Honorée Corder: Writer, Speaker, and Coach
Empowering divorced moms to go after what they really want
A child of foster care without any formal college education, Honorée Corder has sculpted herself into an über success by force of sheer will. The self-made ex–Solo Mom crafted an empire as an executive coach, motivational speaker, and best-selling author of more than a dozen books, including The Successful Single Mom (Honorée Enterprises Publishing, LLC, 2012)—the first in her best-selling book series, The Single Mom Transformation Program.
Her latest books, Prosperity for Writers (2015), and its companion, Prosperity for Writers Productivity Journal (2015), take Corder’s principles of wealth and abundance and apply them specifically to writing and writers.
“I wanted to help the starving-writer myth die. If someone from the foster system who’s never been to college can write over 18 books, so can you.”
Based in Austin, Texas, and mom to daughter Lexi, 15, she is no longer single yet still maintains her purpose of empowering Solo Moms and divorcées to get back on track and go for what they truly want in life.
Q: What exactly do you do?
A: I mainly do three things: executive business coaching, corporate training, and I write lots of books. I also do keynote speaking.
Q: When do you sleep?
A: Actually, I work between 7:30 a.m., when my daughter leaves for school, and 4:15 p.m. when she comes home. Then I’m a mom. I like to write every day from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m., but on days when I’m driving, I’ll be making calls during that time. And I’ll write in the afternoon. I write five or six days a week. I need one day to do nothing. I treat my businesses like they are businesses. When it’s time to work, I work. And when I’m not working, I’m really not working.
Q: What is The Single Mom Transformation Program?
A: People look at single moms as victims. When you say you’re a single mom, people go, “Aw,” [insert pity inflection] instead of, “How cool!” For me, I found being a single mom was easier than being married and having an adult child. I would like for single moms, or anyone who is dealt a crappy hand, to see it as an opportunity to go, “It is what it is.” You can focus on history forever, or you can look toward the future as a great opportunity.
My goal was to write The Successful Single Mom as an inspirational guidebook for women who, in spite of their plans, find themselves single. It’s a 100-day program where the first thing I say is, “Let the last time you told your story be the last time you told your story.” From now on, when you talk, talk about what you are creating in the future, your vision and goals—not what old what’s-his-face did. Let your history be just that. And if people feel sorry for you, stop them in their tracks. Tell them, “I chose this.”
Wherever your feet are right now, no matter how bad it is, you are still standing, still in your shoes, still a mom, and one good parent is enough. You can create whatever you want moving forward, but you first have to create your vision.
In the program, we establish three goals that may take awhile to achieve. You can only do this in bite-sized pieces, so we do it 100 days at a time, one step every day, to move in the direction we want to go. It’s shifting the psychology from “poor me,” to “I’m making something better of my life.”
Originally, I was only going to write The Successful Single Mom. But the transformation program was born from the book, and I kept getting requests for things like, “How do I get my kids to eat?” So I wrote the cookbook. Then it took off from there . . . single mom gets rich (dealing with your finances), finds love (my cat’s nice and fuzzy, but that only goes so far), gets fit (if you look good, you feel good), gets an education (how to avoid scams, pay for it, etc.). Every problem I had as a single mom, I addressed. There are six books, plus we have classes you can find on the website.
Q: What inspired you to write The Successful Single Mom in the first place?
A: The true inspiration was an Oprah show. It was a single-mom-makeover bit, and they postured their subject as a shlumpadinka (Oprah-speak for “hot mess”). I thought, Wait a minute! I’m an ass-kicking single mom who makes over six figures. Why does everyone and Oprah see a single mom and say “Aw”? There were no guidebooks for single moms at the time, so I pitched the idea to my then fiancé (now husband). He thought it was a great idea and suggested I write it from the coaching perspective. I like this because, unlike therapy, there is a beginning, middle, and end. And you aren’t dependent on anyone. Single moms from an abusive marriage can be introverted or lack self-esteem. In 100 days, I’ve watched them completely transform.
