When my daughter (my youngest child) finished Primary School, I remember feeling surprisingly in control of my emotions. As other parents crumbled and clung to soggy tissues during the week of ‘Lasts’ (last school disco, last sport day, last assembly etc) I stayed strong and a little smug – I’d been there before with my first child so knew what was coming. Yet I remember that tidal wave of emotion that hit me like an unexpected slap in the face – as I was stood in Boots, of all places, on her very last day of term.
I had done it! I had got two children through primary school. Like a flickering slide show, I saw in my mind’s eye the primary school years flash by. The assemblies I’d attended, the sports days I’d cheered at, the nativities I’d beamed through.
I never had a calling for Raring2go! as such; I did have a desire to find flexible work that would fit around a young family. I was transported back to 2007 when I stumbled upon Raring2go! magazine. A chance conversation at a previous employment led me towards Raring2go! and it seemed to fit the bill. Could it really work? Would I be able to run my own business? Was it all really possible? The emotion on that last day of term stemmed from the realisation that I had achieved my goal.
Standing on the precipice, about to jump (and hand in my notice) I had to weigh up the pros and cons. The gain we were seeking was not a fat salary with very little effort (if that’s what you’re looking for then Raring2go! is not for you) but a job that offered flexible hours of work that fitted around the lives and changing needs of my children. It’s something that most parents are seeking and is very hard to find! Working has always been important to me – for my own self-esteem; to contribute to the family income, and to demonstrate a work ethic to my children – so I didn’t want to give it up. Sadly, parents don’t get a sticker chart (I wish!) but by running my own business, I’ve given myself ‘pats on the back’ along the way: each time I’ve won a new customer or added pages to the magazine, or received a testimonial from a happy client or grateful reader.
Being my own boss has afforded me the flexibility that is priceless. I have been able to prioritise my work, or at times prioritise my family over my work when the need arises. Over the years my working hours have adapted to the children’s needs: initially more work in the evening and less in the day, and now – well, I could work all hours of the day and my teenagers wouldn’t notice unless super mum is called upon: “Mum, I’ve forgotten my PE kit!”, “Mum, I’m late, can you give me a lift?”
My magazine has developed alongside my growing children. We’ve enjoyed discovering new places together each school holiday, trying out activities to share with my readers and this has helped make memories that you couldn’t put a price on.
Now, I can sense an emotional landmark creeping up again, as we are in the final weeks of Secondary School for my eldest. He doesn’t need me as much these days, but just being able to drive him into school for his GCSEs (to help reduce his anxiety before each exam) is only possible because I am the boss of me and can choose when I start work. I have succeeded in getting him through school, from 4 to 16, with the help of my third baby, Raring2go!
Now that is surely worth a sticker?
-This post was written by Sally Walters, who was at the time our franchisee for Raring2go! Kidderminster. Sally sold her business in the summer of 2022 for a considerable sum more that her initial investment. Why? Because she worked hard and recognised early on that her Raring2go! business, though initially an investment would ultimately be an appreciating asset.