I was newly married and 23 years old. I had just graduated from college, had plans to start my teaching career, maybe go to grad school, and do some lazy Summer traveling with my husband.
Plans are sometimes just that—plans. My plans shifted when in January 2004, I stood up from sitting on the couch. Everything went black and I lost my balance. Call it a Mother’s intuition, but I knew I was pregnant.
Pregnant wasn’t in my “plan” so I spent a week crying, trying to reconcile that I was going to have a baby before I was really ready. I was too young to realize things seldom happen when we are “ready.”
In June of 2004 and a bulging 7 months along, I jumped in the shower to prepare for a doctor appointment. I slathered my hair with shampoo and covered my growing belly in an apple-scented body scrub. I’m a proverbial multi-tasker (aren’t most women?) so I sprayed the shower down with an All-Purpose Tub and Tile cleaner. It was becoming harder to shave my legs thanks to my gigantic mid-section but I lathered a pink shaving cream on to my legs as far as I could reach. (Hello hairy ankles!)
The combination of the smells permeating from the shower was overpowering. I began to dry heave and felt dizzy. I rinsed off, grabbed a towel, and sat down on the toilet to regain my balance.
That was my wake-up moment, and maybe my first “Mama-Bear” reaction. I needed to protect my unborn child. I had a feeling of immense responsibility for what was yet to come as I made the transition into motherhood.It felt absolutely overwhelming but also oddly thrilling.
I gathered every product I had just used in the shower and began calling the customer care numbers on the bottles. Was this stuff even safe to be using? My gut told me no but my obstetrician had only warned me to stay away from hot dogs and alcohol. Every company told me a similar version of the same message: There was no proof that any of their products would have a negative effect on my body or that of my unborn baby. One customer service representative actually addressed me in a way that would then alter my entire way of thinking, and then living:
“Honey, women get emotional when they are pregnant. You are probably over-reacting.”
She told me to just relax, not to worry, that there was no real reason to stress out. I hung up and felt worse, not better. Her tone made me feel like I was irrational yet she gave me no actual statistics, information, or resources to give me the proof I really wanted and needed.
During my 8th month and at a routine doctor visit, my doctor became concerned about a potential heart defect with our unborn baby. We were sent to a pediatric cardiologist who was kind and patient but I sat through that visit silently praying that 1. This wasn’t happening and that our baby would be fine and 2. That my husband had a freaking clue what this guy was talking about because clearly I had not had to take any Anatomy in college and I had no idea what his cute drawing even meant.
My “possibly” sick baby– That became my “why”—my primary focus was to consider how all the cleaning products and cosmetics in my daily life were affecting my health and that of my child that was soon to be born. It was overwhelming to realize that most of the people around me had no clue that these products were being absorbed into their bloodstream and likely causing things like birth defects, cancer, asthma, and infertility.
Our daughter Maren was born full term and healthy. I was relieved, but not convinced and certainly motivated to continue to figure out how I was going to make our home a safe haven for her.
Over the years and after another sweet baby in 2007, I became a sort of go-to person for friends and acquaintances on the subject of safe cleaning and cosmetics. I hardly wanted to isolate myself or overwhelm people with my views but was thrilled when a friend from high school or college would contact me and say “I heard you know a lot about this stuff. What products should I use or not use on my new baby?” It fueled me and relieved me to realize more and more women were becoming wise to the subject and were interested in being pro-active about the products they used.
In 2011, after my third child was born, I was living a fairly low-toxic life with homemade cleaning products. They weren’t always totally effective but it was empowering to know that my own little home was a safe place. When my most like-minded friend, Lisa showed me a Norwex catalog, I laughed and told her she was silly for buying into that stuff! I had a lot of respect for Lisa, and when another very in-the-know friend mentioned Norwex, I began to listen (a little!) After some persuading, I reluctantly consented to a presentation in my home with the intention of getting a Free Mop for my trouble. I wasn’t a “party person” and after living on one income and a tight budget, I avoided direct sales with as much effort as Hand Foot and Mouth Disease.
By the end of that Norwex presentation I knew I had found my vehicle for making real and lasting change. The company cared about the environment. They too, knew that chemicals in our personal care and cleaning products were a serious matter. I had no experience in sales, didn’t “do” parties, and never, ever, ever, imagined myself in direct sales, but I knew that Norwex was my way to communicating a message that was also my passion….. and, huge bonus, these cleaning cloths were reducing my cleaning time by half! (I hate cleaning!)
Friends, family, and strangers embraced the products I was offering. They allowed for faster, easier, more effective cleaning. Who can refuse that? Along the way I was able to explain my health motivations for selling Norwex. Millions of women have heard us ask them to consider making better cleaning and personal care choices for themselves, their children and their grandchildren and millions have said YES to making better, safer choices.
Within my first 18 months I moved to the top of the company, became a Top 10 company-wide saleswoman, and became one of the top 2 recruiters for Norwex. I am currently the 9th highest paid Norwex leader in North America. When people learn this, they ask, “Well you don’t do parties still then, do you?” I do. It’s my craft and my favorite part about this work. When someone trusts you to come into their home and spend time with people they love, it’s an honor and privilege and I can’t see ever giving that up.
Every night I go to bed excited to wake up the next day, knowing I have found my perfect job match. I admittedly pinch myself a few times a week when I acknowledge that I have found a career that allows me to change lives, allows me to be home with my children, provides me with the chance to travel, and offers 100% financial freedom. It’s not always easy, any business has challenges but I am thankful for all of it regardless. My kids come first. Norwex has made it possible for me to be a mom with a career. The Mom part comes first.
I wholeheartedly believe in this company and the opportunity they offer to their customers and the consultants. My gratitude extends to all of those who have embraced the Norwex products, to those who have found the same passion for this company and have joined my sales team, and to Norwex and the executives behind this company who operate on a Mission based philosophy—“Improving quality of life.”
My goals are lofty. This year I plan to donate one month of my salary to The Environmental Working Group. (www.ewg.org) (Goal Accomplished 2014!)
Next year I plan to be a top Norwex Team Builder in the USA.(Goal Accomplished 2014, 2015, 2016!)
With every man or woman who joins our organization, the message is spread further and faster. If you or someone you care about would benefit from working with me, I am here to help you get started.
Come along as we learn to live, teach, and grow Norwex into a household name.
Join me by making small changes that make a big difference. Become an essential member of our movement by becoming a Norwex consultant!