Q: When and how did you become a Solo Mom?
A: My ex was gone most of the time. When Lexi was just two weeks old, he left for a two-month deployment. When she was two, he’d been deployed on a navy ship for nine months. He came home on Mother’s Day, said he wanted a divorce, and moved onto the ship that day. He wanted to find his happiness. At the time, I didn’t realize his happiness was named Jennifer.
We did not see him for months after that. My daughter calls my current husband Dad and calls her biological father by his first name.
Q: So you’ve always been a Solo Mom.
A: Yes. But I do take issue with women who say, “My husband works long hours, so I’m a single mom.” You still get to call him. You can still tell him you need something. You can still use his MasterCard. I appreciate that people feel that way, but that is not a single mom.
Q: When your ex left, how did you manage?
A: I immediately called a real estate agent and asked when the best time would be to sell the condo. My agent said, “Now!” My ex didn’t want to go through an attorney, so I drew up a document for him to take to the JAG (judge advocate general) office. I didn’t fight for anything. We sold our condo in one day. Then I moved to the other side of the island to be closer to my friends. (I didn’t have a military-mom friend group.) He hasn’t seen Lexi in over two years.
Q: How does your daughter handle not seeing her father?
A: It’s been tough. But I met my new husband when she was seven, and they get along really well. They are thick as thieves. We’ve also had a therapist the entire time. This is an area outside my skill set, so I’ve relied on experts to help me.
Q: How were you able to have a career as a Solo Mom?
A: I worked from home and hired another military mom to be a part-time babysitter. I’d work four hours a day, and the rest of the time, I was fully present. When my daughter was four, I made good money as a keynote speaker but realized it would have me on the road constantly—so I quit. I did not want to be away from my daughter. I also cut down the length of my public-speaking trips. I would only go one or two nights. I had an assistant and a nanny, but I overpaid to have them around all the time so my daughter would be comfortable. To this day, I still try to be around when she’s around.
Q: When you went from being married to being a Solo Mom, did you feel a shift in your community?
A: I felt a shift in that I wasn’t a military wife anymore. I lost those privileges and was out of the military-wife circle immediately. A person’s divorce makes others look at their marriage; plus they don’t want to catch the divorce flu.
Q: How does a woman protect herself from a bad divorce?
A: I’d tell any married woman: have your own bank account, have your own credit card, have your own money, and—for God’s sake—create your own source of income!
Q: Was there a defining moment that drove home you were raising a child alone?
A: I bought white bedding for my bed. My daughter and I had a wonderful day: we had lasagna and brownies and Kool-Aid. She goes to bed for a couple of hours, comes into my room [and says], “I don’t feel good,” and throws up everything on my bed. My laundry room was downstairs, but she needed to be bathed and couldn’t be alone. So I literally took the bedding and threw it over the balcony. I bathed her, took her downstairs, and put her in the guest room. Then I washed the bedding and crawled into the guest bed with her.
Q: What about yourself are you proudest of as a Solo Mom?
A: I feel I have been a good model of a strong, independent, honest person. As a mom, I have no idea what I’m doing. I was a foster kid. I’ve been on my own since I was 16. There is a gap in my skills, but I’ve relied on experts and my desire to learn—so when I lose my shit on my kid, I’m able to tell her it’s a glitch in my software. I tell her I’m sorry, and I’m still learning. I don’t pretend that being a parent means you are next to God.
Q: Favorite single-parenting tip?
A: One good parent who loves the crap out of her kid is enough, and always keep Jack Daniels and duct tape on hand.
Are you divorced or thinking about divorce? In our confidential community of Sisters, you can connect with other moms going through the same challenges.
Kathleen Laccinole, ESME’s Dating Resource Guide, has penned numerous films and parenting books but is best known for producing the highly lauded Greta, age 20, and William, age 16.
Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions.