I attended a baby shower this weekend, and I felt like Carrie Bradshaw in that Sex and the City episode, “A Woman’s Right to Shoes”. Carrie attends a baby shower in a home where you have to leave your shoes at the door, and her $485 Manolo Blahnik’s go missing. Everyone assumes it’s a mistake, but when they fail to show up a week later, Carrie follows up. The host refuses to reimburse Carrie for the loss and shames her for choice to wear designer shoes. “I have a real life now, Carrie. I don’t think we should have to pay for your extravagant lifestyle.”
Carrie laments to Charlotte about the number of times she celebrated her friend’s choices: the engagement party, the bridal shower, the wedding, plus the trip to Maine for the wedding, followed by three baby showers and first birthday parties.
“And if I don’t get married or have a baby…” she asks. “If you’re single, after graduation, there isn’t one occasion where people celebrate you. (Birthdays don’t count. We all have birthdays.) Hallmark doesn’t make a, ‘Congratulations you didn’t marry the wrong guy card.’”
Hallmark also doesn’t make a, ‘Congratulations, your business is in the black’ card.
The shower I attended was held for a someone I babysat as a teenager 25 years ago. A poster child for personal community building, she’s the kind of person who makes friends and keeps them. In attendance were her sisters, cousins and aunts. I was on the fringe of the family at one time, but I felt kinship with the woman who was the childhood friend who lived next door to her family’s summer cabin. There were the friends she made in grade school, high school and college, and even some of her sister’s college friends whom she’s also befriended. Seated next to her current coworkers, were some of her past coworkers. Her husband’s ski buddies fit with the friends they’ve made together. This group in turn fit nicely with the neighbor across the street, along with the previous neighbor from across the previous street. When you counted them all up, over 40 women came to celebrate the birth of a baby.
As I answered the perpetual question whether I had children yet, completing the “no…” with a story about Greesys, my business, I started to feel like Carrie, who was left out of one of our culture’s most common rituals. The celebration of another woman’s path towards motherhood. Many successful business women have babies. (And they have baby showers.)
Is it time for us to throw each other business showers?
Instead of onesies, children’s books, and a stroller, we could gift one another with software, marketing books, and a laser printer. We could serve cupcakes decorated with laptops, offer suggestions for the company tagline, and guess the date the business will become cash flow positive.
Or… we can connect inside a business community, loan each other business books, recommend blogs and articles we’ve liked, tweet about each others’ services, show up for each others’ events, and introduce each other to our friends.
How do would you like others to celebrate your business?
(If you’re wondering what happened to Carrie and her shoes, here’s the ending. Hint: she received a card that read, “Congratulations, we couldn’t be happier for you and you.” )