Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Leaving titles aside, it all comes down to being a Summer Sales Rep. Some people think that if you sell door to door, you don’t have an education, are too lazy for a regular job, aren’t mature enough for a “real” job, or can’t keep a regular job. After being in this industry (as a wife, not a rep) for almost six years, I can attest that (most of) the guys who choose to sell door to door are anything but. Summer sales reps are usually very young, in their late teens or early twenties (we’re the exception, in our early 30s); and since we work for a company based in Utah a lot of the guys are LDS, fresh from their missions. A lot of the guys are single, but many are also married. Some have children, and the minority, like us, have more than 2–four in our case. There are also amazing girls who do this tough job, and usually they do pretty well; I guess it’s easier for the girls to get into people’s homes. More trustworthy I think. These Summer Sales Reps work 6 days a week, 10 hours a day, longer hours on Saturdays and Holidays. When they’re home (read apartment), they’re usually sleeping, so exhausted from the heat and long hours, and the mental strain that it means to start all over again, everyday. If one day you have 6 sales, tomorrow you’ll start with 0, so you have to work to gain your pay for the day. Even though this job is VERY hard, it also has its recompenses. Yes, the reps work all Summer, but during the rest of the year, they’re home, going to school, doing other work, enjoying family. All this to say that only a very special kind of woman can put up with having a husband who’s only available on Sundays and, more fully there, from September to April.
A couple of years ago, the other A company Jeff worked for, had an amazing banquet to celebrate the end of the Summer. The company had some very talented people, including a few kids who wrote this song for the call center girls who took the claim calls everyday (the call center employed guys too, but it was a love song between a call center girl and a sales rep.).

Everybody loved the song, but I feel some of the attendants that night, felt a little left out. The wives.
I just wanted to acknowledge the Summer Sales Reps. Wives, for their support and love. We don’t have a song (hint for the guys), but I know our husbands wouldn’t be able to do their job without our support.
Over the years I’ve met girls who were just married, moving across the country or to another country, being alone all day because the husband was working, and the girls lived with a smile on their face. Sometimes they would even go to the installations with their husbands so that they could spend a little time together.
Others just managed kids and family by themselves, knowing that their most important job was to make a home no matter where they were.
I’ve met wives who still stayed active in the transitory ward activities, at least to meet new friends. Some wives had packed a few possessions to take to the transitory home. Others just made do with what they could buy to use just for the Summer; cooking lasagna in a tiny pot even if took 4 hours just because the husband really needed some comfort food.
Some of my friends keep track of the husband’s sales online, and they text him through out the day, encouraging him, helping him reach his goals. Others just die to be home, but stay through the Summer for him. They can’t bear leaving their husbands alone.
Other girls are pregnant (many for the first time), and agree to be away from their support group at home, only to be a support for the husband who works so hard.
Others have to stay home, and try to manage house, repairs, children, school, church by themselves. Oh! Most of us have plenty of help, from our extended family, friends, and/or church. But still, it’s hard to be the only parent for 4 or more months of the year.
All the girls I’ve talked to always express an appreciation for women who do this alone every single day of their lives, and still have to work.
When things get though, I think “At least he’s not at war. He’s working.” And I say a prayer for those who husbands are at war or in dangerous situations.
I’ve learned so much from these amazing women, who being so young, are so resourceful, supportive, outgoing, strong. It must be the pioneer legacy a lot of us have from our church. That drive to keep going, to raise the children in the gospel, to support our husbands in their work, church callings, goals, and, many times, also frustration.
Still, not everything is bleak in the life of a Summer Sales Rep. Wife. I got to go to the most fun places for the Summer (like awesome, beautiful Puerto Rico), and other places that didn’t sound like so much fun (like Springfield, Missouri), but I and my friends always found activities for us and the kids to do–even if that only meant going to the pool every day because we didn’t have a car. I know my children were excited that we lived in a tiny apartment with only a few Playmobile toys we had taken. That meant less time cleaning and more time with them. Being away from home made me more outgoing. In a new place I didn’t hesitate about asking other mothers in the playground about things to do, or places to visit. Being with my husband for only a few hours each day made me a better wife. I wanted him to come home to a clean place, with warm wholesome food, and a wife in a good mood. I tried my best not to make him feel guilty because sometimes we were bored, or missed home.
I miss my friends who stayed back with their husbands, and even though I’m glad to be home, I miss Jeff to pieces. I’m proud of him, for being such a good worker, such a good man, such a fighter.
Summer is almost over (at least the Summer sales season!), and the kids and I are getting the house ready for him. We can’t wait to have him home, to spoil him, to just be able to sit outside by the creek, and drink maté while the kids jump in the trampoline.
The end of the Summer also means that my friends are coming home too, and I’m very excited about that. I’ve certainly grown to love them and respect them through the years, especially after this summer, that I’ve seen them in action, so to speak.
To every Summer Sales Rep. Wife out there, the best part of the year is starting soon. Hurray for Autumn! Now our loves we’ll be home, at least until recruiting starts in … December? If we’re lucky they won’t start recruiting until January, but oh well! at least we’ll be in our own homes, and not as nomads all over the country.

Breaking Dawn Update:
Well I’m re-reading Breaking Dawn, and I like it a lot better this time because I’m trying to savor it slowly and pay attention to all the details. Try as I might, Jeff will never read “Twilight” or any of the books in the series, so I’ve decided to do my own quotes of the day, so at least he can get a glimpse of why I liked this saga so much.
So here’s the first!
It made no sense when he looked at me that way. Like I was the prize rather than the outrageously lucky winner.”
Bella, talking about (of course) Edward.

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3 responses to “Summer Sales Rep. Wife”

  1. Tiff & Jon says:

    Thanks for your shout out for the wives!! I am jealous you are home in your own house, with your own furniture. How nice!

    Maybe I will try reading BD again, I think partly the reason I wasn’t in love with it is because I liked Jake a lot and I didn’t feel like he really got his love story and I would have loved to follow that.

    I talked to Stacy and she liked it but she thought Book Two, when Jacob is narrating, was kinda boring because she wanted to always know what was going on at the Cullen house. I loved hearing him narrate. In the beginning when Bella and Edward are at the island, I liked it but I was also wondering what is going on with Jake. Just interesting how those preferences seem to change what you did or didn’t like about the book.

    I know I always right a novel! I must be bored out here or something. Sorry! Hope you are having fun getting the kids ready for school!

  2. C & C Baugh says:

    What a GREAT post!! Those are my feelings exactly. You just seemed to put them into the most perfect words. This is random, but have you ever thought about writing a book. I really did love reading what you wrote. Usually if a post gets too long I won’t have the patient to read it completely through, but with yours somehow I did.

    I take it your an avid reader. Breaking Dawn for the second time!!! Wow! Right now I am in the middle of The Host, so I have yet to start reading Breaking Dawn. Can’t wait though!!

    Thanks again for the post. I almost want to copy and paste it on to my blog and title it DIDO…

  3. Crystal says:

    Yamile!! Thank you for your post, you are amazing and we all love you.
    My kids miss your kids, Jayden pulled down his mattress today and tried to turn it into a slide and wanted to know if the other “peoples” could come play.

Yamile Saied Mendez

Yamile (sha-MEE-lay) Saied Méndez is a fútbol-obsessed Argentine-American, Picture Book, Middle Grade, and Young Adult author.

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