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Entrepreneur Mom

with Aliza Sherman

If you own a business - home-based or otherwise - this is the blog where you'll find practical tips and smart ideas about entrepreneurship. I've started and run 4 different businesses so "been there, done that." I'll also invite successful entrepreneurs to share their best advice with you.

To learn more about Aliza, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! and her website, www.mediaegg.com.

I Have A Company Dammit!

Categories: Random Biz Rants, Work/Life

25 comments

In the same vein as my Dishes Be Damned post, I have a little more venting to do.

A certain husband doesn’t realize that he doesn’t really think my company is as “important” as his job. He insists that yes, it is JUST as important, however, then he says things that lead me to believe that he just isn’t in touch with what he really thinks about my company.

“They’re Different”

He says that our jobs are equally as important but different.

“Do you have to go to the office each day, clock in on a timeclock, record your time and get it approved by your boss…?”

“So because I don’t have to punch a timeclock, my business is not a real job???” I practically scream.

He acknowledges that yes, my business is a real job but “it’s just different.”

“Common Courtesy”

This all started when he didn’t like the way I told him today that I’ll be going on several business trips to conferences and speaking engagements. He would prefer that I be more courteous in my approach.

My approach was asking him if we could synchronize our schedule and discuss how we’ll handle toddler care for some trips I have scheduled. As we reviewed our calendars, I was saying “I’ll be in Chicago on this date and then Denver on this.”

He didn’t like the way I was saying it. It wasn’t courteous.

“Well, how do you want me to say it?”

“It would be more courteous if you said ‘I’d like to go to this conference in Chicago,’” he explained.

I exploded.

“What?!? Do I actually have to ask your permission to go??!?”

“No, of course not! You don’t have to ask me permission. It is just more courteous to say it that way,” he replied.

“Then why don’t you say it that way to me? Why don’t you say ‘I’d like to go to this training in such and such’?” I retorted.

“Because I don’t have a choice. I don’t have a choice about going to trainings. They are required for my job,” he replied.

“So let me get this straight. It is better if I let you know about things I have on my schedule by prefacing with ‘I’d like to go…’ but you don’t have to tell me about your trips by saying ‘I’d like to go…’ because YOUR trips are REQUIRED while mine are OPTIONAL?!?”

He kept insisting that our jobs are different. HE is required to do things for his jobs but in the case of my company, since I’m the boss, I’m NOT required to do these speaking engagements or attend these conferences.

Then he added his other foot into his mouth to join the one that was already firmly planted there.

“How would you like me to say to you ‘I’m going hunting’ instead of ‘I’d like to go hunting?’” he offered.

“What?!? So now you are comparing my company, my BUSINESS, to a hunting trip? Hunting is a hobby, an optional thing, not a required thing like a COMPANY!”

“But hunting IS required for my mental health and physical well being. Getting out there is very important to me,” he reasoned.

“But you are comparing my COMPANY, my BUSINESS, to a HUNTING TRIP?!?”

Did he not know when to quit?

He insisted that he wasn’t comparing my company to his hunting trip,s but that it was only common courtesy for a spouse to phrase an upcoming event as “I’d like to go…”

“Then why don’t YOU also use that phrase? I’m YOUR spouse. Don’t you think YOU should be using the same phrase you are asking ME to use?” I demanded.

“Because I don’t have a choice about going on these business trips. They are REQUIRED of me,” he replied.

“So you can say to me ‘I have to go to…’ but I must say ‘I’d like to go to…’, is THAT what you are saying?”

“It’s only common courtesy,” he explained.

“It is a F-ING double standard!! From now on, I want YOU to say ‘I’d like to go to this required training’ and see how YOU like it. My business trips and speaking engagements are just as important as your required trainings!” I insisted.

“I do think they are important, honey. They’re just DIFFERENT.”

Will you please join me in a very loud and gutteral ARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHH!!

Is it just me or does your spouse/partner/family still think your home-based business or company is something that is less important than their REAL jobs?



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25 comments so far...

  • When my job was pure self-employment, the sense was that everything I did was optional. Indeed, I was expected to change aroiund my schedule and any hint on my part that I couldn’t just leave work at 2 pm to help straighten up the house for a party was met by stunned disbelief.
    Now that I have a full-time job at an office with a boss and limited vacation time, it’s not even a question. Of *course* I can’t be expected to leave early.
    Yes, the double standard exists. It’s not limited to women, and it’s a frickin pain in the butt.

