The phrase, "judge not, lest ye be judged" never felt more appropriate.
When single mom Kate Wolff quit her job as an art teacher to follow her dream of becoming a stand-up comic, she was surprised by people's negative reactions. In the YouTube video above, Wolff explains that "it's so much more damaging for a child to see a miserable, unhappy parent," and that her son gave her the courage to pursue her passion.
Wolff's other message?
"To all of you who think that I'm a bad mom because I quit a teaching job that I hated and made me want to cry every day, you need to reevaluate what true happiness and what life is really about," she says.
We were taken with Wolff's story and inspired by her message, so we asked her to shed more light on her personal experience. Here's what she had to say:
I was married for only two years, and we had a son together who is now six years old. We had actually only dated for about five months when I got pregnant, and we decided to try our best to make it work. My wedding invitations even said, "Oops, looks like we're getting married." Even then I tried using my sense of humor to cope with any situation. So we got married when I was already pregnant, and it was rocky from the start.
I decided to leave two years into the marriage because we were fighting constantly, and I was so unhappy. It is really hard to leave a marriage when you have a child together. There is so much pressure from society to stay with the father of your child for your kid's sake. But I knew deep down that being happy and having my son in an environment without fighting was more important.
When I left it was the hardest time in my life. My body started breaking down from the stress, and I ended up in the hospital for a couple of days because I couldn't keep food down. I remember the nurse walking into my room and saying, "No one can do this for you. You need to be the one to fight."
After that, it was one foot after the other until I slowly started healing. I had to reconstruct my vision of what I thought my life was going to be. Ever since I was a little girl, I thought I was going to get married and have this perfect suburban life. When I left my husband, those dreams came crashing down. But what replaced them was a brand new vision, that included me figuring out what was TRULY going to make me happy. I always tell my son that he helped give me the strength and courage to find out who I truly am. I knew I wanted to be a good mother, and that the only way to do that was to fight for my happiness.
It was about a year and a half after my divorce that I realized stand-up comedy was something that I needed to get into. I was an art teacher at the time, and hadn't ever thought about doing stand up. I remember how nervous I was at my first open mic. But I went up and did it anyway. I was hooked. I continued to teach and do comedy for about two years. I was getting a lot of slack from other teachers for being both a comedian and a teacher. Somehow, making jokes made me less of a role model in their eyes. This past September, I went back to teaching after summer break, and I was miserable. I just couldn't do something that made my soul so terribly unhappy. So I gave my two months notice. I had never been both so scared and yet liberated in my life.
I hope to accomplish a lot with my comedy career. I hope to continue to put out a lot of good content, including my weekly video blog and the stand-up I do four nights a week at clubs throughout New York City. I will also be in the next season of NickMom Night Out on Nickelodeon's NickMom.
To other divorcees dreaming about quitting their jobs to pursue their dreams, I say "GO FOR IT!!" As long as you have ways to provide for your child or children, you need to do what is going to make you happy. You only live ONCE -- you can't have regrets. It's much scarier to live life in a way where you are constantly taking risks, but the payoffs are so much bigger. I'm just so happy that I was given another chance to enjoy this new real happiness and to let my son see what real happiness and love is like.
Watch the video above for Wolff's inspirational message, then click through the slideshow below for celebrity single moms we love.
Sandra Bullock and her ex-husband Jesse James had adopted a baby boy, Louis Bardo Bullock, in January 2010, but kept the news a secret until after the Academy Awards. When her marriage famously unraveled following James' multiple infidelities, Bullock decided to adopt Louis as a single mother and raise him on her own. "You wake up, you feed, you burp, you play, you do laundry," she told People magazine in April 2010. "I'm still in that stage where I'm just amazed with him and at life."
