Allow me to set the stage. My name is Daniel, and I’m a workaholic.
Ever since I started my own business, I’ve been burning the candle at all 4 ends… seriously I like some crazy candles.
Anyway, having just recently started this road of the entrepreneur, I still have not learned how to strike that #OhSoDelicateBalance of family time, me time, eat time, sleep time, intimacy with my wife time, house chores time, playing with the kids time and work time.
Essentially, I’ve been doing primarily just work time. And pretty much skipping all of the others.
Ok, perhaps that’s not entirely fair. My wife and I are starting a side business together which is effectively turning our home into a vacation rental property which has taken an inordinate number of hours of time as well, but when I’ve not been prepping the house and all that entails, I’ve been working my business.
So the other day, one of my clients got back to me with a not so impressed retort of the current user interface of one of the websites I’ve been designing for him. I don’t like my clients not liking my work, so I took his very constructive criticism and dove head first into a rebuild.
Unfortunately, his dissatisfaction came on the back end of a very long 10 hour push implementing a build strategy that he ultimately did not like.
So the 15 hour day that followed was perhaps a bit of a bigger ask of my wife than it would have otherwise been. (If you don’t already know, we have 4 children all under 6… she is a SAHM and I am a WFHD – work from home dad – so when I take even regular business hours, that means my wife is looking after 4 little ones ALL BY HERSELF!)
As I was saying, I worked for about 25 hours in the space of 48; meanwhile, my wife took care of all 4 children – two were sick with a tummy bug, painted the patches on the walls that got missed previously, removed the remaining clothing from the children’s rooms and organized them into 6 piles: #keepintheshed, #keepintherv, #taketothebeach, #taketotheUK, #donate, and #throwaway, cleaned out the kitchen of all items not staying in the holiday rental, cleaned all the kitchen surfaces, washed the clothes, folded the clothes, made the beds,… this list truly goes on and on and on. If you’d like to know more about what my wife does any given day, I run a hashtag campaign on Instagram called #NowShes, you should check it out.
So… not only has she been neglected, she has been 100% alone in preparing the home for our departure and short-term renters entrance AND she’s had 4 little ones to keep happy, healthy and safe… all on her own.
Needless to say, she was none too impressed when I was reluctant to help with a few of the remaining tasks on our #getthehouseready list.
She, my wife Josie that is, is not one to hold her tongue when she is being treated unfairly. It is perhaps one of the MOST valued attributes that I hold dear about her but BOY does it suck when it is unleashed toward me!
Josie let me know she was not content with the current status quo, to which I simply replied…, “But I’ve got clients!”
Now, to be fair, perhaps I said that I little defiantly (I mean, I DO have clients that DO expect me to deliver my services quickly and professionally, #amiright?)
Suffice it to say that that one little phrase meant far more to her than it did to me.
Little did I know that “But I’ve got clients” means:
- You don’t matter as much as my clients
- I’d rather spend time working than be with you
- My business is more important than your happiness
- The children don’t need their daddy
- The house can take care of itself
- It doesn’t matter if the family eats together or not
- The evacuation of our house in 7 days can be done with or without me
- I don’t value what you do
- You are strong enough to carry this burden for the both of us
- I’m just going to sit here and look busy, ignoring you and the kids, because #ivegotclients
#notetoself – NEVER, under ANY circumstances, in defense of not doing your fair share in what is ultimately the MOST important aspect of your life, tell your partner… But I’ve got clients.
It probably won’t go down well, and, ultimately, it is a rather hurtful little sentence, no matter how benign you might mean it to be.
Any other phrases you might help me avoid saying in the future? Please share them in the comments, so I don’t have to learn those the hard way too!