Heather Craik shares with us some pitfalls of dating as a single mom, with some pretty crazy results. Plus a food to feel full from the inside out.
In addition to this story, at the end of this episode I’ll share with you the best food to feel full, in other words, to fill you up from the inside out.
OK enough hints from me, let’s get on with the story.
Our guest, Heather Craik
I am super excited to be joined here today for our story by Heather Craik. Heather’s going to share with us what it can be like to start out life as a single mom, explore dating on Tinder (which like I’ve never done) and have long distance relationships (which I haven’t done either). So all that sounds super interesting to me! She now helps people solve a completely different kind of problem which we’ll mention later.
For now though, Heather, welcome to the Clean Food, Dirty Stories podcast! I’ve been looking forward to having you ever since you told me about your incredible, roller-coaster story!
Heather: Hey, thanks for having me. Glad to be here.
Me: You’re so welcome. So I think if I understood it correctly that your story starts where you were with somebody and you got pregnant? And then you wound up being a single mom? Can you talk about how that came about, maybe?
Heather: Yeah, sure. I mean I’d been with this guy for about nine years or so and that’s an entirely different story in and of itself. But what happened was I was in Canada when I fell pregnant. And because I wasn’t expecting to fall pregnant in Canada, I didn’t actually have medical coverage for that. So I came back home to the UK which is where I’m from. And you know a couple of months after that I realized that it was really not working out with this other guy.
Me: The nine year guy.
Heather: So that was just a bit entertaining for a while. I broke it off with him and went through the rest of my pregnancy, it was just me. My parents were there which was really helpful. But I was about 5 months pregnant I reckon when it ended.
Me: That is so, I have to say that is just so, so brave! Oh my goodness. Like how did you…how did you feel like when you… I mean, yeah, how did you feel? I can imagine – I can’t imagine, I mean I’ve been pregnant, I have two kids. But how did you feel when you just like made that, made that decision, you know? To…
Heather: Well I think leading up to it was quite stressful. And I noticed that before the decision was actually made, I felt stressed for a lot of days, but once it was done and it was over I actually felt relieved. Which I think was really telling.
Me: Wow. That’s really telling. Especially like the situation you were in, right? Cause I know that for me, when I was pregnant in some ways I felt kind of vulnerable, you know? Because you’re carrying this child
Heather: Oh yeah, entirely. I was back staying with my parents even. So yeah. But they were great, by the way. My parents were fantastic from the word go.
Me: Oh wow, that’s really good. Well I’m sure that at the end of the day they just really want you to be happy, right?
Heather: Yeah, they’re really good that way.
Rebuilding a business
Me: So then you started out as a single mom, so was your son born when you were still living with your parents? I mean, were you working at all?
Heather: Yeah, I was still with my parents for about 10 months after he was born, actually. So I was working, I had started work on my business at that point but it hadn’t really fully taken off. I had my business before I fell pregnant, let’s just clear that up. But then it sort of, you know, the whole moving country and then being very pregnant and then having a very small child, it had fallen by the wayside. So I had to kind of build that back up again.
Me: Yeah. Wow. I can’t even imagine, like, I don’t know, I started…I started my business when my kids were like 10 and 12 or something like that. But I think I was so traumatized when my son was born, my first child, that I don’t think I could have had any head for business at all. It was like…
Heather: Oh I tell you what, pregnancy brain is such a real thing though. You don’t realize it, but probably the last couple of months of my pregnancy and for three months after I couldn’t focus on my work at all. I would try, I would sit down in this dazed fog and try to code and it just did not work.
Me: Wow, I guess because…that would be an interesting topic in and of itself, right? Pregnancy brain and why it happens and everything. I mean you’ve got another being with you, right? That’s, that could be…that’s the first thing that comes to my mind. That must have been really hard. But at least your parents were there to help out, right? I imagine when your son was born, then…
Heather: Yeah, I didn’t have to cook for the longest time! That was hugely helpful!
Me: Oh! Heaven! (laughs)
Heather: I know! I do miss that!
Time to start dating again
Me: Yeah! So then how old was…cause I know that at some point you did…you did want to start dating again. How old was your son when you were like, ‘OK, I’m gonna just, you know…’
Heather: I think just over a year, actually.
