It is just days before the big event, a community festival involving various speakers and groups. We haven’t even got a map approved and the local council that we’re working alongside are urging us to send it through. There’s a mass of market stalls wanting to know where they are going and of course the public are sending in a load of random emails. It takes an office team to organise events, right now it’s just me. But I’m also a full time mum who organises these events for the love of it. I believe it’s important to build community driven change and so here I am.
I’m at the computer putting out organisational fires, trying to get the map layout approved and a main food vendor drops out leaving me wondering if we’ll have enough food for 3000 people. This also happens to be the day my two and a half year old decides not to sleep. I love those precious two hours when I can achieve something in the office. Not today. Instead I battle him under the office desk as he makes his way to the electrical cords, sending him away I find him peeing on the carpet instead (we’re toilet training and today isn’t going so well), he then climbs behind me on the office chair with a toy tractor trying to excavate down the back of my pants. While my anxiety for the event is writhing I can hear his laughing as he repeats the words, “poo, poo, mummy poo.” After not successfully excavating he finds his way to the backyard where he’s silent. Maybe I’ll get something done after all. Ten minutes later he comes in with his hands piled with chicken poo and a proud smile. Do all heroes trying to save the world have this trouble?
Many mums work these days, and many are taking on the ‘live your dreams’ and run your own business so you can balance being at home and work too. The thing is, most businesses have set hours but working from home there is no such thing. It’s non-stop, just like parenting. So where is the balance?
If you add up the time you need to run a successful business and also to be a great mum then the week simply needs more hours. Work with things you can change they say. Something has to give they say. Ok, for me its house cleaning. I don’t live in a filthy wasteland but I do have a pang of guilt when I visit a house that is immaculately cleaned and organised while smelling of home baked cookies.
There it is, the guilt. Are you compromising your valuable time with your child, or compromising your potential as a business owner? I have thought of this often and I’ve realised something, the guilt doesn’t go away; you just learn to manage it.
The thing is, there’s always going to be that immaculate mother who seems to take on her role as mother divine so effortlessly. She doesn't have breakfast on her top, I’m sure she’s on time every week for playgroup (I’m not sure I’m always late), her children will have clean clothes on and a spare set for when they get messy. I see her and feel guilty. Then there’s the business sharks. They are the social media boasters striving ever forward with their corporate aspirations. To both these characters, I say well done. For me, I am doing the best I can as a full time parent and a business owner. I am messy and my child may only have on one shoe if I can’t find the other one. I also don’t make it to the office on Monday’s because I work all weekend at events and need a day to play with trucks in the sand pit. So, there it is- my balance.
Mum's with similar values are like gold. I wagged mothers group so I pulled on my community tribe for support instead. If you don't know parents that you connect with then look up social groups online. Other parents offer advice, support or simply someone to chat with outside of the hectic work-home zone. Some mum's work, others don't, but we all have a common understanding for raising little ones as wholesomely as possible.
I believe whole-heartedly in what I do for work, I also believe in being a dedicated parent. I need to run a household with solid sustainable values plus a company that is striving to make a difference. To any parents out there who are on a similar journey I salute you. It’s hard. What I have learnt are some basic survival tactics I’d love to share.
Basic tips for trying to save the world and raise children
- Make time schedules, every day has an action plan. Be prepared for this plan to fall to pieces because of unforeseen circumstances.
- Communicate clearly with your partner and note on a shared calendar when you need them to support you.
- Gather a team to help. We used to raise children in community, now everyone is busy so source a variety of people that you can call on at different times. Make sure that they know your parenting values and that you feel comfortable with them. If you don’t have family, friend or neighbour support then you need to budget in paid support.
- This working parent business is exhausting. Work out what you value as fulfilling and make sure you schedule this in regularly. You need some heart juice that gives you the fuel to keep up the hectic routine. It may be a sunset walk with your family, a stash of incredible chocolate or a muscle crunching work out. We all need survival tactics.
- Dedicate time each week to do one of your roles well. Have a day, or part of, dedicated to play time with your children. Turn your phone off for play time. Also have office time where your child is taken care of so you can properly answer emails.
- At one point your child may get sick and it will most likely be when you are needed at work. Have a back up plan in place for when this happens such as a trained employee to fill in for you. When I have had to send in other contractors so I can look after my son I've felt grateful to be able to be there with him.
- When you need to be at a meeting, gig or anywhere at a particular time, your child is likely to spill something on you, have a tantrum or hide your car keys. Make sure you adjust your getting ready time to accommodate.
Is it worth it?
Absolutely. I wouldn't change it for the world.
Working has worked for us and I think it's been beneficial to my son. He has a whole load of 'faerie aunties' who he adores and he gets to be out and about on weekends as I charge around the place performing at events.
I think there are some amazing stay at home parents and functioning working parents too. Each situation is different. For me, I need both work and a family but I can only achieving this with a support team.
