For our Most Loved Health Blogs contest, readers voted for the health bloggers who inspire them to live stronger, healthier lives — and the results are in!
Devishobha Chandramouli of Kidskintha came in first place and wins a prize of $1,000 to help her continue her mission of giving parents the tools they need to raise independent, empathetic, and curious children. Read on to learn more about her!
Kidskintha began as a place for Devishobha Chandramouli to record the interesting, and often humorous, conversations she would have with her two children. Since then, it’s developed into a wonderful resource for millennial parents to learn how to raise a family in a rapidly changing world.
With relevant and honest writing, Devishobha and her team have created a place for parents juggling multiple responsibilities to come to for information and support. They touch on issues that are sometimes overlooked by other parenting sites, from how to talk to your kids about what they see on the news, to conscientious parenting. And they do so while constantly reminding their readers that self-care is essential to good parenting.
We caught up with Devishobha to learn more about her blog and what she enjoys most about sharing her parenting journey.
Q&A with Devishobha Chandramouli
What made you decide to start blogging about the parenthood journey?
I started Kidskintha because I simply wanted to remember the conversations I was having with my kids, and began journaling them on the blog. To my pleasant surprise, a lot of other parents loved it and pitched in with their own convos. Gradually, we became a community that talked about the challenges we were facing, and I began to write about them in the light of my own parenting conundrums. That’s how Kidskintha came to be.
Your tagline is ‘Raising parents, raising children.’ What do you mean by that?
I believe that becoming parents brings great responsibility. Most people carry their own issues into the lives of their children — be it marital discord, issues with work, career, their own parents. This can have a very large impact on the child’s life. Naturally, they carry it into adulthood, passing it on to their kids. Why else do so many adults have strained relationships with their own parents? Many parents remain strangers to their adult children, or worse, their relationship suffers because they know them too well!
Most people tend to think that parenting is instinctual — and it is. But raising children requires a much more conscious effort at the emotional level, too. My blog is all about bringing that emotional health into the parent-child relationship. Also, the real deal of parenting is that we are so heavily invested emotionally, and it is really long term. We never know if we got it right till after about 18-20 years, with parents growing and changing too the whole while. So why not put some effort into our own growth to do a better job at it?
What would you say your readers most appreciate about Kidskintha?
Kidskintha focuses not just on issues related to children, but also related to parents. Topics can become talking points on the blog, like: How to manage a career with family, how to fight right with your spouse, and how to manage relationships with other adults you don’t like but who are important to the child.
I don’t just review baby products and diapers, I look for new tools to bring awareness to the emotional health aspect of growing children.
When did you first realize how much your posts were resonating with people?
Long back, before I became a full-time writer, I began noticing a theme around conversations when it came to mothers. It was always working moms vs. stay-at-home moms, and any reference to the latter was cloaked with a thin veil of condescension. I was a working mom myself, and was all for women’s freedom — but I fundamentally believe that if a woman chose to stay at home and look after her family, it was a perfectly sound choice, too.
Studies point out that women carry guilt feelings a lot more than men, and we could spare her some more of that load for her perfectly legitimate choices! I wrote an article referring to my own Indian upbringing — a breadwinner father and stay-at-home mom. Her presence at home was crucial to our family, and my parents made a conscious decision to assume the roles they did. Yet, most social interactions left my mother feeling judged and undervalued. Looking back, it was totally ridiculous, but nothing much has changed. You just have to observe a conversation with a few women in the room, and "Do you work?" is somewhat like a conversation opener. From there, some conversations fizzle out, and some thrive. That post went viral because it resonated with so many women, and landed me a gig on the Huffington Post. It opened my eyes to the real need to open up and start talking.
Has blogging changed the way you approach parenting?
Yes, very much. Not just the way I interact with my own children, but every time I come across a child, it helps me gain a much deeper understanding of their world. Believe it or not, one of my favorite pastimes is just watching little kids from a distance while they are playing, reading, bragging, or widening their eyes to yet another wonder that has become mundane to the adults around them.
Which is one of your favorite Kidskintha posts, and why?
The one about my mother is my favorite one. There’s another one I love about a really important topic: The need to teach our children to accept compliments gracefully. Children often see us deflecting compliments, or diminishing them. Someone says, “You did a great job on that presentation” and we go, “Oh, it was nothing!”
I think one of the most important elements of raising confident children is to teach them to simply say “thank you,” and accept a compliment gracefully. This article was written for Kidskintha by a friend and writer, Amanda Elder, whom I totally admire.
What’s the most important thing every new parent should remember?
The hardest thing about being a parent is learning to let go. Again, we tend to think that letting go needs to happen only after they grow up, but in reality, it is a process unfolding from the very beginning.
I often remind myself of this beautiful poem by Yeats:
“Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with gold and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”
I also love how Sir Ken Robinson reminds us parents in his TED Talk: “And every day, everywhere, our children spread their dreams beneath our feet. And we should tread softly.”