With the last “official” ribbon cut and the last tour of the day given, the Grand Opening of MalamaDoe was officially over. Celebration was long overdue My children were with their dad, and it was time for some long-overdue celebration with my faithful investor, Carey Mueller Vollmers. Carey had stood by me while I signed the lease, furnished the space, launched it and made tonight’s Grand Opening a reality.
Carey, who had always worked Corporate America and had traveled extensively, is a friend who – had our lives not converged due to unforeseen circumstances –may not have never been a big part of my life. Our daughters are in the same class at school and there are many days of the years when I had small children that I wished I had been in Carey’s shoes. I wish I could be getting on a plane (time alone, what is that?), being served food (by somebody older than age 6), having it be good food (not reheated Mac & Cheese), wearing fancy clothing (that would not get dirty within a few minutes because of a child lovingly touching me), and that my words and thoughts would be respected, listened to, and actually abided by and followed through on (no toddlers in site). And don’t even get me started on her need for regularly scheduled hair appointments (without kids in tow). I was in awe of Carey because she had it all. She had a cleaning lady, a husband who helped raise her children, and a great job that compensated her well.
But I digress, so let’s go back to the happy place of the Celebration. I go to the Thief Wine bar where we agreed to meet, and it was closed, so our night of celebration will be shorter than planned because had some late attendees and last minute tours – all good things.
Shortly thereafter, Carey arrives. Not ready to go home, Carey and I cross the street to the British Pub. The bar is not serving but, alas, it is full, so we look for a place to sit down. We are happy as we do not really want the alcohol – we just want to be out in festive company. We find it a few tables over – out celebrating a job well done are some long lost friends from my stay at home mom crowd.
Nowadays, these ladies are on the PTA from Cumberland Elementary School – and they are celebrating a major accomplishment of finishing up the year with Family Fun Night being completed. I wave hello, as I know half of the PTA, and sit down at my place in the bar. Carey is shocked I know so many of them – I tell her I not only know them, I invited them to the Ribbon Cutting. As the PTA table gets up to leave, half of them came over to talk to me about our Grand Opening and to apologize that they were unable to attend. I introduce Carey to the women Erin Granstrom, Amanda Bothwell Kurowski and Jennifer Rayburn Bjorson, I have worked with two of them on different Boards with and another in a very successful turnaround. As the three PTA friends remain to socialize, I realize I have never worked with them together – I didn’t know they knew each other. Yet, I know they each have the will, the good sense, and the drive to do whatever they set their minds to. With them at the helm things are well cared for, their kids’ school and whatever else they invest their efforts into, is in good hands. My PTA friend’s envelope Carey as she is now a new friend who has helped me and now we all benefit from the toils of her labor in the workforce with her professional expertise in Human Resources. They welcome her into our inner circle, into our arms, into our society, into our community because knowing one more person only makes us stronger. It helps us grow, it helps us be better people, and it helps us be the best version of ourselves as we serve our community.
It does not escape me that this the ultimate collision of the Stay at Home Mom vs the Corporate Working mom. At first glance, it seems like these two groups of people would never want for their lives to cross paths. But, as we all know, our lives do cross. Be it with our siblings, our in laws, our neighbors, our schools, our parishes, or our volunteer efforts, lives cross and we become friends. And Carey was thrilled to meet the PTA Moms because she knew they are connected around the neighborhood and it was obvious that they were really nice, gentle, relaxed, cool, smart people. Tonight, I realize, I see, and I feel that regardless of their career backgrounds, these women – the stay at home moms, Corporate working moms, the part-time worker – they are my friends. They have my back. They have come to congratulate me this evening, not just at the bar but at the Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting celebration at MalamaDoe, as I launched my business. We all understand MalamaDoe and the importance of Community.
It is not one-sided though. Community never is. I root for them as they move forward in their lives. Soon, all of these PTA mom’s young children will be school-age and they will reenter the workforce and soon my Corporate mom friends will want to charter a new path, and so on. I’ll help them then as they are helping us all now. Contrary to popular belief, and from what I’ve witnessed over the past 11 years, there are no career housewives. There is no woman I have ever met who never wants to work a day in her life. We can only be stronger by helping one another fulfill our professional aspirations. Thus, we continue to build community and work with the people who make a difference every day. So, to those taking the time to read this, thank you for being in our community and for helping us make lives brighter and richer with your efforts.
And thank you goes to Carey, because of her courage to view the world a little bit differently, and for being there helping us launch a great physical community showcasing working women who want flexibility. Carey in her Corporate role advocates for employees working in Human Resources and here, in our Community she sees our value, and we see hers because of her courage to see the world from a different lens, from a different viewpoint, and to value us as we value her.