Lie of Making Money While at Home With Your Children

Written by SuzyQ

The truth is that can’t stay at home with your children and make a living at Mary Kay. It takes lots and lots of time away, no matter what they tell you when they’re trying to recruit you.

You cannot have it all.

One of the many myths of a Mary Kay business is that women can quit their horrible JOBs (often referred to as Journey Of the Broke) and stay home to raise their children and have an executive income while doing so. This is powerful motivation to hand over the $100 and get started. The reality, of course, is very different.

The dream is to have a home based business, be home with the kids when they are home, and schedule business activities when they are gone. It sounds so easy! So workable! So flexible!

If we assume the children are in school, there may be at least 6 hours on average per day to “work”  the business. According to the company propaganda, a skin care class takes about 2 hours from start to finish, so that means a mom could hold 3 skin care classes one day a week! This is so do-able!

And the flexibility is just what she wants. The money will flow in, the house will be clean, lovingly prepared nutritious meals will be served on time at the table, the stress of working outside the home will be gone, and best of all, she will BE THERE for her children. She is told that her children will learn a valuable life lesson by watching her set and meet goals, and that Mary Kay children are the best. Raising children around the positive upbeat women who have become her friends is one of the greatest gifts she can give to her children.

The reality is that women do not attend classes/parties at night or on weekends, let alone during the day. The 2 hour class time frame does not take into account prep time (cleaning mirrors, assembling supplies, hostess gifts). There will be a lot of phone time needed to book classes and facials and interviews, and those calls will more than likely have to be made when the children are home in the evening. She will be taught to teach her children to give her some space “When Mommy is working.” To use “inside voices” when Mommy is on the phone. Add to that the time spent on social media trying to promote the products and portray an image of success. And the time spent trolling for new skin in Target or at Starbucks.

She is told to prioritize her life, and make some short term sacrifices for long term gains. The sacrifices include missing her children’s activities. She is told that they won’t remember her absence at the conference title game, but they will remember the car keys she presents on their 16th birthday, from her Mary Kay money.

She is told that children are resilient, and she must always ALWAYS remember that her children are her reason, NOT her excuse. And, if her child’s activities do not interfere with a meeting or an event, then by all means, pack up the kids, along with a few Look Books and samples, and “work” the other moms in the stands. How much easier could this be?

She is told that while Mary Kay loved children, they are not to be present at any Mary Kay event. Breast feeding is best for babies, but Seminar and the 4 or 5 days away might be just the ticket for weaning! And she is told that it is a good thing for her to be gone for a few days. This is a great time for some awesome father-child bonding.

The reality of this stay at home executive income mom is not what was implied. If she wants to make any money at all, she is gone in the evenings for meetings, classes and events. She is on the phone for reorders, conference calls, booking attempts, coaching and director/team member calls. She has to arrange child care, transportation and schedules.

Her income “potential” was a hot button tapped by director, so she came in with a “full store” so she would be at “profit level” immediately. If she can book an appointment, she leaves angry or screaming children in the wake. Her husband (if she has one) wonders when the money will roll in as the products practically sell themselves and fly off the shelves. She learns that child care providers do not get excited about being paid in Mary Kay products.

Our flexible schedule work at home executive income business owner mom finds herself at her wit’s end sooner rather than later. Her quality time with her children is compromised more than she had imagined. When she worked at her “soul sucking” JOB, she was done with work at the end of the day. When she started her Mary Kay business, she soon discovered it was 24/7/365. She is home, but she is depressed.

It is likely that her income has not been replaced, but her debt load has increased, she screams at her children, cries on the way to classes and meetings, substitutes phone calls for hugs, Sara Lee for homemade cookies, and notes left on pillows or in lunch sacks instead of cheering from the stands. She may no longer confide in her husband and her friends may avoid her because they have already “helped” her all they can.

When she expresses her concerns, she may be told that she is not working hard enough, not working with quality women, and not giving Mary Kay a “chance.” When she does not attend an event because she has family plans or a church commitment, she may be told “she doesn’t get it.” She keeps her fears and doubts to herself to herself until she is confronted by a child saying “You love Mary Kay more than you do me.”


  1. Not a Bot

    The bait and switch. They are told one thing to lure them in, then realize that things are the opposite of how they have been told. Sad thing is, if 99% of people lose money in MK, then moms are losing irreplaceable time with their kids and losing money. She is being cheated out of time with her kids because she believes these sacrifices will pay off. Also, kids remember if a parents was there for them. I have to roll my eyes at the JOB (journey of broke) reference. I was in Amway briefly and heard that. I was also suspicious when they flashed pictures of big houses, cars, etc. in front of us as if that is something everybody could attain. A journey where 99% of people lose money is a journey of broke, not a real job. If a mother wants extra money, she would be better picking up a lunch shift at a nearby restaurant while the kids are in school.

  2. Samantha

    This is super sad. Imagine how many lives these women have ruined with their lies.

    Tracy, I would love to write up a piece for you about my experience as a Muslim woman being in an MLM. Muslim women who work use their own money, meaning that their husband must pay for all of their necessities and the necessities of the children and they can use their money as they choose. So they aren’t taking from the household money, they aren’t using credit cards because interest is forbidden in Islam, and their husbands have no say in how they spend their money, so it makes getting off of the hamster wheel even harder.

