Warning! If you're a man, you need to stop reading right now. Go on, get out of here -- click on something else. Email this link to your wife, daughter, sister or girlfriend and pry your eyes away. There are enough other articles out there for you to read. This one is just between us girls.
So says Donna Estes Antebi, to followers of her advice and readers of her book, "The Real Secrets Women Only Whisper."
"It is a harsh reality check when studies show that women without children make 90 cents to a man's dollar, married mothers make 72 cents, and single mothers only make 60 cents to a man's dollar!" she says. "No wonder that same study showed women's happiness levels have declined, while men's happiness has increased."
One of the biggest mistakes that working women make, she says, is not making mindful choices. She explains that women often let the passage of time make their choices for them, and give up control of their careers and their lives. "You need to be going in a mindful direction, instead of randomly waiting for the next opportunity," she says, noting that single working women are especially inclined to do this.
"One of the biggest mistakes that smart working women make," she says, "Is that they get into their careers and they plunge full speed ahead, and they think marriage is just somehow going to happen. They lose site of the passage of time, and they are still waiting for the perfect man. It takes a long time for them to realize that there is no such thing as the perfect man, and they have tossed back some really great guys for really silly reasons, like not being tall enough, for not liking his shoes, etc."
Estes Antebi asserts that if working women want to have a family, they need to look up from their jobs and focus on that before they turn forty. "Men who want to start a first family are looking for women who are young not women who are trying to look young. So if you work away your beauty years and you wait too long, women often find out that their pool of men to chose from is men who have already been divorced, one, two or three times, with three or four children.
Practicing What She Preaches
Not that there's anything wrong that, necessarily. Estes Antebi is a wife, a mother of three children and a stepmother to five. For her right now, "family comes first. Women need to accept the fact that they can have it all, just not all at the same time."
At this point in her life, in addition to being a wife and mother, she's a blogger for the Huffington Post, business consultant, author and philanthropist. In the past, as an entrepreneur, she founded a prominent product placement and promotion company and several other successful businesses, and patented an automotive accessory.
Taking mindful control of your life and your career is one of her book's most important messages for professional women (along with the warning: "Keep this book away from men!"). "These are the real secrets usually only whispered between the wisest of women to the closest of friends," she says. While the secrets cover a variety of topics, including love, sex, dating, marriage, children and aging, her secrets for professional women stand out, and some are quite surprising. Here's more of her provocative advice on a few of those topics:
Money Matters: "Money won't make you happy, but a lack of money will certainly make you miserable. Having enough money to support yourself and those you love is one of those harsh realities that has a direct correlation to the happiness, stability and well-being of your family. You cannot be happy if you cannot support your family. You have to keep this in mind when making decisions for your future."
The Oprah Theory: "No matter how smart, capable, ambitious or successful you think you can be, there is still only one Oprah Winfrey. Don't compare yourself to others. No matter how successful you are, you always will be happier if you measure the riches in your life by the gratitude in your heart. Arm yourself with as much education as you can afford, get the best experience possible and form strong alliances."
Little Nest Eggs: "A woman should always have a nest egg of her own money safely stashed away. Psychologically, it is important to know that if you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to jump ship, you can at least pay for a lifeboat that will get you safely to shore."
Financing Your Golden Years: "Every woman, married or not, should plan ahead and prepare for her golden years. A woman's longevity is her blessing, and sometimes even her curse. The average woman will live to be over 80 years old! That's a lot of retirement years to finance. In order to safeguard your future, you need to make it your business to know every detail about your finances, or else you could be the one left holding the bag, and it probably won't be Chanel."
Time Passes, No Matter What You Do: "Your greatest commodity in life is how you spend your time, so spend it doing things that are meaningful, with people you respect. Stay present in every moment. Don't wait for your life to happen."
Play Ball Like the Big Boys: "My theory is that all those years of team sports prepare boys to become men able to cope with striking out under pressure and getting right back up to bat the next inning. Women have to learn to do the same thing. Just take a deep breath and go for it. What do you have to lose? If you strike out, get back up to bat. Keep swinging until you get the "yes" you're looking for."
Whether or not you agree with Estes Antebi's advice, you can't deny that it's worked for her. "For the most part, we are handicapped by our gender," she says, offering the fact that working mothers are judged by different and harsher standards than working fathers. "We need to stop judging each other and start sharing and supporting," she says. And there's no need to let the men in on every little thing we're doing. It's OK to keep a few secrets.
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