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‘Mom Reporter’ Kayla Sullivan Reports Back About Dating As A Single Mom

A star TikTok mom opens up about her quick rise to fame after viral success.

Kayla Sullivan, TikTok's "mom reporter" talked to Scary Mommy about parenting, dating as a single mo...

In 2022, Kayla Sullivan had a funny little idea: Since becoming a mom, she was no longer working as a news reporter, but why not “report” on her toddler and his hijinks? She uploaded a video to TikTok of a fake news report about his complete freak-out in an Olive Garden, and soon her life would never be the same. The video, which put her “reporter voice” to good use, and which parodies every local news report you’ve ever seen, quickly went viral, amassing 31 million views and thousands of comments.

And as she posted similar videos, using everything from a toy microphone to a Stanley straw cup for a microphone, her following grew and grew. She now has over a million followers and tons of cute/hilarious/relatable videos, all “reporting from everyday life,” as she says in her bio.

Almost two years after first going viral, Kayla’s life has found an entirely new path. The single mom has been able to quit her office job and once again pursue her dream job of being a journalist: She’s now working for a local Indianapolis news station focusing on humor and parenting.

And she’s also — breaking news — in a serious relationship again, with someone who first saw her making her now-famous mom reports.

Scary Mommy sat down with Sullivan to discuss her rise to TikTok fame, her best advice for parents, and what it’s like working full-time and dating as a single mom.

Scary Mommy: How do you balance being a single mom and having a career? What have you learned from that journey?

Kayla Sullivan: I had two passions in life: to be a TV news reporter and to be a mom. And those two things finally both happened to me at the same time. But then I became a single mom unexpectedly. It was very difficult being in that demanding of a career and being a mom who did it all by myself. And so I kind of felt like I needed to make a choice, and I knew that that current role in that position wasn't working for me. So I left news, I got a nine-to-five PR job, and the balance was easier at that point in my life. But I still missed my passion of news reporting.

So I started posting these videos of me reporting on my son just for fun, just to kind of get that feeling of reporting live again. And they went viral and it led into this whole new career that I've been able to create. It's more than I could have ever dreamed and has been extremely rewarding and has allowed me to have that work life balance that I dreamt about.

I feel like I'm the best mom I can be because the current role I'm in allows me to have way more time with him, a much more flexible schedule. So I guess the biggest lesson I learned is not to be afraid to walk away from what you think is your dream job to create something that works for you, your family, your schedule — that allows you to be the best version of yourself.

Because in all reality, when I felt like I was doing a good job as a news reporter, I felt like I was failing as a mom. And when I felt like I was doing a good job as a mom, I felt like I was failing as a news reporter.

Finding a job that works I think would be the best advice I have for people.

SM: What kind of response do you get from parents from your videos?

KS: People see themselves in parenting content and know that not everything is going to be perfect. There are some creators out there that make parenting look really easy, and then there are some creators out there that make parenting out to be exactly what it is, which is difficult, but amazing and challenging, but fun and all of these conflicting feelings. My reports tell it as it is, tell the facts, and I try to do a good job of showcasing the good and the bad.

SM: Some of the most relatable moments are when you talk about things that happen in parenting that maybe people don't talk about as much. Have you ever shared something that you were worried that other people don't relate to or don't feel?

KS: Absolutely. I feel like I'll have moments thinking, am I really about to post this? I can't believe I've exposed myself. I've done reports on how dirty my car seat is, how dirty my car is, things that are so embarrassing.

And then people will send in their own videos of the same thing. That's what I love the most: when people feel comfortable sharing their own experiences with a messy playroom or a messy house or my son's eaten hot dogs two days in a row. Things that might make you feel guilty as a parent, but you're doing the best you can. Just hearing that other people struggle in certain areas too, like picky eating, potty training, all of those things.

And I've had people message me and say, ‘Thank you so much for posting this. I felt really alone and this makes me feel less alone, and that means a lot to me.’

SM: Have you ever gotten shamed though? Are people ever like, ‘Oh my God, look at that car seat’?

KS: I have very self-deprecating humor, so I think people are like, ‘Well, she's already beaten up herself enough. She knows. She knows she's not perfect. I don't need to tell her.’

The thing that hurts me the most is when people say, ‘That boy needs a father.’ Because nobody knows my full personal story. And I like to keep it that way because I like to think ahead about what's best for my son. I want to be sure that I'm not embarrassing him right now. He's four, so he's doing all of the normal things. So I think eventually it'll expand to just hypothetical situations or situations that other parents have told me about without calling a specific kid, because I do want to be mindful of what I'm sharing about my son.

SM: What’s your best piece of parenting advice?

KS: I would say to keep it simple and try to shake off the pressure to be perfect... just don't sweat the small stuff.

For example, there's nothing more frustrating than unpacking your child's lunchbox at the end of the day only to find that the contents have been completely untouched. And Juicy Juice actually ran a survey that found that nearly 72% of parents say the contents of their child's lunchbox goes uneaten. And so my advice would be to sometimes just let the kids pack what they want to eat themselves. I let him call the shots on what to pack in his lunchbox earlier this month as part of Juicy Juice's JJ FriYAY lunch challenge. And it was a huge success. Alan was really excited to be part of the lunch packing process and have a say over what he eats at school.

SM: What has happened with your career since you’ve gone viral?

KS: I've created a kid segment called Kidding with Kayla on Wish TV here in Indianapolis... We repurpose my reels and we do little challenges and we talk to parenting places in the community and we bring in Indianapolis parents and just really allow that community that I have on social media to be part of the Indianapolis community. I absolutely love it.

It's different than news reporting obviously, but I still get that serving-my-local-community fix that I've always loved. And that was why I entered the journalism field. So I've basically created a career out of my viral videos, which is insane to think that that was possible. I will forever be grateful for it.

SM: You talked about dating as a single mom. Are there any reports coming in from that field?

KS: I am dating, and this is breaking news here: I do officially have a boyfriend and it's been nice because he also has a son and he gets it.

If there are any single moms reading this piece, I would recommend just being intentional about it, making sure you make a list of the things that you're wanting. It's difficult to find the time... especially when you're full-time mom, full-time reporting. But I think in my instance, this person is very understanding and also knows what it's like to put his kid first.

It’s really nice to have that companionship that hopefully will evolve into a partnership in parenting because I think many single moms struggle with the loss of a partner wanting somebody to have this journey with. One of my favorite things about my videos is that a lot of parents will say that they send my videos to each other.

He also had seen my videos before we started dating and said he related to them. So it was just kind of cool that he knew me before I knew him because of social media.

SM: I'm looking forward to maybe some blended family content or single mom reports.

KS: I have already talked to him — Would you be comfortable with me reporting on some of the aspects of what it's like to blend a family or to date? And he's open to it. I think some people get this impression that content creators, it's not a real job. But I know from the content that I receive, it gets you through some tough times to just smile or relate. I follow other single moms and when they got a boyfriend, I found hope in it.

I think that sharing those things with people will be hopeful, and I hope to be able to do that for people in that situation so that they can look and say, ‘Hey, she found love even though she had a full-time job, even though she was a full-time mom, single mom.’ I think that that would be really cool to share with my followers.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.