I love music, and I used to be SO all over new music; making mixes/playlists, following blogs and sharing my favourite new tunes with friends. The chaos of parenting/working and the responsibilities of everyday life have led me to let this part of me wither a bit. And that makes me sad, so one of my goals is to get back into music. Seeking out new music. Listening. Sharing.
So this if for you folks this lovely Friday morning! Happy Fall 🙂
I’m sitting here in the change room of the spa/fitness area at a hotel where I’m attending a PQI (Physician Quality Improvement) workshop pumping milk. Yes, on top of doing a full time addiction fellowship training, parenting three young boys, managing our household and trying to find time for exercise (and fitting my beloved Nerium partnership into the cracks) I’m still pumping milk.
Would my life be easier if I just stopped pumping during the day, switched the little dude over to formula (he’s almost 10 months)? Yes. But for some reason I just can’t bring myself to do it. How long I keep this up I’m not sure, but for now I’m not ready to stop. Despite the fact that it’s hugely inconvenient. Lugging my Medela PISA (pump in style advance for all you not on top of the breastfeeding lingo), the cooler bag with the bottles of milk, and the freezer pack to keep them cool around with me as I trek from one location to another throughout the day means I’m usually carrying two if not three bags around. I’ve recently started taking my single pump on days when I bike to work, but it takes twice as long to pump so definitely a trade off.
It’s funny, because as a family doctor who does maternity, I tell people all the time that fed is best. Breast milk. Formula. Whatever it is you can provide your baby is what is best. I tell them any breast milk you can give your baby is amazing, because it is! That if you need to feed your baby formula to give yourself the time to rest, time to sleep, time to yourself than you should do it. That your baby will be happier when you are happier. That your baby will be healthier when you are healthier. So why can’t I follow my own advice?
I don’t have just one answer for your. I think mostly, I have unreasonably high expectations of myself, especially when it comes to breastfeeding. When I had my first, I had a ton of problems at the beginning. He had a tongue tie and terrible latch, took us days to get feeding established and weeks/months before it wasn’t anxiety inducing. And then I went and got pregnant (whoops!) with Johann when Henry was just four months old. I managed to go on and exclusively breastfeed Henry until he was seven or so months but by that point I was almost 12 weeks pregnant and so exhausted that I eventually (and somewhat reluctantly) introduced formula.
Reluctant because I thought I should be able to do it all, breastfeed my still new baby while growing another baby; reluctant because I was worried about what other people would think of me; worried that people would judge me for feeding my baby formula; reluctant because I was worried that introducing formula and weaning him off the breast would impact the bonding. Looking back I can say I was wrong. Without a doubt. I couldn’t do it all, and once I finally introduced formula it was liberating. I could leave the house and not worry about where I could pump and not worry if I had enough frozen milk in the fridge. Hagen could put him to sleep because he would just as happily take a bottle of formula as he would the breast. And did it impact our bond? Absolutely not. We still had lots of snuggles and I was, and am still, his home base, his source of absolute comfort and security. Switching to formula would never interfere with that bond.
Because I was able to take a 10 month maternity leave with Johann and wasn’t pregnant by four months post-partum I was fortunate to exclusively breast-feed him until 10 months or so and then we started him on homogenized milk. So now there’s Wil. Sweet, adorable Wil. I love nursing him and that bond that it creates. And I know how amazing breast milk is for him. But I’ve started back at work earlier for a multitude of reasons I’ll get into another time. And it’s wearing on me, working full time, studying, mommy-ing, pumping. But I can’t let it go. Even though I don’t like pumping (I don’t really think anyone likes pumping) I like providing my babe with all the breastmilk I can. I have started adding in some formula, and our nanny mixes the breast milk with formula during the day. So that relieves some of the pressure. And he takes it JUST FINE. Besides he’s 10 months and a very healthy eater. Despite all of this, and the fact that the exhuasted me wants to stop, the ever sacrificing mom in me just can’t let it go.
My mind is ready to leave the pump behind, but my heart just can’t quite stop yet. Anyone else out there feel me?
A side hustle is not a part-time job. A side hustle is not the gig economy. It is an asset that works for you.
You might ask why would I, mom to three boys under the age of four, full time physician currently undergoing training in perinatal addictions, add one more thing to my plate? The answer isn’t a simple one, but if you’re interested in finding out what led me to this place, read on!
I wasn’t looking for a side gig or anything more to fill my already overflowing schedule. Honestly, if someone came up to me six months ago and told me I would be running a successful side business in skin care and wellness products I would have probably laughed in your face. This wasn’t something I ever pictured myself doing. Skin care. Sales. The whole shebang. So how did I end up here?
Since last November, when I had my third baby at the age of 39, I started to think it was time to start really taking care of my skin. Having three kids between the ages of 34 – 39 while finishing my medical residency and starting practice was starting to take it’s toll. I was noticing more fine lines and looking generally tired (I know, I know, what did I expect?) So I started doing some research into skin care lines, but I was overwhelmed with what was out there. So many different companies, so many different products. The recommendations and routines seemed so complicated with retinols, toners, Vitamin C serums, facial cleansers and scrubs, etc. that I couldn’t find anything that I thought I could actually a) figure out without consulting someone smarter than I was when it came to skin care and b) would actually have time in the day to do. So I just kind of kept plugging away using the same mix of products I always had that hadn’t made any significant difference to date.
