In the previous post Exit strategy – daring to dream of another life we talked about having a dream as one way to move toward the idea of an exit strategy for women, especially mothers whose children will grow up to lead lives of their own.
Having dreams for themselves can be difficult for women. Holding onto dreams once they have them and making them a reality can be harder still. The changes this dream and its realization initiate affect not only the decision-maker; it also affects those who have become accustomed to the old ways of doing things.
Culture and habit
Two messages women receive more often than others are defer gratification and put others ahead of themselves. There are absolutely times and situations where it is appropriate for everyone to exercise deferring gratification and considering the needs of others or another ahead of their own. The point here is the overarching culture that women never indulge in anything that could be perceived as personally gratifying nor should they attend to themselves or their own needs until they have with absolute certainty ruled out anyone whom they could serve first.
Stay at home wives and mothers generally operate with the needs of others planted firmly in mind. The difficulty with disentangling from the modes of operating in ways that life with dependent children dictated is that children and husbands like electricity seek out the path of least resistance. It’s easier for them if you keep doing it and it guarantees that you remain chained to the old and no longer necessary ways of doing things.
But old habits die hard and sometimes there is outright resistance to the changes. Whichever scenario is at work, and sometimes it is a blend of both, the wife and mother who is undertaking to hold onto and fulfill a dream about how her life is going to evolve as the children mature and the household begins to thin out needs to build an appropriate support network.
Networking and reinforcements
I may have lost some at the suggestion that they will need a support network to hold onto and fulfill their second-life dream. However, every life and career benefits from the influence of a few well-selected advisors and women in second-life planning are no different. The number and the expertise of this network will vary according to individual’s needs and their specific dream and goal. Some types of networkers that one might consider are:
- A mentor – someone who has succeeded and believes in you, your quest, and your dream
- A spiritual buddy – someone you trust to keep you grounded in your practice of faith
- A life/career coach – an objective person who can offer personalized insight and critique
Other types of networking specialists may also be appropriate so seek out what works for your situation. The most important role these people will play is looking objectively at the road blocks and resistance strategies of significant people in your life and to gently but firmly encourage you to deal with these while continuing to move forward toward your second-life dream.