Me: And was there anything that happened? Any specific, I don’t know, moment or incident that caused you to think, ‘OK I’m ready to date now’? I mean, it’s a pretty big decision, right?
Heather: Honestly, it had been a very long time for me since I’d had any…you know, any of that wonderful sex stuff.
Me: Any action. Yeah, of course!
Heather: And it was getting to that point…I had moved out which was, you know, helpful. So I’d moved out and had my own place and my son was more settled, he started to sleep better at night which was a real help. Yeah, that was pretty much what led up to it.
Me: Wow. And then so you said that you started finding people…How did you start finding people? I’ll let you talk about it!
Trials of Tinder
Heather: Well since I pretty much live online anyway, I automatically gravitated over to dating sites. You know, I’d been hearing a lot about Tinder because I’m of that age group that they obviously target for that kind of thing. So I thought ‘OK whatever, I’ll have a look’. I wasn’t expecting to find anybody but I thought whatever, it would be worth a laugh at least.
Me: So then like sorry, for people who don’t know what Tinder is, can you say a little bit about like how it works?
Heather: OK well basically, what Tinder is, it’s an app first and foremost. It links into your Facebook but it doesn’t post to your Facebook. It just pulls information from there. And you know, you get these photos that come up and you either swipe right if you’d like to talk to them or swipe left if you don’t want anything to do with them.
Me: Yup (laughs).
Heather: So what happens is if you swipe right and someone else, like the one you just swiped right on also swipes right, then you can start a conversation.
Me: Right. Kind of like shopping, I guess.
Heather: Kinda sorta. You already have that ‘OK well we both agreed we like something about you’. You get that. By its nature it can be quite shallow, but there actually are descriptions and bios as well. People don’t actually read them…
Me: That was my other question as well. Cause if you swipe…So do you have the description under the picture that you can read before you swipe? Or do you only swipe based on…
Heather: Yeah, you can see it under the picture. You just have to click and you can read it. Not everyone does.
Me: Of course, yeah I can imagine.
Interesting people…or not
So you met some pretty interesting people on Tinder, right? I believe there’s a little story there…
Heather: Oh, yes, did I ever!
There were a few interesting ones I will grant you, but the one that still sticks in my head was this one guy. And I don’t remember his name, I don’t even really remember what he looks like, but I remember he was quite reasonable at first. So obviously we’d both swiped to the right to talk, whatever. We’d exchanged a couple of messages and then pretty much off the bat he was like, “Well I like Lego”. As one of his interests. And I was like “OK, well Lego’s pretty cool, fine.” And then he comes back with, “No, no, I really like Lego”. Before I had a chance to respond to that, he follows up with this other message saying that he likes to put it in certain places and I’m afraid that I was out. All done. No way!
Me: Oh no, that’s too weird (laughs). Did you actually like meet live with anybody on Tinder?
Heather: I did actually meet live with one of them and honestly it was probably one of the more shallow ones. It was just one of those ‘hey he looked good I looked good’. Fine. We’ll meet up. And he was a nice guy, still is a nice guy. Not the brightest tool in the shed, but yeah, we did meet up and we did engage in some activites and that was fine. But not particulary fulfilling, I would say.
Is Tinder worth it?
Me: Yeah. So is your conclusion that it’s probably good for the shallow stuff but not much more? Is that what you would say?
Heather: I reckon it probably could work for people that had a bit more time. There were certainly some interesting people there that I reckon if you’d gone out and spoken to them in a coffee type setting that might have been OK. But a lot of people do just go on and use it for shallow whatevers.
Me: Yeah. So then, how long did you kind of like play around with Tinder before you went on to somebody else that…yeah? (laughs)
Heather: Probably around a month and a half or two months, I was just bored by that point. And you’re having to keep up all these other conversations too. It seems sort of mean to be like ‘OK I’m not that interested’ but at the same time…not that interested.
Me: Yeah, and it’s time and everything that you’re taking up, right?
Enter the former lover
So then how did the former lover come into the picture?
Heather: Ah, well you see he was one of those people that we never went particularly far emotionally. That was just never our thing. But we had been lovers obviously on and off. And he…I’m not sure how that started again actually, I think what happened was we started talking again cause we were phasing in and out of each other’s lives anyway. We started talking again and it was just one of those ‘hey OK, so do you just want to come over’ type things. I think I actually started out telling him that nothing was gonna happen, and that was obviously not what actually happened.