Then in May, my good friend Erin Beattie added me to her ‘Nerium Page’ on Facebook. My first thought? What is this? Seriously? Is she doing direct marketing? I was one of those judgey people who always kind of turned my nose up at direct marketing. But Erin is good people. She’s one of my best friends in life. She’s also a busy Mom, MD and I figured if she was into it there must be something good going on. So I looked through her pictures and was immediately blown away. “Will this stuff help my crows feet?” I asked. She posted a handful of before/after pics showing incredible reduction in fine lines. “Put me in coach, I’m ready to play” was my response. (I know, cheesy but true – see below if you don’t believe me!)
I have such trust in Erin that I was almost ready to dive in immediately as a Brand Partner, try the products and possibly sell them. I just thought that if she was doing it, and they worked as well as the before and after pictures said they did, than I’d be a fool not to get involved. In hindsight, I wish I had signed up immediately and bought the biggest starter pack as it offers you a HUGE savings on the entire product line. But I wasn’t 100% sure, so Erin recommended just trying the product to start, and so I did. I ordered the entire skin set and both my (very skeptical) husband and I started using it. To be honest, I hadn’t told Hagen I was ordering it. And when he found out how much the skin care set cost he definitely raised an eyebrow at me and suggested that perhaps I should have just started with one or two products. But I don’t have sensitive skin, and Erin’s results (see below!) were so unbelievable I figured why not??? I also told him I was thinking of selling it as well to earn them for free and he was NOT on board at first. I don’t know why the whole direct/relationship/multi-level marketing leaves a bad taste in people’s mouth (I’ll write another post on that at some point) but it often does, and it shouldn’t. Why wouldn’t you want to support your friend instead of a random employee at Sephora/The Bay etc…) But he agreed to take before pictures with me and started using the skin care set the same night I did as he saw Erin’s photos and was also keen on getting rid of his #tireddadeyes.
So we took our (terrible, poorly lit before photos – lesson learned) and started using the set. I swear within days we both started noticing a difference. And my dear husband immediately changed his tune. He was in the shower one morning and called to me “How many people do you need to sell these to to earn them for free?” LOL. He was hooked. I took my first set of after photos (see below) about two weeks into using the set and was blown away. I knew I was noticing a change, but I wasn’t sure I was noticing a big difference, then I looked at the pictures. I immediately signed on with the company. The products are amazing. They are plant based, developed by scientists at Princeton based Signum Biosciences and marketed by Nerium International, a family business who’s overarching goal as a company is to make people better.
Since signing up with the company I’ve achieved more success than I could have imagined. The positives are almost too big to list, but I will list a few because I want people to understand why I am doing this.
You earn your (amazing) skin care products for free! – Every month you have a minimum of three customers place an order (new or returning) you earn next months products for free. And the products sell themselves. They really do. Just look at the before and after photos. I don’t feel like I’m selling anything, I’m just recommending products that work!
You are meet new people! – You get to work with a huge network of people all across both Canada and the US that are learning about the business and are incredibly supportive and inspiring.
You reconnect with old friends! – So far most of my business has come from my social media (Facebook) posts. I have added most people that I know, because you never know who might be interested in skin care (I didn’t think I would be!!!) and I have had the opportunity to reconnect with some old friends. Not all have gone on to buy Nerium, and that’s totally fine, just the chance to reconnect has been fun.
It’s a positive environment! – The whole premise of the company, to make people better spills into everyday life. Working with a group of positive, goal oriented colleagues (and that’s what everyone is, a colleague because its NOT A PYRAMID SCHEME) is so inspiring. It’s motivated me to be more positive and goal oriented in all aspects of my life.
It’s an extra income! I didn’t know what to expect when I signed up. Really I did it for the free product as I knew if Hagen and I were both going to keep using it (and trust me folks, he doesn’t want to stop) then we needed to earn it for free to make it affordable. But the more customers I got, the more of a side income I was seeing. And even though we are both physicians, we have a lot of expenses. We have a mountain of debt from our training (remember I had three kids in the last 4.5 years so I’ve been off on maternity leaves earning close to nothing a lot of this time!!!), a mortgage, two car payments, three children, a full time nanny….etc. etc. etc. So yes, we make an excellent income as physicians, but were we making a dent in our debt? No way, Jose. Not with all these expenses and the fact that my most recent maternity leave was unpaid after 17 weeks. So, we are now realizing this extra income from Nerium can help us move towards being debt free sooner than anticipated which is huge for us!
It’s only getting started! – Honestly, this company is so new. It started in 2011 and only came to Canada in 2014 and it’s really now just taking off. And our product line is currently pretty small in Canada. We have the skin care line and only one of their wellness products, EHT (a brain supplement that is honestly amazingly science based). New products that are in the US are coming soon to Canada and the company has even more incredible products coming down the pipeline.
I believe in the company – If you’ve read my previous posts you will see that I talked about being a) evidence based and b) I love me some plant based goodness. And this was BEFORE I stumbled upon Nerium. So obviously Nerium is a perfect fit for my values. It’s the best of nature and science. Honestly! Check out this video if you don’t believe me.
Honestly, I feel like I could keep listing the reasons that this side gig has had such a hugely positive impact in my life but I’ll leave it at that. So, if you’re thinking of joining a direct marketing company, supporting a friend who sells through one, or are just learning about these opportunities take the time and consider getting involved. Why wouldn’t you?