This post is in partnership with Beyond the School Run and contains Amazon Affiliate links.
In Louise Webster’s book, A New Way for Mothers, Louise guides mothers step-by-step through the process she developed to help mothers find deeper meaning and purpose in their lives when faced with their “Beyond the School Run Moment.” The Beyond the School Run Moment is the moment when a mother realizes that she wants to use her talent and skills for fulfillment beyond her tasks and role as a caregiver. A New Way for Mothers serves to walk mothers through the process of creating a new way of working which leverages the individual’s talents and also allows for the flexibility that many mothers desire in their lives.
“This is about moving forward and creating a new way that works for us all. This is about recognizing that we all have skills and talents, and when we utilize them, it will benefit us, our children, and the world.” – Louise Webster, A New Way for Mothers
A New Way for Mothers helps moms who would like to work to start the journey of figuring out what talents they want to leverage in order to grow and build their careers. Louise reminds us that this journey into the working world as mothers can start within the context of the lifestyle and flexibility that the mother wants. Louise encourages using the life the mother wants as a set of constraints for laying out the terms for the type of work arrangements the mother will accept. The process outlined in the book promotes deep inner reflection to help bring out what the mother wants so that they can be better prepared to negotiate and create opportunities to use and foster their talents within the work-life balance they define.
But the question is—Do mothers really need a new way of working? And, to that, my answer is, yes, some do! Of course, there are mothers who will not benefit from this book. If you are a mother who is perfectly satisfied with her situation at work, don’t read it, it would be a total waste of your time. But, if you are a mom who is even a little bit unsatisfied with either being too engulfed in caregiving that you feel your talents are going to waste or are a mom who craves more flexibility in life and is looking for a guide to a life that is more aligned with what you want, this is a great step-by-step guide for figuring out what you want to do and taking real, actionable steps towards a more flexible and fulfilling life beyond the school run.
I had the opportunity to meet with Louise and ask her a few questions. Here are a few more pieces of advice from Louise that you won’t find anywhere else:
Q1: When you first experienced your own “beyond the school run moment” what were some of the first thoughts that came to your mind? Do you remember being scared or excited?
I think there was a build up to it. It felt like a light in me was gradually going out, a huge sense of apathy set in. The actual moment I remember clearly. It was about six months after my second child had been born and I had spent a period of time out of the workplace. It was one day when I took my children to the Roald Dahl Museum, it was pouring with rain, the buggy broke and no one helped, I returned home, and I felt like I just had enough. I had also been waiting to hear about a flexible role I had applied for which I was confident I would get so I decided to call to find out about it—only to hear that I hadn’t gotten it because I was overqualified. It was in that moment, I just went, That’s it; this is not OK. I need to find another way, took my daughter out for a walk and the idea for Beyond the School Run started to come to me. As soon as I started developing Beyond the School Run, a light lit up inside of me each time I worked on it and it got brighter and brighter each time, going beyond a feeling I had ever felt before.
Q2: Was there any part of your “beyond the school run moment” where you felt lonely?
Oh yes, so many times. I felt like I was on this journey on my own. There was so little written about it when I first launched, and I questioned so many times what I was doing. I found much inspiration, and still do, in the work of the female entrepreneur generation below me. The early adopters of Beyond the School Run really helped, those who started to connect and engage with me on social media. Every time I reached a point where I was really questioning what I was doing, someone would appear with a conversation, a meeting that inspired me to keep moving forward. I am so grateful to those people.
Q3: The book shares your experience which is from the point of view of a primary caregiver/stay-at-home mom. What made you want stay-at-home in the first place?
That’s a good question. After having my son, my firstborn child, I found myself completely engaged with work again and then out of the blue a series of events happened around me that led me to really crash. I realized I needed time to focus on my wellbeing.
Q4: How old were your children when you started Beyond the School Run?
It was in 2012 that I launched when my daughter was about one-and-a-half, but I had been planning it for about a year before launch, and my son was four-years-old and just starting school, so I became very aware of the talent at the school gates.
Q5: Some mothers may view the ability to stay-at-home as a privilege that they cannot afford. What advice would you give to a mother who is working out of necessity during her Beyond the School Run moment and who is also craving more flexibility and purpose in her life?
I would say, start noting down your dreams and ambitions—where you want to go. Then start taking small or big steps each day towards this, each step will add up. It may be one call, one conversation in which you share your vision—keep going. Together we can make the greatest difference.
Q6: Is the book A New Way for Mothers only applicable to moms or can dads benefit too?
It is mainly for mums as it is ultimately about empowering women, but I know dads who have read it and it is really about creating a new way for you all.