Have you ever felt that the mainstream parenting advice does not feel right for you and your family? That there must be another way? I certainly felt like that when I was pregnant with Big F and was reading copious amounts of parenting advice. Once he was finally born I followed my instincts rather than what I read. And we survived and were happy, without purees, strict routines, crying-it-out and sterilising anything the baby was to touch. Today I am delighted to offer you a chance to meet some like minded parents at Tribal Hearts Festival.
Vanessa, who is the creator and organizer of the festival (as well as a single mum!), kindly invited us to the Tribal Hearts Festival. Before giving an answer of course I had a good read of the festival’s website. It felt like reading my own words. We are definitely kindred spirits! She has so much passion and energy when talking about natural parenting, she is a real inspiration.
It made me very sad that we can’t go, as we are embarking on a big adventure and won’t be in UK during the festival (look out for a post about this soon!). It is such a shame that we won’t get to meet Vanessa and other like minded parents this year, not to mention missing the wonderful musical line-up, inspiring workshops and fun activities. Fingers crossed we can make it next year!
The festival takes place in Green Park in Buckinghamshire from 12th to 14th August.
To give you an idea what to expect here’s a few activities to whet your appetite:
kids and parent & baby yoga
bushcraft and wilderness skills
natural parenting workshop with Sarah Ockwell-Smith
natural skincare stalls
and much much more…
This is a family orientated festival, so all ages are catered for, with a natural playground for older kids and a tinies tent for the youngest attendants.
Who best to talk about the Tribal Heart’s than miss-force-of-nature herself – Vanessa – so over to her:
Why have you decided to organise the Tribal Hearts Festival?
I have been going to festivals for a little while and they always left me feeling inspired. I have always been creative and I would look around and think “Yeah I could do this!” But I didn’t know anything about events or where to start so I didn’t think it was something I would ever act upon. Then I had my daughter over 2 years ago and I began my journey into what I now know to be called ‘natural parenting’ when I was faced with pregnancy and birth decisions. I went with my instinct and this continued into motherhood, opening up a new world of babywearing, cosleeping, breastfeeding and responsive parenting and as I became more conscious in my choices my lifestyle changed too. I wanted the best for my daughter and I, and so changed to organic foods and natural products and began to appreciate nature much more.
I was aware that my choices were considered alternative but it felt so right and I wanted to learn more. I started to study child development and psychology, and all of my gut feelings were confirmed. I felt like shouting from the roof tops “There is another way!”
Like many of us I had been bought up in a household where children were expected to as they were told told at all times and not answer back. My parents loved me very much and did their best like us all, and yet I often felt controlled, unworthy and unable to truly be myself, for my opinion and will were irrelevant in comparison to those of an adult.
This is not uncommon but it has become so accepted within society that we don’t necessarily recognise what we are doing. It could be putting a child on the naughty step, or threatening them with the confiscation of a toy in order to gain compliance, perhaps telling them to grow up or stop being a cry baby, and I could go on and on. These might seem like everyday, harmless interactions between parent and child but in fact in each circumstance we are giving our children a very strong message which will shape their view of themselves and the world. We are not validating the child’s feelings but telling them quite clearly that their own feelings and wants are unimportant and we only approve of them when they act according to our wishes. We isolate our children during the times when what they need most is love and connection.
It is society’s general view that children need to learn how to be ‘good’ and we need to teach them, no matter how harsh the lesson may be. We are completely missing the fact that human beings are born good, each and every one of them, they are merely reacting with limited understanding to what they experience. They are learning, and everything we say to them, every action we make is shaping their little, vulnerable minds. If we all truly understood the impact of our actions, I am positive we would change them.
And so, back to your question! I had this new idea for a festival, based around my new passion for natural parenting, and I felt more confident that I could pull it off. Of course having a baby I didn’t really have time to properly consider it and time went on. The idea was still there in the back of my mind waiting for when the time was right. Festivals cost a lot of money and are a lot of work and the truth is I wasn’t sure if the time would ever be right! But a year ago everything changed when I became a single parent, and suddenly I had this overwhelming feeling that I needed to just go for it. My friends believed in me and gave me the confidence I needed at a difficult time in my life, and I stopped thinking and started doing!
It has been a tiring, overwhelming, and amazing journey so far and I have learned so much along the way. Ultimately I hope that the festival gives other parents the tools and confidence they need to enhance their lives and their relationships with their children. I believe strongly that the best way to change the world is by raising compassionate children, and Tribal Hearts is my way of spreading that message, with plenty of added fun and adventure!
What has proved to be the biggest challenge?
Ironically the biggest challenge at the moment is applying all of the values of the festival to my own life! There is an unbelievable amount of work that goes on behind the scenes and always something else to be done so the festival is all consuming at the moment. Being mindful and present with my daughter is difficult and I have less time for me so I feel out of balance trying to juggle work and motherhood with no break. I am sure that this first year will be the hardest, so I am just getting through the best I can and being driven by the end goal. I know it will all be worth it in the long run and in the meantime I just have to keep reminding myself of my own values and keep doing my best. I can’t wait to see my own little girls face at Tribal Hearts and I hope it is something she can be proud of me for in the future.
You are juggling single motherhood with organising a big event, are you a superwoman?
See above! All mother’s, single or not, are superwomen! Some of my friends have husbands who work away for months at a time, others are single parents with more than one child, and I don’t know how they do it! We seem to cope with whatever circumstances we have and I am lucky to have support. It is in my nature to set myself huge challenges and I find it hard to sit still for long! But naturally I feel the pressure and I have had to prioritise and let go of the less important things, like keeping the house tidy. Some days are total chaos but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Tribal Hearts Festival Tickets Giveaway
I am delighted to offer you a chance to win a family ticket to Tribal Hearts Festival (two adults and two children; kids under 2.5 go free). Camping costs are included in the price, but do bring your own tent! Parking is provided by an external company at £10 and is not included.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
PS. I have not been compensated for writing this post. I am sharing this information with you, as I think Tribal Heart’s Festival is a wonderful initiative and I hope that you can have lots of fun!