Saturday, June 05, 2010

GUEST BLOG POST: Juggling Your Urge to Wander with Being a Mother - by Marcia Reynolds, author, Wander Woman

Many women enter the corporate world excited about the possibilities. They were told as girls they could accomplish anything. Then even though they are promoted early on, the roadblocks get tougher to climb. Frustrated, they start asking, “What’s next?”

In researching my book, Wander Woman: How High-Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction, I found that many women start wandering from job to job searching for the place they will feel heard and acknowledged for all they have to offer. When they tire of being disappointed, they begin to see work as simply a training ground to develop skills they can use in their own businesses.

These women decide to jump off the corporate ladder not because they want to spend more time with their children but because it is the best way to meet their personal needs of achievement and contribution. How then do “wander women” cope with being stay-at-home working moms?

1) Segment time and space. Julie English, a Six Sigma Master Blackbelt engineer and CEO of Within Reach Consulting, said she quickly realized she needed an office outside of home. She only goes there two or three days a week, but she needs the physical separation to segment her time. Darelyn “DJ” Mitsch president of the corporate coaching company The Pyramid Resource Group said she books “mommy” time along with her work appointments. She also said she recalibrates her time as her children grow up, giving some of that time to herself. She recently published her memoir, Mystic Grits.

2) Integrate activities. Julie takes the family with her once or twice a year on business trips. On the other hand, when DJ found a note from her son in her suitcase asking her if she loved travel more than she loved him, she started hiring other coaches to do the ground work which allowed her more time at home. Ultimately, this led to her winning bigger contracts because she had a team to do the work.

3) Maintain social bonds. Putting friendships on the back burner is one of the greatest mistakes wander women. Not only will your empathetic friends help you maintain focus when customers whine, kids scream, health issues nag, and projects overwhelm, they will keep you from feeling isolated when you work for yourself. Find at least three other women who are consciously trying to create more satisfying, purposeful lives like you are. Meet regularly. Eat meals together. Take walks. Your “community of support” keeps you sane as well as productive.

4) Keep your body healthy. Julie discovered that she quickly lost track of her schedule when working for herself. To keep her body in good working order to get everything done, she found she had to start the day with exercise before even reading read her email. Also, make sure you eat healthy meals instead of what you can gobble down in quick breaks. Schedule your lunch hour and stick to it.

5) Regularly notice the world around you. I get acupuncture once a month to reset my overtaxed body. It was my acupuncturist who first told me that I was disconnected. He then prescribed a daily dose of going outside, smelling the air, appreciating the trees and feeling the ground beneath my feet. When I reconnect with nature, I reconnect with my soul.

6) Recreate. DJ said she still needs to recreate herself every few years, answering the question, “What’s next.” She has to give herself private reflection time to find an answer which always includes work that is meaningful for her and contributes to the world she brought her precious children into. She says she will always be learning, playing and growing to feed her wandering soul.

Marcia Reynolds is a coach who teaches classes worldwide on emotional intelligence and empowerment . Read more about her and her book, Wander Woman: How High-Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction at

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