5 years ago I started a little business with a friend. Just a mom that I had met at the playground. Our kids were the same age and we both would talk about how our city lacked the community supports that we were so desperately searching for.
Our kids were over one, and we had just started to feel less isolated. We talked about how great it would be to have a place where moms could use it like their own living rooms and come and meet, have a cup of coffee and maybe learn some tools to make them more confident parents.
Confident parents = happy parents = happy kids.
We decided to open Room to Grow. We wanted it to be the place for moms to come when pregnant, with newborns, to have fun *with* their toddlers (as the majority of our classes were parented), and finally to allow children to transition to independent preschool with none of the stress and forced transitions that occur so often at that age.
We had our ups and downs in those 5 years, spent a lot of money, and never really made it back. But regardless of the growing pains, the neighbours who didn't really like us at first, staff changes and all the stresses that come with owning your own business - we still opened everyday, with a smile on our faces to support those moms and dads that came through our doors.
That mom who I met in the playground became a best friend, and more than that. We had our second kids at the same time, and then our third. We supported each other, and while Room to Grow was always a topic of our conversation - so were first steps, sleepless nights and worries that only another mother understands.
In October we had the opportunity to decide on our future. My best friend and business partner was expecting her forth, my husband always away working up north to support us, gave us pause…we were still successful, but tired. We loved seeing the moms and helping them out and supporting them…but we had growing families of our own and demands that were needing to be met.
With a heavy heart we decided to sell.
It could have been worse. The ressession killed alot of the mom and baby businesses over the last 5 years and we were one of the only ones still standing. We saw this as a success. We had awards, and media coverage and multiple children - all while maintaining our business baby.
Today, the leap day, is the last day that I co-own this business with my partner/friend and it is the fear of losing that connection that makes me the saddest. We built it together and it was amazing and we were a force to be reckoned with. Imagine if we had been able to put our *whole* selves into Room to Grow - it would have been unstoppable!
But that is where the truth lies. We couldn't. We love our families too much. We want to be there with them and stop putting their needs behind that of a dream.
I deleted the facebook page tonight, and the website has already gone to the new preschool - which will be wonderful I am sure. But it was hard to press that button. Hard to see years of work just gone. As if it was never there.
Sometimes I wonder if in a couple years someone will say - hey, whatever happened to that place? Or will something better come up?
That is the thing with a business targeted to moms…a new mom and baby dyad is made every minute of every day…so probably people will remember - but only the ones who knew us when we were open….new moms just wont realize that they missed anything at all….
And somehow that point is what makes me the saddest…..
I wanted to make it 5 years. So I made that goal.
I guess I have some time before I need to make a new one.
Thank you to everyone in my life who has been so supportive of Room to Grow and of me, and my beautiful, wonderful, amazing business partner. I could not have done any of this without her.