Hi there friends, followers, likers and those who google ‘does pus gets in the milk we drink when its been squeeze from the cow’ (For real)!
Today I have an introduction to make to another mother in this developing series of mine (check out earlier features on Charlotte Weston and Carrie Felton) who has taken the bull by the horns and done something downright awesome, career-wise.
Charlotte Squire is the founder of Happyzine, which is happy little New Zealand-based media venture in which all the news is good.
Charlotte answered my questions.
So, what is Happyzine?
Happyzine‘s a national good news site designed to inspire positive change via inspiring environmental and social news.
And can you tell us about your original idea, and how you made it happen?
I used to be a freelance writer and I had this bee in my bonnet about writing too many articles with negative angles; I wanted to write to inspire people to create positive change in their lives, particularly environmentally. I worked at it, and then when I got pregnant with my son Kahu I slowed right down (couldn’t fit behind the desk!).
When my baby boy came along I spent hours daydreaming and getting to know him … the Happyzine idea kept knocking persistently on my consciousness during that time; it just wouldn’t go away. And so I started to send out a small monthly email to my friends. The rest is, well Happyzine history!
When I first found out about what you were doing with this project, I felt a little pang of familiarity – I think it was recognition of a woman re-examining her life upon becoming a mother, and reaching out in a new creative direction. How true is that?
I wanted to continue to cast out my positive contribution to the world, from home as I parented, and I was aware that, with my (then) partner working, I did have the opportunity to really enjoy this process, with no financial pressure and a lot of time on my hands. I ideally wanted to work at something where motherhood could remain the priority; I really wanted to enjoy those early years with Kahu, so it had to be mega-flexible. The online thing worked for me. I was also a musician and Kahu didn’t really enjoy my guitar playing (!). But I still needed something that filled me up, so I threw my energy into Happyzine. I was lucky to be able to relax, enjoy being a mama, and also enjoy starting up a cool new initiative that felt right on all levels.
How does your working life now compare to what you were doing BC – before children?
Hmmm … actually for years before I had Kahu, I was preparing to work from home as a mama! I wasn’t one of those people who worked a forty-hour week and then stopped to take time out for parenthood. I was more along the lines of – I’ve organised a nice work-from-home arrangement already, so bring on parenthood!
Who is your family now? How do they affect (/have they affected) what Happyzine is?
My family immediate family are my son Kahu and my dog Maia, with Kahu’s Dad also being there on a slightly outer circle as we live apart. Kahu’s cool with me working, most of the time, and when he’s not, I just have to stop and basically meet his needs. My dog Maia keeps me out running and visiting beaches and rivers. Marty spends a lot of time with our son, giving me more time to work on Happyzine, which hugely helps. I’m also very close to my siblings and mother, who live ninety minutes drive away in Nelson; they help me by loving me, steadily and with great loyalty. I know they’re always there.
In the spirit of voyeurism, will you tell us what the first three items on your to-do list are today? (Mine are: replace camera batteries; email my mum; water basil seeds).
Do the dishes. Tidy my room. Hang out and play with Kahu.
Check out Charlotte’s inspiring stuff at Happyzine. Digging not too much deeper, you’ll soon find that the magazine itself is the least of what this super-mama gets up to. She has all sorts of green-themed projects under her belt, including the establishment of the Wild Energy and Dream2Reality competitions, has an ebook to her name and also runs courses on transforming dreams into realities.
Having found all this out after I got in touch, I’m feeling pretty grateful she found the time to answer my nosy questions. Thank you, Charlotte!