SoloMoms! Talk

Life in a Club Sandwich - Shara Jones

August 15, 2019 JRosemarie/Shara Jones Season 1 Episode 2
SoloMoms! Talk
Life in a Club Sandwich - Shara Jones
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SoloMoms! Talk
Life in a Club Sandwich - Shara Jones
Aug 15, 2019 Season 1 Episode 2
JRosemarie/Shara Jones

In this episode I talk to Shara Jones who is a 52 yo mom of 2 adult children. 

Hear how she lost her husband and why she describes herself as being part of a club sandwich.

But that’s just the beginning of the story of this extraordinary mom.

From celebrating 30 years with the same employer to traveling solo, listen as she relates her desire for Gen X women and what she has checked off from her bucket list.

Join me now as we hear the story of Shara Jones.

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling” (Psalm 68:5)

If you would like to tell your story on SoloMoms! Talk, send us an email at jrosemarie@solomoms.net. Thank you. 

Disclosure: This episode contains affiliate links.  Which means I get a small commission if you purchase from the advertiser mentioned.

Visit: www.solomoms.net for tips you can use.
Follow me on IG/Twitter: @jrosemarie1
FB: JRosemarie SoloMom

Audible Offer: www.audibletrial.com/solomoms
 

**Intro song: Damien Ellison from his single “Desperate”. Check it out on iTunes.

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode I talk to Shara Jones who is a 52 yo mom of 2 adult children. 

Hear how she lost her husband and why she describes herself as being part of a club sandwich.

But that’s just the beginning of the story of this extraordinary mom.

From celebrating 30 years with the same employer to traveling solo, listen as she relates her desire for Gen X women and what she has checked off from her bucket list.

Join me now as we hear the story of Shara Jones.

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling” (Psalm 68:5)

If you would like to tell your story on SoloMoms! Talk, send us an email at jrosemarie@solomoms.net. Thank you. 

Disclosure: This episode contains affiliate links.  Which means I get a small commission if you purchase from the advertiser mentioned.

Visit: www.solomoms.net for tips you can use.
Follow me on IG/Twitter: @jrosemarie1
FB: JRosemarie SoloMom

Audible Offer: www.audibletrial.com/solomoms
 

**Intro song: Damien Ellison from his single “Desperate”. Check it out on iTunes.

Support the show (https://www.solomoms.net)

Speaker 1:

You'd play that back, the nurse teacher to counselor,

Speaker 2:

tired, weary, frustrated. What would you be doing if you weren't raising children alone? What's stopping you from living your best life? Now on solo moms talk, I discuss with solo mothers

Speaker 3:

challenges you face raising children alone. So if you are working solo mom, dealing with independent children in sensitive boxes, weight and health issues, or even debt collectors, join us as we discover your path to get and stay healthy, increase your income and live with joy and purpose.

Speaker 4:

It's hard to keep your head above the water. So when this phone,

Speaker 2:

today's podcast is brought to you by audible, get a free audio download and 30 day free trial@audibletrialdotcomslashsolomomsthataudibletrial.com slash solo moms over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or MP three player. In this episode I talk to Shara Jones. Shara is a 52 year old mother of two adult children, hero. She lost her husband and why? She describes herself as being part of a club sandwich. You don't want to miss that, but that's just the beginning of this story of this extraordinary mom from celebrating 30 years with the same employer to traveling solo, listen as she relates or desire for gen X women and what she has checked off her bucket list. Join me now as we hear this story of Shara Jones. Hi. So I guess one of the first things I wanted to talk about was you mentioned in your bio about how you became a solo mom. Do you want to share how that went, what that experience was like and how you felt when that happened?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, most definitely. Do you want me to just start talking about it or,

Speaker 2:

yes, please.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So my husband was diagnosed in December of 2014 with a rare cancer and by the time he was diagnosed, it was already pretty much at stage four. They called it stage three B, which I'm convinced now that that's just a polite way of saying for without having to alarm people. And um, even though you know, his chances were pretty dismal, he did respond well to treatment. However, he lost his battle with cancer 10 months later in, uh, September of 2015 and so he passed away on September 28th of 2015 and three days later I turned 49 and I have two older boys at the time. They were not quite 19, and, uh, they were 20, 25 years old, so 25 and almost 19. Um, and so, you know, they were older kids that I didn't really think about it so much. And I guess about six months into being a widow, someone made the comment to me about being a single mom and I thought I would think of a single mom as being, you know, younger children, product of divorce maybe or younger children who lose their parents.

