For years, I struggled to find work and family balance. I was running three businesses which drained the life out of me somedays, that spending time with my family fell to the wayside.
I was more about people pleasing, getting that big client, sacrificing my soul, and saying yes to every opportunity to get ahead that I didn’t realize that the very people who were suffering were my family. Funny, because don’t we put ourselves through all this for OUR FAMILY? To support them?
I missed out on some very important milestones because I was too consumed with exceeding expectations and client workloads that I paid the price. I almost lost my family in the process. For some of you reading this post, maybe you already did for the price of success.
I’ll never forget back in 2013 when I was knee deep in work one day and my son Caleb who was five asked if I could go to lunch with them. It was a celebratory moment because my husband Sean was taking the kiddos to Peter Piper Pizza. But it wasn’t just any visit, it was my daughter Ellie’s FIRST visit. She was two years old…an adorable age. I can only imagine the smile on her face. But I couldn’t. Too much to do. Too many calls to make to take an hour and a half out of my day and commemorate this experience. They left without me when I told them I couldn’t possibly.
Later that night, as I was tucking in my son, he said these words to me, “Mama, you weren’t there today. We weren’t a family today.”
Absolutely CRUSHED. I cried hard and will never forget those words where I let my family down for a client who ended up firing us after the event anyway. What a blow.
Fast forward to today.
I’ve since let go of all three of my businesses to focus on just the one that fills me, Tisha Marie Enterprises, and only take on the projects I want to do for the people I want to serve. I’m choosing to be a little selfish and I’m learning to say no. And that is absolutey okay.
The other week, my girlfriend Charissa Dantas of Be Fearless on a Budget, a fellow boss babe and one of my Gals’ Inspiration Hub members was appearing on TV. She was elated! And so was I. Her hard work was really paying off and I was extremely proud of her. The station had asked her back for a second time and requested she bring models. Having helped build her business with ideas and strategies, I modeled for her the first time on air. Naturally, she sent me a message that read, “Tisha, I NEED YOU! Please, please say yes to modeling for me again on TV Saturday. You have to!”
I paused because there was this dilemma. A girlfriend in need. Another opportunity to gain visibility and be seen. A chance to keep putting my face out there. Something I’m trying my damndest to do for my personal brand.
But then I also learned that the same day, Caleb had a full-day weekend soccer tournament starting at that exact same time. And being at that soccer game to love, support and cheer him on from the sidelines was exactly where I needed to be. Not glammed up in high heels strutting my stuff on TV, but right there. On the soccer fields. In my comfy Converse screaming his name at the top of my lungs and jumping up and down like a crazy obsessed fan. I am that mama. #13 rocks! Just watch. World Cup, here we come.
I turned Charissa down. Told her no and you know what? Life went on. She understood completely and found herself some new models to experience the TV limelight. And she did absolutely fine…with me there in spirit. Even booked herself some new clients off the segment.
Later that same weekend, when we were back home from a full weekend of soccer, Caleb’s friend Sam came over for a playdate. Having the best time hanging out, Caleb asked if he could spend the night. I said yes and Sam called his mom to tell her. She agreed and it was set. I broke out an extra toothbrush and prepared to have him as our guest.
An hour later, his mom called and told me, “Tisha, it’s absolutely okay that Sam spends the night, but I wanted to share that he and his dad had plans tomorrow to go mountain biking. Can you ask Sam if he wants to stay or come home so he can still go tomorrow? Either way, no problem.”
I did and Sam sat there in Caleb’s room silent. He told me to give him five minutes to figure out what he wanted to do. He was faced with the same dilemma and had to make a choice.
Five minutes later, he came to me and asked if he could use my phone to call his mom. When she picked up, he said, “Mom, can you come pick me up in a half hour? I’d like to go on that bike ride with Dad tomorrow.”
He absolutely made the right choice. He’s 10 years old.
His mom said yes, she’d be there and let him play for a little while longer.
When she came, I told her how darn proud I was of Sam. She didn’t see it at first, then understood my reasoning and was equally proud. He had a difficult choice to make. Stay here and play games all night with Caleb at the fun house, or go home and keep the commitment he made to his Dad. He chose FAMILY first. There would always be playdates and sleepovers, but there may never be another time when he gets to do THIS with just his Dad making those wonderful memories.
One smart kiddo, and a good influence on my son who considered his Dad’s feelings had he canceled and said, “another time.” Caleb is so lucky to call Sam his BFF. Love that kid like my own.
There have been so many days we’ve said to family, friends and loved ones, “another time.” But just as I’ve witnessed over the years, sometimes “another time” never does come. Life happens. People leave this world unexpectedly. Families drift apart because of way too much going on.
I’ve learned a lot over the years and truly do mean it when I say I’m living a more “balanced” life enjoying not only my work, projects and clients, but my family every chance I get wherever and whatever that looks like.
Balance is something we are all desperately trying to find. It’s not a myth. It’s a change YOU have to be willing to make. A lifestyle choice. Will you tell your family “another time” or put on your comfy Converse and go?
Tisha Marie Pelletier is the President & CEO of Tisha Marie Enterprises which only takes on projects and clients that fill her soul. Her new book What Are the Odds? A mom shares her good, bad and what the f*ck moments in life and business debuts in February and is full of stories, like this one, coupled with invaluable life lessons. Learn more about Tisha at tishamarieenterprises.com to connect over a virtual latte.