All right, so let's just spend a few more minutes about some of the other options that y'all are ... services that you're building-

TJ Ware: Yes.

Leh Meriwether: Or already providing. And then I want to talk briefly about the show before we have to go.

TJ Ware: Okay.

Leh Meriwether: Because the show's just flying by again. It's all Todd's fault.

Todd Orston: I'm sorry.

Leh Meriwether: All right, so you're talking about career building, and then you have also on there Personal and Professional Development, what is that? What is that, how does The Single Mom Network help with that?

TJ Ware: So, you know, we all have personal like goals, before we were moms we were ... we had our own, I guess dreams-

Leh Meriwether: Aspirations.

TJ Ware: Yes. And so the personal development is to kind of help them connect with that, and to understand like hey, what are some goals personally that you want to reach? Take time for yourself, that kind of massages that part of it. The professional side really helps you align with what to do at a job interview, resume critique, getting the training that you need to go to ... how to conduct an interview. Things like that is what the professional development side of it will do, and it does tie a lot into the coaching that we will be able to provide as well. So ...

Leh Meriwether: All right, tell me about Moms Who Code.

TJ Ware: Yes.

Leh Meriwether: That's what it says on your website.

TJ Ware: That is the program that I'm super excited about, because the baseline of what we're trying to do is get moms out of poverty, right? And we're trying to provide them with opportunities to grow in life, and not just be on welfare, and give them these opportunities where they can, I guess, where they probably would not have never thought that they could make six figures doing tech, coding. And we are pretty much kind of trying to bridge the gap between ... there are some moms out there who just never thought about coding, never even thought about that they could sit from home and code, which is very flexible. There are so many jobs, like Atlanta is a huge market, but just in general, the US, I mean we are leading in this industry. So I ... we pieced together this program so we can connect those moms to different trainings, different opportunities. I actually am a community leader for Facebook Developers Circle Atlanta. And so we do all kinds of training, and we have support from Facebook from there, and the whole point of that program is to provide jobs and things like that. And opportunities, and trainings, and resources.

TJ Ware: So we've kind of already started that program specifically. We have events around that, and you can literally go through one of our partners, it's Cloud Tech Academy. And we're working with them to ... like they just recently offered like almost half a sponsorship to go through their program.

Leh Meriwether: Wow.

TJ Ware: For sales ... like they have a Salesforce training, they have all of these different opportunities where you don't necessarily have to code, you're just more so learning the process, it's almost like ... learning like a software manager type thing for these different platforms. And so you go through their training, and they are placing people in six figure like jobs.

Leh Meriwether: Wow.

TJ Ware: And so these are the type of programs that we want to be able to create, and say like okay, a single mom went through this program, and now eight weeks later she went and ... We actually ... Cloud Tech Academy has done the research and we're over 1300 open positions for like Salesforce itself.

Leh Meriwether: Just Salesforce?

TJ Ware: Just Salesforce. Just Salesforce. And that means working-

Todd Orston: And we're not talking minimum wage positions.

TJ Ware: No, we're talking six figure income. Like and this is an eight week ... they have a four week training course, they have eight week, and they have a 12 week. Just really depends on what you are wanting to do. So we're partnering with people like that. And the idea is that we will raise ... do fundraisings, different fundraisers, to help sponsor moms through the program.

Leh Meriwether: Wow.

Todd Orston: That's amazing.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah.

TJ Ware: So-

Leh Meriwether: All right, so we're running out of time.

TJ Ware: Uh-oh, sorry.

Leh Meriwether: And ... no, it's all right, that was great stuff. All right, so let me ask you, I know one of the things you're trying ... your goal is to have counseling.

TJ Ware: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Leh Meriwether: Tell me what your needs are there and what sort of ... what is your objective with building that up for single moms?

TJ Ware: There are a lot of moms out there who think they are alone. And we want to provide a platform where they can instantly have access to someone that they can talk to, whether it's a therapist or a mentor, counseling in general. I mean, from everything from just, "Hey, I think I'm a bad mom," we hear all of it, because I can't ... whatever-

Leh Meriwether: Do everything.

TJ Ware: Or just, "I don't have a life because I'm running 24 ... "

Leh Meriwether: 24 hours a day, yeah.

TJ Ware: Hours a day. So they need that support mentally, and someone to talk to, and we want to just provide a resource where they can feel safe and they can come and talk to the therapist and the mentors.

Todd Orston: So are you in the process right now of meeting with or talking to potential therapists that might want to be involved?

TJ Ware: Yes, we have reached out to a couple. But we are very open to anybody who would want to help us out with that. They can volunteer a few hours a month, whatever. But the long term goal is to have a line where people can call in, or a system, like the app I was telling you about, offline where they can type in and like actually text and talk to someone.

Todd Orston: Sure.

TJ Ware: That type of assistance.

Leh Meriwether: So in the little bit of time we have left, which is just over two minutes. Tell us about the show, because I think that's also a great resource for those moms that feel like I'm alone, because there's a lot of people sharing stories on there about how impactful a single mom can be, even when they feel like they're failing.

TJ Ware: Absolutely. I created the show because we needed an opportunity or an avenue to be able to get the topics that we want to address in front of the masses, in front of people. And so it's ... we are looking to bring, like it says, the tagline for the show is "Bringing real solutions to real issues." And each of the programs that we mention on The Single Mom Network, we will have topics on those programs or around that program, and more. So the idea is that we're creating a community of women that can support each other, and that can hear stories, and that they can feel like, hey, like oh my gosh, I'm not alone, like she's went through the same thing I went through. And she came out on top. Or she's still going through it, but I see that she has the strength to endure, and maybe eventually one day pull through, so ...

Leh Meriwether: Sometimes that's all someone needs, because when there's hope ... and this is from Zig Ziglar, but when there's hope in the future, there's power in the present. And sometimes that's what it takes to get out of the hole, or you feel like you're caught in a ... you're caught on a ... what are the ... a hamster wheel.

TJ Ware: Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: And you just can't get off.

Todd Orston: And if you feel like you're alone and nobody else could understand, then that's when hopelessness seeps in.

TJ Ware: Absolutely.

Leh Meriwether: And you lose power.

Todd Orston: And people start to give up. So absolutely, that's great.

Leh Meriwether: Well TJ, thanks so much for coming on the show. Real quick, before we end, how can people find this, one more time?

TJ Ware: So The Single Mom Network is And the show is TheSingleMomLife.US.

Todd Orston: Wonderful.

Leh Meriwether: And is this going to be on ... is that something you can watch on Facebook-

TJ Ware: Yes.

Leh Meriwether: Like how could people watch it?

TJ Ware: Facebook, they can go on Facebook and just type in The Single Mom Life.

Leh Meriwether: Okay.

TJ Ware: And they'll find us, but it's @TheSingleMomLifeUS.

Leh Meriwether: Gotcha. And you've got it on YouTube as well?

TJ Ware: On YouTube is The Single Mom Life.

Leh Meriwether: Great.

TJ Ware: Yes.

Leh Meriwether: All right, well thanks again, I'm so happy to hear about this resource, and I hope that whoever's listening, if there's someone out there that can help, please reach out to her. Thanks so much for listening.