Stay at Home Mommy
I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I think that is probably true for a vast majority of women. I also always knew I would go to college and get a degree. I started off pre-med at UC Davis and preceded to take the circuitous college route which included a stint at Biola University, Pasadena City College and six years later, ended at Long Beach State with a nursing degree, much to my parents relief. I met Chris at UC Davis. We dated for much of college and got married shortly after graduation.
We had some grand adventures as newlyweds including a month long honeymoon up the California, Oregon and Washington Coast, a trip to La Paz, Mexico that included a bus trip down to Cabo with a bus driver who while sipping out of a brown paper bag, hit and proceeded to run over a cow. This time in our lives culminated in a three month long European trip that included biking from the very northern tip of Germany along it's then divided border, to the southern end, where my family is from. At that time I was a pediatric nurse working per diem and was able to take a leave of absence. Chris was a teacher who had the summers off. Not having children was never a consideration for either of us, and our adventures took a turn when Ben was born.
Before we knew it, we grew from one to three little boys. I was still working per diem, Chris was still teaching and I have to say, my life was pretty chaotic. I remember feeling like I was barely living from shift to shift with never enough time to catch up in between. I felt exhausted most of the time, dreaded waking up early, never knowing what would hit me once I got to work, working 12 hours frequently without a break and coming home drained with little reserve for anyone or anything. I was desperately looking for a different way and couldn't imagine doing this until I was 65. The challenge was that I WAS making really good money and with three little mouths to feed, life was not getting any cheaper.
On another note and as crazy as it now sounds, I was very intrigued with the home school movement that was starting to gain momentum at that time . I know; in retrospect, I marvel at my insanity, but I am a bit of an optimist who desperately needs people in my life to save me from myself. As the school years were approaching, I decided to attend the local CHEA convention (Christian Home Educators Association) Not only did I come home from that event with a deeper desire to home school, but I came home with a brand new idea that was going to save me out of what had become a dreaded job.
DK books was a publishing company that revolutionized the way non fiction was presented. Its founder Peter Kindersley was an innovative creative who not only recognized that a picture was worth a thousand words, but he implemented this philosophy into publishing in a whole new way. Rather than looking through archives for pictures that would describe a particular subject, he had the brilliant idea to photograph subjects in a live studio and set the image against a stark white background. The images became life sized works of art. At the convention, I met a couple out of Salt Lake City who had a DK booth that said, they were looking for distributors. I was instantly intrigued. I remember thinking, I can do this, who wouldn't want to fill their homes with these beautiful books. Doesn't everyone want their children to be curious and smart? And hope was born.
As I was driving up to the hotel "business meeting" that would tell me more about how I would retire myself from nursing, I remember feeling intimidated and nervous at the prospect of facing a room full of people. I arrived and there were five of us and the couple from Salt Lake City. I listened with interest as the couple shared more about DK Publishing and how they were starting a "direct sales" division to share their books and spread their mission of bringing learning into the home. They talked about the "compensation plan" and how the income potential was "unlimited" due to "leverage" and team building. I felt I was learning a new language. They shared the method; in home parties; gulp; I didn't do or go to those kind of things, and a pang of discomfort filled me, but I continued to listen and left cautiously optimistic.
My journey into the direct sales arena began. I was a very naive mommy who desperately wanted to stay home with her three baby boys and was willing to get uncomfortable to make that happen. I never thought of myself as a sales person, but was excited to share a product and a mission that I believed could change lives. Happily, without really knowing what I was doing, but with consistent effort in between my very full life, my business grew. I remember how surprised I was when I achieved the first "leadership" level because, honestly, I didn't even know what the target was. My income continued to grow and within two years, had easily exceeded my nursing salary. I retired myself from nursing on my 35th birthday.
That was over twenty years ago and today, I am no longer that naive mommy, but I am still involved in network marketing. Twenty plus years and several companies later, I consider myself a seasoned veteran who has experienced the ins and outs, along with the good the bad, the awesome and the ugly. I have been on the receiving end of every positive and negative conversation out there from the closed minded, misinformed skeptic with his unoriginal "oh, one of those pyramid schemes,", to the recruiting zealot who hangs out at Starbucks seeking his next victim with promises of the next billion dollar company. I have experienced tremendous highs and hit some of the lowest points in my life and in retrospect, I am thankful for all of it. This business model has enlarged my borders in ways I could not have foreseen. It not only allowed me to be at home with my children while still contributing significantly to my family's income, it pushed me out of my comfort zone and continually caused me to stretch and grow, and it allowed me to connect with hundreds of people all over the country, many who are still among my dearest friends.
I recently considered applying for a "normal" job. ( you can read about it on an earlier blog) I have to admit that there are times when getting a "real"job and the security it can potentially provide is rather appealing but these days I am motivated to continue for different reasons. I think of all of the things that my flexible schedule allows me to do and all of the things I want to do in the future and couldn't if I was bound to a time clock. I certainly would not have been able to fly to Chattanooga a week before Peter's wedding nor fly to Minnesota to visit my beloved niece and her babies, nor meet friends for coffee or join my husband on weekday bike rides or a long weekend away. I recognize that my time and the ability to control my days is more important than a secure paycheck.
I look forward to continuing to help women fulfill their dreams. I'm excited about how the industry is evolving through social media and is becoming increasingly recognized as a legitimate and significant marketing platform. Modern families are increasingly complex and in their complexity direct sales or social marketing as it is now more commonly known, continues to be an excellent way to work from home offering the same flexibility and family financial support that it did for me so many years ago.