How Putting Family First Lead me to PropertyGuys.com
I can think of a very memorable day back in the Winter of 2016 after I rushed my son to daycare in the morning on my way to work. There were weather alerts on all of the radio stations, snowdrifts spread out like small mountains across the road and snowflakes the size of an adult hand pouring down from the gray sky. Yet there I was. Rushing the start of my 45-minute commute, 1-year-old baby bundled up in the backseat and white-knuckled hands gripping the steering wheel.
I have to get to work. I thought to myself.
I had just returned from maternity leave and didn’t want to already be making excuses as to why I couldn’t show up. I pulled out of our driveway and was not the least bit shocked by the lack of other cars on the road. I pulled into the parking lot of the daycare center down the street.
I have to get to work.
My son’s daycare teacher greeted us as we opened the door and I was immediately caught by the absence of anything else in the room. No sound, no other teachers, no other children. Aside from this one single care provider that showed up just in case anybody else did….all others were presumably still tucked in and safe at home. My eyes started to well up with tears as I kissed my son goodbye and made my way back to my vehicle. The windshield was already heavy with snow and my shoulders were already heavy with regret.
“I have to get to work.” I said this a few more times out loud trying to convince myself that whatever I had waiting for me at my desk was surely worth the risk I was taking.
This small window of time in my life proved to be one of the biggest driving forces for me to make a change. And that change started immediately. I headed back into the daycare, bundled my son back up, and made the short trek back home with the full understanding that I would never ‘try’ to get to work again. If I had to try to get to a job despite everything in my heart and mind pulling me back in the direction of home then I didn’t want to try at all.
I’ve been the franchise owner of PropertyGuys.com Kawartha Lakes since September of 2018. I’ve come a long way from the white-knuckled new mom feeling the push-pull between work and home. My family and my children have always come first however, in my business–I’m permitted to make that loud and clear without apology, guilt or asking for permission. If the weather is bad–I cancel. If my children have something going on – I don’t book appointments. If someone in my family is sick – we switch to virtual meetings or phone appointments. I build my business around the perimeter of my family, not my family around the edges of my business.
When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, life as we knew it completely changed. We had a kindergartner and a 3-year-old home full-time. Was it easy? No. Did we have the luxury of not having to make grueling decisions about our jobs, childcare, and financial situation in order to make this ‘new normal’ work? Yes. We have opted to continue virtually schooling our son, caring for our young daughter at home, and have been able to conduct the large majority of business-related tasks from the comfort of a home office (a.k.a. an ever-changing spot in my home dependent upon the location of my children).
I have lead information appointments over the phone with my kids at play nearby.
I have installed For Sale and SOLD signs at properties while my children watch from the backseat waiting for us to head for ice cream after. I have been able to be fully hands-on with my son’s virtual schooling journey during the day, while I respond to emails and build listings after he has gone to bed.
Most importantly, my thoughts on the good days and, more importantly, on the challenging days have shifted from, “I have to get to work” to…. I want to get to work!
By Kaitlyn Smith
Kawartha Lakes, ON