Speaker 1:

And so it didn't really occur to me, but my technical status was now single mother because I'm still, um, dealing with a child living at home. He was in college when my husband passed away. He did, um, actually just started his freshman year at our local university. He lives at home because we only live about 15 minutes from the campus. Um, so I didn't think of it at the time, but you know, you, you just don't stop parenting your children because they turn 18 or 21 or fly the nest. Um, and I'm learning with adult children that it's actually a little more difficult than with toddlers because at least when they're less than 18 or 21, you still have some authority over them. But when they're older, they want to be in charge of their own authority, but they still want you to be there as a parent. So it's a, it's a unique situation being a single mom to older children, one of which still lives at home. He's just getting ready to start his senior year in college.

Speaker 2:

Yes, I can certainly relate to the adult children who aren't quite, uh, independent. So, yeah. So well that you need, can you also the, the experience with, um, finding yourself alone? Um, it wasn't really sudden, but it was unexpected. And when that happens and we realize that we are alone basically, and we're still in charge of lives, like you had three, even though they were adults, you are still in charge technically. Um, how did that make you feel? Like, how did, I mean some people are overwhelmed and you know, supply meets a financial matters. Sometimes it's an emotional matter. Can you explain how that made you feel?

Speaker 1:

Oh goodness. Um, I guess about six months in to my husband's passing, there was a definite shift. Initially. My children, again, they were both, you know, almost 19 and 25 at the time. So adults and they sort of went into protection mode for me, started, you know, immediately, um, gathering around and taking care of things. A hurricane came through around the same time, three days after my husband passed away. So, you know, they did a lot of household things. And then about six months into it, I noticed a definite shift. That protection mode went away and the, we need you back as a parent mode started. And it's definitely different because when you're splitting the role of counseling children or pep talks, um, you know, being their support system, even going so far as when one of them is sick or in the hospital, um, now I'm running, you know, back and forth at home, taking care of that one into the hospital with the other one.

Speaker 1:

And I still work a full time job and I have a mother with dementia. So whereas in the past I could count on my spouse to pick up 50% of the load. Now it's all on me and it, it is easier with adult children because at some point you can say, I can't take care of that right this moment, but I will be there, you know, such and such, you can delay them a little, but the demand is still there. Um, and I noticed that the first time my younger son got sick, um, he became really sick with the case of the flu. Uh, that same fall that my husband passed away and he asked me in the middle of the night if I would go to seven 11 and get him some Gatorade because he had been vomiting so much and that was something my husband always would do.

Speaker 1:

He was the one that got out of bed in the middle of the night and ran to the 24 hour drug store and you know, bought the medicine or the Gatorade or whatever the need was. And all of a sudden it was my job now. And I really vividly remember thinking, it's really all on me now to do everything, be the head of the household, be the, you know, financier for my son's college education and, uh, the household expenses and whatever else is, you know, involved. And, um, it's definitely a lot more burden than I would've given a single mother credit for. And I grew up in the home of a single mother. I have a much better appreciation now for what my mother went through, um, because she made it look effortless and we didn't know what went on behind the scenes. And so I didn't really realize until now as a 52 year old adult, basically all the balls that my mother was juggling at one time.

Speaker 2:

Right.

Speaker 1:

And I have a little bit of regret for how selfish we were as children because we didn't know really what my mother was dealing for us. So yes, I have a whole new appreciation from my mother.

Speaker 2:

I remember back in the days I used to hear parents say, um, well, we'll see when you have your children. So I guess that's their payback, right?

Speaker 1:

Yes, I do. And I use that same line on my children. I've told them for a long time that when they're grown and have their own children, they're welcome to come back and tell me everything they think I did wrong. And they can do it differently with their children, but until they leave the house, it's my rules. So, um, now I'm, you know, sort of my children are very good. They're there. I'm blessed with very good children, but I do regret some of the things that we put my mother through just being selfish, younger, you know, in teenage girls and whatnot. But I have one sister. But um, yeah, I'm sort of seeing that payback coming full circle.