I've been working as a faerie for over 20 years, I've written books, performed around the world and developed a company that I am proud of. But my greatest creation is my son.
The motto of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle,’ is taught to children at kindy, they get it. We have an incredible amount of waste coming out of homes that people need to change their ways. I find that children learn the waste education concepts easily, and it’s through them we hope to educate the ‘grown-ups.’ Adults have the ability to make grown-up decisions but they struggle when it comes to the point of purchase.
There are mountains of waste being buried in landfill, burned or shipped across the globe so that another country can deal with our problem. It’s a sad reality and to make real change we need to look at where we’ve gone wrong. The waste messages are not new, they’ve been around for years. However what most people don’t realise is that the most important word for waste is ‘REDUCE.’
Upsizing is a marketing tactic popular with large companies to make you, the consumer, feel like you’re getting a good deal. It encourages people to buy more product and larger serves. Upsizing works by making smaller sized serves comparatively expensive and then offering to ‘upsize’ to a larger quantity for a fraction more money. People tend to ‘upsize’ even when they don’t want so much because it seems like good value for money.
The main problem with upsizing is that it results in people buying and consuming more than they need. Firstly there is the health implications of consuming more than you need and secondly there is the waste left over.
Many fast food chains and cinema food stores offering ‘bundling,’ where individual food items are sold together as a ‘combo,’ or ‘meal deal.’ This works the same way as upsizing, where individual items are more expensive, which encourages the keen consumer to buy a bundle deal. This is highly profitable to the company as the extra items usually have a high profit margin such as fries, popcorn or soft drink. The main problem with bundling is that people consume more than they need or there is food waste.
Larger packets and bottles
To increase the sale of a product marketing has gradually increased the size of your regular items such as packets of chips and soft drinks. By offering an ‘upsized’ deal the consumer would purchase a larger size from now on, forgetting that it was once a deal. For example soft drink cans used to be a standard size of 250ml, they have crept up to a standard 375ml size. The most common purchased size is now a 600ml plastic bottle size.
Household hazardous waste
This is also the same with cleaning products, garden chemicals and paint where there are often upsized or two for one deals. When these items are not finished, the excess becomes household hazardous waste. The excess is often stored in a cupboard until it is eventually poured down the drain or thrown in the bin so someone else can deal with it. In reality it is nature that has to deal with it. The toxins can pollute the land and find their way to the water systems. If you have excess chemical waste take it to your local waste collection point where it will be processed with the least damage to the Earth. To find your local drop off point contact the waste officer from your local council.
What can you do
It can be hard to push through the marketing tactics that are targeted to ignite your feel good senses. We are trained to look for a ‘good deal,’ and these upsizing tactics deliver the goods. They encourage over-consumption as they exploit resources, ask for more money and then make you feel like you’ve grabbed a great deal.
Instead of looking at the bargain you’re getting look at the cost to your health for an upsized meal, the unused resources that go to waste and the little bits of money you save if you get exactly what you need.
When you go to the shops have in mind the right quantity that you need and stick to it. Upsizing has become our downfall as we now have cupboards filled with unused ‘stuff.’ Take pressure off the Earth’s resources and the fast filling landfills by becoming a thoughtful shopper.
When a balloon is let go it will blow high and fill the sky with colour. We've all seen it happen. At an event you may have seen a mass balloon release or the accidental let go of balloons at a festival as they one by one drift towards that magical place called 'away.'
The sad truth is it will eventually burst or deflate, then return to pollute the planet. A balloon can travel hundreds of kilometers before landing in a forest, lake or the ocean. No ecosystem is safe.
Many animals such as turtles, whales, dolphins, seals, birds, fish and other wildlife mistake balloon debris for food. The ribbons attached to balloons are also deadly when animals become entangled in them.
When ingested, balloons can block an animal’s digestive tract, this will lead to a slow painful death as they eventually starve. It is extremely common for sea turtles to consume balloon litter. Turtles love to eat jellyfish, what do you think a balloon looks like under water?
Balloons are often used for promotion at events as cheap giveaways to children. But at what cost? Balloons are deadly to animals and we believe they are an ecological disaster. Eco Faeries are at events every week and watch sadly as balloons drift away. It breaks our hearts as we think of the devastation that could be caused by them.
We plea to schools, businesses and event organisers to think about the environmental consequences of balloons when they reach nature.
The strong plastic ribbon often attached to balloons can entangle any animal that comes in contact with it. Birds have become entangled in the sky, along with sea animals when the balloon has landed.
The plastic is not biodegradable and will exist in nature for hundreds of years.
Releasing a balloon is simply littering and we believe should be against the law. Many cities around the world are now moving to ban mass balloon releases, you can contact your local council member to see if they are considering banning balloon releases.
The balloon industry is working hard to keep balloon releases legal at the expense of our planet and wildlife. They claim latex balloons are biodegradable but studies show they can take years for this to happen, offering plenty of time for wildlife to encounter the litter.
