Inspired Woman Magazine

Working Mom – Finding the Balance

by Deb Seminary

Eighteen years ago Kim Klein began working at Zimmerman’s Furniture even before the doors officially opened. She has now been the general manager for six years. And yes, she is Gene Zimmerman’s daughter.

Kim and her children
Kim and her children

Klein was born in Bismarck, her family moved around a bit then ended up back in North Dakota. After graduating from Dickinson High she headed to NDSU to become a pharmacist. “My parents had just relocated to Bismarck and I moved back for the summer,” she said. “They were getting ready to open this furniture store and I helped paint, move stuff around and decorate.” She started taking classes at University of Mary and realized she wasn’t very interested in the medical field anymore. Her dad asked if she would like to sit in on the training. “There was something that instantly drew me,” said Klein. “And from the first day that we opened the doors, I just knew this was it. It was not at all what I thought I wanted to do for the rest of my life, but sometimes life takes you on a different path. I love chaos and that’s what retail is. There is never a dull moment and it is more fun than I ever imagined. Plus, I get to dress up!”

The store has evolved from being kind of a “budget store” to a higher end, custom furniture experience. “We want to be the design store without the customer having to pay for a designer,” said Klein. “I get to help people pick out fabrics and colors, create whole rooms in their home.”

She met her future husband when they were both working at Paradiso. “We hated each other,” she said. “He thought I talked too much and I thought he was just mean.”

Then they actually got to know each other, things clicked, and when Kim went to work at the furniture store, Scott decided to interview for a position, too. “We have always worked together,” she said. “We have been married thirteen years. It’s not always easy to work with your family, but Scott and I make it work. We don’t act like a married couple at work. We’re lucky we can separate it and leave home at home. And working with your parents is definitely not easy, but I’m fortunate that I have always had a good relationship with my mom and dad. We can get mad at each other, but it doesn’t ever go past a certain point.”

Becoming a Mom
“I always knew I wanted to have kids, but I always knew I wanted to work. There was never a question in my mind that if I had kids I was not going to work. However, when I had my son, I did actually wonder if I wanted to go back to work. My mom told me to give it time. ‘If you think you want to come back, that’s natural,’ she said. ‘If you don’t want to come back, that’s fine. You will do what you have to do for yourself.’”

Klein loved every minute of being a new mother. After about eight weeks, she began to get a little crabby. “I just knew I needed more,” she explained. “I’m not the type that goes to the ‘mom things’ – I tried! I knew I had to go back to the store and figure out how to make it work. Scott and I fluctuated our schedules for awhile so our son only had to go to daycare two days a week.”

That schedule didn’t work very well when the couple realized they did not have any days off together. “Now we have Sundays off as a family and I try to take Fridays off,” said Klein. “It works really well, you just have to be better organized. I found when I didn’t work as much I got less done, probably because I didn’t have any deadlines.”

She is lucky she can usually fluctuate her schedule so she does not have to miss anything at school, and even gets to drive for field trips at times. And, one of the things that is important to her is family dinner time. “I don’t want to be that person that just runs to fast food,” she said. “I try to make something every night, even if it is just throwing a sandwich together. I just plan it. To me it takes the same amount of time to make spaghetti as it does to go through the drive-thru. I just have to remember to take the hamburger out!”

Making the choice to work full time outside the home is not an easy one. Klein has a friend that made the choice to stay home with her kids, even though she had a great career. “She was struggling a bit and I told her not to feel guilty about anything. There is never a right or wrong choice, just go with what is right NOW. You might change your mind two months from now, it’s ok. You have to do what makes you happy. Because if you are happy, your husband and your kids are going to be happy.”

The couple’s oldest child is now twelve, the middle is ten, and their youngest is five. According to Klein she and her husband are both old school when it comes to discipline and things like bed time and cell phones. “My kids don’t have cell phones and according to them they are about the only ones that don’t,” she said. “I want them to learn how to communicate, one on one to a real person. I see it too much, twenty-year-olds who don’t know how to communicate.”

While Klein was growing up, her mom and dad always worked and she saw how her parents balanced their lives. “When I brought my first born to day care, that was hard,” she said. “ But I never felt like I sacrificed as a child and I don’t think my children do either. Growing up with it I know how to try and balance it. Some days you don’t, but that’s life.”

Inspired Woman Magazine

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