Speaker 2:

Right? Yeah. Yeah. It is what it is. Right. You are a busy woman. I can see that and you have a lot on your plate. I can appreciate that. Um, before I go into other aspects of, um, you know, your life and stuff, is there a one thing, one piece of advice you can give to mothers who are, you know, in the middle of raising children? I want to say raising children, like even as adults are still raising them, you know, and I think like you said before, adult children are the probably the hardest to, to navigate, you know? So do you have one piece of advice for us? Cause I'm in that position as well.

Speaker 1:

I suppose my one piece of advice would be to look past their chronological age, particularly with boys. It takes them longer to mature for that prefrontal cortex to close over where their decision making skills are more fine tuned. Um, and we expect a lot more of our adult children because we feel like they're grown and why can't they do these things and why are they asking for help and so on and so forth. But I'm finding that it's not so much a chronological age thing and it's not a lack of parenting thing. I think there's that draw that they still want to be able to turn to their parents for guidance and for advice so that they know that they're on the right path, but also they don't want our criticisms when they do something wrong. And there's a very unique, um, line in parenting where, uh, parenting older children where they like to tell you everything that you do wrong or say wrong or think wrong, but you cannot do that with them there.

Speaker 1:

It hurts their feelings deeply. At the same time, they want to know that they can come to you for support. So, for example, with my children, I have to bite my tongue when I can see them going down the wrong path or when they've already made a bad decision and just tried to give them some suggestions to rebound from it because they don't want criticism and they don't want me to do it for them either. So it's a very unique tightrope that you walk as a parent of an adult child. Um, and it, it can go either way. I mean, they're, they can become quite hurt on things that you don't expect. What hurt them.

Speaker 2:

Yes. That's fine.

Speaker 1:

Look past the chronological age and be the help that they need, no matter how old they are. We always want to turn to our parents for comfort.

Speaker 2:

All right. Yes. Thank you very much for that. Yes. Um, switching up a little bit, I want to talk about your work and what you do. Um, not only for a living, but also what keeps you motivated. What keeps you inspired? Like what do you do on a daily basis that you know you do for work as well as stuff that keeps you inspired?

Speaker 1:

Sure. Um, my day job, I work in international maritime logistics. Uh, just had my 30th anniversary with the same company, so I've been here quite awhile. I have a staff of nine that report to me, so I'm, I'm very blessed in that way. Um, so the containers that bring your goods in or out of the country or they require certain levels of paperwork and oversight and government interaction. And so my company handles every aspect of either exporting or importing goods into the United States. Uh, so I love it. I love, I'm a logistics minded person, so it's a very good fit for me. I just kind of fell into it, um, as a newlywed that needed some Christmas shopping money. So I started as a temporary and four weeks later got hired permanently. And so I've been here ever since. Um, and I love what I do for a living.

Speaker 1:

I, I have a really great client base and I have a really great staff. So I am blessed to have a really good job to go to every day. Um, and then kind of what keeps me going, uh, is right now for the last several years, my focus has been on retirement. So I'm 52 now and technically I have to work until 67 to collect full social security. I don't want to wait that long to actually leave this place, um, because I want to be able to enjoy life and my passion is travel. So that's really pretty much what pervades my every thought. Where's my next trip going to be? How much do I need for a budget? Uh, you know, I want to go here and here. So my, usually my whole pleasure zone revolves around travel and so I'm doing everything now that I can to be ready when that time comes from me that I can quit working and travel and be healthy enough and financially stable enough to do it.

Speaker 1:

So, um, thanks to Dave Ramsey, I got, uh, debt free a couple of years ago except for my house, which will be paid off. Thank you. It's, uh, it's an amazing feeling and my house will be paid off by the time I get ready to leave here. So my whole emphasis right now is working toward that goal of being able to travel, you know, not like a full time without a home base. I'll definitely always have a home base because my entire family's here in Virginia. So, um, but I love travel planning and travel budgeting and you know, everything that's about travel. So my goal is to really just be able to travel as long and far into life as I can.

