The Sassiest Mama Awards 2015
She’s been told that her chin is just like Jennifer Anistons (we think it’s even better), loves coffee, red wine and salt & vinegar crisps – but more importantly is the amazing mama of 2 who has brought mother and baby groups in Arabic, Spanish and French to our desert city, as well as offering language solutions to nurseries and older kids. As a seasoned expat with family all over the globe, she’s all about the importance of getting to know and understand other cultures – and we couldn’t agree more.
Who’s The Mama?
Full Name: Nadia Wehbe
Occupation: Self employed as mum and entrepreneur
Children: Kai 7 and Teo 4
Nationality: Born in Kuwait to a British Mother, Lebanese/Palestinian Father (he was born in Palestine), brought up in Dubai and hold a British & Lebanese Passport
How long have you lived in Dubai? On and off since 1973
1) Tell us about your business/businesses and why you started them.
Baby Arabia is a children’s language program that offers a series of parent/child and Nursery programs devoted to a child’s learning of other languages through music, interactive games, stories and play.
It all started with our first son, who initiated Baby Arabia, when he was very young I was in a Spanish-speaking country and decided to join a ‘mother and baby’ group. Though I speak Spanish I noticed that some of the other mothers who didn’t speak it were not affected negatively. Their babies were happy to be stimulated and the fact that it was not in their native language seemed to be an extra advantage to their experience!”
So when I was back in Dubai I looked for similar baby and toddler groups, I noticed they were mainly in English. None of them were being offered in Arabic. As a child of mixed-race parents and being married to a European, I felt I needed the support of a community to introduce Arabic to then our first son. So I decided to start my own programme which now not only offers a ‘mother and baby” group in Arabic but in French and Spanish too.
We also provide language solutions to nurseries and train Arabic the Baby Arabia way to Nursery language teachers. “Everyone has different reasons for introducing a language to their child. Mine is simple.
I believe that offering our sons extra languages can only be a positive step in their intellectual and social development – especially when meeting and understanding people of different cultures.
2) What do you feel have been your biggest achievements both in your personal life and career so far?
On a personal level my biggest achievement I share with my husband, and that is our family, having our boys was no easy feat J and many a time I look back and am so grateful to have them. Also my work with the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) it felt good to see that we can make a difference in peoples lives. Professionally, winning the Ro’ya competition was marvellous I really didn’t think I would come first from 72 competitors but is goes to show, work had and believe.
3) As a child what did you dream of being when you ‘grew up’?!
I dreamt I would get married and have kids I really did, but funny how sometimes you think you know your dreams but when they don’t go as to plan you learn a lot, I’m fiercely independent and thus marriage and kids came much later in life but my family is my priority and I love working but I believe its not about who I want to be but what do I want to achieve in that time frame of my life and those goals change all the time.
4) If you had 3 wishes, what would they be?
1. Stay healthy and when I’m 60+ that our boys live close by and they are a part of our everyday lives. (I’m an expat kid and my family is dotted around the globe.)
2. I’d wish that I liked numbers and/or finance. Numbers don’t make me tick; it would make my life as an entrepreneur much easier if they did.
3. I wish to run more. Running is quite meditative for me, but with my busy life schedule I hardly do it.
5) What does being a Sassy Mama mean to you?
Sassy Mama is being who you want to be and being comfortable in your choices, whatever that may be.
6) What’s a typical day in your life like?
LOL, do you really you want to know that? It’s pretty hectic with quite a bit of driving, music and my children and others children. 😉
7) What’s your guilty pleasure?
Salt and vinegar crisps, coffee and red wine.
8) What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given in your personal life and career?
I don’t know what the best piece of advice that I’ve had, But I do remember reading “that if you live your best life today, it will lead to your best life in the future”. That resonated with me.
9) What do you most enjoy doing as a family in Dubai?
Biking to a café and having breakfast.
10) What is the ‘best-kept’ secret in Dubai, something fellow mamas should know about?
Teatro, my favourite restaurant in Dubai, all the old Dubai people will know.
11) Which three words best describe your personality?
Persistent, passionate, caring.
12) What advice would you have for a new mama?
Breathe and enjoy the moments.
13) What advice would you give to a mama who wants to go back to work or start her own business but is worried about juggling family and career?
Do it, have an open discussion with yourself on what is realistic and how much you really want to work. And find a good nanny.
14) If you were on an island and could bring only 3 things (family not included) what would they be?
Perrier, coffee and a speed boat.
15) Top 3 books?
Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
100 years of solitude – Gabriel García Márquez
Dress your family in Corduroy and Denim – David Sedaris
16) Describe your style.
Practical, feminine and sporty.
17) If there was a movie produced about your life, who would you choose to play you and why?
I like Jennifer Aniston, I think people tried to make her crumble with shame and inadequacy and she just pushed back in a very dignified way, worked hard and kept moving forward and persevered with no drama. Respect.
Oh and I have been told that my chin is just like hers… lol.
Thanks to The Studio for the gorgeous pics! Book your photography experience on (+971) (0)4 347 1745.
Special thanks also to Sassy Mama Dani for coordinating mamas and photographers while juggling 3 little ones too!