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9 years ago...

Nine years ago I became a mother. By the time my first daughter was born, I was just finishing my Masters of Education. I was 25 when she was born. Since I was 18 I had worked in childcare and school settings, and felt confident in my knowledge of early childhood development. At a very young age, I started to notice my daughter achieving milestones at lightening speed. For example, she was 16 months old and stringing words into full sentences. At 10 months, she was identifying colors. By age 3.5, she was reading at a 1st grade level.

It may sound mind blowing, but I had actually known a little girl much like my daughter. She is my sister, 11 years my junior. My sister. These days, she stands out of a crowd like none other. She is bold, strong, and unique. A true artist at every sense of the term. But when she was a little girl she was lost amongst the crowd of her public school peers. I expressed concerns for my sister when I was a young teen, myself. This never sat well with our family, and my concerns were often targeted as "needing to mind my own business." But children and my family are my business. My sister really inspired me to work in the field of education. I began as a teacher who wanted to help individualize lessons for students based on their needs. As time progressed, my passion shifted from not just helping kids, but helping families. I saw what my siblings were lacking from the family unit, what had impacted my own life as a kid, and made it my mission to understand child development, and in turn help parents understand it as a means to be better parents.

Then my daughter was born and for 3.5 years I watched her impress and astound us with her talents. Just like my sister always had/does.

Once my daughter was of school age, I decided I couldn't send her to public or private school. I couldn't let my little girl get lost in a sea of mediocracy. I couldn't depend on teachers like my co-workers to individualize her schoolwork. Not with the way the system was set up for these teachers, at least. Even the best of best teachers are restricted and held back by government standards. No. These were not the four walls meant for my kid, just as they were never meant for my little sister.

One day while working in a UPK classroom as a lead, I witnessed a teacher's assistant treat a child in a way I'd never allow. It wasn't the first time I witnessed questionable behavior from school staff (here and elsewhere), but it would be the last. I reported the incident, and a week later I also resigned from my job.

I left my career and made it my mission to create a stable, exciting, and fulfilling life for my family... from home! I continued my love for teaching via in-home daycare at one point. Then, when my businesses took off, I continued my love for teaching via my own 4-H club, co-ops, and teaching that bright little girl that ignites my soul as a teacher in ways I've never known. Everyday. For all her days. I don't miss a beat, and now I get to do the same for her sister and brother.

She not only inspired me to take the leap towards homeschooling/unschooling, or to start up my own businesses. She inspired the help I give to others concerning parenting and she inspired this space! Little known fact! She inspired the name of this space too. A few years back, she came to me with a little paper mama and baby she had drawn and cut out. They were meditating together on a yoga mat. She told me, 'It's a mindful mama..." She was only 5 at the time and she stunned me with awe, and in that moment a whole vision of motherhood, childhood, and teaching filled my mind. I still keep that little paper mama and babe, proudly.

To celebrate her 9 years of life, use code VAYDA on the site for 9% off all purchases!

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