    Stever Robbins  |  February 28th, 2009 at 7:06 pm

  • Wow, this is like pulling a page out of the sitcom handbook! Really, he has no clue what he’s saying and how it’s being perceived? Really?!

    I’m male, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know the implications of semantics and double-standards.

    But that’s just me; mileage may vary.

    Thanks for sharing; clearly, in instances such as yours there’s a bit of work to do.

    Velanche  |  February 28th, 2009 at 7:11 pm

  • Ah yes. I run into this problem a lot. I feel for you.
    My husband is also a self-employed musician so luckily he gets it but a lot other people really don’t understand that I actually work. I make a living running my own little label, managing myself, booking myself, licensing my songs, promoting myself etc. but a lot of people really don’t seem to think I have a job and expect me to be available at all time for all things unless I am actually on stage clearly performing.

    adrienne pierce  |  February 28th, 2009 at 7:23 pm

  • Business trip = your leaving him. It’s not about your company. It’s not about his job. It’s about him.

    BTW, my husband doesn’t think my real job is as important as his real job.

    Stephanie Miller  |  February 28th, 2009 at 7:25 pm

  • I just have to laugh - not at you, but with you. I see this same situation all the time.

    Good for you for standing up for your business. no one else will take your business seriously until you do.

    Holly Buchanan  |  February 28th, 2009 at 8:12 pm

  • Do you break even on your business trips? make money? make lots of money?

    If your husband left his job, would you be able to support the family on what you make from your business? If it does, you have a legitimate beef. If not, your husband is right - they are different.

    Charlie Penn  |  March 1st, 2009 at 4:42 am

  • Aliza, great post! Here is my contribution to a very loud and gutteral ARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHH!!

    I hear you - I have had many of these discussions myself, having owned PerkettPR for over 10 years. And not only is it that I’m the boss and should therefore be able to “take off whenever I want to” in other people’s eyes, but I am also not likely “as stressed” as other friends or family members because I work from a home office.

    Oy vey!

    Maybe we should all contribute to a “10 Myths” of Owning Your Own Business” column :)

    Christine Perkett  |  March 1st, 2009 at 6:26 pm

  • Solution: Virtual Boss! They have virtual assistants right? Well, you hire a virtual boss to tell you that you MUST attend event abc, speak at company xyz, fly to Mainstreet USA for a convention, all via official email or interoffice memo - you get the idea. This way you can just say that you don’t have a choice, your “boss” said you have to go. I know that virtual boss’ don’t exist, thus, another business you must start!

    Julie  |  March 2nd, 2009 at 12:51 am

  • I have to say that I have been on the other side of this argument, not giving respect to the way someone chooses to schedule necessary business dealings because he makes his own schedule. My situation is a little different, but it is not alright either way.
    I see your husband’s point that your company and his job are different because you are deciding for yourself that you are going to start working at this time and quit working at that time, where he does not have that luxury.
    What I don’t get is asking for permission to go on a business trip and comparing it to a hunting trip, that is just disrespectful. As long as you aren’t ignoring important dates in your family life such as anniversaries and birthdays, there is nothing wrong with your approach. He might be jealous that you don’t have to answer to anyone to make things work in your company so he is trying to make you accountable to him? Just a theory.
    I had a problem with my son’s father in the same scenario because he would tell me at the last minute he was going out of town and he never takes time off to spend with the family, even holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, he would leave to service clients if they called. I hope this isn’t the way you do things, but I gather from your dishes post that you clearly make time for your family, if not the dishes. :) Good luck, I hope he gets it soon.

    Joni  |  March 2nd, 2009 at 6:02 pm

  • BAhhhhahahaha! That is funny - and almost the exact conversation I have had for the past 6 years with my husband, except for the whole hunting thing (he golfs). He is still mad at me for calling his Sales Kick Off or User Conference a vacation - he gets to schmooze with clients, free drinks/dinner and golf…..and it is at a 4 star resort. Sound like a vacation to me! Great post!

