Three years ago, I gave birth to something other than S, B, or C. I embarked on a journey that I was so terrified and so excited about. Business ownership. Franchise ownership. So scary. I felt empowered. I was terrified. I was ready. If anyone knows me, I go head on into my projects and I kick ass. It’s just my mantra.
And then I opened. And I had a 20 week B in my belly. And a baby S in tow. And shit, I felt like I had it all. Because I did. I still do. I think back to that first day, and I can’t even believe I had the gumption to just DO IT. I think about the challenges of opening a business from scratch and can’t even believe that the new mom in me did it. I admire that spark plug of a woman.
The hardest thing I ever did as a business owner was find people that believed in my purpose. Social media wasn’t my thing because #education. I was learning on the fly and happy to do so. With my gigantic belly. I was literally a decade behind on the times because of my prior career in education as far as small business goes.
The first key players in my undertaking were four women who I can’t imagine life without. Jenn, Sandra, Rebecca and Kathy. I met them because they googled me. And believed in me. And helped me grow F4M maybe without even knowing it. They are the bones of the business that even I didn’t know I needed.
Summer closed and I had B. It was the hardest time of my life. But it was a beautiful mess. And these women? They were there. Along with my lifeline, Jaime. Like I don’t know if I would be alive and well without her. She joined the fun right before I had B and was the unofficial midwife when I went into labor with B during a stroller strides class one day. She is the peanut butter to my jelly, and I’m lucky to call her the matriarch of my tribe.
Step on the gas, and you get a force to be reckoned with. I drove, drove, drove once I got past the really hard transition to two under two. I met Allison, Chloe, Hollyce and Sarah…. plus so many other women who knew my jam, my weakness, and my kryptonite just by the color of leggings I was wearing that day. I am lucky. And I was able to make that lemonade out of lemons. I was able to make my dream a reality.
Bring me to fall of 2018, and I barely recognize the woman who started this amazing business with not even an ounce of business ownership in her. She is fierce, loyal, driven, and a friend. She is influenced, daring, and still terrified.
And she is ready. Ready to pass this amazing torch of a business to some very deserving and super hardworking mamas. She is ready to show her kiddos what it means to be strong when letting go.
And that baby? The one I birthed? The business? It’s a child now. And it needs the skilled hands of Nicole and Kristen, its new mamas. They will be specially blending the family they have been building for a few years with their new baby. For 3 years, I built a childhood full of “popcorn” and “monkeys” for my babies. And they love it still. My kids will always be Stroller Strides kids, and I am blessed that they found the love of FIT4MOM. Heck, B was basically born at Strides one fall day!
As I transition to instructor, I am humbled by the grace and diligence of K & N. I’m in awe of the resilience of my team. I admire our village. I relish in the the beauty of it. Every time I see the friendships formed in the breeze of my business, I am in awe. Thank goodness for this village. It will continue to be a pillar of our community well after I am gone. And now, it is one, big and beautiful village of moms from Bloomingdale all the way up to Mundelein.
And so, I bid a fond farewell to the lifeblood of my motherhood. But only that business ownership part. As I said from the beginning, this is goodnight and not goodbye. Thank you to my amazing family and friends for all of the support throughout this incredible journey! Especially Ian, who has always believed in my dreams!
You can find me at my new venture as not only a mom of three and FIT4MOM instructor, but also as a Community Coordinator at Athleta where I will be an event planner and community leader! After all, athleisurewear is life, right?