The Unspoken Question As You Start Your Home Business

The following article is primarily for you married and wanna-be WAHMs. Then again, what I’ll be sharing with you really applies to any of you (us?) that live lives of “parallel play” with our spouses. If you’re not familiar with the term, it refers to 2 individuals (ok, usually babies) who go on about their own business, blithely ignoring another individual right next to them.

So, back to you WAHMs (or “wanna-be”s): let me start with a question. Whatever your motivation for starting a home biz, or before you even get to the "nitty gritty" of deciding your niche, your product, your company, your marketing plan, etc. - have you given a thought to how your home business will impact your family life, and even more specifically, the relationship with your husband?

Ladies, as managers of our homes, we all know how easy it is to get into our own space. Hubby is away at work all day, we're home with the kids, and well, you know how it typically plays out. I know for myself, this journey called homeschooling that we started on many years ago soon began to run on "auto pilot". From time to time we made a few attempts, some more successful than others, to get dad involved, but overall they didn't last. Now please understand, I'm not putting down my husband or myself, but it just evolved into a "mom thing".  And as the relationship between the kids and I deepened while we continued to homeschool, it became an arena where dad felt less than welcome, and certainly more than a bit excluded, at times.

As I've shared elsewhere, I first ventured into the home business arena after my husband's own construction business began to show the (negative) effects from today's crazy economy. I wanted to help; I wanted to take the edge off his 100% financial responsibility for us all; I wanted to stay true to our desire to homeschool; I wanted to develop the gifts and talents I saw coming to the surface in my life. "I" wanted all that...not "we". And as my involvement in growing a business deepened, it created yet another area where he felt less than welcome, and totally out of place.

So here's the bottom line ~ you may have the best of intentions (and I have no doubt that you do!), but please go forward with "fear and trepidation" into this world of work-at-home. The promises are indeed alluring, you will find it interesting and exciting, you will no doubt discover gifts and talents you had no idea existed; yup, it's a fun ride! BUT, it's not worth the damage you may do to your marriage if you go it alone. I speak from experience.

I don’t mean to be painting a picture of my husband as a selfish and over-bearing brute, either - he is SO not that at all! But he does have feelings, and he does have a God-given role to play, as do I. I have often in the past, and definitely in the near past, trod rough-shod over those feelings, and without any consideration or regard to our roles or areas of authority. If I did that in any other relationship or situation, it would be hurtful; my husband’s no different, and certainly much closer and dearer to me.

So let me wrap this up with some encouragement. I have been blessed with a spouse who, in God's infinite wisdom, is perfect-for-me; and if you’re married I would have to say the same for you, despite how you might feel at times and despite the rough times you may experience. In my situation, although I didn't get started on this home business adventure with him, we are now busy and excitedly planning a future for it together - which really was what I had been hoping for anyway. All the desires I mentioned above as things “I” wanted have become something "we" want! Realistically, we have very different personalities, working styles, methods of organization, ways we relate to people, etc, and I know that these differences will create sources of friction in times to come. I also know that by anticipating them, we will be able to work thru them, and end up with a strong business and, more importantly, a stronger marriage.

So, if the desire and time and resources and opportunities are leading you down this road right now - go for it! But don't do it alone! Living, learning, loving, and working are all best done at home, among people who love you, accept you, want the best for you, and will work together with you! If it's going to be a home business, make sure it's as welcoming as your own home - for everyone.

Pat Fenner offers encouragement to homeschoolers at For monthly doses of encouragement, inspiration and ideas, sign up for her free newsletter “Sparks for the Flame”.

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