Owning an insurance agency and being a mom is BRUTAL
Nothing like cutting to the chase right? But if you know anything about me, you know I’m all about keeping it real……..
Rip your heart out of your chest, beat you to a pulp, make you cry until you can’t cry anymore (but you do it anyway) BRUTAL.
It’s about guilt, time restrictions, focus, balance, finding time for you, running a successful business and about 500 other everyday battles.
It’s every emotion you can possibly experience all at the same time.
And you know what? It’s OK to feel every one of those emotions. From sadness, to joy, and everything in between, everything you’re feeling is OK. EVERYTHING. Let me share my story…..
Here’s My Story as an Insurance Mom
It ain’t pretty.
But it’s real.
And that’s what we need more of. Stories of our struggles. Our pain. It’s time to pull back the rug and sweep these bad boys out. Because when we share, we win. We communicate, we connect. We realize “Wow- she’s just like me” and “Maybe I’m not crazy after all.” (trust me you’re not 😉 We need to realize we’re all part of a hair on fire, 500 miles per hour sisterhood of craziness.
That some days you simultaneously feel like jumping for joy and crying hysterically.
Or laughing like a hyena while trying not to strangle someone.
We also need stories of our successes. However small they might be (hint- those “small” successes are actually pretty damn big when you throw kids into the mix).
So that’s what you’re going to get- my struggles, my failures, my successes. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll shake your head in agreement. But whatever you feel, know this- EVERY emotion you feel as an insurance mom is 100% OK. It’s normal.
So take a deep breath, exhale and let’s start at the beginning. And when things get tough, use this question as a barometer of what is and is not a crisis- “Did anyone die?” Helps put things in perspective for me.
It’s a Boy (or Girl!)
I’ll never forget the time I found out I was pregnant with my oldest child, my daughter Annika. The doctor’s office called me at work to tell me the blood test came back positive. And I immediately put my head on my desk and bawled my eyes out. And let me tell you, that’s only the beginning. I pretty much have wavered between extreme joy and utter sadness at any given point in time since she arrived….. 🙂
But that’s the easy part really- that baby is nicely contained for about nine months and you just go about your business getting ready for that little bundle of joy to arrive.
And then she does. And OH MY GOD, you’ve never felt so out of control in your life. Not only that but you feel like a Mack truck has run you over. AWESOME.
So you had a baby and it’s 5 minutes post-delivery? GREAT! That’s a PERFECT time to answer all those client questions about insurance
So naturally the first thing an insurance mom wants to discuss after squeezing a human being out of her body is the difference between actual cash value and replacement cost (you mean YOU didn’t? Hmmmm….I was dying to jump into a co-insurance penalty discussion 5 minutes after my kids were born 😉
The ugly truth is if you’re a single person shop or have limited backup, you may just HAVE to talk insurance shortly after you have your baby. It sucks, but there it is. Sometimes in life we just have to put on our big girl pants and get it done. We don’t have to like it. But we have to do it. My advice? Prepare your clients in advance that you are expecting and set up expectations as to communication and response timelines. I find that when clients get the most upset is when we don’t communicate expectations. So tell your clients what is going on. If they’re human, they’ll understand. And if they don’t…. well they probably weren’t your ideal client to begin with. You gotta take care of YOU and that baby.
True story: My second child Ethan was born on a Friday. I was at the office the following Tuesday. Hair done,
makeup on, dress clothes on. I was summoned by my dad for a big item he needed my help with. Was I thrilled? No. But I did it. Did anyone die as a result? Nope.
Here’s your takeaway: When you’re trying to take care of that baby and run your agency, here’s what you really need to do. Lower your expectations (seriously, or otherwise you’ll go batshit crazy). Be flexible. Build in some extra time for the inevitable spitup that will occur 10 minutes before you have to leave for the office. Don’t plan down to the millisecond. Roll with the moment. Ask for as much help as you need and LET people help you. Do the best you can. Realize it will take a while to get adjusted to a new way of life, both at home and at work (and this adjustment never ends- I still do it everyday). Cut yourself some slack. Surround yourself with positive influences and cut out those that are not good for you.
And LAUGH, dammit laugh. You’ll find that both a good cry and laugh are very therapeutic. So do both often, although I hope the laughter is more frequent.
Going Back to Work For Good
So eventually 6 weeks came and it was time to head back to work. And that’s when GUILT decided to pay me a visit. Guilt because my cute baby was going to leave my arms and wind up in someone else’s.
