It used to bother me when people asked why I was working, when I had the option not to. ‘Why are you not focusing on being a mum?’ they would ask, suggesting that I was selfish for pursuing a career. But nobody asked my husband if he felt bad, even though he leaves at 6am before our child wakes and comes back well after he’s asleep! When I am away with work and have to stay in a hotel and people ask me if I’m feeling ‘mum guilt’ nobody asks my husband when he’s away for full weeks with work if he feels ‘Dad guilt!’
I set up Sounds Right Phonics Classes for Kids in 2016 along with my sister Alex Burnside. Our pre-school and toddler classes are fun, high energy and educational and we had such amazing feedback when we launched the business that we went from running two classes a week, to over 50 with five members of staff in just six weeks. After six months we decided to franchise the business as we had so many people getting in touch who wanted to buy into it. During this time I fell pregnant and Alex’s reasons for setting up the business in the first place was because she already with two children, and wanted to work flexibly around her family and be there for her children. And that is exactly what we have achieved. My little boy was just six weeks old when we trained our first franchisees, and over the last two years I’ve made sure I was there for every milestone in his life. And at the same time I have seen my business grow from 0 to 40 franchises.
I think it is very important for my little boy to see his mum working, doing something she loves and is passionate about and raising a family at the same time. When people say to me that you can’t do both successfully I say, “Yes you can”. I believe that every woman should be able to fulfill her potential and do what she is passionate about, and she will not be letting her family down. She will not be making ‘sacrifices’. Quite the opposite. She will be showing the next generation that the future is female. Particularly in franchising.Growing up I never considered myself a feminist but I have definitely become one through franchising Sounds Right Phonics Classes for Kids. I am passionate about seeing the number of women in franchising. When I found out about EWIF (Encouraging Women into franchising) I knew I had to be a member because it is everything we believe in at Sounds Right Phonics.
100% of our franchisees are female. Most are mums working flexibly around their children, and many of them felt that they couldn’t go back to their previous jobs without making sacrifices as their previous jobs couldn’t be flexible enough to make them work. Franchising Sounds Right Phonics at the same time as becoming a mum has changed me. Time after time we go into events that are very male dominated, with only a tiny scattering of women, and just last week I went to an event where every single speaker was male. There are so many amazing women in franchising that I know this shouldn’t be the case. I will support EWIF and wave the flag for feminism within franchising because I believe that this is the future. Girl power!