Hi and welcome to As They Grow, a place for parents to come for support and advice through all the seasons of parenthood.
My name is Nadine, and I live in West Sussex with my husband, Simon and three wonderful kids aged 22, 21 and 10. We’ve also got a couple of crazy hounds and a rather cute guinea pig.
I’ve spent the majority of my career working with kids of all ages. I qualified as a Primary School Teacher in 2005 and later as an Early Years Teacher in 2009. Over the course of 20 years, I’ve worked in a range of schools, preschools and nurseries both on a paid and voluntary basis.
For the past ten years, I’ve run my own home-based childcare business where I’ve had the privilege of caring for over 60 children ranging in age from 5 weeks to 11 years. I’ve also spent four years as a volunteer youth leader, supporting teens at my local church.
Over the years, I’ve worked with all sorts of families from a variety of backgrounds and situations. While some have been relatively conventional, others have been single-parent or blended families. Each has faced their own unique set of challenges, and I’ve done all I can to support them through the highs and the lows of everyday life.
Although I am happily married now, I was once in a difficult relationship. The impact of this and the subsequent breakup on both my eldest two children and me was profound. We had to adjust to living as a single-parent family for several years, along with all the challenges that brought. At times, these events took their toll on us. We have certainly come through some dark days together, but they left us stronger and closer than ever.
In 2006 I met my husband Simon, and together with my kids, we faced new obstacles. As well as getting used to our expanded family, we had to navigate the stepchild/stepparent dynamics. In 2010, we had a beautiful little girl. Delighted as we all were, we once again faced fresh issues. Now we had a new sibling joining the family, a 10-year age gap between the kids, not to mention the implications for my career. I’d always wanted to look after my own children, but we needed a second income. I found the solution by opening my own home-based childcare business. This gave me the income I needed along with the flexibility to be at home for my kids (and animals, of course!)
So, it’s been an interesting and busy time. I’ve certainly experienced a lot which has helped me grow and develop as a person, mother and childcare professional. Over the years, I’ve seen the range of challenges faced by the families I have worked with. I’ve learnt so much about kids, relationships and human behaviour, and used this along with my professional training to provide help and support whenever I could. And that’s what’s inspired me to develop this site.
Over the years, I’ve noticed how many families face similar issues. Of course, all parents have to navigate the pitfalls of weaning and potty training, but on a deeper level, I’ve been asked for advice countless times about a multitude of broader issues. From how to support children’s emotional wellbeing, to developing their social skills or dealing with night terrors; parents universally share several of the same concerns. Many have confided in me about the challenges they face in their relationships with their children, partners or wider family. They’ve shared worries about their finances, friendships, careers, physical or mental health. I’ve tried to support them and their children emotionally and given as much practical advice as I could. My heart goes out to them because I know what it’s like to struggle as a parent and not know what to do for the best. As I’ve come to realise that many parents around the world share the same concerns, I’d love to extend my support and a helping hand to them too.
I chose the name ‘As They Grow’ to represent the different challenges that we, as parents face through the progressive seasons of parenthood. The obstacles encountered by a first-time mum are vastly different from those experienced by a parent with a teenager about to head off to university. I want to support people in all the seasons of parenthood; in the excitement of becoming first-time parents to when wondering how best to forge a new career path after years of being at home. I aim to help parents through the highs and the lows by sharing the best of what I have learnt, so I hope you find this useful.
It’s equally important to me to recognise that we aren’t just ‘parents’ but people too – life is as much about us and our development, as it is about our kids, and I try to reflect this ethos in what I write.
I always love to hear from those who visit. If you have anything you’d like to share or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by,