When I Married an Entrepreneur

[I'm going to use the pronoun "he" for this piece, but that's not to say anything about any gender, only about my experience.]

When I met my husband, he was general counsel for a biotech company. It was a start-up that was on its way to becoming a public company, so I knew, to some degree, what I was getting into. What I didn't understand, however, was his desire for the chase. Because he was employed with the same company all through our courting days (my three years in law school), I assumed that his desire was entrepreneurial in nature, but with security as its basis.

Now, nearly nine years into our marriage, I can tell you: He likes the chase. He likes the new, new thing. He likes to build. He likes to hustle. He likes to bring together. He likes to create things that are not in the world, to roll them out, and then to do it all again. He is an entrepreneur. To be fair, even while doing this, he has maintained our financial security. I don't work outside of the home; I rear our three young children at home so his passions have worked out decently for our family. I never did want to be bored, so I suppose I got what I wanted to a certain extent. But, I like to plan, too, and that's hard to do when you're married to an entrepreneur.

We have oodles of t-shirts from companies that you know and from some that you'll never hear of because they didn't make it. Our children's painting smocks are t-shirts from companies that have disbanded, that have been bought and renamed, or that went under.

He meets people for coffee all of the time to talk about ideas; most of these meetings yield nothing that I can see, but out of some of these meetings have come real and new companies and non-profits that are making a difference in the world.

His phone is like a body part and I have to demand it be put away and out of sight if I want real time with him. He is available to people. He enjoys being available to people.

This weekend we were at a wedding. He disappeared in between courses and I knew what was happening. He was hustling. He cannot help himself. I find it annoying sometimes and other times I find it wildly attractive. When he came back to our table, I said, "I know you're sneaking in work that doesn't have to be done right now." He said, "I am a man who likes to make money for his wife. If you have a problem with that, then we have a problem. Do you have a problem with that?" The thing is I don't have a problem with that. The thing is sometimes I don't think a 1960s housewife of a successful businessman who was loyal to his wife had it so bad. My feminist self wants to change that sentence, but I won't let her. I know that he is hustling for us; of that, I am always certain. He works because he likes to work and he works because he likes to give to us.

Dadurday is a sacred day at our house -- on Saturdays, he makes sure to be with our children. If I see that his phone is getting the best of him, I disappear to make sure that our young children remind him what day it is and with whom he is supposed to spend his time on that day. Thankfully, our kids are of an age where you must be present so that everyone stays, well, alive, so he has to focus on them when he is with them.

It is a new world out there, one in which landing a job in your field at a company that you think will be the company from which you retire is a thing of the past for most people. Working only from 9-5 and making enough money to support a family is hardly available to most of us. This means that everybody should be hustling unless you work for the government or you have a sizable trust fund. This means that even if you are a stay-at-home parent you, too, are in for a wild ride. Their work changes, your work changes. Their future changes, your future changes.

When all of our children are school-aged, our plans will likely change again. My needs, their needs, his needs will all morph into something that is not what it is now. I suppose our plan is to keep creating, building, and seeking together. And to never get bored while maintaining a routine for our young family. That is our plan as we talk it out with one another, anyways. His plan, though, I know, is to keep on finding the new, new thing. Sometimes this will happen when he should be spending his time with us and it will annoy me. His plan is to continue to create the new, new thing the only way his entrepreneurial spirit knows how: he will keep hustling. He will keep making money for our family and I just cannot find a problem with that in this new world in which we live, no matter how annoyed I get by his love of the chase.