My Side Hustle Was Hurting My Marriage
I didn’t know it, but my ambition to bring in more money for the family, was causing more harm than good.
As a SAHM, any opportunity to make a few extra bucks, is always welcome. But in my eagerness to succeed, I didn’t realize how much my goals were putting a strain on my relationship. Once I did, I immediately implemented ways to stop it.
How my hustle started…
I never wanted my blogging hobby to become a full-fledged money making opportunity. I also strongly urge those who think it can, to not begin a blog for the sole purpose of it. Like anything, blogging takes time to build up to the point of making anything financial. Yes, you can make money at it, but you shouldn’t allow your financial security depend on it. I look at blogging like most MLM jobs. It’s a side hustle-something you do in your spare time, to make extra money. So I’ve been extremely lucky to be able to earn funds through my blog. But unlike most MLM “businesses”, I didn’t invest hundreds of dollars on a hope and a prayer that I might make just my investment back, let alone thousands of promises.
I don’t need to make anything, because in our (almost embarrassing) traditional family roles; my husband is the breadwinner. He is the rock that provides financial stability. My husband is the reason I can afford to be a SAHM, and I don’t have to work.
I’m a very motivated person
When I began receiving opportunities to actually make money from my blog, I went full-force into making the most out of each one. And for the last year, it’s been good! But earlier this week, my husband said something that literally broke my heart. And it was all over a misunderstanding.
First off, I was only ranting about myself when this incident occurred. I was angry at myself, for a stupid (and meaningless) mistake. It didn’t feel that way at the moment, but that’s how I felt at the time. As I’m rushing to fix my screw-up, my thoughts came to surface. “I hope my campaign is still approved-that’s (X amount) of dollars.” What my husband said next made my heart sink.
“Honey, it’s ok. You still have a roof over your head. Every time you freak out over something like this, it makes me feel like I don’t take care of you enough.”
Ya’ll, I’m gonna be serious here. I felt like the smallest person in the world. The very last thing I ever intended, was to inadvertently make my spouse feel like he was failing our family…because I was beating myself up for forgetting a hashtag.
Yes, it’s stupid. It’s totally not that serious. I shouldn’t have been so upset (that’s what I get for trying to be perfect…I’ll go back to being lazy) over something so trivial. Did my husband take a comment, not even directed at him, the wrong way? Maybe. But the question actually is; why did he feel that way? Or rather, what have I unknowingly done or said, to make him feel that way?
I realized that the times I spent stressing over deadlines, applications, publishers not accepting my work-all those little frustrating moments that annoyed me momentarily, were taken the wrong way by an observer. My husband took my attention to detail and self-frustration…as stress and worry. He took my ambition for only wanting to do a good job…as fear over losing money.
A skewed perspective
Beating myself up over little inconsistencies, wasn’t the only thing affecting my husband’s perspective of my side hustle. Opting out of binge-watching one of our favorite late night tv shows, to work on an article. Staying up later than normal to finish an assignment. Basically, trading what little time we had together, to dedicate to my side hustle – that was hurting his perspective. That was causing him to think I was in a state of financial panic…not simply a drive to succeed by my own standard. For me, blogging has never been about the money…but the snowball effect of my drive, gave my husband a false impression. And that last little comment, muttered under my breath to myself…was the last straw.
Once I figured this out, some of my husband’s own comments started to make sense. I thought his lack of enthusiasm to help me take pictures, or proofread a post, was just my husband being bored of it. If I mentioned a big win, and his response was to laugh and say “Why do you put so much into this to only get so little out?” was just him being un-supportive. He’s never fully known what my end goals were. My husband thought I was out to make a million dollars, and worried because I was failing. All the while I’m getting upset that he doesn’t know why I’m so excited that I hit 1k views of a simple post about pregnancy.
We both had a different impression of the other’s perspective. Still, while his perspective has been under mislabeled intentions…doesn’t mean those comments didn’t hurt. Or that I didn’t take them in a (different) hurt way.
I’m sad because my husband isn’t “supporting” me morally. And he’s sad because he think’s he isn’t supporting me “financially” enough. Kinda funny in a way, isn’t it? The common denominators? Assumptions and negativity.
How we decided to fix it
This is how we are fixing this sticky situation. It is very simple when you think about it. So simple, we should have been doing it all along. But I think a lot of couples fall into this accidental groove – whether you are a SAHM who blogs, or runs a small MLM business, or a full-fledged career woman who works outside the home. Finances put strains on relationships.
- Communication is key
We lost our communication-period. We both made assumptions instead of actively talking. Now, we are both on the same page. My husband understands what the fate of our money situations isn’t on my mind, when I’m working on my passion. And he understands what when I’m having a freak-out moment over something trivial, it is more so because I’m trying to do a good job-not because of monetary gain. Even if you run a home based business as your “side hustle” or have a career of your own-you still need to be able to communicate your goals (and legitimate fears) to your partner, to avoid any animosity, or misunderstandings.
- Take time to unplug and reconnect
By this, I mean unplug from the work, and reconnect with your partner. No one can work 24/7 without bad repercussions of some sort. And while I might have a million things to do with my blog, I’m going to actively take more time to step away, and focus just on my husband. Just as he does when he isn’t working. While we both take time just for our family, we need more time just to ourselves. That means no phones, no emails…just us.
- Remember to be positive
And that means not just being positive to each other, but to ourselves. Granted, I’m grateful that my self-inflicted tirade brought this to light, I now realize something. Getting upset at myself over my side gig doesn’t just hurt me, but it hurts my family. No one wants to see their partner (or parent) stressed out. No, I wasn’t actually that stressed out, but they didn’t know that. By keeping things in a positive light, someone can’t come to their own conclusions by misinterpretation. If I’m not mad at myself, then my husband can’t think that there’s a deeper issue. And instead of downplaying my successes because he doesn’t understand them, my husband is fully supporting me. He finally gets what this side hustle is really about! Celebrating my successes, even the non-financial ones, make it where I don’t feel discouraged anymore.
- Evaluate your needs
Now, while my need to make money isn’t dire by any means, this isn’t the case for everyone. Financial hardship can put a strain on any relationship. And when you find yourself working so much that you never see your spouse, the strain is inevitable. Figure out what your financial needs really are, and work on them as a couple. This may be to take on a side job if ends are getting hard to meet-but this can also mean taking time off. Sure, we all want a million dollars, but there’s a difference between want and need. And if your MLM investment you spend an extra 40 hours a week promoting isn’t paying off, or the extra shifts at your job isn’t totally necessary anymore-ask yourself, and your spouse, if the time you’ve dedicated to that, can be used in a way to better your relationship?
Marriage always takes effort on both parts, And when you notice something causing a slight rift, you have to act on it. Now that we have both talked, and reached the same point, I don’t believe we’ll ever fall back into this groove. Which is good – because I like my side hustler. I love my passion. but if it were to cause any real damage to my marriage, I’d drop it in a heartbeat. Because no side hustle, MLM “opportunity”, career, or any other “money making business” is worth losing the man I love.
Money isn’t everything.