Build Your Brand

Build Your Brand & New Identity as a Single Parent

Most of us understand the term branding. If there was ever an example of building a brand, look at the Kardashian’s. Love them or hate them, those women know how to build a brand. Everyone knows the name. Even if you haven’t watched the show, or follow them on Instagram, or have seen one of their ads, you most likely know about them.

Ditto for Taylor Swift. They have different images and different brands but my 90 year old aunt knows who Taylor Swift is. Now that you are divorced, what is your image? What are people saying about you, good or bad?

When I got divorced, I lost my identity. I was always known as a person that had their act together. Hard working, focused, determined and a good athlete. I was also very active in my church and worked exceptionally hard at being a good father. Within 6 months after the divorce, everything was gone. I lost my job, home, kids and health.

My compassionate and sympathetic neighbors (sarcasm) cared more that my house was run down and in foreclosure than they did about the person who was living in it. I had to step away from all church activities for a period of time, could no longer afford the gym membership and my former spouse blamed it all on me.

As a result, almost all of our mutual friends took her side. So, what’s a person to do? I can’t say that I had a specific strategy to create a new image for myself. I thought about what qualities contributed to my image or reputation prior to the divorce. In advertising, marketing, TV and media, you can create an image.

In fact, that’s the goal, to create an image, even if it isn’t an honest perception. In real life it doesn’t work that way. You can’t hire a PR firm, or media company to create an image. So, I reverted back to the person I was before I got married. Hard working, determined and focused.

I didn’t worry about my image or reputation because I was confident that would, over time, correct itself. I had my priorities in order (blog #3) and had my daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals in place (blog#5). Every single day, I got up and focused like a laser beam on my plan.

Within a year my son moved back in with me, full time, by choice. I coached (as an assistant) his Pop Warner football team. My daughter moved in almost full time after 2 years. I never missed a cheering event or softball game. My kids’ teachers started communicating with me as needed. Over time, my kids’ friends and their parents noticed that I cooked and cleaned for my kids, which included making their lunches.

I eventually got back to the gym and started eating healthier foods and lost the 35 pounds that I gained when I was unable to workout and eat decent food. I also started volunteering at a group home, which was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

Ten years after the divorce, which is a very long time when you think about it, I would run into former neighbors, friends, my kids’ teachers, even the high school principle. In their own subtle way, they would thank me, apologize or even congratulate me for being a good father and making the sacrifices necessary to avoid so many of the pitfalls associated with single parent homes.

It was far from perfect. Neither of my kids reached their potential and my daughter was too much of a partier and hard to control, at times. But they both graduated from a high school that was ranked 10th in the state by U.S. News. They also developed some incredibly strong friendships with kids from very good families. As I write this, my son is in college with boys he has known since the 3rd grade.

If you have been reading my blogs, hopefully you are starting to connect the dots. Building your brand and reestablishing your identity should happen almost by default if your priorities are in order, you are reaching your goals, not dating and taking the high road. This type of lifestyle and focus will win the admiration of almost anyone that observes you. Actions always speak louder than words. Set yourself up for success by acting and behaving like a good parent should. 

Although this is my own personal experience, I hope you will understand and adopt some of the tactics I sed to repair my identity. However, here are some general rules to follow as you try rebranding yourself as a successful, single parent.

Personal brand

Strategies for Building Your New Identity

  1. Stay Focused on your Children: Be the best parent you can be. Everyday! When your priorities are on your child or children. Your kids will notice, as will your neighbors, friends and family. Stick to the basics; make their lunch, cook dinner or have pre-established meal times, hopefully both. Help them with their homework. Make sure they are always clean and well dresses and try to keep the house as clean and tidy as possible. This isn’t always easy for a single parent and, at times, might be close to impossible, but do the best you can. These simple things are the keys to being a good parent and I have to doubt that your kids, friends, neighbors and teacher will notice. When your neighbors and your kids teachers take note of these things, that will be a big first step to rebuilding your identity.
  1. Support Systems: Building a Strong Network. No one should have to go through the challenges of a divorce alone. Single mothers can rebuild their self-image by building a strong support system. This network can include family, friends, support groups, and even professionals. Supportive relationships are vital for emotional recovery. Family and friends can offer invaluable emotional support, helping a single mother navigate the difficult transition. They can also provide practical assistance, such as babysitting or helping with daily responsibilities. Joining support groups for single parents can create a sense of community and offer shared experiences and advice. Professionals, such as lawyers or therapists, can also be part of the support system. A lawyer can help protect a single mother’s rights and interests during the divorce process, while a therapist can provide the necessary emotional guidance and counseling.
  1. Personal Growth: Rediscovering Identity and Goals. Rebuilding self-image often involves rediscovering one’s identity and setting personal goals. A single mother should focus on her own personal growth, outside of her role as a parent or former spouse. Exploring new interests and hobbies can be a great way to regain a sense of self. Whether it’s taking up a new hobby, enrolling in a course, or pursuing a long-forgotten passion, personal growth can provide a renewed sense of purpose and identity. Setting goals is essential for rebuilding self-image. These goals can be both short-term and long-term, professional and personal. Achieving these goals, no matter how small, can boost self-esteem and confidence.
  1. Positive Outlook: Cultivating Optimism and Resilience. Maintaining a positive outlook is crucial in rebuilding self-image as a single mother after a nasty divorce. Divorce can be emotionally draining, but it is important to remember that it is not the end of the road. Cultivating optimism and resilience is key. Practicing gratitude can help shift the focus from what was lost to what still remains. Counting one’s blessings and acknowledging the positive aspects of life can foster a more positive self-image. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity. Single mothers should embrace setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning. Resilience helps build strength and self-confidence, as it demonstrates that they can overcome challenges.

Rebranding your self-image is not an easy task. Having to repair your image after a nasty divorce as a single parent is even more of a challenging journey, but it is entirely possible with the right approach. Caring for your children and yourself, support systems, personal growth, and a positive outlook are the cornerstones of this transformation. While the scars from you past may never fully disappear, they can serve as a reminder of the strength, resilience, and growth that can emerge from adversity. With time, patience, and self-compassion, single parents can rebuild their self-image and rediscover their inner strength and beauty and appreciate the joy that comes from being a successful single parent.