This is goodnight and not goodbye

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?

Today, I cried

By nature, I am not a crier. I didn’t cry when I got married. I didn’t cry when any of my kids were born. It’s just not my emotional response and I’m ok with that. Hubs always thought it was kinda funny. He could probably count on one hand how many times he has seen me cry.

But today, I cried. In the parking lot of preschool. I cried because I am so tired. I slept 90 minutes last night because my baby needed me. I cried because my two best friends were there trying to help me and I don’t even know where to start with what help I need. I cried because another mom gave me a hug and told me that this is the hard part. She is right. I cried because I was a shitty mom to my two big kids because I have zero ounces of patience left in me. I cried because this is hard. I cried because just before this, my amazing aunt and uncle told me they were coming to help me later in the week. And I need that help like I need air. I need to breathe.

Then, I put my big girl (yoga) pants on and got it together. I got the baby sorta down and made an awesome (make up) lunch for my big kids. And then the baby lost it. Not being able to soothe your crying baby takes A LOT out of you. I got him calmed and I made my way back to school.

B was a hot mess. He had a rough day at school and I started tearing up as soon as his wonderful teacher told me that he didn’t listen all day. Enter: mom guilt. My brain: I was not good enough of a mom today, so he was bad at school. As I attempt to wrangle all three out, B wet noodled in the hallway at school and I had to pick him up by his coat. Enter M, the most kind and caring woman who directs the preschool and has become like a family member to us in the 2 years we have been at the school. She picked him up, carried him to the car through the icy parking lot nonetheless, and loved on my kids like they are her own. And then I cried. I cried because I need M in my life. And come February, I won’t have M in my life because our preschool sold. Once every 20 ish years, brilliant places like our school sell, and it’s not always a good thing.

I can barely hold the tears back (me, the non crier) about M not coming back. Someone came in, and ripped the heart and soul from the school. And pissed a lot of people off while doing it. This unicorn of a school is no longer. Because someone thinks they know better. And didn’t stop to see the magic that is our school. And likely never will. Beauty, as we know, is in the eye of the beholder.

And as I sit here writing this, I can’t help but think about how much the staff at this school has given my family. And again, I tear up. Because next year, my daughter can’t finish her last year of preschool with her friends because with the new ownership changes, it no longer works with our schedule needs and budget needs. Because my heart hurts that what was supposed to be 7 years of preschool for my three kids with the teachers I love was cut short after 2 years. Because after over a decade in education, I finally felt it from the parent side.

I learned this week that:

-Crying, though an odd feeling for me, is good for the soul. It helped me prioritize and put life in perspective.

-I had no idea the impact I had on students until I became a parent.

-A business is a business but it’s the people that keep your heart (and your wallet!) where it needs to be.

-We are forever indebted to the staff at ETC preschool for helping make this mom thing a whole lot better and teaching my kids what it means to be kind, loyal, and bright little beings.

-I need more sleep. Oh wait, I already knew that one!