A Husband’s Struggle With His Wife’s Mary Kay “Career”

A note submitted by a Mary Kay husband:

I am the husband of a gorgeous, loving, capable, intelligent lady who is trying to gain this same exclusivity by emulating these Icons who parade their illusion of success and Mary Kay inner circle Utopia.

Unfortunately, my comments to “go slow – be careful” fall on deaf ears. Ears that have been closed by the subtle mantras of a sales director who is mining my wife’s need for glamour and recognition. (“no, she is our friend ! she wouldn’t do anything to lead me astray”)

I am a business admin. graduate, and I have studied management, marketing and sales. My research concludes that much of the data stated to the prospect is not true, but glitter with a hook in it (a business marketing principle in and of itself).

When this all started for us (without a prior family discussion that we and our budget were going on a MK ride), I heard how this opportunity would include less-than-full-time hours, working a business in spare times so not to disturb the family life, and dreams quick directorship, substantial income from that 50% markup, and paid cars and vacations. Nothing said about the obvious: A multi million dollar company that pays no health coverage, 401K, attainable retirement pension, or tax withholding.

The Director promised that she could go at her own pace, no stress involved (due to medical condition, stress induced physical problems forced her to resign from a former nursing career that she loved dearly.) So why then, do national sales directors that she barely knows call her at the end of qualification periods to “encourage’ her to redouble her efforts to get the needed number of recruits? Do they think that doesn’t result in stress when there are three days left and 6 recruits to sign? C’mon!

4 years after the “fast start”, there is an almost constant focus on recruiting prospects at every function, event or dinner out we have together. I don’t mind some of this, but there should be times when we both turn off our capitalistic instincts and just enjoy each other’s company with full attention to our marriage. There are also director phone call interruptions when we want to go to dinner (“this will just take a minute… €“it must be important if she’s calling this late… yeah right… “Are you bringing a guest to unit meeting?”) . Luckily, my missus does move product in sales, but there are still boxes of stuff that are dusty on the display shelf.

It’s the Time, too. Tuesday night unit meetings involve makeup and uniform fitting for 1/2 hour, then husband and kids left looking at each other in an empty kitchen, and typically 5 hours of mother/wife’s absence, all done without selling one bottle/tube of cream. Excluding paperwork, it is the largest block of time spend in the MK model all week – €“with zero profit for time spent.

The home office is full of ribbons, self-motivational mantra notes and a substantially equipped desk, display and support stuff (all subsidized by family funds because the net annual profit has never exceeded $2500/yr). But, Doggone it, we are “excited” to be “on track” for the next cheap trinket and plastic applause from our team at the next “can’t miss” event.

As a husband handcuffed to this, I feel cheated out of my wife’s time and attention. I am no beer drinking, self centered jerk… €”I enjoy my wife’s company, but I miss it very much. Mary Kay Ash should be ashamed of herself (Richard Rogers, too) for suggesting that my interest in keeping family balance is scoffed at as being “controlling” or being “negative”. She can spend ions in Purgatory for the wedges that her company places in otherwise functional families, all in the pursuit of individual recognition (given before it is earned). Oh, there I go again… said something negative and/or precautionary, so the statement must be squelched and dismissed as untrue. All of this plastic positive excitement is indoctrination, and it leaves the rest of the family at the bus stop. What about the “We” story?

I don’t know where this’ll take our family, but my prayers are that she will begin to “see” the truth. Don’t want her to quit, but do want her to figure it out. Hopefully in time, it will move us (husband/kids) into second place alongside the “real” God.

Thanks for a place to vent my frustrations.

9 Comments

  1. raisinberry

    Love that…what about the “We Story”.

    I found out years later how much my kids felt abandoned. They didn’t want to “ick on my Wow”, what with all the car posters and goal posters all over the house. They didn’t want to tell me how embarrassed they were at every attempt to warm book the waitress. They didn’t want to complain about house keeping for the weekly “trainings” at my home, and having to be quiet during evenings spent trying to book, interview, and sell. I realize now that I subtly sent the message that mary kay was more important than all of them. Ah, but it’s short term sacrifice for long term gain…right?

  2. BestDecision

    You’re not alone. My Director would call at 10:30 at night. Before I held my first class, she was already “encouraging” me to recruit people. When I did become a Director, I swore I wouldn’t treat my unit that way, and I didn’t. However, the prep for meetings, workshops, and even Seminar became costly in time and money.

    Ask her to set a goal with you to use her 40% profit to buy something on July 1. I bet she can’t or won’t because it’s “all in” for June finishes. Bargain with her that it’ll be a family win or something you as a couple have been wanting. When she doesn’t make it, tell her how disappointed you are.

    Unfortunately, she has to wake up and see what she’s missing and the costs of her business.

  3. Erska

    “…then husband and kids left looking at each other in an empty kitchen…”

    So then, um, I dunno … be a parent? Make lunch/supper? You know, the things the “missus” is usually doing?

    1. OnelessSD

      Erska- I don’t think that was meant as a sexist comment. When I was in MK.. I was doing the exact same thing as his wife… I was at home with our kids… and MK was supposed to be “on the side”.. but as I was building towards directorship and then being a director- what I was doing for my family slipped – drastically. My husband worked long hours every day for us as a family… and then to have to do the kid swap, then manage to throw together dinner, help finish homework- then get them to bed at their bedtime…. it was like he was working 2 jobs on those Tuesday nights. It wasn’t fair to him… and I realize that now. Because I couldn’t get organized enough to have something at least started… or even planned left overs in the fridge- I was neglecting my family. I’m sure this guy was being the parent.. he was making sure his kids were taken care of… but a little pre-planning on his wife’s part would have been helpful and appreciated. Instead he felt dumped on- AFTER putting in a full day of actual work. I can only speak from my own experience…. but I don’t think your comment was being totally fair to him… as I did the same thing to my husband- and it wasn’t fair on my part either.

    2. TRACY

      I try to think the best of people. Maybe they have an agreement in their household regarding who does dinner versus who does landscaping, or something of the sort. I think it’s less about the fact that she didn’t make dinner, and more about the fact that time is being taken away from the family to do a nonsense activity like MK.

      1. OnelessSD

        Absolutely Tracy… it definitely is more about her time being taken away from the family. I know this first hand- my husband lived thru my crazy MK years. Thankful he was patient with me and helped me out of the pink sink hole called Mary Kay.

    1. reader

      No doubt the MLMing stressed the family, but I still wouldn’t let him off the hook for his strangling a 3-year-old and 4-year-old and dumping their bodies down an oil well. That’s why I wouldn’t place all the blame on the business instead.

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