I had to shut down the shop and farm my boys out to friends last week. We moved the daughter/niece to Atlanta for her first real job. It was a quick trip, so it didn’t make sense to throw the boys in the car for 20 hours round trip when the hang-time in Atlanta was really about 6 hours.
Shutting down the shop is weird.
I can “block” dates on the online store, so people won’t select a day we are out of town for a delivery. People still email and call wanting something for that day, and then I have to tell them no, and no is never easy, but I’m getting better at it. So, We closed on Thursday. Not a single item was baked or delivered. I do have help. Someone that can cover when I’m gone. But in this case she was out of town as well.
Which brings us to the conundrum: family
“Put your family first” is easy to say, harder to do when trying to grow or run a business. I left town to care for family. My helper left town to take her son to an out of state event.
There have been many, many times in the past year, especially during the holidays, that I felt like I was neglecting my family for the business. It just makes sense that one capitalizes on the business when it’s there…unfortunately the holidays are a time when the demands of family are high as well…and tough choices are made.
Volunteer to Entrepreneur
If you can recall, I transitioned from volunteer to entrepreneur, so not only am I less present for the boys at home, I’m less present in their schools…where I used to spend a lot of time that they appreciated.
It makes me feel funny. When push comes to shove, I do pretty well with the balance. But there are days and weeks that I feel like I’m short-changing the family. Am I doing the right thing? Are they going to be okay?
So then there’s last week
I had to shut down the shop and farm my kids out to friends to take care of family stuff. I didn’t feel “bad” about that one. Family had to come first. But not feeling bad isn’t the same as not worrying.
The surprise came when I returned
The oldest went and stayed with his BFF’s family. I’d have sent all three there, but the BFF had company in town and I already felt like I was imposing with just the oldest. I went to pick up the younger two boys from a friend who hadn’t had the youngest around a lot before.
Eddie, our middle son, is great friends with their oldest boy, so it was a no-brainer that I’d ask if Eddie could stay there. But we wanted our Andrew close by his brothers and he doesn’t really have a friend in the neighborhood whose parents we know. So since Eddie’s friend has a younger brother we asked those parents. In their infinite kindness, they said they’d love to have both boys over (never mind that we later learned it was over their wedding anniversary).
If guilt was a crime…
So I’d closed the business, pawned the oldest onto his BFF’s family, and the younger two out to people that should have said no, but didn’t. If guilt was a crime, I’d have been doing time.
But then I came home
And the business was fine. People didn’t give up on Cookie Text because we closed for one day. And the boys were fine. Apparently more than fine.
I went to pick up the younger two and the mom said, “They are the most well-mannered boys I’ve ever met. They say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. They don’t run in and out of the house. They say ‘excuse me’ when they want to leave the table. And my youngest usually gets his feelings hurt when kids are over. He never did. They included him in everything. I seriously need to send my boys to your family for a week for boot-camp.”
So…there’s that little victory.
I guess it’s simply the life of the working mom. Wanting to raise kids that don’t feel neglected and bloom where they are planted…Wanting to raise well-mannered kids that aren’t personality-less drones.
The kind words my friend said about my boys were exactly what I needed to hear to make me believe that although I was constantly juggling the business and the family, I was managing to keep all the balls in the air. It was a huge sigh of relief.
And though it was barely sufficient thanks for someone caring for my kids for 2 nights, I did arrive at pick-up time with a thank you CookieText®…and Doug!