Me: I had somebody like that too. It was actually quite handy, it was because I used to be a singing waitress and a singing coat check girl in this like fancy French restaurant place. Very, totally random and there were lots of different bands that came through and there was a guy like that. You know, we had a kind of understanding that if, you know, if we were in the mood for just something superficial, we’d just, you know, it’s fine.
Heather: Yeah, and it’s not like you don’t care, it’s just never ever gonna be anything else.
Me: And then I feel like, you know, well I think there’s a place for that right? If that’s what you want and that’s what they want, I mean why not, right?
Heather: Yeah, I mean it worked out pretty well for that.
A long distance relationship
Me: And then you said that after that you somehow then found yourself in a long distance relationship, I mean how did that happen?
Heather: Yes, I kinda did. So this guy was somebody that I’d met in Canada about 6 years prior, nothing ever happened there. He was friends to us both but we’d sort of lost contact for a while. We hadn’t really seen each other for a while. We started talking again, it must have been a couple months after Gabriel turned one, so it must have been September probably that we started talking again. I was minding my own business, not looking for anything in particular. And he just admits that he likes me, and I’m like “Oh, OK” because I’d always sort of had a thing for him too. So we did that and then it just went boom. Right time. We gave it a go.
Me: And then how did you…but you said it was long distance, so like how did that work? Did you like Skype each other?
Heather: What we used to do was we would talk a lot on Facebook messenger because that was the quickest and easiest way. But he would also video call. Like after a few months we realized that worked a bit better. He would hop on video and we’d talk. Which, you know, it was fine when my kid was asleep.
If he isn’t a kid kind of guy…
But for whatever reason my sweet, darling toddler that loves everybody hated when I was on video with this guy. He was fine with video with other people even. Hated it. Tantrum after about 10 minutes, did not like it.
Me: I wonder why.
Heather: Yeah, I mean to be fair, this guy didn’t particularly like him either. He tried, but he wasn’t ever a kids type person and you know he really didn’t like my ex either which didn’t help matters because honestly…they’re related, so…
Me: Oh, your son and your ex, yeah.
Heather: Yeah. So, yeah, that didn’t go very well. He did make an honest effort but that’s not really something you can make an honest effort on. Which is kind of why we ended up splitting actually. It was that and the distance. Because I realized that I didn’t want to move back to Canada and he had realized that he didn’t want to move either.
Me: So how long were you in that kind of situation with him before you were like ‘oh well this isn’t really gonna go anywhere’.
Heather: Well I think probably that entire relationship lasted about 5 months. It was about a month or two of ‘OK what are we gonna do about this’ so that wasn’t particularly fun. And then it became really obvious at the end that it was just never gonna change really. I did entertain the thought of moving for a little while. And I know that he tried thinking about moving too for a little while, and we just wouldn’t have been happy moving, either of us, so.
Trying out Bumble
Me: You said that once you moved on from the long distance relationship, you mentioned something called Bumble. What’s that?
Heather: Oh, Bumble, right. So it’s kind of like Tinder, but with a very noticeable difference. Only the women can do the first message and you only get 24 hours after you’ve matched to make that message. And then they get 24 hours to message back, and if no-one does within their time frame, that’s it. Unless you pay. Some people pay.
Me: And how did you find that compared to Tinder?
Heather: Honestly it was very similar, but the people seemed to be looking for deeper connections in general. In general. But there were obviously still plenty of the ‘oh hey, I just want a casual something’. That’s fine, if that’s what you’re looking for.
Me: And then did you meet a lot of people on Bumble?
Heather: There were a few people I spoke to actually, and some of them were quite lovely. And there was one I actually met up with. He was fine, we sort of met up during the day at one point first of all. You know, we got on great, it was OK. I think we went to the park actually, so Gabriel was actually there. He was running about at the park. This other guy was there and it was fine, there was nothing going on. We would up meeting up the next evening. And basically we did the kissing thing and then the other stuff, but oh my God no!
Kissing a black hole
How would I describe this delicately? Probably not very well, but I’ll describe it anyway. Imagine a black hole and imagine chicken pecks and combine the two. And that was his kissing.
Me: Oh, that’s horrible!
