Today I want to unveil my latest project: On Her Mind, a podcast to address the many worries that weigh on a woman’s brain. Whether you are a woman, or want to understand women better, this podcast sheds light on topics many want to learn about but resist asking about – things like money, careers, relationships, and aging parents.
My first guest is Carolyn McClanahan, who offers up insights on how to make a fresh start with your career path. Carolyn has walked the walk by transitioning from ER physician to financial planner. She shares the steps she took to design her life as her priorities changed, and offers practical advice on how to be brave enough to do the same. I could have talked with her for hours; she is a wise soul with much insight to offer.
So why am I doing this?
Some 14 years ago, I found myself pushing my double-wide stroller into an unfamiliar church basement. I was there for my kids, I told myself. They needed to learn to separate from me.
The makeshift Mother’s Center had a Child Care Room that was manned by paid, experienced adults who were just one room away from the discussion room, in case the little ones needed a diaper change. It was the perfect way to ease into separating while allowing for adult conversation.
This world was new to me. I wasn’t one to join discussion groups and I wasn’t lonely or looking for friends. In order to join, all mothers had to participate in an orientation class, which discussed their road to motherhood – from conception to birth and everything in between.
I wasn’t excited to share my tale of my difficult twin pregnancy that was in jeopardy almost from the moment we conceived. I was tired of thinking about the bed rest, the hospital stays and their pre-term births. Did I really need to dwell on how little sleep I was getting? Did I want to tell total strangers what motherhood had changed in me? Were there even words to describe the seismic shift?
There was another reason for my discomfort. I wasn’t used to being in large crowds of women – my work experience in finance meant I had often been the only woman – or one of a few – in the room. I didn’t want to hear gossip, judgment or backbiting and I wasn’t sure what the vibe would be in these discussion groups. Even now, I am embarrassed by how judgmental I was being before I even entered the room.
Rarely in life have I been pleasantly surprised – but this was one of those times.
In a culture where no one likes to admit their struggles, these women shared their fears about losing themselves in motherhood, and trying to regain bits of themselves. Some were slogging their way through post-partum depression, and released their feelings of loneliness and guilt. Some had lost pregnancies or buried children and were dealing with trauma. Others were grieving their deceased parents – or the fractured relationships that left them estranged.
We shared what successes we had in getting our kids to breastfeed, sleep through the night, and potty train; we shared our failures, too. We swapped names of pediatricians. We gave support to those dealing with marital or in-law stress. We learned self-defense moves. We encouraged one another to find parts of ourselves that were always there, before the children existed. Some started businesses due to the boost in confidence they received there.
In a non-judgmental, supportive environment these women were a steel backbone for one another and frankly, I will always be grateful to them. It was there I was asked to conduct a financial education group. It was there I wrote my first personal finance article for the newsletter.
It was there I realized how ignorant these very capable women were about their money. They were also particularly vulnerable, as many were stay-at-home moms who had left their careers to raise their kids. Many were trusting that their husbands knew what to do – but they didn’t know for sure because they were not plugged in. Motherhood was taking every bit of their bandwidth.
Fast-forward to today and I thought about the many roles we play in life. Women, in particular, juggle many things – whether they have children or not.
I made a list of the most important roles I’ve served in my adult life – single career woman, married career woman, manager, daughter to aging/ailing parents, stay-at-home mom, parent-less daughter, mother to a seriously ill child, entrepreneur/business partner, working mother … the list goes on.
I’m not unique. We’ve all had experiences that have taught us invaluable lessons; these lessons would be much more valuable if shared with others struggling with these same challenges.
That is what I want to bring listeners every week. I hope you’ll join me and share the podcast with others who could use some encouragement in all areas of their life — not just finance. I will tap the minds of successful women from diverse backgrounds, such as medical, legal, non-profit, media and business. I will offer personal finance perspectives to demystify the jargon-filled world of investing and make it simple to understand.
Let me know what you struggle with because I want to help in any way I can.
My kids are now nearly 16 and a lot of living has gone on over the years, which means more ideas for content.
All I can say is stay tuned and see what you can apply to your life.