A LOCAL mum and business owner is taking part in a ‘more than a mum’ campaign, encouraging people to think about what mums really want and need this Mother’s Day, supporting local businesses at the same time.

Helen Smith started offering ‘Fun Farm’ classes to teach children about farming, rapidly expanding into Byres Farm.

She explained: “I started off adult life as a rural chartered surveyor travelling all over Scotland but life changes dramatically when you have kids. My husband is a farmer working long hours, so being away from work wasn’t practical anymore. We made the decision that I’d stay at home until the kids went to school.

The Scottish Farmer: Helen with her family Helen with her family

“As I started attending groups, my friendship group expanded to include more urban mums. I realised that there was an opportunity to educate kids about farming.

“I started a little group called Fun Farm, thinking that if I got 10 children a week, I could put the money towards some outdoor play equipment for my children. But demand was massive. From the first week and one Facebook post, I had a waiting list of 100 children.

“Through tourism work, we relocated to Byres Farm, which was fantastic for our farming business and fantastic for my business too. What initially started as a way to help me to stay at home grew into Byres Farm which offers activities for families year-round, from Easter egg hunts to Santa at Christmas.

“We also offer birthday parties, whisky tours, and free circular walks with a self-service coffee shop seven days a week.

“For me, seeing the families having a fantastic time at Byres Farm is a wonderful feeling. And that’s why I’m happy to be a part of the Moray Gift Card, and part of the ‘more than a mum’ campaign. Every time someone supports a local business, they’re supporting a family, employees, and the local economy itself. If mums receive a Moray Gift Card this Mother’s Day, they can spend it with fantastic local businesses, without having to travel anywhere.”

Byres Farm is one of over 270 businesses which accept the Moray Gift Card, including shops, restaurants, attractions and more, backed by Moray Council and part of the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card initiative from Scotland’s Towns Partnership and Miconex.

The Scottish Farmer: Helen and the kids at home at Byres farm Helen and the kids at home at Byres farm

A Scotland Loves Local Gift Card survey with over 370 mums in the UK and Ireland has shown that 77% of mums say they feel guilty spending money on themselves.

A huge 96% of mums surveyed said they’d like to receive a local gift card for Mother’s Day, with beauty treatments and a meal out being the top items they would spend their gift card on.

Helen, who is also president of the Moray Business Women’s Network, said: “I’m not surprised by the survey results, especially mums wishing for more time for themselves. Being a mum and working is a juggling act. I’m a mum until 8am when the kids get on the bus for school, then it’s time for work until 3pm, 3pm-8pm is mum time again, 8pm-11pm is work again, and that’s seven days each week.

“I think sometimes there’s a perception that if you’re working at home, it’s not working, but you definitely are.

“Being married to a farmer, they’re busy all day and tied to the weather. I remember my waters breaking in the middle of harvest. My husband had to keep combining until we left for the hospital. When we got home after the birth at 1pm, he was back combining at 2pm. That’s the reality of life.

“It can be hard for mums to find the balance between work and family life, but it’s something I’m getting better at, especially as the children get older. I think as a mum, it’s vital to have a network of other mums who understand the situation you’re in.”