Over in my other world, I just posted and mailed a lengthy missive offering up the store for sale. It's something I've been thinking of doing for a long time, and something that seemed imperative once I saw that second line on the EPT, but it was still hard to do. Before I was the owner of Mothersville, I was a devoted patron, and I spent many, many days of pregnancy and new motherhood sunk into the big comfy couch, talking to other moms and trying to figure out just what exactly I'd done to my life. I developed a brand new circle of friends among women brought together by their choices (and sometimes, lack of choices) in parenting. I found a compatible childbirth educator, invaluable doula and doctor recommendations, support with breastfeeding, and most importantly, a place to ask questions or just vent about the daily struggles of baby life. There were a lot of mornings when the support "group" was just Kristy and I, and her friendship and unwavering support got me through what I only now realize were some of the darkest days (and weeks, and months) of my adult life. (Which I've never properly thanked her for, but I'm sure she can read the effusive Nordic praise between the lines.)
When Kristy decided to leave the store, I didn't see how it could go on without her. She wasn't just the owner, she was the Mother of Mothersville. But when another mama bravely jumped in and put herself on the line to keep the store open, I realized that the only thing worse than Kristy leaving would be for the store to go with her. So we partnered up, U and I, and the doors stayed open. The sign went on the front. The mamas kept coming, new groups of them popping up every few months like seasonal bulbs.
When U decided to leave our partnership last winter, I was again uncertain about the future of Mothersville, but I felt more determined than ever to keep providing this resource to the mamas of Memphis, or at least the 5% of them who needed us. I've learned a lot in the last two years, learning that has translated into better sales and lower losses, and I know that if I could hang around longer I'd learn even more. But I can't. I'm at a crossroads where I either need to make a huge plunge or gather up my marbles and go home. And I don't have any more marbles to spare. Thanks to my corporate lay-off four months into motherhood, our family income is 40% less than it was 1.5 kids ago. So it's time. I've put in what I can and now it's up to the next mama, or hopefully mamas, to take the reins. It's been an unconventional business model to this point, but it pretty accurately represents the constant hustling and shuffling most new moms have to do. Doing what works as long as you can, and then figuring out the next thing.