Heather: And the sex itself was not much better.
Me: Oh, OK that’s actually, that’s a really good image. That’s a bit scary, it’s kind of a bit freaky.
Heather: Yeah, you sort of wonder how they get to that age without knowing how to kiss. But anyway.
Me: I guess some people do, right? I guess that didn’t go anywhere!
Heather: That did not!
Me: (laughs) And then you said you found yourself in another long distance relationship? Or not a relationship?
Heather: Ah, completely accidentally, I had in fact sworn off boys at this point. I was like ‘you know what, I don’t even care anymore. I’m not doing this dating thing anymore, I’m happy on my own’. Because it had come to that point, right? My business was going well by this point. I was perfectly happy just not looking for somebody. That was me at this point.
Me: I mean then did you think…sorry, did you think that…when you say you were perfectly happy not looking for somebody, was it because you thought ‘oh there’s no point, they’re all gonna be a bit crap’ or was it because…
Heather: There was a bit of that but it was more that I wasn’t that fussed about it anymore.
When you’re perfectly happy on your own
Me: Oh! What happened for you to like be not fussed?
Heather: I think it was a combination of the ending of that long distance relationship. Because I had cared quite a bit and then obviously it didn’t work for practical reasons. Combined with…I’m gonna call it a sex experience, but it’s not…you know the one. And then also combined with I’d reached a point where I really wasn’t lacking anything.
I think probably the reason I started looking in the first place was that I felt this longing for a connection, right? But by that point I was actually OK on my own. I didn’t need that to validate me anymore.
Me: So the interesting thing I find about that is that there are so many people who try to get to that point through conscious effort, right? For example they think to themselves, ‘oh I keep reaching out to others for connection and I’m kind of just fed up because nothing’s working. I’m just gonna be by myself and do a lot of introspection’. And stuff like that. Whereas with you…Like in other words, they try to get to that point by working on themselves in a very conscious way. Whereas with you it sounds like it was a very kind of like organic process.
Heather: It was completely accidental! I was just doing my own thing.
Me: Did it have anything to do with your business doing well? Because I know you did say at one point that it was quite hard with your business, right? There was a bit of a tough period.
Heather: Well yeah, because obviously I had a young child. It’s not that easy to juggle with business, especially since I was used to just running it by myself.
Being your own person
I think that took some getting used to. But no, what happened was over the course of that long distance relationship that lasted about 5 months, my business started to take off and have more traction. My child, very helpfully, started sleeping through the night. I wasn’t a sleep-deprived zombie anymore. That was a lot more fun! I started to take better care of myself again and you know what? He was actually quite good for me in that regard because I started to explore being my own person again which was really quite helpful too.
Me: Oh I know what you mean.
Heather: All that combined so that I found who I was again.
Me: I know what you mean, it’s kind of…cause I can remember that stage with my own kids. It’s kind of like, yeah, you do get your own life back in a sense. I think you put it well to me in an email when you said like a mombie, right? You’re walking around with no sleep.
Heather: Yeah, up until that point I don’t think I had slept more than two hours in a row since he was born. Because his longest period of sleep…And that only happened when he was about a year old maybe, was four hours and then two hours and then two hours and then one. But obviously I was still up. So I got two, two, one and a half if I was lucky…
Me: Oh wow. So then…I was gonna ask you something about that. And then your business started to take off, right? You got more clients and everything? Do you think…cause I don’t know about you, but for me I know that when the business stuff starts to go really well, that’s a big, a big kind of self-affirmation, in a way.
Heather: Yeah, it’s like this realization ‘oh hey I can make it work. It’s doing well, I can do this’. That point that you get to. I’d had it before, but I think with being pregnant and having my kid…There was a part of me that was initially worried that ‘oh my gosh, what if I don’t ever get this back?’ You know? So obviously that had been appeased by that point because I started to see it come back again.
Me: So then now where are you at now with that? I mean I know that your business is going well. But do you also like, are you at the point where you have somebody in your life? Or are you at the point where…
Heather: Oh yeah, it’s actually really funny. It was probably about a week after I got to this realization that I was totally fine. I could just have a business and have my son and maybe go travelling and all this fun stuff….
