Monday, August 29, 2011

The Mother Company

Have you ever met someone and instantly felt a magical connection? As if this person understood parts of you that you thought were destined to be misunderstood forever?

It’s a rare phenomenon that happens once, maybe twice during a lifetime. So I have to say it took me by surprise when it happened at the HUGE, buzzing expo center at BlogHer. There I was, snacking mindlessly on free samples and carrying my many bags of swag when I met “them,” The Mother Company. I was initially lured in by their free iPad contest, but once we started talking about the importance of teaching kids about feelings (which they called emotional literacy), I felt that *magical* connection. We talked about how emotional literacy helps kids cultivate skills to help them become well-adjusted, compassionate adults. Their motto is “Helping Parents Raise Good People.”


I always feel like I am talking to The Babes about their feelings and was so excited to bring home the swag from The Mother Company: a DVD of Ruby’s Studio - The Feelings Show.

The show takes place in an art studio, and Ruby uses The Magical Feelings Wheel to discuss and transition between feelings. Ruby talks about how feelings physically feel in our bodies and how to recognize other people’s feelings. The Babes loved this: they responded to Ruby and practiced their different feelings faces. The Anger Segment is awesome! When a little boy is mad that his younger brother destroys his toy airplane (in my house, a likely scenario), he becomes angry and his reflection looks like a monster in the mirror. When he uses his words to describe his feelings, the monster becomes smaller and smaller. I thought the personification of anger coupled with the visualization of using his words was brilliant!

Visually, the show is beautiful. It is fresh, vibrant, and real. The art studio has lots of bright colors which is a nice contrast between Ruby’s black and white color scheme. The animation segments are hand drawn which reminds me of the cartoons when I was a kid.

My favorite part of The Feelings Show is the Pop-Up Parenting optional feature. The advice made me feel better about my ideas of teaching emotional literacy to my kids. During the Frustration Segment, I felt relieved to see in print that it’s OK for kids not to feel happy all the time. In fact, when they are allowed to work through frustration, kids learn independence, self-reliance, and impulse control. This is so refreshing to hear, especially when there is all this pressure to feel all happy all of the time! I loved seeing that it is important to role model positive ways to express anger and sadness because sometimes I feel guilty when I am upset in front of The Babes.

The show concludes with the idea of expressing our feelings helps us to understand others. Everyone wants to be heard and feel validated (which is why I blog. Obviously), and communication is key in every relationship.

It is uplifting to see that there is a whole company out there that believes in the importance of emotional literacy. My philosophy has always been to see The Babes as people who have individual needs, not as extensions of myself. This is not the easy route. It’s takes longer to accomplish things when we have to talk about feelings and opinions; it’s much easier to yell, “Share your toys, damn it!” (which I do sometimes because one only has so much patience).

This does not mean that Thomas and Marie are in charge because they are not; I take my job as boundary-setter very seriously, but I *try* to do it in a way that does not bulldoze them. Overall, I believe this road, despite its many challenges, is worth it to me because I think it’s important to feel connected to choices and being heard.

And this is why I feel so connected to the philosophy of The Mother Company: talking about feelings and forming good relationships is an important life skill better learned early on. If not, they will be left to devices, such as blogging, to cope with their shortcomings.

Which is fine. But I am hoping that, if Thomas and Marie choose to blog, it will be about their warm, fuzzy memories of talking about their feelings.

*Disclosure* Yes, I did receive a free DVD of The Feelings Show at the BlogHer expo, however, these opinions are all my own.  I was not paid to write this post.  Having said that, I do feel good that I shared something that I strongly believe in with all of you.


Christina S. said...

My kids are too old for the videos, but my curiosity was piqued, thinking about my friends with little ones and my fellow homeschool moms. ;-)

With your background in education, plus being the mom of little ones, I'm very happy to hear your thoughts on the videos. Thanks for sharing, Erin.

Toni Spilsbury said...

I met the Mother Company at BlogHer as well and got the video- great ladies and great concept. My kids loved it- fun and creative!

Mommy on the Spot said...

Toni,I love how creative it is, too!

Mommy on the Spot said...

Christina, thanks so much for the nice comment! What a great suggestion for this to be used in homeschool education!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a new great website! I love learning about all this stuff in advance so I can be PREPARED for when she's older.

LOVE the line about raising good people. What more could you want?

Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress said...

I really liked checking out their booth at BlogHer. I was sad that they didn't fit with kids in Cal's age range but thrilled that the younger ones have such very cool things to learn from.