Flirting With Disaster

Family Ties

As a desk officer at a police station near her Burlington Township, New Jersey, home, Kimberly Horstman Teed, 35, spent the late-night downtime between 911 calls working on her start-up, an etiquette magazine called PresenceSense. Just when she'd gotten a grip on the fine art of dispatching a squad car to a domestic dispute and then working on laying out a few articles, her husband gave her a reality check about the lack of time she was spending with him and their 7-year-old son, Shawn.

"I was nonexistent in our home life," Teed admits now. "I wasn't doing things with them because on the nights I was off work, I was working on the magazine and thinking of all the things that needed to be done. I was a terrible mom and a bad wife, and I didn't realize it. It just kind of crept up on me, and it took my husband saying one night `It just isn't going to work like this' [to make me realize it]. So we sat down and made a plan."

Trading in her uniform for a home office, Teed developed a schedule that allowed her more time for the family, with rules about when to turn the computer off and when to delegate dish duty so she could meet a deadline. The effect on her marriage was akin to a fresh shot straight from Cupid.

"In all relationships you have really ugly times," Teed says. "But after the ugliness, you get stronger. Right now things are absolutely wonderful."

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This article was originally published in the August 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Flirting With Disaster.

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