Mommy of the Year: Rachael McCracken

If you’re feeling in need of a shot of inspiration, I have just the story for you! I first came in contact with Rachael after reading a product review for a heater that she wrote for our company. Her enthusiasm was effervescent and her excitement with what she had done with said heater (transformed her home garage into a state licensed daycare!) completely captivated me. I ended up doing a major Google search to track her down and was, of course, even more caught up with her story the more I learned. So, she, with ridiculous willingness, took on my lengthy list of interview questions, and in the midst of raising her three kids, holding down the fort at her own home, caring for a husband, managing TWO full time day care centers and 22 sets of parents, found the time to share her inspirational story with me. I love it so much I can’t not share it with you!

In 2002, Rachael was a young, pregnant, about to be first time mom, working a customer service job. She had every intention of returning to work after maternity leave, until that is, her son Nathan actually arrived on the scene. With his arrival, the desire to return to work and even think of leaving babe became utterly impossible. Combine that with the fact that hiring daycare would have consumed the majority of her wages and that she was terrified by the thought of someone hiring someone else to watch her son, and Rachael knew she had to stay home. But she also knew she had to make up that salary.

She decided to make do with what she could in the situation she was given and so she brought in a few more children. And over the next 7 years, she watched, cared for and loved many children within her home. She loved the day job, in spite of the long, tiring hours. The loneliness. The lack of “corporate world accomplishments” that left her only with bragging rights to how many diapers she changed in a day. But, she still knew it was her passion and she loved it more than enough to turn the job into a career.

She took it up a notch and decided to expand. The family moved into a larger home where she could take on many more children. She enrolled in classes and became state licensed. Five years later, they rented a second home, and she took a $1,000 budget to turn the garage into a year-round heated and insulated play room. Her second location became fully enrolled within just months. And now? Just 9 years after her first child was born, she runs two state licensed daycares, a third is in the planning stages and she employs 8 full time employees in her small hometown in Indiana, a fact she takes extreme pride and joy in.

Rachael started from scratch. She wanted to stay home and she simply knew she had to find a way to make it work. And she did. Not only did she “make it work,” she put her blood, sweat and tears into making sure it succeeded and thrived. She invested when she could, like $1,000 for a garage remodel. She budgeted every phase and made a list of priorities. She shopped Goodwill and garage sales to furnish the centers. And, I’m sure there were plenty of sacrifices made along the way to create the beautiful centers that children now get to live, grow and be loved in during days away from home. But through it all, Rachel had sincere motivation:

At the core, my motivation is local families. I know the struggle, concern, fear, worry, etc. that parents go through when looking for childcare. I want to be the solution to their concerns. I want to offer them and their children a place to not only be part of a family, but to feel comfortable and confident in the care their child is receiving. {emphasis added}

In the end, Rachael just about has it all: I have 3 children, ages 4-9. They are my world. After almost 10 years in the daycare business, I can finally say that I make a good income. It has taken a lot of hard work, personal investment, time, and sweat to get to this point…but I finally made it. Although we live paycheck to paycheck like most families, I am thrilled to have a business that I am proud of and that many families are happy to be a part of!

If you’re feeling like you’re stuck and not sure how you’ll ever climb up or if it’s even possible to climb up, remember Rachael. She took what she had and she “made it work.” From no job to a day job to a full blown career, her hard work paid off in a major way. Go check out her daycare, Rachael’s Daycare, and get inspired, I think you’ll fall in love with her like I did. (And hey, if you’re in Indiana, I can suggest a good daycare!)

Freelancer Jocelyn discovered Rachael after reading Rachael’s G73 heater review, a heater she used in her garage makeover.

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