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Murielle Fellous bounced back after a depression while raising three teenagers as a single mom and living with Hepatitis B. Originally born and raised in France, she founded the "Single Moms Doing It All" coaching practice and podcast.
Muriel grew up in a suburb of Paris, raised to be “very proper.” For example, she was trained not to speak too loudly on the subway and to be very polite. When Murielle was 18, she left France to go to college in Israel and experienced real freedom for the first time in her life. She met her ex-husband there, and she moved to the United States with him.
“Israeli people are way more direct and in France, when somebody offers something to you…the general rule at the time was to say no twice, so the person insists twice. And then you say okay, then yes, thank you. When I moved to Israel, I got shocked because I was invited to a house and they offered something to me and I said no. And they said okay and switched to the next person.”
Murielle learned to be more direct and less proper, preparing her for what she would have to face as a single mom later in life. She got divorced about 15 years ago when her youngest child was 2 years old.
Unfortunately things became more difficult when Murielle contracted Hepatitis B. When her youngest two became teenagers, everything went crazy in her life.
“I have very, very adventurous kids who love to explore, go to parties, and try stuff, the kind of acting out that some teenagers do. And I found myself in so much anxiety because I was trying to protect them 24/7. And of course it's impossible. So I started waking up at night in anxiety attacks.”
She dreamt that her daughter was going to end up dead in the street because she might try something at a party. These horrible scenarios in her head made her slowly spiral into depression.
Then one night she woke up in tears, feeling the power within herself that assisted her to heal.
“Suddenly I was able to admit to myself something that I couldn't admit before, which was I didn't like my life…I had so much shame and self-judgment about the fact that I didn't like my life because to me, it meant you don't love your kids. But you have normal kids, you have a normal life. And it was like almost an abomination, to say something like that. In my head it made me a bad mother.”
She realized that saying she didn't like her life, yet also loved her kids, didn't negate each other.
“That finally opened the door to freedom, because I let go of the shame and the self-judgment, and I started healing. The first step in healing is acknowledging what is and seeing what needs to change.”
She doubled down on her self-care practices, which are the tools she now gives her single parent clients. Murielle knows the pain and worry of being a single parent and doesn’t want anyone to go through what she experienced.
Self-doubt has been the most challenging thing about being a single parent.
“You try to control something that you cannot control, which is another another human being. That was very difficult for me because I was taught the old-fashioned way.”
When Murielle’s parents told her to do something, there were consequences if she didn’t do it.
“It’s not like that anymore, and I didn't want it to be like that for my kids either because now we know better. We know to keep room for them to be individuals and respect that you have an individual in front of you while still putting limits for them to be safe.”
She has also struggled in not having a partner to bounce ideas off of in parenting challenges.
“You never know if it's the right solution, the right decision. So I had to learn to negotiate that and to build some access to my inner wisdom and some trust in myself.”
On the other hand, the biggest blessing of being a single mom is the freedom to do whatever you want and not have to negotiate. I compared that to being in business for oneself.
Also, the advantage of parenting alone with little involvement from their dad is the incredibly strong bond she has developed with her kids.
I asked Murielle what advice she has for single moms with teens.
“Don't take things personally. Don't, because you're going to get hurt, and when you get hurt, your stress center is on alert and your body is preparing for a fight or flight response…you can't find your own inner resources. You can't think logically. You're all emotion and you're like fire.”
Murielle suggests having a mantra, like telling yourself every morning that it’s not personal, they're growing, they're pushing the limits…and love is under all that.
She recommends reading the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.
“One of the agreement is: do not take things personally. That literally changed my life. Because once you stop taking things personally, you can resolve conflicts so much better. You navigate life better.”
Muriel is proud of herself for trying and going for her dream, even though it’s not easy being a single mom, having a day job, and starting her dream business on the side.
“When my one of my daughters had to do a project in high school about the American Dream and success, my daughter picked me. I almost cried because I'm not a super multi-millionaire. But she said no, you're an immigrant and you were on your own and you inspired me because you still went for it.”
Murielle loves taking road trips with her kids and getting exposed to new music.
Murielle has a podcast for single moms, she provides one-on-one and group coaching, and she also has a gift to offer to all moms—not just the single ones, a “Get Back to Peace Kit for Moms,” which includes a meditation and visualization to clear chakras and a tapping session, an emotional freedom technique to calm yourself down after an argument so you can come back to your senses and to your centered place.
Next week I'm launching my new podcast, Companies That Care!
I have a passion for companies that care and give back to their communities, so my new podcast, Companies That Care, will highlight those leaders in the industry. I will launch next week on Earth Day, April 22, with a series of three episodes about companies focused on sustainable fashion, food, and corporate philanthropy.
Then I will start alternating the Finding Fertile Ground Podcast with Companies That Care. Don’t miss it!
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