Probably around the time when I started practicing yoga, 18 years ago, I started seeking out natural remedies and health supports in place of conventional medicine. Over the years I’ve researched and tried almost everything from herbal tinctures to homeopathy to essential oils. Personally, herbal and floral remedies along with essential oils have been the best health supports for me and my family. When Ro had a very hard time sleeping more than 45 minutes straight at the age of 1, I used lavender essential oil in combination with flower essences to support her sleep. It felt like a miracle to see these simple natural supports help her sleep longer and more soundly. Since then I’ve sought out more knowledge and increasingly used essential oils and tinctures with my family. These days when the children are feeling sick or not themselves they will ask for an oil or drops — they’ve grown up thinking of these first. In fact, I’m not sure either of them knows what Tylenol is.
A few months ago I met Hannah Garrison who recently started a business Calm-a-Mama that specializes in herbal and flower supports for children and adults. I was really excited to find a company making blends to support common family needs like “sleep” “focus” and “calm”. We’ve been using Hannah’s drops for a month now and absolutely love them. The only trouble is that they are so tasty the children are coming up with symptoms so they can “have a few drops” everyday! It’s the same with essential oils, once you start using them, you find you are using them everyday for something, but it feels good to be reaching for this sort of bottle.
As usual, I wanted to interview Hannah to learn more about her and why she decided to pursue this business. I learned that Hannah is a very energetic entrepreneur with multiple projects and businesses on the go and that she has a passion for supporting mothers (she reminds me of two other great mothers I’ve interviewed Heather Mudry of Mama Malas and Alyssa Kerbel of Mini Mioche). I hope you will enjoy meeting Hannah and please feel free to ask me questions about natural supports I use with my family, I’m always happy to share.
Tell me a little bit about yourself. What is your background?
Well, I went to four colleges after growing up in NYC. I danced ballet, seriously, for years and then majored in anthropology. I always cleaned my room without prompting and have always been slightly scared that something terrible is about to happen.
What part of the world do you live in?
I live in an imaginary world, where everything is clean and organized. Oh wait – you mean for real? My family and I (and my businesses) are based out of Providence, Rhode Island (USA). I grew up in NYC and I have to say, at this point in my live Providence suits me better! It is beautiful, small enough to master and yet large enough to have good art and smart people.
How many children do you have and how would you describe them?
I have two kids – Camilla is 5 and Isaac is 2. I get nervous about describing them because I don’t want to pigeonhole them. So right now, today, Isaac is giving me a run for my money. He is amazing and hysterical, but a total and complete handful. Camilla is the best big sister he could ask for and in general she is a shining light. She is very precise and determined and all about mastery and planning. But emotional, so emotional.
What are your core family values?
That we show up and stay honest. My husband and I try to set the tone for this by really being open communicators about our feelings. I want our home to be a safe space where the tricky stuff can still arise and be handled.
How do you spend most of your days?
Feeling guilty that I should be with my kids more or feeling guilty that I should be at work more. I am totally stuck in the trap of nothing is right. But at the same time, I know it is all okay. I know I cannot be a stay at home mom and work full time. I know this is only temporary and I am really doing the best job I can.
What is your favourite thing to do as a family?
I’d say anything outside. We pretty much get along well and are happy doing anything. But, I’d say that as a unit we are out best outside. That can be yard work together, gardening, going to the beach or hiking– anything that gets us in touch with nature.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about moms. And moms helping moms. So I’ve recently had a trickle down interest in feminism, I recently read Wonder Women by Debora Spar. At one point she says, “…she could not do it all. No one can. No one does. Yet women today are laboring under an excruciating set of mutually exclusive expectations: a double or triple whammy of hopes and dreams and desires. To be madonna and whore. Mother and wage earner. Smart but not arrogant. A leader but not a bitch. And because they can’t possibly be all those things at once, women are retreating to the only place they can, the only realm they have any chance of controlling. Themselves.”
And I don’t want to be that person, at odds with all the other women and in the position of impossible. So I am passionate about empowering women. And right now that’s about putting some healing back into their hands.
What inspires you?
Right now I am mostly food motivated…But in general, everything inspires me. Which can, honestly, be a bit problematic. Mostly though, I am driven by helping other women…seeing other people thrive is my passion and my inspiration.
Can you tell me a bit about Calm-a-Mama?
Calm-A-Mama is my newest baby. I have run other businesses before but nothing that I felt so strongly and passionate about.
Calm-A-Mama drops combine two gentle methods of plant healing. First, we make USDA organic botanical water extracts and then add flower essences to them.We preserve the tincture in glycerin, resulting in a USDA Organic, alcohol-free supplement that is gentle enough to be taken by infants and yet incredibly effective on the emotional and physical bodies. Safe for the whole family and made from the highest quality organic ingredients
You advocate for simple everyday self care for mothers. Can you talk more about this?
Generally, I take something that I am really interested in and I make it into a business. I assume, that being human, a lot of other people out there will also dig what I dig. And I figure if I am so fired up about something and excited and passionate, that it will come through and entice others. Right now the world is busy, stressed and overwhelmed – and a great counterbalance to that is slowing down and paying attention. Essentially, intentionally caring for one’s well-being amidst this madness.
Why did you decide to start a business?
I’ve never had a choice. It is just what I do. Business is in every cell of my body.
Did you life goals and career aspirations change once you had a child?
Yes and no. They didn’t change so much as they adjusted. They shifted. They made space. I assume they will continue to do so as we cruise out of toddlerhood. My goals are like koi – adjusting to the available waters.
What are your dreams for your professional work?
To keep going. To live through it. To keep the balance. To keep helping people.
What are your dreams for your family?
I want my family members to be full, to live their fullest, to feel their fullest, to try and to seek and to soar.
Thank you Hannah! Readers you can find Calm-a-mama online here and on Instagram here or Facebook here and Twitter here.
Hannah also keeps busy with these other projects and businesses: www.wearyourmusic.com, www.OMstack.com and www.hannahgarrison.com.
You might also like my posts:
Creative Mother Kaity Ferrell of Fareisle
Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation for Children
Interview with a Minimalist: Kylah of Seasonally Nourished
Let’s be friends! Please come find me in other places…