    Jamie R Lentzner  |  March 2nd, 2009 at 9:22 pm

  • Oh I feel your pain!
    Back when I had a 9-5 job that double standard already existed. My job was important, sure, terribly important, but when either kid was sick, had a doctor’s appointment, or any other tiny thing, I was the one who had to take off work to go. It drove me up the WALL.
    Now that I work from home, forget about it. I’m in charge of everything and I have to work my schedule around the kids. So if I have a deadline or a ton of work and the kids are sick, then I give up a night of sleep.

    That said, my husband knows my tone well enough to know when he’s stepped into a dangerous zone. Your whole conversation would have been squarely in that zone! I think you should go overboard and ask for permission for everything - trips to the grocery store, mall, gas station. He’ll get the picture soon enough!

    Jessica (from It's my life...)  |  March 2nd, 2009 at 9:31 pm

  • Maybe he will read this and realize what an ass he is being?

    Robyn  |  March 3rd, 2009 at 3:25 pm

  • If my spouse said these things, he wouldn’t be my spouse. If you’re not making a profit, then ok. But if these events make your business profitable, there should be no semantics about how you go about it.

    6figuremom  |  March 3rd, 2009 at 8:41 pm

  • I feel for you because I got this all the time when I traveled. I think he feels you don’t consider his situation when you leave. He may feel he is unappreciated when he does go it alone when you are gone. He also probably misses you.

    Here’s the thing, your jobs are different. He doesn’t have flexibility and it makes things harder when you are away. Get in later, leaving earlier, this affects how he is perceived at work - especially now when the economy is bad. He has a boss. You are your own boss. He is right in the fact that you have a lot more flexibility. An event may be really really important and help bring in business, but on the other hand, he takes on the full burden of home life when you leave. If you travel that much, you need a nanny, pure and simple. And, if you can’t afford that, you probably should look at negotiating a travel schedule that you both can live with.

    Michele  |  March 4th, 2009 at 8:31 pm

  • Oh, interesting how the assumption is that I’ll be leaving our toddler with him.

    I’m actually bringing her with me - for 3 weeks of travel. I’ve arranged my mom to babysit her while I’m at a conference the first week, then we’re visiting my dad the second week so he can get some granddaughter time, and I’ve arranged babysitters during my speaking engagements the third week.

    I’ve also arranged for a dogsitter for both dogs if needed. Hubby’s “baching” it with minimal burden - other than missing us, of course. But midway through my travels, he has 7 days of business travel of his own.

    Aliza  |  March 4th, 2009 at 8:47 pm

  • Michele, but when he travels she is left alone with the household duties… what’s the difference? Should they have a nanny for HIS business trips? Or is it just assumed that she can handle everything while he can’t?

    Robyn  |  March 6th, 2009 at 3:12 pm

  • I read through your situation and just chuckled. There really is a double standard here. Typically us women take on the bigger role. When we add work or self-employment to our responsibilities, it just gets even more demanding. I can only say that men and women are not equal or the same in how we fill a role. Your self-employment situation is not viewed as a serious role by him unfortunately. This is something that needs to be taught to your husband in a soft way. On the other hand, it is a nice thing to pass by your plans with the spouse before committing to them - especially if you have that luxury. I know my husband works full time and he very gently will ask/tell me that he is scheduling some travel time - it depends on whether he has some flexibility on his travel time. I always appreciate it cause he knows how much more lands on me when he is not here. I work for myself and will call him before I schedule anything that will require his assistance. In summary, I would simply say that perhaps your husband and you can be a little more aware of how you function as a couple - just a thought. I don’t see this as your fault - I do think, lucky for us, that it is the woman that sets up this bridge to communicate with her husband. We are not made equal but we can work it out. And, the woman’s role is definately tougher.

    Michelle H.  |  March 8th, 2009 at 3:07 am

  • I am not fully self-employed, however, I work a very flexible full time job where I am out in the community alot. It is a huge pay cut to what I could earn, but I trade that for the flexibility it affords as I am able to prioritize being a parent. My partner feels like I should deal with any and every unplanned ‘crisis’ however flimsy, because, ‘my job doesn’t mind.’ yes, my director is very understanding and flexible, and he just needs the work done and deadlines met, but that does not mean that I have to take it forgranted. Yes, I do work in the inner city, but that does not mean that the people I am serving and supposed to be reaching out to do not deserve for me to give my 100% and more just because there is no one watching my back all the time, and just because they are in need - for now might I add! I am screaming right out loud with you!

    soleil  |  March 10th, 2009 at 7:00 pm

  • @Robyn

    Yes, if he travels a lot then I would expect a nanny as well. Why not? In fact, the reason we got the nanny in our situation was that I couldn’t do it all. I wasn’t traveling a lot at first after the kids were born, but I still had a demanding career.

