When you think of someone that is self-employed, you might think she’s the boss, calls the shots, makes her own rules, and has a flexible schedule with plenty of time for her kids and family. Sounds exciting, right? The truth is that the self-employment path is hard in many ways, especially when balancing life as a single mom with three kids.
With her daughter and two sons, Carmen moved to California to start a business in clinical massage more than a decade ago. She developed a passion for massage because it allowed her to make a difference in people’s lives by helping them live free of pain and get back to doing the things that they like to do.
“When I started my business, I didn’t have many clients,” said Carmen. “Money and time were a big challenge.”
It was also around that time Carmen’s middle child was diagnosed with Leukemia at only nine years old. Instantly, Carmen felt overwhelmed with all that she was now juggling: a business and the health of her family. When Carmen found out about her son’s Leukemia, she realized that nothing else mattered except his health. As a mom, she would have given anything to have him be okay.
It was a long journey with multiple hospital visits, treatments and doctor appointments—all while keeping her business and household running as smoothly as possible. Many days it was a struggle to get a healthy meal on the table or to make sure everyone had clean clothes, but as a family they were able to pull through.
Carmen’s son is now doing well, but it took about 10 years for their lives to get back to a new “normal.” As a result, Carmen’s own health took a back seat for a long period of time.
“When it comes to healthcare for me and my family, I’ve always been on my own,” said Carmen. “Self-employment eats a lot of your resources. So, it was struggle for me to find time and money to take care of myself.”
Carmen, now 55, noticed her vision was getting blurry. She was also putting off an eye exam and glasses due to the cost. It wasn’t until a friend recommended an Individual Vision Plan through VSP that Carmen felt like she could take better charge of her health.
“As a small business owner and a single mom, I got the care I needed and saved a lot,” said Carmen “It feels really good to take care of me.”
Watch more of Carmen’s story below.