Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Where's My Off Switch?

Here's what no one told us before we became self-employed...

There is no off switch.

As I was doing our bank reconciliations (eleven days late) at 8:45 last night, this fact was brought to mind again. I've learned it before - much before - now. Everything has to get done. And everything is up to me. (Oh yeah, and Tom.) We have those moments where you sit up in bed in the middle of night and say "Oh crap! I didn't ________." Fill in the blank here with anything from call back a customer, add a granite top into the bid, pay this bill... and the list goes on. When mistakes are made, there's no one to blame it on other than ourselves.

We talk business every night over dinner, on every car trip and most of every "vacation." There is no "How was your day honey?" We know exactly what happened, when it happened and most likely we were there or very close.

Not only that, but when you're sick, or laid up recovering from painful knee surgery and on major pain meds, or caring for said knee surgery patient, the work must still get done. Customers must be called back, bills must be paid, and there is no official sick day to be had.

Another case in point. This weekend, both girls were sick - Josie with a fever and Tessa with the nasty stomach bug. By Monday, they seemed better, but Josie's fever was hanging around. I decided to keep them both "home" from school. Guess what? Mommy and daddy had to work, so they got to come along and watch TV at Timber Run instead of staying home. They didn't mind too much and are used to that type of thing. I cared though - mommy guilt strikes again. Shouldn't I be at home with them cuddling on the couch and watching silly cartoons and making them Sprite with no bubbles? Nope. The customer is king and I had a meeting.

But, do you want the silver lining?

There is no off switch. (See what I did there?)

Since we don't ever turn it off, our kids are getting a pretty unique life experience. We used to laugh and say that Josie would make a fantastic sales person one day because she listened to a million Zig Ziglar CD's in the car when she was two.

Since we don't ever turn it off, the kids know the parts and order of what it takes to build a house. I'm seriously going to start having Josie help me file - she knows her alphabet - she can file. They've helped with getting checks ready to mail too - who doesn't like putting stickers on letters?

Since we don't ever turn it off, the kids have grown up around adults and been taught how to have a conversation and look people in the eye. We don't get a babysitter for the Homeowner Christmas Party. They come.

Since we don't ever turn it off, the kids see with their own eyes the value of working hard and that you can make your own way in life if you work hard enough.

Since we don't ever turn it off, if we have a great idea in the business, we run with it. There is no boss-man that has to approve it and no red tape to prevent it.

Since we don't ever turn it off, we can vacation more often. I don't know about you, but I'd rather have a strategic business planning meeting on the beach than in the office.

Since we don't ever turn it off, we can do extra-curricular things like volunteer, fundraise, take time to go to MOPS on Wednesday and much more. The work still gets done, it just may be at 9PM at night. :)

There is no off switch and I'm learning to be OK with that. Every time that mommy guilt starts to rear it's ugly head, I remember that I am setting an example for my kids and living the dream of being self-employed.

I really wouldn't have it any other way.

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