Along comes the right guy
Along comes this guy that I’d been speaking to probably since October. He was a friend of a friend, we’d started talking on Facebook. I think we met once some years ago for like 5 minutes. So we’d been talking and we get along really well. We’d video chat just as friends, whatever. And so somewhere in there he decided to profess his undying love for me which was helpful.
Me: Oh, wow.
Heather: I’ll be fair, I do love him too. We are not together. I am still single because I’m incredibly stubborn and I’m not doing the long distance thing again. But he’s actually looking at moving here at some point.
Me: Wait, so is he in Canada at the moment?
Heather: Yup, he’s in Canada as well.
Me: Oh! Yeah, you’ve gotta get those guys out of Canada, right?
Heather: Yeah, I’m just gonna need to import somebody.
Me: Exactly. Well, just the good one, right? The other guys can stay over there.
Heather: Yeah, they can stay as far away as they need too.
Me: Just get the good one.
Being clear about what you want
Me: So are you…how can I put this? Have you basically just said to him, you know, “I’m not moving, if you want us to be together then this is how it’s gonna work. And I need you to come here” kind of thing?
Heather: Pretty much, yes. What happened was that I was quite open with the fact that I’m not leaving here. Or that if I did leave from here, it would just be to Europe maybe. You know, fairly local because I don’t want to leave my family behind again.
Me: Especially with your son and everything, right?
Heather: Yeah, and a ten hour flight each way is not ideal.
Me: Oh I know, I’ve done that, yeah!
Heather: That’s where I came into it. And he was all like, well he was initially all ‘No I don’t want to move either’. Which was fine because, you know, we weren’t dating. But he sort of came round to the idea. I think what happened for him basically is he looked at it and decided, ‘Actually I don’t have much to keep me really. And I want to be over there with her, so…’ That’s where he came to it.
Me: Wow, so yeah, you’ll soon have somebody flying halfway across the world to be with you, which is pretty cool, right?
Heather: Yes, it makes a change.
Me: Exactly! Rather than you doing all the flying, that’s really good.
What Heather does now
So what about…so now I know that with your business and everything, well. I’d love to ask you about what you’re doing now because I know for a fact that what you’re doing now is super helpful to people like me!
Heather: Yeah, OK. So what I do is, I run Designmancy. And basically what I do there is I will take your WordPress site and I can build it, I can repair it, I can train you how to use it. I can fix it…Anything you could possibly need for WordPress, that is what I do. I’m your coder fixer gal, basically.
Me: Wow that is really cool. And you take on all different kinds of projects, everything from like building sites to fixing existing sites…
Heather: Oh yeah, I mean I am honestly at my happiest when I’m getting to fix bits and pieces of code or getting to build something new. Really I get kind of twitchy if I’ve not fixed anything for a couple of weeks, so just give me something to do!
Me: Oh just give me a call, I’ve got plenty to fix!
Heather: Basically that’s how I work.
Me: That’s really cool. And of course you can do it from anywhere, right?
Heather: Well yeah, that’s a big help too.
Me: That’s fantastic! Brilliant! What’s your…Oh I’ll put the link to your website in the show notes. But for the benefit of people listening, where’s the best place for them to find you?
Where to find Heather
Heather: OK, probably the best place to find me is designmancy.com. I’ll spell it cause it’s a bit of a weird word. It’s design, I think we all know that bit! And then it’s mancy dot com. That’s the best place to reach me. Depending on when you get there my site may still just be a ‘coming soon’ page. Because cobbler’s shoes and all that stuff. But it does have this really nice early bird discount, so hop on over!
Me: Super! So then I have another question for you. Is that the new design of your website? Because your business is already, you know, going well and making money and stuff, I assume you got your previous clients from a previous website? Is that right?
Heather: Well I had had a website there for a while but it was never really that good. I’ve actually been getting a lot of my clients from Facebook groups and referrals and word of mouth. I’ve not been using my site as much but it has gotten to the point where I really need it to work. I’m really excited by this actually, I’ve hired a copywriter to help me. So she’s doing all my written content. Obviously I’m doing my website bit but I’ve got a photographer and all that fun stuff as well. It’s coming together really quite nicely and it’s exciting!
Me: Super! And I do know that it’s very cobbler’s shoes, right? That, you know, the WordPress site designer whose WordPress site isn’t designed yet because you’re doing everybody else’s, right?