True story: I’ll never forget dropping my oldest at the daycare at 6 weeks. I got up early, got all her bottles prepared, packed her bag and off we went. I handed her over to the nursery worker, hopped in my car, and burst into tears. I then drove to the office, and totally kicked ass that day, because I needed to. For her and me. That’s what an insurance mom does.
Guilt will bring you to your knees if you let it.
My advice here? Let yourself feel it. Don’t deny it, don’t put it off. You’re human. I don’t think you can ever heal unless you let yourself feel your emotions. So cry. Then wipe your tears and move forward.
And always ask yourself “Did anyone die?” If the answer is No, then I think you’re doing pretty good.
Here’s your takeaway: Embrace the guilt. Feel every excruciating moment. Cry. Scream. Beat the walls. But for God’s sake, don’t live there. Because your motherhood is so much more than that one moment. Do not make guilt your permanent address. I know sometimes it totally sucks. I get it. I live it everyday. I fail at parenthood every day. When I snap at my kids for interrupting while I’m trying to create content at home. When I let the TV babysit while I’m reviewing quotes in the other room (and anyone that says they’ve never done this, *throat punch*. I know you’re lying. So quit it.)
The Kids Grow Up and the Lessons Really Start Coming
It’s fascinating to me how quickly my babies have gone from squishy, helpless individuals to real people. And man, is it fast (as I write this my daughter is 10 and son is almost 6).
And have I learned a lot. And I’m still learning. Here’s some more lessons.
You’ll never have enough of it. End of story. Yes, you can complain. You can whine. But where does that really get you? Nowhere-ville…….
You’ll quickly learn that prioritizing your day is the only way you’re ever going to feel any semblance of calm. What are the most important things you have to get done at both work and home? Make a list. And be reasonable. Putting down 20 things that you can’t possibly get done will only frustrate you. Then do those. Wake up the next day and repeat.
And if I have work to do over the weekend? Then I haul my butt out of bed at 5:30 and do it. It allows me to work in quiet before the kids wake up. And when they do, I quit and wake up the next day and do it all over again.
And there will be times when your plan totally falls apart. So I regroup. Here’s the thing ladies- when you have kids, you give up control. It’s scary as hell, but it’s a casualty of the process. Get over it.
As Joey from Friends always said, “Forget about it.”
It doesn’t exist. You’ll never have it. So quit trying.
All you’ll have is YOUR version of balance. Here’s mine.
- Sitting beside the bathtub writing a blog post while your son is playing in the bathtub.
- Sitting at the dining room table working on quotes while my daughter sits at the same table doing her homework (side note- it’s pretty funny when you’re trying to help her and you’re explaining about the difference between a $100 and $500 deductible when all she wanted was help with a division problem. Whoops!)
- Playing Hi-Ho-Cherry-O with my kids and simultaneously creating an awesome referral program in my head.
Here’s your takeaway for both of the above: You will never have enough time nor will you ever achieve some kind of karmic balance. Make peace with it. Accept it. Get up early. Go to bed late. Do what you need to do to make it work for you. Choose your battles- what’s important gets done. What’s not important can wait. Or not get done. Be brutal with your schedule. And another way to keep it in perspective? When you die, your inbox will still be full. Hmmmm……
Other People’s Expectations
So, here’s the thing. Other people’s expectations are NOT yours. So openly communicate what you can and can’t do with others so you’re both on the same page. As my kids get older, their activities are creeping into my work hours, which brings a whole other level of anxiety, I might add. I have told many a customer that I reserve my evenings and weekends for my kids. There are times I make exceptions (although rare), but for the most part, that’s how it works.
You either accept it or you don’t.
Here’s your takeaway: At the end of the day we all need to draw lines in the sand as to what is or is not acceptable to us. But we also have a responsibility to communicate those lines to others to eliminate the chance for confusion. And you know what? It’s your life. You get to make the rules. Those that don’t like them can get off the bus. Rather freeing isn’t it?
As an insurance mom……..
You will struggle.
You will cry.
You will fail.
But you’ll learn. And you’ll win. And you’ll make it work. For you. For your family. And for your agency. I promise.
And if you’re still not 100% convinced, here’s another true story for you:
I was talking with my 10 year old daughter recently and I asked her “Annika, what do you want to do when you grow up?” She thought for a minute and replied “I want to do what you do Mommy.” I was floored. I asked her, “Why?” She replied, “Because you seem to enjoy what you do. And work so hard at being the best you can be. That makes me proud.”
Hot damn, maybe I AM doing something right.
And you know what? I bet you are too 😉