Get Your Fair On with Guest - Shirley from The Vancouver Island Baby Fair

i love a fair. i especially love a baby fair. but what i love even more than just a baby fair is one that is geared for my toddler/preschooler and my baby! who doesn't enjoy a chance to check out loot for the kiddies, find new resources, scope out all the cute babies, chat with other moms and get to see bobs and lolo to boot! they'll be playing 4 shows over the weekend during the vancouver island baby fair here in victoria, bc and i just love me some bobs and lolo...i know, they are supposed to be for kids but i can't help sing along to they just look so fun to hang out with!

when's the vancouver island baby fair?

victoria's baby fair will be held on saturday, september 25th and sunday, september 26th at the pearkes recreation center. prices are insanely reasonable at $7 per person (add $1 for weekend pass) and the kiddos (12 & under) are free!

who's behind the vancouver island baby fair?

one hard working momma! shirley broback is a talented, multi-tasking mom of 2, who is also the savvy mom mom entrepreneur of the year for 2009 by!! go shirley! she also happens to be one of our fabulous sponsors here in the mommyhood! i was curious as to how shirley began her road to creating "laughing belly productions" and the vancouver island baby fair and still manage to stay sane and balance her family/personal life. so i figured why not ask her to share her answers with all of us here as part of the babyhood bonanza. i find it fun and inspiring to hear how talented ladies like shirley do it all, plus i know i'm not the only one curious and ok, i'll be honest, a bit nosy :)

now let's hear from shirley.........

I don’t know what it is about being pregnant, but I have noticed this with so many other entrepreneurs I have met: there is some kind of powerful hormone in pregnancy that makes you need to create. There is some kind of instinct in us to want to provide for our family. And there is a maternity leave with an ending and a job that we might be looking at with different lenses now that baby is a reality.

I have met so many women entrepreneurs who have started their business as a result of new-mommyhood, after discovering some kind of service or product gap that needs filling. The gap I needed to fill was a central community resource for families with lots of information on services ranging from pregnancy through preschool. I filled the gap with the Vancouver Island Baby Fair.

Through my research, I started to piece together the elements that would make a successful event: interesting presentations geared to parenting, fun activities for kids, basic amenities new parents need like easy access to diaper changing and a place to feed the baby. I also discovered dozens of other unique small businesses - many of them mom-run - that needed better exposure.

Another big reason for building a business was that I was aiming to prevent my own postpartum depression. Don’t ask me why I thought creating a full time job for myself and creating more pressures and responsibilities was prevention, but it actually did help!

I suffered with major postpartum depression when my son was born, so when I became pregnant again, I knew we had to make big changes. Having my husband home for a longer period of time while I went about the business of building our business and being mom to a newborn and toddler was the biggest help of all. I had focus and I had support. It was a huge challenge, but we made it through.

Now that I have five successful Baby Fairs under my belt, one of the biggest questions I get is how I balance family and business. First off, the word ‘balance’ is a really funny word to me. It’s often about coping, really, and enjoying your life, one day at a time. And working hard.

One thing I learned quickly is that my desire to be a full-time mom and a full-time business owner wasn’t going to work unless I figured out a way to clone myself. So I learned to schedule better, plan ahead, and to get help with child care when my husband went back to work.

I have also accepted that I am no Martha Stewart and that having a messy house is pretty much a given. I struggle with dinner ideas and getting enough exercise & ‘me’ time but it’s still all a work in progress and it’s an exciting challenge. I also have an amazing and supportive husband, so in return I make sure he knows how amazing he is by writing love letters to him
and generally appreciating his awesomeness.

Balance? It’s not really there yet. But I know my priorities. I intensely love and appreciate my family and let them know this fact each and every day. I also know that I love working hard at planning and making the Vancouver Island Baby Fair a fun and cool event for the growing families and businesses on Vancouver Island! Every thing else is gravy.

want to know more about the vancouver island baby fair? keep up to date on giveaways, exhibitors and all the fun going on? join on twitter, facebook and even follow along their blog "inside the pea pod". you can also click here to watch a little video on the fair. make sure to pick you and the family, heck even your best mom friend up some tickets and have a blast while you also help support the greater victoria down syndrome society.

a big thank you to shirley for sharing her story with us. come pop by next month for a chance to win yourself some tickets to the baby fair! only 3 more days left of the bonanza, make sure to check back for a fun tutorial tomorrow!

are you going to be at the vancouver island baby fair? i know i'll be there. come say hi if you see me, don't be a stranger :)