Has Mary Kay Targeted You Like a Mother?

Written by The Scribbler

My frustrated toddler hurled her juice cup across the room while I made another toy-recovery loop around the house.  Scientists haven’t yet figured out the basics of teleportation, but it’s only because they haven’t gone to a MOPS group to get their input.  The concept’s quite simple, really:  “Any object picked up and put away will instantaneously materialize at a different location within the house, with stronger probabilities for locations like the toilet, the fridge, and underfoot.”  Take it and run with it, boys; I’ll expect a check in 7-10 days.

After cleaning up the flourishes of minty-fresh finger paint (read: toothpaste) on the bathroom wall, I wearily caught sight of my reflection in the mirror.  I don’t know how a peach chunk had made its way into my locks, but it made for a striking contrast against my brown hair, as did the orange cheese popcorn-dust handprints on my shirt.  I stared at myself for a long time.

A printed copy of the March 08 Applause sat on the back of the toilet, the made-up women sporting white grins, freshly-cut-and-dyed hair, and flashy clothes.  I thumbed through the copy and read a bit of someone’s glowing I-story, the tears threatening to flow.  I would have eaten a yak’s head raw (AND stuffed with coconut – take that, Bear Grylls!) for the opportunity to have a conversation with someone that didn’t involve the words, “Swiper, no swiping!”  It would have done my heart good to be reassured that being a stay-at-home mom was not only worthwhile, but appreciated.

It was then I saw clearly why stay-at-home moms would be prime targets for Mary Kay recruiters.

Mary Kay is a crackling, popping Roman candle, held high by a bearer who’s ready to completely agree with every objection you have to offer.  “I completely understand – I know exactly how you feel – I have two toddlers myself!  But what I found is that you’ll gain new relationships in Mary Kay, you’ll help other women, and you’ll be recognized for it all!  So, are you ready for a change?”  Hell, after a day of repeatedly trying to explain to a 3-year old why pulling the cat’s tail can result in “skin irritation,” what stay-at-home mom wouldn’t knock over the consultant and sign the Agreement in her own blood?

It’s at this point that it’s absolutely vital that women look at all of Mary Kay’s facts, not just the ones being presented by the recruiter.  It can be difficult to do when a recruiter’s working a line like “A sharp, intelligent person like yourself can make a decision when she knows the most information about it. That time is now.” (NSD Rena Tarbet) If you blow off her emotion- packed appeals and resolve to let your left brain come out and play, though, it’s possible to maintain clear thought in the face of fogged flattery.

For example, while it’s true that you’ll gain new relationships in Mary Kay, what you aren’t told is that if you’re hot on the career path, most of those relationships will involve visualizing “GRADE AA PRIME RECRUIT” stamped on your customers’ haunches.  “Working full circle means turning every new customer into a hostess, and every great hostess into – what do you think?  A new team member!” (ESSD Lisa Anne Harmon, Mary Kay “Starting Points” CD)

What about getting to help other women?  Sure!  It can and does happen in MK.  One IBC could tell you about the elderly lady who cried tears of joy after seeing herself primped with a bit of lip gloss and blusher; another might share the story of how she did an SCC at a battered women’s shelter, sold zilch, but later realized that for those six suffering souls, it was a big deal to actually interact with someone who wasn’t swinging a fist at them.

Unfortunately, it’s recruiting that’s given top-billing by Mary Kay’s leaders.  As NSD Anita Garrett-Roe lectures in her “Golden Rule Thinking Regarding Recruiting” document, “It is NOT Golden Rule Thinking to never offer them [customers] the opportunity!”  Supposedly nothing is more fulfilling that helping others succeed, but isn’t it horribly ignorant to believe that the only way to help someone succeed in life is to recruit them into Mary Kay?

How about recognition?  With the exception of the Go-Give Award, all of the recognition in Mary Kay boils down to two things:  how much you ordered and how many people you recruited.  Do you really want to be hailed as someone who’s an ace at placing internet orders and using women’s heartfelt dreams as hot buttons?  It’s like your cat volunteering to help paint the basement:  thanks, but no thanks – it’ll just make a bigger mess that you’ll have to clean up later.

Last (but far from least), what about those two toddlers the recruiter keeps bragging about, saying how great it is to be at home with them?  Consider her contradiction, for right now she’s in a coffeehouse at 10:30 am, trying to convince you to “Use your children as a reason to do Mary Kay, not an excuse not to.”   Maybe her kids are at home with the husband, maybe they’re at daycare – who can say?  I know I can say that I’ve come across more than one training document advising new IBCs to acquire child care, and if a new IBC wishes to be successful, she’ll follow the advice of those above her.  After all, they’re NSDs and directors and she’s not, right?

A bear-hug on my left leg yanked me out of my thoughts.  My daughter looked up at me with her big brown eyes, grinned, and purred, “Mommy, you’re my best.”  My heart melted as I hugged her back.  I couldn’t imagine missing out on such simple, beautiful recognition because I was out working my “stay at home” business every place but.  You may keep your director suit, ma’am; if wearing that thing means time away from my little one, I’ll gladly take the peach juice hair treatments, the cheese-dusted hoodies, and the blue Play-Doh underneath the fingernails any day.

Working your Motherhood business takes full priority over working your Mary Kay business, friends.  Never let a recruiter – or anyone else – tell you otherwise.