Balloon releases are popular with charitable events, weddings, memorials for loved ones or to bring awareness to a cause. At the same time, we are becoming more aware of our personal impact on the environment. How about try something different?
Instead of releasing balloons that damage life perhaps event organisers can consider handing out bubbles instead? EVERYONE loves bubbles. Some bubble bottles are recyclable as well as refillable. If used for promotion you can get bottles custom printed.
Rather than release balloons, try planting new life. Give away plants and seeds to celebrate your business or occasion.
Candles and Kites
You can commemorate an occasion by lighting candles, fly kites, or organise a clean-up!
Helium depletion is also a concern. Helium is used for important things such as MRIs, the space industry and deep-sea exploration. Helium is a non-renewable resource and experts warn the US supply is being depleted, forcing it to be imported from Russia and the Middle East.
Using a valuable non-renewable resource for the sake of a balloon doesn't seem like a sustainable approach. As the world becomes more 'green aware,' we need to let go of old ideas that we know are doing more harm than good.
Why celebrate by harming another?
Thousands of balloons are washing ashore everyday and many more are floating in the ocean. There are alternatives that will have a smaller environmental impact.
Eco Faeries would like to support your decision to not have helium balloons at your next event. If you'd like more ideas on alternatives please contact us.
Balloons Blow...Don’t let them go
Pictures and quotes from www.balloonsblow.org
Head to their website for more information or to see how you can campaign in your area to have balloon releases banned.
While we enjoy basking in the warm days and cuddle up in the cooler nights many of our animal and ocean friends have some very different autumn traditions.
In the north of Western Australia, the Whale Sharks gather to follow the massive coral spawn in Ningaloo Reef. Neither whale or shark, these beautiful and majestic animals are actually giant fish!
Let’s all celebrate these gentle giants with frolicking ocean yoga!
Imagine you are a giant whale shark coming up to the surface of the oceans to play in the waters of Ningaloo Reef.
Lay down in Shavasana (relaxation pose). Taking a few slow breaths to connect with yourself for a moment.
Lift your hips and belly button into the air, grasping your hands under your back whilst keeping them pushed firmly onto the floor. Breathe slowly here and imagine you are a huge whale shark swimming to the surface of the ocean. This is Setu Bandha (Bridge pose).
Now breathe out, lowering your belly button and hips back down to the floor as slowly and gracefully as a whale shark descends back down to the deepest oceans. Remember to roll down on your spine one vertebrae (that’s those little bones in your back!) at a time. Nice and slow.
This will give your spine a gentle massage.
You may do Setu Bandha as many times as you feel you need to, then stretch out in Shavasana again. Close your eyes and feel your body buzzing with energy and love.
Take a few long breaths and be proud of yourself.
Enjoy the stretches you feel in Bridge Pose, like the chest opener, your arm and upper leg muscles pulling and developing and your abdominal muscles engaging. All these feelings will help you grow and develop strength and flexibility.
Don't forget to smile a great big whale shark smile!! :D
For more wonderful yoga poses and stories by Rainbow Pammy check out Rainbow Yogis
Making a faerie garden is a wonderful way for children to discover the magic of gardening while allowing their imagination to fly free. Creating a special place for them to grow plants, decorate and play is easy and if you can think outside the raised garden bed it can also be very cheap or even free.
Broken things are perfect
You will need a vessel or small space in your garden. Remember faeries love to reuse old materials so have a look around at broken things such as a cracked vase or broken pot, a saucepan with a missing handle, a shoe without it's pair, these are perfect faerie garden props.
Choose the right plants
Like all good gardens prepare your soil and choose the appropriate plants. Things to think about; some faeries love flowers, herbs such as oregano can be a good ground cover, succulents and natives are water wise and more forgiving when forgotten, veggie plants are wonderful for children to watch grow and they get to eat their produce. Consider your space, how much time you want to give the garden and choose the best plants for you.
Plan your garden
Draw up a map of what you would like to see in your garden. Here are common things you find, of course none are essential and you can create whatever your heart desires
- a letter box
- a water pond/pool
- circles for faeries to dance around
- a mirror
- miniature garden furniture pieces made from sticks and honkey nuts
- nooks made from jars and pots on their side
- mini bunting
- sign posts
- welcome mat
- a faerie house
Once you have your map it's time to place it all in and start creating. Help when needed but try to step back and allow children to plant and build this space. Enjoy the process of getting hands in the soil and let their imagination fly as they create a magical landing ground for faeries to enter their garden. Remember it's not dirty, it's earthy!
Keep up the magic
The magic doesn't stop here, the garden needs to be maintained and bits of junk you come across can be turned into new accessories. Remember to check the letterbox- letters, feathers, presents and sparkles are often left behind (wink wink, nudge nudge)
Don't forget to send us your garden pics!
Finding the balance of being a dedicated mum and busy working faerie