Super! Oh thank you so much Heather for being here to share your story with us. I love that, so…
Heather: Thank you Barbara, I’m so glad I got to be here and thanks for having me!
An ideal food to feel full
Me: You’re so welcome! So, I mentioned at the beginning of this episode that I’d share with you one of the best foods to fill you up. It’s a great comfort food that’s actually good for you. And that food is…oats!
Now oats are a very powerful yet often underestimated food. They really do help fill you up and give you energy over long periods. As do chia seeds, which I’ve spoken about in a previous episode.
And the reason I’m mentioning food to feel full is because a lot of us could reach for fulfilment in the arms of someone. Man, woman, whatever. But this food can actually fill you up without reaching for anybody’s arms. And then you can still reach for the arms of somebody if you want to!
In terms of food to feel full, in one study done in Australia, oats actually ranked at number 3 for a ‘satiety index’. Which basically is a number allocated to how good particular foods are at satisfying hunger and contributing to a feeling of fullness. Some researchers have found that eating oats can help reduce appetite as well. So if you make yourself some oatmeal with apples, you’d be giving yourself a double whammy of food to feel full, as it were, because apples are good appetite-reducers too.
I’m sure that if you’ve eaten oats, well you may not be very surprised at that because you’ve probably experienced feeling pretty full after a bowl of, say, oatmeal or porridge as they say in the UK.
Other benefits of oats
Did you know that oats do have a lot of benefits, and one of the benefits is that they’re great for your gut? They’re high in fiber so they’re very helpful for digestion, and some researchers believe that they may even help boost some of the beneficial bacteria in our gut.
The other cool thing about oats is that they can be very helpful for lowering cholesterol. The oats bind with cholesterol and therefore help remove excess from your body. I’ve got personal experience with this because my ex-husband used to be on medication for high cholesterol, until he did two things. The first one was he started eating my food, but also he added in oats at breakfast. Within a year he was off the medication and that was about 10 years ago now. And if anyone comes near him and says the word ‘oats’, they will get an earful about how oats bind with cholesterol and you know, blah blah blah. He goes on about it(!)
But the benefits of oats don’t stop there. You don’t have to eat them, you can bathe in them! For help with inflamed skin conditions such as eczema, chickenpox or even sunburn, you can add one cup of finely ground oats to your bathwater and let your skin soak up all that goodness.
What oats contain
As to what oats contain, they have many minerals, such as selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and zinc. So the phosphorus helps if for example you’ve got students in your house for example and they’re studying for exams and things, phosphorus can help there too.
Many people ask if oats contain gluten. It’s important to note here that oats of themselves don’t actually contain gluten. However, if you are celiac or extremely sensitive to even traces of gluten, you’ll want to check the provenance of your oats. Because sometimes they can pick up traces of gluten if they are grown next to a field of gluten-containing grains such as wheat or barley. You can buy packages of oats that are marked gluten-free, they’re just a bit more expensive. But you can get them.
How to eat oats
As to how to eat oats, when you’re faced with buying oats in the supermarket, you may get a bit confused. There are steel-cut oats, oat groats, rolled oats, Scottish oats… all kinds of oats! I’ll link to an article below that spells out the different kinds so that you’ll know what to buy without tearing your hair out.
Personally I use two kinds. I use oat groats, which are the whole grains. They’re great for soaking overnight and making into oat milk, and they’re also really good for grinding for making oat flour. I also use rolled oats which are basically hearty flakes. They’re oat groats that have been pressed flat and they’re great for making energy bites.
I’ve got some recipes that use oats in my 5-Minute Chocolate Heaven ebook, so if you’d like to take a look, I’ll post the link below in the show notes.
Have YOU got a story to share?
Which brings us to the end of this week’s story – and if you’ve got a true story to share (and you’d like to know what food could have saved the day or enhanced your particular situation), I’d love to hear from you!
Got a question, or a comment?
I hope you have an amazing day. Thank you so much for being here with me to share in my Clean Food, Dirty Stories. Bye for now!
Article on health benefits of oats: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270680.php
An easy explanation of the different types of oats: http://www.webmd.com/diet/oatmeal-benefits#1
5-Minute Chocolate Heaven and other recipe ebooks: https://rockingrawchef.com/5-minute-recipes/