This morning I started with a frantic call from my client. “I called you three times on the house phone and your cell. Why didn’t you answer?!?!” This is the line of questioning I receive anytime I do not answer her call. Heaven forbid I take a shower, walk to the mailbox or step outside with the dog; that is no excuse for not being available to my client 24 x 7. A Model Momager is expected to available to answer any and all calls at any time of the day or night. That is just one of the undisclosed rules that was created and imposed on me by MY CLIENT. When I initially called her back, she did not answer.
There are several unspoken rules that were created by my client. Ironically, none of these “rules” apply to her. When asked who I am talking to on the phone, my client expects me to provide full disclosure. On the other hand, she will not reveal who she is speaking to when she is on the phone. Besides not answering the phone, leaving the house without permission is inexcusable. My client must know my whereabouts at all times. This is yet another rule that does not apply to my client. She can respond with vague answers like, “I was running errands!” when she returns after being M.I.A.
The borrowing and sharing rule is one that has perplexed me for quite some time. My toiletries, hair products and anything in my closet, are community property. Items needed for photo shoots, runway shows or modeling events are borrowed and never returned. Additionally, my food is always communal. Yet, these rules do not apply to anything in my client’s closet and it definitely does not apply to her food. In fact, borrowing from her closet or eating her food could result in my untimely demise!
What I am humorously referring to as client “rules” are really nothing more than client expectations. Often the expectations of Momager differ from the client’s expectations. While the above scenarios are comical, you have to manage the expectations of your client. There is no Momager contract between parent and child, so how do you balance expectations placed upon you be your child? When you live and work with someone, even if it is your child, it can create a strange and taxing dynamic. You must manage the relationship dynamics through ongoing communication. Even if your client is very young, start off letting them know your boundaries and define what is to be expected. What you are basically doing is creating an informal verbal agreement with your client.
I have communicated the non-negotiables and my client understand the things that are important to me. For example, I really do not mind sharing my shampoo and leftovers, what is important to me is my quiet time. My client understands this and knows that my meditation time is off limits.
When establishing your informal agreement, be sure you make it clear that you will be taking time out for yourself. Your client knows that you have made yourself available, make a conscious effort to schedule a regular time when you are unavailable. You may have to blackout some time on the calendar to let your client and others know you are off the clock. These boundaries are important to avoid burning out. Never feel guilty about doing this. There will be days that you just want to give up and there will be times that you ask yourself why you agreed to do this. Don’t despair and don’t give up. It does get better.
My urgent missed call this morning was to ask me if I would like to go shopping with on October 30th and 31st. Maybe it is time to update our verbal agreement!