Louise Webster’s background is in PR. She used to work for Fox Kids (now part of Disney) and has always been specialising in kids and family content. Later she launched her own PR company, Rare Communications, supporting family brands. Rare Communications helped to launch Moshi Monsters and grew into a small but successful specialist PR agency.
“I got married, moved into a house in North West London, my son was born and then the story changed.”
Louise talks about returning to her agency after maternity leave, working for 3 days a week, looking after her son but feeling that she did not have any downtime: no space or time window for anything else. Louise thought her life was carrying her on, but it’s as if she had no say in it.
She made a decision to sell her agency, move out of London and spend more mindful time with her family. When her daughter was born, she felt she wanted to be there with her children rather than strive to be a ‘supermum’. It felt soothing, but Louise could not help but notice that suddenly she was addressed and engaged with only as a mother. It was either you were a ‘career woman’ and a master of juggling all those things at once or you were a mother, content to disengage from anything, other than children and family.
“I wanted to engage my brain again so I started looking for jobs and found a freelance role, which required such little experience, I could do it standing on my head. Following an interview, I was told that I had too much experience, which was just so frustrating and demoralising.”
Louise spoke to other mothers and realised there there is such an amazing pool of talent among stay-at-home mums. They just don’t want to choose ‘all or nothing’ but work during the hours they have available. They need opportunities and options to choose from, inspiration, ideas and a supportive community. This is how Beyond the School Run was born.
Beyond the School Run offers inspiration, ideas, jobs and volunteering opportunities for talented and a little bit restless mums who want to reclaim their identity. Louise also wants to help mums start their own businesses, providing educational resources and links to start-up supporting schemes.
In 2012 she wrote to David Cameron telling him about her project, and, to her surprise, she was invited to come to No. 10 Downing Street to meet PM’s special advisor for women and family issues, Laura Trott. The meeting gave her much needed validation and motivation to persevere with her idea and grow it into a sustainable, inspiring and, most importantly, helpful platform.
You may also wish to find Louise on Twitter to follow her story and news from Beyond the School Run.