If you’re looking for validation that you’re doing a good job as a parent, you’re playing the long game. You invest a massive amount up front, in those early days, and although they still need me a great deal, I know that the importance of my role in their lives is diminishing by the day. Plus, the fruits of all that investment can be hard to spot just now, and we won’t really know whether we’ve done everything we needed to do as parents until we’ve all navigated the tricky teenage waters into the calm seas of functioning adulthood – quite a lot of years into the future.
So, another benefit of being back in the world of work is that I get regular validation of my usefulness in other ways – which I find is a really important part of feeling content with life.
In a post a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that Mum to Mum UK – the business started only a year ago by first and longest-running client, Sam Poole – has grown enormously. I have been excited and privileged to be involved in the journey, and it’s gone at a speed I didn’t think possible.
On Monday, our little Mum to Mum team is launching a local discount card. It’s such a simple idea: get some local businesses to offer a special deal to members of your club, and then sell some membership cards to people so that they can use the offers for a year. And the beauty of it is there are such great benefits for everyone involved: customers get some discounts and freebies from local companies they may not have tried before; and as well as getting some new customers, the businesses get bags of free publicity and exposure on the VIP Card website, on our social media, and in the launch material. And here’s a little product plug – for only £20, you get up to £2500 of offers and discounts for a whole year, with loads of awesome businesses – which I think is absolutely fantastic.
But the preparation, organisation and administration have been immense just to get us to this point. Sam managed to find the gem that is Nicola Stoodley – a lady with years of corporate marketing experience that speak for themselves – to help her put this fantastic idea into practice. She’s amazing. Her organisational skills and her eye for detail are second to none. And what’s more, she knows what she wants, and can explain it – two exceptionally useful traits for a client of mine to have!
My role in the Mum to Mum VIP Card has been Design. I’ve produced the website (including the directory of over 70 offers), two promotional leaflets (one for businesses, and one for card customers) and the Welcome Pack, as well as the early designs for the card itself – although all credit for the beautiful logos goes to the very talented Kate Brimley, of Frillie Design. It’s been brilliant, and I’m so proud to have been involved. (I particularly enjoyed creating the countdown clock on the website – it’s the little things!)
One of the best feelings is the one I’ve had when I’ve seen my work being handed out, or used by the people it was designed for. At the pre-launch event on Tuesday, Nicola was showing the directory to business owners who wanted to see their listings, and it was quite surreal – that website I was working on, the other day on my sofa at home, was being used and demonstrated to the actual people behind the business logos I’d uploaded. It was meaningful, it was useful – and it gave me an extra sense of pride that I’d done that, and I’ve actually got a small business that can do this for customers.
When you’ve started your own business – and even if you haven’t, and you get the same feeling from something you’ve achieved as an employee, or as a volunteer – that sense of worth is so important in validating your everyday contribution to the world. It is there in your role as a parent, as well – when you hear a good report at parents’ evening, or you watch your child do something incredibly kind – and you can see the massive investment you’ve put in bear fruit. But that’s the long game. I’m looking forward with hope to the day when I can sit back with pride, and watch our boys be the best men they can be in the world. But in the meantime, I’ll take these smaller reminders that I can be useful in all sorts of other ways too.