Hi, My name is Nadia, I am the mother of 2 daughters, Rayne and Rose and married to Sy. We live in a beautiful coastal area of South Wales, UK.
When I was a child I loved caring for my dolls and fussing my cousins, I remember always wanting 6 children! When I was 16 I went to college to do a BTec National Diploma in Childhood Studies as I wanted to be a nanny. It was kinda inevitable that I would have a career working with children!
In my final year of college one of my tutors approached me about a job looking after a little boy who had a significant learning disability and associated challenging behaviours. I worked with him as a 1:1 in childcare settings and in his home and local community for years. I then got a job as an LSA in a school for children with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder). I knew I didn’t want to be a teacher but I wanted to further my career. I remember supporting a little girl with ASD and epilepsy, every time she had a seizure I would sit in the medical room with her while she slept it off. One day I picked up a folder entitled “The All Wales Child Protection Procedures” and started to read them. It was then that I decided to be a social worker.
I got a job as a Community Support Worker in my local Child Health and Disability Team and supported lots of children with all different needs to promote independence and communication within their homes. I completed my level 3 NVQ in childcare then got a place on the social work degree and 3 years later became the specialist social worker for children with multi-sensory needs. I loved working with children and their families.
So with all this knowledge and experience, when I became pregnant for Rayne I felt pretty well prepared and a little bit smug that I would nail parenting! I had strong views about certain things such as boundaries, discipline, routines and education. I loved watching super nanny and was certain I would have my baby sleeping in her own room at the age of 6 months and would use the timeout step to teach them boundaries and discipline.
I was pretty much your typical mainstream mum-to-be. HOWEVER, all that changed when Rayne came along. I actually think I started to change during pregnancy. I had done some research around natural pain relief, as I am scared of epidurals, and started to find things that were well… different! Things I had not heard of or considered before, such as the possibility of a home birth, hypnobirthing and pregnancy yoga.
Rayne was born in January 2012 in hospital using hypnobirthing and yoga breathing techniques as pain relief. I struggled with breastfeeding but got some help from a wonderful lactation consultant who 6 months later trained me as a breastfeeding peer supporter. I breastfed Rayne for 4 years, overlapping with her sister for 1 year, meaning I tandum fed for 1 year. I am still breastfeeding Rose who is 5 years old and will continue to do so until she is ready to stop.
To cut a long story short, girl was I wrong! Motherhood blew my mind, everything I thought was right felt so wrong. I let my instincts and my baby lead the way and I followed things up by researching on the internet. I found out that my parenting style was more in line with gentle and attachment parenting than mainstream parenting. It was strange because I met lots of new mum friends and we met up regularly but I felt so different from them. They were all bottle feeding and complaining that their baby would not settle in their crib while I was breastfeeding and happily cosleeping. They were comparing puree recipes while I was baby led weaning and they were all happy when they went back to work to get a break while I ended up taking more time off as neither of us were ready to be apart from each other! I am not saying my way is better than theirs, it was just different and I often felt alone and isolated as my complaints or questions were not the same. Thank goodness for social media groups and forums, it was here that I found my tribe of parents who did things like I did.
When Rayne was in year 1 of school and started to develop stomach aches in the mornings, I knew something wasn’t right. She soon started to refuse to go to school and rather than force her I started to look at alternatives. I was told about flexischooling by a friend so we set to work requesting this approach with the head teacher. It didn’t take long before we realised that school would not work for Rayne and we made a HUGE decision to homeschool. This also came with the decision to give up my career as a social worker and leave the team I had worked in for 14 years.
Almost 2 years later we are in our second year of deschooling/unschooling. Sy also left his job to start his own business and our dream is to become location independent and travel the world.
Our journey so far has been challenging at times but has taught us so much and I hope through my blog I can support and inspire others who are going through a similar transition from the mainstream to the alternative way of parenting, educating and living!
Please ask questions and I will endeavour to answer with openness and honesty