Meet Haley Macklin - @plantbasedwildlings

Haley Macklin - she makes the most beautiful and healthy plant based foods, raises her son Noah in a gentle way, lives on an organic fruit farm just out of Byron Bay with her husband James, and is all about living an eco and sustainable life.  

Tell us about where you live... (location, just out of Byron, organic fruit farm, what do you grow there etc..)

We currently live in a rental on a beautiful 32 acre organic fruit farm, about 40 mins north of Byron Bay. The house is perfectly located beneath a forest of mangoes, lychees and pecans….however we are looking to buy our first home… stay tuned!

What does a typical day look like for you? 

Family smoothies, books and naked play (Noah!) usually begin our day, before we venture outside to water the garden and enjoy the morning sunshine. Some days Noah has swimming, others he is at preschool at a divine little Steiner school in Mullumbimby. If it’s a day at home, we play, read, cook, do craft…whatever Noah feels like doing. I like to create a rhythm where our day is orientated towards his interests when we are at home. Even if I have to clean or do housework, we make a game out of it so its enjoyable (which we LOVES! Honestly, cleaning the bath with bicarb soda is his all time favourite game!). The evenings revolve around dinner, which Noah always like to contribute towards, followed by a warm bath with essential oils & magnesium salts, a few books, and then big cuddles and sleepy time for Noah. James and I have dinner once he is asleep, and take some time to enjoy one another’s company. We usually end the day reading books in our spare bed (the one negative about co-sleeping is you can’t read books in bed before you go to sleep!). James is currently reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, and I am reading a Permaculture book by Bill Mollison. 

What’s your favourite thing to do as a family?

We love a day in the garden together - nothing makes me smile quite like seeing Noah in his jocks and gumboots, pushing his wheelbarrow around! We also love going to the beach, or having a family date to our favourite vegan restaurant in Byron Bay, ‘The Beet’.

What characteristics do you hope Noah will inherit from you and James?

From James, I hope he inherits his patience and calmness, his gentle presence, and his passion for physical health and fitness (my husband is currently training for his first ironman - he loves going running or for a long ride through the country side).

From me, I hope he inherits my passion for health, my excitement and enthusiasm for basically anything, haha! and my love for the natural world.

That being said, whoever he grows into, whatever he chooses to be, I will love and accept him unconditionally.

What inspires you?

I am deeply inspired by people who live authentically, without the need of approval from others, and who follow what I have learnt to call their ‘inner guidance system’. Those people have a presence about them, you can see it in their eyes & the way they hold themselves. They are incorruptible, and will sell out to no one. They follow the beat of their own drum, and go their own way. They are non conformist, and know that there are many routes to the same destination. There are only a handful of people in my life like this, and I genuinely aspire to be like them, in my own unique way. They remind me that I am here to do something special, just as they are, and comparing myself to others will not help me deepen my understanding of what that something special is. Noah is one of these people, and every day I do my best to stop, reframe, and try to see the world from his perspective. He is unschooling me everyday, and teaching me to see the world in a whole new light. 

What would you say your top 3 tips are for raising Noah in a gentle, natural way?

The first big one is respect. In every moment, I endeavour to respect Noah, just as I respect any other human being. From respect, comes equality (seeing him as equal to me, not lesser just because he’s younger) which fosters humility and allows me to recognise that he is here to teach me just as much as I am here to teach him. We are both teachers AND students, both learning and growing, albeit in difference stages of the lifecycle. 

The next is clear communication. When I communicate with Noah in a gentle, loving way, so many arguments and outbursts are diffused quite quickly. We still disagree, he still argues and loses his temper (its normal for a child to be overwhelmed with emotions, just as its normal for any adult to be overwhelmed by emotions), but instead of reacting, I respond from a centred place. 

The third isn’t so much one ‘thing’ as much as its the whole philosophy of Unschooling, incorporating this into our lives has been world changing for me as a parent. It makes me rethink my own conditioning, and question so much traditional parenting techniques. When I hear myself say something like “No Noah, you can’t do xyz”, the little unschooler in my head goes “Why? Why can’t he do that? He won’t be in immediate danger, and he might learn something”. Many of the limitations we place around our kids are actually quite damaging and don’t really contribute to building strong, confident little spirits. We want them to be empowered, confident and purposeful, so they also need to make mistakes, fall down, get hurt, to feel the satisfaction of getting up, trying something different to find a way to make it work. Of course, I believe in creating strong boundaries around Noah, but these boundaries are far wider then when I was a kid. 

More from Hayley: @plantbasedwildlings