Twice-divorced Madonna has four children -- two biological and two she adopted. She had her first child, Lourdes, with fitness instructor Carlos Leon in 1996. Prior to marrying her second husband, (first was Sean Penn in 1985) Guy Ritchie, in December 2000, she and the British director had their first child together, Rocco. They decided to adopt a Malawian baby, David, six years later in October 2006. After divorcing Ritchie in December 2008, Madonna adopted another Malawian child as a single mother in June 2009. "The best way to teach [my children] about sharing and giving is to do those things myself and set an example," Madonna told Parenting magazine.
Liv Tyler took a two-year break from show business after her split from British rocker Royston Langdon in May 2008. She admitted to having a "rough couple of years" following the birth of her son, Milo, and a heartbreaking divorce. She opened up to Bust magazine in March 2011 about raising her then six-year-old son as a single mother. "Milo and I have been in such transition -- I've been rebuilding and trying to be patient. And I've just put all of my focus on that," she said. "Because I can't go to work and be happy unless he's happy and feels secure." Tyler also recently attended the Alexandra McQueen Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
"Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi gave birth to her daughter, Krishna, in February 2010, but remained tight lipped on the identity of her baby's father. It was later revealed that venture capitalist Adam Dell fathered Krishna, though Lakshmi reportedly wanted nothing to do with him, preferring to raise her daughter on her own. In March 2012, Dell was granted expanded visitation rights and legal recognition of his paternity of Krishna. Lakshmi opened up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about motherhood in April 2011, saying, "In small ways and big ways it changes every aspect of your life. Everything is better and more meaningful. Motherhood is a very humbling experience."
Michelle Williams tragically became a single mother when her on-again, off-again beau, Heath Ledger, passed away of an accidental drug overdose. The pair had a daughter, Matilda, in October 2005. In her first interview since Ledger's January 2008 death, Williams told Nightline's Cynthia Mcfadden in December 2010 that she tries to provide a normal life for her child, out of the spotlight. "It is of more importance to me then anything else in my life and I would rearrange anything to make that possible," she said. "If something starts to encroach on that then it's going to be removed from the equation."
Fashion designer Tory Burch split from her second husband, venture capitalist Chris Burch, in 2006. She and Burch have three sons, whom she described as "the light of my life" to NBC in January 2010. Being a working mother is her "biggest challenge," she said, "But obviously being a mom comes first and everything else comes after that, and that really is what matters."
In March 2003, "Desperate Housewives" star Teri Hatcher filed for divorce from Jon Tenney, her husband of nearly nine years and the father of her daughter, Emerson Rose. In her 2006 book, "Burnt Toast: And Other Philosophies of Life," Hatcher included a dedication to Emerson, who's now 14 years old. "To Emerson, whose birth was the sole source of my personal evolution over the last seven years. Thank you for giving my life meaning." When Emerson was 12, Hatcher solidified her status as a cool mom by introducing the tween to Justin Bieber. "I scored some big points with her," she told People in June 2010.
Heidi Klum and Seal shocked fans in January 2012 when they announced their separation after seven years of marriage. The couple have four children together: Leni, 7 Henry, 6, Johan, 5, and Lou, 2. The supermodel recently told Stylelist about her low-key plans for her first Mother's Day as a single mom: "To just be with my kids. We go out a lot. We went to The Ivy just last week, and it's a lot with four kids. So sometimes it's nice to just be home and hang out by the pool."
Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony announced their split in July 2011. The former couple are parents to four-year-old twins, Max and Emme, who famously joined J.Lo in a Gucci fashion campaign when they were two and a half years old. Lopez, who moved on with backup dancer Casper Smart after the split, recently opened up about the possibility of having more children, E! Online reported. "It would be a blessing for me," Lopez said. "But right now I'm focused on doing it right with [Max and Emme]."
On ABC's "Modern Family", Sophia Vergara plays a feisty Colombian woman raising her son in a blended family. Her real life isn't so different -- she had a son, Manolo, when she was 19 years old with her childhood sweetheart, whom she subsequently divorced. "I always tried to do the best for my kid," Vergara told People magazine in November 2009. She is engaged to Onion Crunch owner Nick Loeb.