Sooner or later we all quote our mothers. –BERN WILLIAMS
I’m Julie Arvan, and I’m the ‘chief cook and bottle washer’ at Nesting Days. That’s what my Dad used to call my Mom, and growing up, I know he said it with humor, love, and respect. How my Dad understood motherhood so well I will never know. He only knew his own mother until the age of two, but I picture her holding him close to her heart, creating the bond that would never break, and making him the Dad I loved. I grew up in the 1950’s in Detroit, Michigan. My mother was a stay-at-home Mom, typical of her time, but there was nothing typical about my mother. She was an artist, and her art was mothering. She gave birth to five of us, with no thought of doing it natural, and none of us were breastfeed, but somehow, we all turned out OK and had fun in the process. Ours was a house full of projects, and to this day projects like Nesting Days capture my imagination and move me to create.
I fought to breast feed my first son in 1969 and to have natural child birth with my second in 1976. Combining mothering with preschool teaching at Stanford, and working for Gymboree when my children were little, are some of my happiest memories. The GAP had brought us to San Francisco and the ‘good life’, and some years later my husband started his own apparel business, which I took it on as a new project, and learned what I could about it, including running a store.
Next came my power years when I rejoined Gymboree and designed and produced the first line of clothing for the Gymboree stores. When the company went public and the entrepreneurs were retired, I was happy to come home again…to my boys, my husband, and my projects. That was some time ago and I’m now 65. I’ve been consulting with small businesses and working with entrepreneurs for over 15 years and I never wanted to have my own apparel business again. Several years ago I became a postpartum doula. I missed mothering and I loved mothering the mother. I missed babies and I loved seeing them be loved.
As I helped my new mothers, I also healed my wounds about my own mother, now gone, and on my own years of mothering. What an amazing journey…and it lead me to this. One day, as I warped a blanket around a mother with a baby nested on her chest, I wanted to provide her with a way of holding him tenderly there for as long as she wanted, even when his three year old sister needed attention.
No infant carrier, no MOBY with it’s 15 feet of fabric to get tangled in, no sling would work. He was too new, they were too clumsy, it was all too hard to deal with. And so I began to sew, literally weaving together a lifetime of experiences that is now Nesting Days. And as my journey continues, I have found that this business is really just another way to talk about things that really matter.
Julie, Your Chief Mother Officer