Many of you have asked how I started. And my answer has always been unclear, even to me. But as we head into another week of pandemic parenting I thought I’d take you through the story of one of my more defining moments in the land of entrepreneurship.
Many of you have asked how I started. I’ve never really been sure how to answer that question, other than, “at the beginning.” I’m not sure “the beginning” was ever a set date, but I thought I’d share one of the more defining moments in my “start”. The funny thing is, this story is just as relevant today, mid-pandemic as it was back then.
Roll back to 2013. I was working as a funeral director at a very busy funeral home just outside the GTA. After nearly a year of struggling with infertility, Jeff and I decided that perhaps, a child of our own was not going to be in the picture. We made the decision to stop going to the fertility treatment centre, and began considering buying our own funeral home. And of course, once we were sure we would never have a child, we got pregnant.
After already suffering the loss of one pregnancy it was important for me to share with the General Manager of the funeral home that I was now, pregnant.
The manager- who we’ll call Joe for the purposes of confidentiality- congratulated me, and seemed excited.
Jeff and I cautiously proceeded through the next few months until we were ready to announce our pregnancy to our family. The timing was perfect. We had arranged to make the announcement at Easter Dinner with our family and we couldn’t have been more excited.
The day of our announcement finally came and I remember having breakfast with Jeff and excitedly playing out how our big announcement would unfold. Somewhere between bites of egg my cell phone rang.
“Hi Kelly, it’s Joe. I know it’s Easter but there’s been a death and it’s your turn to take shift. I need you to come in and make funeral arrangements with the family”
“But Joe, today is the day I’m supposed to be announcing our pregnancy to our family”.
“Well, I guess you can choose to not deal with the family and the remains of the deceased, it’s your license that’ll be in jeopardy”
“Can we not ask someone else to come in and do it”?
“It’s your turn Kelly, it’s Easter, I’m not calling any of the other directors and neither are you”.
I missed my own pregnancy announcement that day. Jeff told the news to his family without me there. The biggest announcement of my life and I missed it because someone else decided how I was going to spend my time. And in that experience, I knew that once I was on maternity leave I was never going to be returning back to a job where someone else employed me. I’d never return to an environment where I traded time for money, where someone else stole my moments for their own profit, and where my job would be replaced faster than I could pack up my desk. There would never again be a moment where I was forced to put someone else’s family in front of my own.
So, I guess that’s how I began. I began my self-employment journey when my Millan-man was 11 months old and I haven’t turned back.
Has it been easy? No. Has it been worth it? Absolutely.
It saddens my on a level I struggle to articulate that someone somewhere genuinely believes that parents are capable of homeschooling and working full time – at the same time. However, the reality is that at the end of the pandemic, those “jobs” will still exist, and your kids, they will never be the same age they are today, and you will never have this moment or these opportunities with them again. These kids will have little to no awareness of what drop-in-the-bucket-contribution it was that was made when you skipped afternoon walks and bedtime snuggles to complete some report or 30 minute zoom presentation to make someone else look good. What these kids will remember though, is how they were made to feel during the pandemic.
I made a choice to be a mom long before the pandemic, and part of my job as a mom, I feel, is to ensure that my children (I am speaking in terms of all children involved as a result of our blended family) come to the other side of the COVID 19 Pandemic knowing that they are safe, loved, and a priority. What I do not want the outcome to be is getting to the end of the pandemic and having my children say I chose work over them; be it volunteer or paid. Work will always be there. My kids will grow and remember their experiences, and I don’t get to re-do this time with them.
I have still transacted on MANY investment opportunities this year. I am still pushing building, construction, and development. I am continuing to grow my business at a rate I never believed I would achieve. But I am always leading from a place where I am acknowledging this tiny saying that my mentor, Mandy Branham used to chant at me so many years ago. And that is “Every time you say “yes” to something, you are saying “no” to something else”.
So as we go into another week of remote learning in Ontario, stay mindful of the things that bring you joy, and matter that matter most. For me, very early on in the pandemic I adopted the Michael Sarracini mantra “Heath, wealth, relationships, repeat”.
With all of that in mind, in this time and place, I come from a place of gratitude that unlike so many others, I chose my work. As far as building and development are concerned, Lego towers are my ultimate priority – and I can assure you that the permitting process is much more lenient.