The other night I was at home in the evening with my family. I was on my computer uploading some episodes for the new podcast I’m about to launch, trying to get the album art sized just right and the audio files tagged properly. My husband was sitting across the table from me working on promo for some of the new records our record label is releasing this month. My 10-year-old Tallulah was sitting next to me on my left side using her text to voice program on her iPad to spell out and say funny phrases which she would play and then record using my iPhone. At the head of the table, my 7-year-old Myffy was playing games on her sister’s MacBook Air using the PBSkids.org website. She was building creature power suits using the Kratt Brother’s game and then taking those power suits out into the wild. At some point, I looked up and gazed at the assorted electronics and screens spread out over the table. Every single member of my family was connected to the internet in at least one way, and none of us were looking at or connecting to each other.
From what I see out at restaurants and from talking with other people, I can’t help feeling that this is a pretty typical scene these days. As a freelancing mom who works from home, my work day is rarely done by the time I stop to pick up the kids. There is always one more article I could get started on tonight, one more email I could send or one more person I could connect with today. My husband works a job and also runs the record label on the side, so the moment he gets home from work, the first thing he wants to do is check for orders from our website, send out the promo kit for a new release or help support one of our bands’ tours. The kids are at school all day where they spend most of the day not hooked up to screens, but when they get home part of what they most want to do to unwind and relax is to play a game, stream TV or try a new app. And I’m sure their parents modeling the behavior of paying tons to attention to our screens every day doesn’t help much either.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the scene described above all day, every day. We have Speech, OT, PT, Habilitation sessions and doctors appointments sprinkled all throughout our weekly schedules. Myffy is in her 3rd musical right now and Lu and I often sneak off for a Mommy and Me date to the bookstore where they make her favorite steamed soy milk drink and are careful not to contaminate it with allergens. But all too often when I’m busy, I look around and see nothing but screens.
So what’s a wannabe mindful Mommy to do? We’ve tried making house rules for when screen time is ok. But when I’m on deadline sometimes I’m the one who breaks the rules and gives the kids their screens so I can finish what I’m working on in peace. Am I ashamed of this? Yes, but we all do it sometimes, don’t we? I also try to really preserve story time before bed with the kids. It’s a time when the three of us girls cuddle up in an oversized bean bag chair in their room and turn pages together while we take turns reading. But there are times when even that falls by the wayside.
I recently came across a new Kickstarter Campaign for a company called Love Powered Co, founded by Anna Lozano and Lindy Kettlewell Sood, two young mothers who are creating some clever and lovely tools, in particular, affirmation based cards for children called Love Powered Littles, to help mindful parents connect deeply with their kids on a daily basis.
In a recent conversation with Anna and Lindy, we chatted about the issue of our families being so connected online that we can lose our in-person connection to each other. Both women were entrepreneurs before becoming mothers, and both explored self-development as part of their entrepreneurial journey.
“I got so much out of these power statements, out of doing my personal affirmations every day. I couldn’t help thinking how important this could be for our kids,” Lindy said in our interview via zoom. Lindy went on to say that growing up her mother was very into Marianne Williamson and A Course In Miracles. “My mom said these cards are like A Course In Miracles for children!”
Anna Lozano’s childhood followed the path of the immigrant story that so many in Canada and the US know so well. Her parents moved from Poland to Canada when she was young. Both took jobs that they were grossly overqualified for and worked long hours. At one point her father worked different 3 jobs to make ends meet. But even though her parents were away from home working and she did not learn about self-development as a child, she said that there was always a lot of love, and her own experience has influenced the kind of childhood experience she wants for her own daughter.
Right now Anna’s daughter is 18 months old and not able to read the affirmation cards aloud the way Lindy’s kids do, but Anna sees her time reading the cards to her daughter as part of her own daily meditation. She knows that her daughter hears the words and can feel the love and intention behind them and that is building a strong connection between them from the start.
I love the idea of having the Love Powered Littles cards to help my girls and me all hit the pause button on our lives and our electronics so we can sit down, inject some positivity into our day and have some conversations about just how awesome, loving and creative my girls actually are! Because the truth is, life for little girls can be tough. Between educational expectations and mean girls at school, the daily trip to school can feel fraught with failure. That’s true for all kids. However, when your kids have a few extra challenges thrown in like severe food allergies, a white blood cell disorder that requires tube feeding and autism like my oldest has, navigating all the things you want to do, have to do and are expected to do in a single day can feel daunting and downright discouraging. This is why I was so drawn to Love Powered Co and their power pack of cards and why I am going to give this new tool a go with my own girls.