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  • Claire Shouksmith

First Ever blog

Updated: Sep 17, 2018

I have never been much of a writer and the idea of blogging terrifies me, and this could probably be written way better than I will write it! I prefer to be outdoors than sitting inside working at a desk (hence the reason this is being written on the beach). However, I get told on a weekly basis by all the wonderful families I work for that I should be writing a blog, so here goes:


I received some news yesterday that I never would have thought would have affected me, but it has. My prep school headmaster died, a man I probably haven't thought about in at least 20 years but on reflection he moulded me into the person I am today. As an ex-Army Major he ran the school like we were in the military and most pupils did as they were told, but not me. He knew me from 2 years of age when I started at Nursery all the way till my youngest brother left prep school when I was 16. He push me academically (didn’t work out that well) but mainly he introduced me to the outdoors, teaching me to not fit into a mould, to break free, be different and to not follow the norm. I probably drove him slightly mad pushing every boundary I was given, he would open his office door to find me standing outside and say ‘Oh not you again’. In turn I pushed him to think outside the box too, I was the first girl with enough balls to ever ask him if I could play rugby with the boys, a question in the very early 90’s which was just unthinkable. Once he’d finished choking on his lunch he said yes.


When I was 11 he took me to a talk in York by Robert Swan an Arctic and Antarctic explorer, nearly 30 years on that's the night I remember that changed my life. I wanted to go to these places to do and see what this man had seen, no way could I see myself sitting in an office working stuck to a daily routine and desk and a family, and to this day I still feel the same way.


From a very early age I always knew I wanted to work with children, at secondary school I was the first person not to do A-Levels in many years. The careers' advisor found me a course in childcare, I went to York Tech College and have never looked back.

At 18 years of age I started my first nannying job in Iowa, USA. I spent the next 14 years as a full time live in nanny, I worked with children from newborn up to 18 and I also spent many years working with special needs and sick children. I managed to travel all over the world with work and in my free time between jobs, my mates would go off to Ibiza for their holidays I would be found climbing mountains in Borneo or Iceland, and then upping the anti to high altitude mountains and walking to the Magnetic North Pole.

After 14 years full-time nannying I decided to have a change, I went self employed and started doing short term, temp and emergency jobs. I have over the last 8 years managed to finally get the right balance of work and travel and have gained massive amounts of experience in all areas of child development mainly with babies and young children and in particular with the wonderful world of multiples.


When I first went self employed I took every job that came my way and set up as a maternity nurse and temp nanny, I have now found a love for guiding and encouraging parents with their newborns and with the wealth of knowledge I have now gained from working with over 150 families I am setting up this new venture, Birth and Beyond Parenting.


My ways might not be for everyone but they have worked for so many families, all coming with their own unique differences and challenges, pushing me to come up with different ideas all the time. I hope that some of my methods and ideas can work for your family too.


I was asked the other day why I loved 2 things so polar opposites apart, working with children and expeditions. I replied, its all about problem solving whether your 7000m up a mountain or sleep training triplets its all about solving problems and thinking outside the box and thats what I do best.

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Email: contact@birthandbeyondparenting.com

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