It’s that last one that throws us for a loop. How can we expand and build on our careers, take a break to nurture a baby, prepare that child for the world, live in a tidy environment, keep a relationship happy and still stop from losing parts of ourselves along the way? Indeed. It’s a conundrum that began with “supermom syndrome” and is still evolving in a world where men are finally beginning to realize that they can no longer serve as the “honey, I’m home” character from the movie Pleasantville and still have a fulfilled, happy wife.
A few years ago I was privileged to act as editor for a very special lady who had been through it all and was literally bursting at the seams to tell her story to other type-A moms – the ones who refuse to sacrifice experiencing all that womanhood can offer while possessing a key to the executive washroom. So she wrote a book outlining all the things women must work on to find that elusive balance we all seek. Stocks, Bonds and Soccer Moms: 7 Steps to a Balanced Life, has earned dozens of 5-star Amazon.com reviews. Author Michelle Perry Higgins outlines her joys and her struggles, eventually gaining a seat at the table in the male-dominated world of finance to becoming the mom of two busy girls. For Higgins, it was a case of “something’s gotta give” for her to have it all, and that something was a combination of a great therapist, an amazingly supportive husband and a penchant to grab for her own oxygen mask before helping those around her. Her journey included emotions that led her to nearly ending a marriage to those celebrating solutions that took some creative thinking. A few of the lessons she writes about:
- Stop trying to be the perfect mom: “The way I understood it was that being a ‘good enough’ mother allows children to grow, mature, and become independent, all of which are necessary for them to live a successful life. Understanding this really took the pressure off me in so many ways. If you feel resistance to the idea of only being good enough, that might be your superwoman complex in action.”
- Unsupportive friends are not friends at all: “Toxic people make us doubt our self-worth, then they turn around and act as if they’re our buddies. But we shrug our shoulders and let it go because as women, we’ve been carefully taught to be inclusive and tolerant of others.” Higgins advises us that we need not tolerate this type of “buddy” any more and to take a hard look at our stable of friends. “Do you consider yourself a masochist?” she asks? “If not, why would you continue to surround yourself with individuals who hurt your soul?”
- Make sure you are financially fit: Higgins points out that women will control two-thirds of consumer wealth in the U.S. over the next decade and be the beneficiaries of the largest transference of wealth in our country’s history. And while 80 to 90 percent of women will be solely responsible for their finances at some point in their lives (divorce, women outlive men, etc.), fewer than two in ten women feel very prepared to make wise financial decisions.
The book covers a wealth of issues women face in the workplace, as stay-at-home moms, as breadwinners, with keeping romance alive and in finding creative ways to maintain their sanity through it all.
As a financial planner and principal of California Financial Advisors in San Ramon, California, Michelle Perry Higgins has been quoted in Yahoo! Finance, MSN Money and The Los Angeles Times, is a contributor to Examiner.com and is a Wall Street Journal Expert Panelist. Higgins is a frequent public speaker on retirement planning, investments, wealth management, college education funding, estate planning and insurance. She is also proud to mentor college students interested in entering the financial planning profession.
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