- I'm not passionate about the products.
- If I put the amount of energy into this that is required to really make it successful, I would not have enough time and energy left for things that I feel should have a higher priority, like my family.
- The profit margin is small; especially if you consider the invested energy.
- I'm trying to limit processed food in my own diet, so it doesn't seem right to be encouraging it for other people. Yes they do have some spices, but that's not the majority.
- A few people at the church really like the product. The profit going to the church gives them an excuse to spend a little extra on something they might not otherwise indulge in.
- It provided some extra income for the church, which has really been struggling.
I've sort of been looking at the direct sales as similar to any other job that a person would have that they don't like. The things that I'm passionate about about wouldn't make money for a very long time. Direct sales is a way I can make money right now. But if I truly pursued it, I don't think it would allow me the time I need to devote to my current priorities and/or my big dreams. It is a priority to me to stay home and raise our son. People often say they got into direct-sales so they could make money while staying home with their kids. But I'm having a hard time even balancing that.
This fall I started going to a parent/child Montessori class with our little Acorn. I've been reading a lot of books on the Montessori philosophy, and started reading some of Maria Montessori's personal work. As I was reading one such book, and how important she stressed the first years of life are, I started (for the second time) considering getting my Montessori training to teach. I am very passionate about this approach, not just to education in the traditional sense, but to life in general. Before I had a child, I always thought people would take offense when I compared their child-rearing experiences to my animal training experiences. But since having a child, I have not ceased to see the parallels. When you work with animals, you are always training them whether intentionally or not. They do something, you provide them with a result (even a non-response is a result), and they adjust their behavior. It is a constant cycle. Like wise, kids are constantly learning, whether you are intending to teach them a lesson or not. Maria Montessori referred to the first six years of a child's life as the period of the "absorbent mind," in which children are like sponges, taking in everything around them. This is why I feel so pressured right now to focus on parenting and providing a good environment. (I'm really falling down on the job right now as the condition of the house continues to deteriorate, and I sit in front of the computer.) But I'm also still thinking about what I'm going to do with the rest of my life, I lately I've been considering teaching a lot.
Partly this is because I want to home-school our kids. But this is not set in stone. I've also considered sending them to a Montessori school, but that can be very expensive. Also, they are not very prevalent. We happen to have 2-3 Montessori schools in our area, but this is very unusual. However, none of them have a parent/child program. (We have to drive an hour to our program.) And I believe only one of them continues past the age of 6, and even then, only goes to 8th grade. I'm also not intimately familiar with all of their programs. They may all be wonderful. I visited the school that teaches ages 3 - 6, and it was great. But often a school will use the Montessori label to because it's become popular, and not actually follow the philosophy very closely. Often when I see a need for something, I personally want to fill it. So I'm trying to be very careful here and decide if this is really something that I personally want to do. (For example, I've experienced a need for a local, independent, large animal veterinarian. If I hadn't already been involved with my husband, I probably would have applied to vet school, regardless of an extreme needle phobia!)
So lately I've been trying to play this out in my head. If I got my Montessori training, what would I do with it? How could I put it to use for more than just my own kids, and still stay home with them when they're not yet old enough to go to school themselves? Not having any idea how many children we want to have complicates these questions a little. But a plan is starting to form. Shortly after I had Acorn, someone posted on a message board looking for a local home day-care that used the Montessori approach. I didn't see any responses. I recently learned the school that Acorn and I go to started as a home day-care. I also recently read an article about unique schools and how they were started. One such school was started by a group of parents when the school their children attended announced it would be shutting down. I don't know the first thing about starting a school, but neither did these parents. Also, the woman that introduced me to Montessori through her blog FeedingTheSoil, is working on starting a "network of public Montessori charter schools in diverse communities across the United States called Montessori For All." (excerpt from her book, Kids In the Kitchen, by Sara E. Cotner and Kylie D'Alton, which I just received in the mail today, and highly recommend!) Perhaps I'll contact her for some advice. She's also written about having big dreams and making them happen. She's obviously very ambitious, and a huge inspiration.
I don't usually share my plans so publicly in the brain-storming process, but I'm starting to think I should. I usually don't share them because I'm afraid of somebody saying, "What happened to that thing you said you were going to do? Don't you follow through with anything?" But perhaps if I invite more people to help me with the brain-storming process, it will help me think things through more before I get too involved.
Another thing holding me back from getting my Montessori training is my dream of training horses one day. I would like to spend more time with my horses. Some day we would like to have our own farm, and I would like to train horses in some capacity. The details of this plan have changed more than once, and I'm sure they will again. Until then, I should be spending more time with the horses we have now. Both to give them the exercise and attention, and to give myself the practice. I think I can still have both dreams, if I scale back the horse idea a little. After seeing other people in horse businesses get stuck with other peoples' horse, or people not paying bills, or not doing anything with their horses, it makes me a little leery of getting into the business. So maybe I'll just keep it as a personal hobby. I'd like to work with my own horse on trail and ranch work. I'd like to work with my husbands horse on the same, so he can go riding with me; and he'd like to be able to use the old horse-drawn farm equipment. And I've thought about training young mustangs to make them more adoptable, or something along those lines.
I've also been trying to decide what I'm doing with my massage license. It expires at the end of this year. I already have my CE's, so it's just figuring out if I get a non-practicing license or not, and what level of professional membership to get. I have to decide this mostly because I don't want to get sued if I do massage. I don't think family would do that, but I might like to trade with someone sometime, and legally you have to be insured to do massage. Although, now that I think about it, you only have to be insured to get paid to do massage. I guess I could still trade and be o.k. But I think I still want to keep up with my CE's and license because if you don't, and you decide you want to do it again later, you have to catch up on all the CE's you missed since your license lapsed and the fees. After all the work I went through to get that, it's not something I want to slip away. I really enjoyed doing massage and would love doing it again if I didn't have other things on my plate. But again, as I'm looking down the road, it seems like it could be a long time before I do this again. Do I spend all that money on CE's and a license in the mean time? I would probably enjoy the CE's. But it's not cheap.
Well, I know this has been a long rambling post. Selling food, teaching, training horses, massage... As I said before, there are many things other than this blog post that are demanding my time right now; but this was a much needed mental health break. So now I welcome your comments. Hopefully you can organize your thoughts better than I did.