    1. TRACY

      That’s great. We accept submissions. We don’t guarantee publication because sometimes the articles aren’t a right fit for the front page. But if that’s the case, we can publish on the discussion board so people can still see it and discuss. You can send your submission to me at

    2. morningstar

      Oppression on top of oppression, double helping here. Yes I would like to know how women are oppressed in Islam and MK at the same time. The man must let the women practice MK, so ya he is involved.

      —-Signed independent woman and religious

  3. Cat Ballou

    I signed up as a consultant last August, lured in by the consultant discount on personal use products. I did exactly one Facebook party (my sweet cousin was trying to help me get started) and vowed to never do another. Fortunately, that was pretty easy as the ladies who had booked parties off my cousin’s party ghosted me. Making the decision to stop even minimal involvement in MK felt like a weight had been lifted. Nothing in MK happens on your schedule. Not parties, and not unit meetings. I felt like my choices were to rearrange my life for MK, or to get out.

    I was recruited by a consultant in DIQ. She posted a live of her picking up her first MK car (Malibu) at the dealership. Her husband and kids were also there. When she thanked God for the MK opportunity, one of her kids chimed in thanking God for Fortnite “to keep us quiet while you’re on all the calls.” I don’t want to live that life.

      1. Cat Ballou

        Nope, didn’t order any inventory, just items ordered by customers or for my own personal use. I didn’t make any money, but I didn’t lose any money either so I count myself fortunate.

    1. BestDecision

      I was in a meeting recently where a Director was also, and she looked so down and sad. Gobs of makeup, and not “awesome” at all. And today is a new quarter, so I’m sure it’s hitting them all badly right now.

      Boo hoo. No more of that for me!

      1. Cat Ballou

        I’m sure they’re all struggling. I’m still in a Facebook group for all the directors and consultants in my SSD’s downline and their customers. The SSD was promoting a “3 month trial” of being a consultant. As far as I know, that’s not officially a thing. She must be hurting for recruits.

  4. Cindylu

    Ugh. Yes advertise the bargain cost of the kit. Then that you get 90% back if you return products (Only because they legally have to allow this). Then try to get women to stay in for a year. They once again mislead us so most of the product is not returnable. Anyone reading this who has been told you can work this mlm around your children, please realize that’s not going to happen. No one is home to book those facials or classes. It’s better to get any other part time job rather than MK. Those fancy houses, trips, Jewelry etc are better achieved with a part time actual paying job. Better to go on a trip with family or a real friend than on one of those MK trips you’ve supposedly earned. I guess that once the NSD finally retires then she can have an actual vacation (Where she isn’t teaching, recruiting, motivating, planning or promoting this endless scheme). Once you are part of this recruiting mechanism, you’re on the hamster wheel for many years to come.

  5. Peggy Hicks

    I’m glad I kept my part time day JOB, which I was told stood for Just Over Broke, throughout my time in MK in 1992. I got a steady paycheck, fringe benefits such as paid vacations, sick leave, & contributions to a pension plan. When I became an IBC, I vowed not to accumulate any debt I couldn’t repay in 6 months, & stuck to it. In 1992, there was no Internet, social media such as Facebook, Instagram or YouTube to make it easier to get in touch with people, so I had to use my home phone or warm chatter to try to get bookings. Getting bookings was an exercise in futility because the market was totally saturated where I lived, & because my children were too young to be left alone, I couldn’t really go too far away from home.

    I was an adoptee because my recruiter lived about 1,200 miles from me. While my adopted director was a sweet lady, the unit meetings often left me feeling depressed rather than energized. And what was very telling in retrospect is that this director was extremely shy until she had to be “on” for MK. This tells me that she was apparently taught by MK to put on a different persona & be what she really wasn’t in order to conduct unit meetings, etc., & that it was all smoke & mirrors. I doubt very seriously that she’s still in MK. My recruiter is now a NSD who’s been in MK for about 38 years, & she was married to my first cousin until their divorce 6 years ago. Her strong suit is recruiting, & my cousin told me recently that he was often embarrassed at parties or other social activities because she would talk about how she made a lot of money &
    how they could, too. In other words, she wouldn’t leave her MK business at home whenever they were out & about, & was constantly recruiting.

    We all know now that there are much better things in life than eating, sleeping & breathing MK or any other MLM business 24/7, such as spending time with our husbands & children. For me, though, the most important thing was being true to who & what I am, without all the lies of omission, smoke & mirrors, & hamster wheel that exemplifies MK. I’m glad I got out, & it’s nice knowing I’m not alone.

    My salvation was the 90% buy-back provision in MK’s contract. I decided to get out before the year was up, & I paid off remaining debt a couple of months after that.

    1. enorth

      “she was apparently taught by MK to put on a different persona & be what she really wasn’t”

      They are told to “get comfortable being uncomfortable.” What a stressful way to live.

      1. EyesWideShutNoMore

        And how many times was an iStory about being painfully shy? “I was a mouse of a woman, very shy and not confident, then Mary Kay made me come out of my shell…” Kind of disturbing how people are forced out of their comfort zone just to sell make up.

        I worked at a company where we each had to give a casual presentation because our manager was slightly sadistic and relished poking holes in what someone was speaking about. I get everyone should be able to speak in a small group (or present well in an interview) but some of my coworkers absolutely dreaded their turn and it didn’t enhance their career opportunities, it was such unnecessary stress for them.

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