Your family is precious, we all want the time we spend away from our partner and children to feel worth it, and for the time we spend together to be of quality. A few years ago I realised I had lost that perspective. I found myself rushing everywhere, kids hanging on for dear life, me shouting and feeling generally like I was doing a sub-standard job of all of it. That is why, when I started on my entrepreneurial adventure (and with the help of a great therapist!) I was adamant that I wanted to create a working space where people could tailor the life they desire.
To achieve sustainable flexible working I believe businesses need to have a foundation of real trust, openness and an absence of judgement; that isn’t easy, can be risky and can’t be achieved by just saying it, it needs to be built and constantly maintained. But once you have that culture then people can really start to flourish and can identify and contribute their value towards your vision.
I am constantly wowed and immeasurably rewarded as a business owner, with a team that delivers outstanding quality, is motivated, weathers challenges and need the lightest of managerial touches. After years of feeling like I was riding a rollercoaster that wasn’t quite in control, I have also been rewarded with time to spend with my family where I am more patient and free to enjoy it!
With this in mind it is probably not surprising that this philosophy has crept into my latest business venture. The Curiosity Box, a package of fascinating and engaging science, tech, engineering and maths activities for families of 7-11 year olds that delivers quality time to your door every month.
One of the things I have learned in trying to create the life I want is to outsource. Outsourcing those things I don’t like doing and can be done better by someone else gives me not only time but enthusiasm to focus more on the stuff I enjoy. The Curiosity Box aims to soothe that pain of planning for, purchasing and orchestrating activities that the whole family will enjoy. We know that pain so well so we have tried to make it as easy for parents as possible, you get everything you need and the feel-good factor from seeing the kids learning new skills and gaining knowledge.
Having come from a single parent family, where no one I knew had been to University I am incredibly driven to make science accessible to everyone. We have made sure The Curiosity Box is less about complex scientific theories and more about the science in your everyday. The stuff that makes the world around you tick and that impacts your life. We have also put in a dash of history and art as well as role models to disrupt perceptions of who makes a scientist (after all we don’t all look like Einstein!).
We want The Curiosity Box to be a great alternative to screen time, one that kids will actually want to choose and that grandparents, aunties and uncles can get enthusiastic about. In fact we want The Curiosity Box to be a community, not just a product. All the preparation and packing will be done with love by a team of parents who want to do a bit of something sociable while the kids are at school. If all goes to plan we will be looking to recruit more parents in the Oxfordshire area in the next few months.
We are also looking for test dummy families who can try out our activities and give us feedback. If you are interested in hearing more about either of these roles then get in touch! firstname.lastname@example.org.
At a time when it feels like we are surrounded by anger and division I believe it is more important than ever that we protect the spaces where kindness and acceptance rule. We work hard to build a home based on love and there is no reason why we can’t do the same in the workplace. I would never say it is easy, it takes thought, perseverance and a willingness to accept that mistakes will be made – I have made some absolute corkers! but the challenges feel worth it when I get excited about going to work as much as I look forward to a big, squeeze from my kids when I get home.