IMG_1356Jason and I have had our ups and downs. It’s not easy to run a business (or two!) together, raise a family, live with in-laws (who are incredibly awesome BTW!) all the while maintaining a healthy, yet not-so-private (what’s up Facebook!), relationship. But we manage, because we love each other, and our family, with everything we’ve got!

There are a few things that have helped us along the way. These aren’t rules exactly. Everyone who knows me knows that I HATE RULES. These are just a lovely little set of reminders, I need, when working very closely with my husband. We all have to ‘right the sail’ from time to time when the waters get choppy  – And in small business they most assuredly will.

  1. Find time to be alone. No, not lunch 20 feet from your desks, but something like a weekend in Atlantic City, complete with an amazing meal, a couple hands of poker and an earlier than usual bedtime… wink wink.
  2. Don’t expect to always play husband/wife roles by society’s standards. If the laundry isn’t done and your wife is in a meeting… DO IT! Don’t worry, she’ll run the dryer again to shake out the wrinkles if you forget to take it out.
  3. Admit when you’re wrong. No explanation necessary for this. Common sense on the subject seems to kick in around 40. Well, for me it did anyway.
  4. Go to bed mad. Pretending to let something go simply because someone said you should in an advice column from 1952 won’t help anyone. Sleep on it. Wake refreshed and then have it out over breakfast. At this point, ignore reminder #5.
  5. Speaking of reminder #5… Seriously, try not to talk about work at meals. Allow these brief moments of Zen to be a temporary respite in your day. Although, If something amazingly awesome (and business related) happens, by all means, talk away!
  6. Respect each other’s strengths. This goes for business as well as parenting. If someone is better at math, then let him or her help with the math homework. There’s more shame in getting a big red X from a third grade teacher than just admitting you didn’t get it in the first place. Trust me… I know.
  7. Let em’ vent. I go nuts from time to time. If an employee or customer insults my husband – I lose it – LOSE IT. Just because my husband can take it on the chin doesn’t mean I can or ever will for that matter. CAVEAT: Should anyone insult me though, I expect him to go nuts, immediately. Just sayin’.
  8. Have another outlet besides the biz. Play in a league, learn to make pottery, join community theatre, do charity work. Find a place that makes you feel good that doesn’t involve a paycheck.
  9. Maintain friendships outside of your family and employees. There’s nothing better than spending time hanging out with people who have absolutely no idea what the hell you do all day.
  10. Care or leave. I say this in all seriousness. I once thought I didn’t care anymore. I thought I could leave. When the idea became an option I quickly realized what was most important to me.

I stay because I want to. I do what I do because I want to. Both of us could work for someone else, do something else, and yes, maybe it would be less stressful but also less satisfying. Know thyself. Know your loved one. Then hunker down and do what’s best for your sanity and family – IN THAT ORDER. Without one the other will suffer and yes, even I am willing to start following a couple of rules for my family’s sake.