Speaker 2:

Wow. That's very interesting. Um, I'm, I'm, I don't know what it's like to stay at a job for 30 years. Um, so my hats off to you. Um, also I hope you can show us, you know, at least show me about the traveling. Um, you have planned because I would really like to travel more someday soon. And traveling is one of the things I'd like to do as a single female. I would like to travel alone, but with groups. So, so maybe you can give us some, you know, some insight and maybe that will be your, your next career.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I would love that. I mean, in my other life I would be a travel researcher and the travel writers, I'm kind of starting to dabble in some writing. I'm trying to start a blog that's geared more toward gen X women, um, who want to solo travel or just travel, you know, long into their lives. My preference is solo travel. Um, I went to last April for the first time and I'm going back in November and I have a two week trip in September of this year going to Montana and Wyoming. So, you know, I really prefer to travel by myself. A lot of people think that it's so lonely, but I really grow as a person when I'm traveling because I have to be resourceful, you know, take care of myself. And then also I can linger as long as I want in a place or at a function for example. Or I can leave if it's not meeting my, you know, personal satisfaction level, I don't have to wait for someone else to catch up and be ready to leave at the same time. So for me, solo travel is my preference.

Speaker 2:

Right. On your own, on your own schedule and on your own preference. Exactly, yes. Yeah, that works. All right. Um, very interesting. Now, anything else you would like to share with us? Um, like I said, I was very impressed by your bio, but I know there are some challenges that you, you're experiencing. Um, and so, you know, please feel free to share them if you want.

Speaker 1:

Uh, I guess I would say the most challenging thing that I'm going through right now is, um, most people know what the sandwich generation is and I refer to myself as being in the club sandwich generation because I, I still have a child at home who's going to be a senior in college and I have another adult child. As we've discussed, I have a mother who's about a third to half the way into dementia. So I am tasked with doing a lot for her. And then I have a 99 year old grandmother who up until December was living fairly independently, but now she's in assisted living. Um, so I tried to rotate, you know, time to spend with her because it gets very lonely in those facilities. So there's not a whole lot of time left for me. And I keep thinking to myself that, you know, I do these things by choice because I could obviously say no, but my family is very important to me.

Speaker 1:

So I reconcile that with uh, the trips that I take, the art therapy paint nights that I do. I try to indulge in some self care, like massages and facials and pedicures and things like that. Um, I feel like as women, as mothers, as nurturers, we don't take good enough care of ourselves. I know for me, I've let my weight go terribly and it's unhealthy. And for me it's very frustrating. It eats at my thoughts every day about my way. That just kind of haunts me and nags me. So I'm trying now to put more focus on my health as part of my desire to travel long and be healthy. And that's a, it's a balance I haven't been able to master yet because as soon as I plan something, one of the other people in my life that I feel responsible to seems to need something.

Speaker 1:

So it's quite challenging as a single mother to um, find self care anyhow, especially if you have younger children where you need a setter type of thing. But just trying to be all things to all people gets very exhausting. So yeah, I think a message is, you know, scale back where you can and take care of yourself. You need that time to recharge your batteries and getting away. Even just going to a local hotel by yourself overnight and doing absolutely nothing can be very rejuvenating because of your, uh, the need for your attention has not been demanded from anyone. So I, I would really encourage people to get into self care because it's something that at 52, I'm trying to learn how to be more accepting of the fact that we need that as women.

Speaker 2:

Yes. Very true. Yes. Um, thank you very much. Um, Shara, um, for sharing your life with us and, um, yes. Um, it's always great to talk to other single moms who to find out what their experiences are and how they, what their mental, um, focuses and what their mindset is. So I really, really appreciate you for this time.

Speaker 1:

I appreciate the opportunity.

Speaker 2:

Yes. So thank you very much, Shara Jones for talking to me today. Oh, my pleasure. Thank you very much. Thank you for listening. Please subscribe and leave a review and if you think that Sharice story can help someone else, please share it with them. Thank you. And native American proverb says, those who tell their stories rule the world. Tell your story on an upcoming episode of solar moms talk, you will find contact information in the show notes. You are one decision away from changing your life.