How did you balance Stampin’ Up! and your family during those early years?
The answer to this is very simple—we didn’t. The biggest—and almost only—regret I have as I look back on our early years was my inability to balance the demands of the business with the demands of my young family. I cry almost every time I think back on some of the choices I made. I have to keep telling myself that I can’t go back and change the past, but I can make sure that moving forward I don’t make the same mistakes.
Initially, of course, Vonna and I thought we’d have no problems balancing everything. We planned on filling orders and calling demonstrators while the children took naps and creating newsletters and catalogs after they went to bed. We never intended on this becoming a full-time job; it was just a little something to fill that social void and bring in a little extra income.
The first few years we experienced exciting growth and frightening financial struggles. It’s difficult to comprehend, but because of our business model, we were enjoying wonderful growth on one hand, while financial experts were telling us to file bankruptcy on the other. (The complicated explanation of how that can happen will have to wait until another time.)
We went through an incredible array of emotions and experiences, and I know I neglected my children and Sterling. I kept thinking that after this catalog goes to press or after this event is done, we’ll go on a family vacation or I’ll start getting home by 5.
It just didn’t happen. I can remember dragging a pillow to work and taking a quick cat nap in the early morning hours just so I had enough energy to meet deadlines and get things done that needed to be done. I’d run home in the morning to shower and change clothes and then rush back to work, so that the staff members coming in wouldn’t know I’d been there all night. It was a circus!
So much for conquering the balancing act! At least today I can say I’m much better at balancing. Of course, it’s easier because I don’t have young children at home, and it’s also easier because I recognize that there will always be catalogs and events and deadlines, and I MUST walk away and make my family a priority. There are few things at work that won’t be there the next day, few situations that can’t wait until tomorrow. And that first tooth, that first step, that first date—all those firsts that happen within the walls of your own home—won’t wait until tomorrow.