Dear client. I am not a mom

Marieke Hensel Christmas phone“Are you active or just a MOM?”, emailed one of my clients.

This question made me furious.

Knowing very well what a “yes” answer would mean: less business.

On one hand I am happy that they asked me that question. I know now what he thinks, and maybe what more people think about me.

Obviously I have kids, and if you have kids you are a mom.

But I am a mom at home, not at work.
Not in my business.
It doesn’t reflect what I accomplish in my business.
It doesn’t change the business relationship that I have with you.

The other part of this that makes me angry: they would never ask my husband, or any guy if they are “just a dad”. Somehow for men its accepted to have kids and a career, for women it isn’t always accepted.

When I was a teen, my mother made me clean up & dust off my bedroom, every Friday after school. I don’t remember my brother ever had to. It fueled my desire to work, so the least I could do is pay for a cleaning service. I worked 20 hours a week when I was 16 years old, and 60 hours a week during vacations managing 3 jobs. I loved working, I took any job I could get. It was my way to get to know the world, meet new people, learn new things!

Now I work 40+ hours a week, typically. My work is social media. Social media is 24/7. I work 24/7. And I love it!

My work is about people, about relationships, about connecting, communities and awesome content. It’s about story telling.

We now have a cleaning lady (actually a guy), a nanny & babysitter, and I drop my laundry off at the fluff & fold every week. Those 8 hours of washing & folding I rather spend talking, playing games or skiing with my husband & boys. And we eat out regularly too.

Our house is messy 6 days a week, except the day that our cleaning guy comes. But its so worth it. I am able to focus on the things that are most important to me: at home its my husband and kids. And at work its my team and clients.

I can leave my house behind for work knowing that things are taken care of.

I can work at home, not worrying about the laundry or the dirty bathrooms. It will be taken care of.

I check every piece of content that my team writes. Wherever I am. 24/7.

I am the quality control.

I make sure that my clients get what they pay for. And more.

I follow up with my clients’ needs whenever they arise.

I talk to potential new clients to see if and how we are able to help them.

I make sure contracts get signed by new clients.

I know what new things are going on in our industry and refer my team to trainings, workshops and events if that would help them improve their skill set.

I share ideas with my team to improve the quality of our output.

I hire people when we grow, and talk to our team when they need guidance or want to follow a different path.

I organize brainstorms with my team to help our clients reach goals and overcome challenges.

I speak at business meetings, universities and conferences.

I create business partnerships and maintain business relationships.

I make things happen.

I grew my company with 35% in 2013 (thanks to every one of our team members), and our company has been growing each year since the recession started in 2008.

I take risks and follow through.

I am a business owner.

I am an example for my kids on building a family and building a business.

My kids don’t care much yet about my business.

I hope you, my client, don’t care about me being a mom.

  • It’s cool to read more behind the scenes like this. You do a lot of things, and you have 3 boys, and you run an agency, and I have (always) had a tremendous amount of respect for what you guys have accomplished (and actively do). Hearing things about your thoughts on something as simple as laundry is cool. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • @Matthew Thanks for that! The busyness in my life keeps me on a happy path and in a great flow. 🙂

  • Interesting article Marieke. I was sent here via another social media blog where you regularly participate in meetings.

    I do understand what you are talking about. My girlfriend was applying for a job lately and all they asked was when she would like to buy a house and if she already thought about kids etc. That shouldn’t make a difference, but unfortunately in our society it does. Therefore articles like these are great 😉