Dear Home Sales Friend: I'm Sorry

 Spouses shop during a Spouse Appreciation Day Bazaar at the Thomas Community Activities Center at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas. (U.S. Air Force/Cliffton Dolezal)
Spouses shop during a Spouse Appreciation Day Bazaar at the Thomas Community Activities Center at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas. (U.S. Air Force/Cliffton Dolezal)

To you, Home Sales Entrepreneur: I owe you an apology.

I’m sorry for what I’ve said about your business.

See, for a long time, I’ve put your business in silent quotes. “Business.” I’ve snickered on the side about it. That’s not a real job, I’ve said. That’s a pyramid scheme. Don’t you know you’re making money for someone else? And spending inordinate amounts of your own?  I didn’t stop there. I’d mutter on for days about the soft and hard sales pitches, the parties, the candles, the shakes. And no, I don’t want to buy into your business! Do I ask you help me make my needs meet? It’s not my job to financially support you!  Often times I’ve been decent enough to wait until the you’ve gone before I go on like this, but sometimes, I’ve rolled my eyes directly at you.

I’m so sorry.

Worse, if you do manage to catch my eye-roll, I rarely stop there: I’ll elaborate that statistics show you’re going to continue to lose money, jeopardize relationships, and no your essential oils and shakes cannot fix my daughter’s medical issues. If they could, they would be sold at a different price point.

Generally speaking, I’ll do all of this while buying something (because I really do feel badly if I don’t) which only makes it worse. You’ll say something kind, overlooking my complete obnoxiousness, and try to relate to me on the whole “we both are careerists, we can bond over that” thing, and then I’ll go off on you that you don’t have a real job. Because again, I’ve put everything you do in silent quotes.

But as is usually the case when people are being idiots and mean, me looking down on what you do professionally says a lot more about me than it does about you. It’s me with the issue. It’s you with the business. Why do I value what I do differently? Where on earth do I get off with that? Why, besides being pregnant with the third kid in three years, am I so b…. witchy?

And that’s when I realized I didn’t understand. So I decided to listen carefully and learn something. They say that no one’s opinion has ever been changed on social media, but we’re going to dispel that myth right here and right now. Mine totally has. You’ve told me all about what your home business has done for your life, and I realized how much I’ve missed. How much I didn’t understand.

And how much I owe you an apology.

I really didn’t understand:

You have a real business. Not “business” in silent quotes, but an honest-to-god business. It’s something you value, you work hard for, and it warrants respect. From everybody - especially other military spouses balancing careers.

You have a multi-level marketing business you can take with you anywhere you go. I spent so long taking issue with what I perceived to be the “legitimacy” of your business that I failed to hear how well it works with your life, and how completely rare and amazing that is.

I failed to take into account how hard it is for us to get jobs and keep them. Rather, I should know this one pretty personally - I have spent a lot of time writing on that very subject, interviewing spouses telling me all about it, and living it myself. You’ve found a source of income that you can rely on, do in your own hours, and no one fires you when you PCS. That’s AMAZING.

I really, really, really failed to understand the most important thing of all: Not only do you have a job, not only do you have a business you run yourself, but you do all of this while balancing the demands of family and military life… and that is empowering.

You being empowered is a lot more important than how much I hate Jamberry. And it’s a lot more powerful than any shade anti-home-business people like I am throw your way. In fact, if anyone needs some shade, it’s us. We need to stop getting in your way. You, business owner. You, entrepreneur. You, spouse making it happen despite military life, hurdles, all the difficulty of sales, and even some haters. Everything you do deserves our respect.

And as it happens, we could stand to learn a thing or two from you.

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