    I guess I don’t understand why I can’t be supportive of Aliza in the fact that she is dealing with something difficult while also suggesting that there may be something to her husband’s point of view. It isn’t black and white.

    @Aliza if you are taking 3 weeks and the kids with you, even with him traveling for 1 week, I can understand your husband. If my husband did that I’d feel like he was running away from me and give some grief regardless of no kid and dog responsibility. I don’t know, it just makes me wonder what it is that you are really upset about?

    Michele  |  March 10th, 2009 at 8:43 pm

  • I am not surprised that you’ve received so many responses to this post! We’ve had similar discussions at our house. There is no question in my mind that my husband supports my business and believes in my business…and thinks it’s “important”. But whose is “more important” comes out very clearly on the days that there is a sick kid. We’ve gone around and around on the topic, and eventually he does come around, but his immediate response tends to be, “sorry L being home sick will impact your schedule” rather then, “what do we both need to do to make sure she’s taken care of and both of our work is taken care of?”

    Nicola Ries Taggart  |  March 12th, 2009 at 6:13 pm

  • @ Michele, the problem is the double standard, which you addressed in your last comment. Apparently, she doesn’t get a nanny for when he is gone, so why should he get one when she is gone? She’s taking the kid with her on her trip! I highly doubt he does the same. If they BOTH had the advantage of a nanny, then fine. But if only he does, that’s not cool.

    Robyn  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 4:01 pm

  • Stumbled upon your blog.

    This post has nothing constructive to add to your business, audience, or your relationship. You gain nothing by publicly shaming your husband.

    In fact, your husband was feeling frustrated by the lack of control he has over his job, and likely envious of you setting your own schedule. That’s clearly what he meant by different. Instead of listening to him, you attacked and emasculated him.

    You lashed out at him, and he failed to put you in your place, which means he’s given up already. If you’re already lashing out at him publicly like this, I give the marriage another year, tops.

    Rebecca  |  October 6th, 2009 at 1:56 am

  • Awesome comment, Rebecca. I really appreciate it and can see that perspective. Definitely helpful to hear a different side.

    My husband and I give our marriage another 50 years as long as we both live to be close to 100.

    But do appreciate your insights as they give us additional angles to look at as we talk through and work through our differences so the next 50 years can be more blissful than not!

    Aliza  |  October 6th, 2009 at 3:24 pm

  • This is so true! My husband is very supportive and we’ve worked out a schedule. I’m building my business on the evenings and weekends while I work full-time. We’ve agreed that on the nights my son has Tae Kwon Do he will pick the kids up and take them both, feed them dinner and put them to bed - basically those are my work nights.

    But then hell come home and ask me if I can make dinner. Do I mind taking them tonight? Or could I put them to bed? I only have a few hours a week to work on my business and it’s so frustrating when he whiddles it away a few minutes here, an hour there.

    I think he’s mostly supportive. He also thinks he’s supportive, but when he asks me to do these little things here and there it makes me crazy. And it ususally dissolved into a fight. I honestly don’t think he realizes that these little requests add up to him not seeing my business as important as other things.

    It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one!

    Dana  |  January 1st, 2010 at 9:10 pm

  • ROFLMAO. Aliza, we met at the SheBlogs conference last year. This conversation happens at my house too as I run a virtual PR firm. And when that toddler is sick, who moves schedules around and runs to the doctor…because it is EASIER…But we still lose valuable man hours–and are WILLING to do that because we love and wanted those kids–but they should be a little more regularly courteous with us that we have arranged profitable careers that let them punch a time clock but still have us bringing home the bacon! Love my husband and he does ALOT…but they do sometime give you the stinkeye–like you haven’t been working all day too!

    Kara Udziela  |  January 25th, 2012 at 2:16 am

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