Devishobha Chandramouli strongly believes in positive parenting. As the mother of two girls, Devishobha started a blog four years ago titled “Kidskintha” that relayed conversations she had with her children. Readers loved the blog and it quickly took off in popularity.
“Kidskintha” is a word that is adapted from the name of a garden “Kishkindha” from the great Indian epic story, Ramayana. The garden is a place where monkey-men known as vanarascan frolic freely and happily. The name suited Devishobha’s blog which now includes contributors from various walks of life but still focuses primarily on aspects of positive parenting concepts.
Recently, Devishobha Chandramouli granted an exclusive interview in which she discussed her blog, her inspirations, and her aspirations for the future.
Meagan Meehan (MM) of Entertainment Vine: When did you get interested in blogging and what was it about the conversations with your children that you wanted to memorize them in blog posts?
Devishobha Chandramouli (DC): I started Kidskintha as a way to journal daily, commonplace conversations that I had with my children, because I found them so amusing, and feared that I will forget most of our conversations as time passed. After all, time has a way of superimposing our memories and I just wanted to know what goes on inside their little minds. I started writing down our conversations and to my surprise, I found a lot of other mothers enjoyed it and shared their own experiences as well. It was like we were suddenly one big family with kids.
I have even made a T-shirt series with cute captions of kids’ quotes on it. A very talented illustrator developed the character we called ‘Mana’ as a mascot of every child’s voice and expression. The conversation is printed on the sleeve.
MM: Kidskintha is a garden of joy and abandon, so can you tell us more about the legends that surround it?
DC: Kidskintha is an adaptation of the magical garden called “Kishkindha”- a happy garden that features in the Indian Epic Ramayana. The epic tells the story of Rama, often seen as the perfect human being (hence, a God). He succeeds in finding his lost wife with the help of a powerful army of monkey-men (and several other friends). Kishkintha is the garden in which the monkey-men celebrate their success of finding Rama’s wife, with joy and complete abandon. My vision is to have our children express themselves freely, with the utmost joy and abandon, letting go of fear. Hence, the adaptation.
MM: You have stated that you are a millennial parent, so what challenges does this group of parents face more so than, say, Generation X parents?
DC: This generation of parents have a ton of things different than the last generation. For one, we did not have such overpowering media sources. They were all more passive; newspaper, TV with one or two channels…Now, we have children born into the tech age, so parents are having to deal with their children’s distractions along with their own.
There is also the issue of young adults and tweens seeing their friends’ edited lives on their social media feed, and the rise in teen depression, suicide, etc., is suddenly not so surprising. Plus, I think this generation is more affluent than the previous generation and though this is a great thing, children are always surrounded by material excess, which leads to mindless consumerism. Also, there is the challenge of raising children in nuclear families, whereas in previous generations, we could rely more on our extended families.
MM: When you started this blog, did you ever expect that it would become as popular as it has?
DC: Actually, no–I was completely new to the process of blogging. In fact, I was completely unfamiliar with the technical details of blogging- like having a posting schedule, keywords, optimization, etc. It was a very organic thing, and once the blog started growing, I began to give it the attention it deserved. I am so grateful that it is what it is today, and so many wonderful parents not just read, but also write for the blog.
MM: How has the blog evolved since your started it?
DC: When I first started, it was just us and the kids on the pages. As my kids were growing, I was often left feeling unsatisfied with the way we parented them. I think that raising kids is really a big deal because for about fifteen years of their lives, you are the sole trusted source for those tiny humans. And once they are on their own, what you put in these years will have a huge impact on how they live for the entire lives.
So, I wrote about my challenges, my guilt-trips, and some fun incidents too. I also think, children are wired to feel a lot more than we give them credit for. They feel love, shame, guilt, and a lot more. I remember an incident when we had been to a friend’s party with the kids. I am scared of dogs, and the host had two dogs moving freely in the party. Every time the dogs came near me, I would involuntarily tighten. My daughter was only six, but she kept soothing me and helping me maneuver the entire evening. She didn’t leave my side even for a minute. I realized she was getting a little embarrassed by my childish fear, but she didn’t let go.
When I reflected upon it, I realized that children can perceive so much and it raises the onus on us to let them absorb the right things. I focused on emotional health and intelligence and also invited other parents to join in. We focused on simple, everyday things that often escape our attention like – how does our response to a compliment shape our child’s confidence? Soon, it became a repository for discussing sensitive/emotional issues in the world of parenting.
I also began to write for other publications–The Huffington Post, Parent.co, Lifehack, Addicted2Success, The Good Men Project, Your Tango and many more, and this exposed me to various writing styles. While researching on the most supportive work policies of parents, I interviewed about fifty-eight companies from around the world on their maternity, paternity, and child-care policies, which was shared widely. It also appeared on the Huffington Post. I also did a mega round-up of the most effective productivity hacks for parents, which was also very well-received.
MM: What sorts of cool experiences has starting this blog provided you with?
DC: My blog is a multi-author blog, and I get to read some amazing pieces that people send to me for publication. I also exclusively run a series called #Momspirations, that focuses on interviewing accomplished women who are investing in their passion along with raising a young family. I interview book authors, women entrepreneurs, and anyone who is rocking it in their field. I once interviewed a lady who started a self-publishing house when she had a very young child to tend to. She had to quit her job because she could not manage her hours. She encountered a huge success in her new career, because she was willingly giving her time, working her own schedules, even though it was twice the work.
My idea behind bringing these stories to the fore is to help their initiative by spreading the word that it is indeed possible to have a sane life with both children and passions. My work on this blog has given an incredible network of amazing people. The spirit of the people I interview and collaborate with for my articles always leaves me with renewed energy to work on my next projects!
MM: What kinds of topics do you cover in your blog today?
DC: I cover the challenges of modern parenting, school issues, emotional intelligence awareness, living with specially-abled children, work policies concerning parents, adoption, cultural issues, and more. I also cover reviews of children’s books and other products. One area that I want to grow is the ‘personal essay’ genre where I get to hear from people about their “not-so-ordinary” experiences in their lives, or how they are coping with a particularly difficult challenge. I am still developing on that area.
MM: How do you find stories to feature on your blog and/or people to write on your blog?
DC: I read a lot of stuff- books, internet, social media. One big lesson I have learned from my work is overcoming your fear of rejection is job half-done. In many cases, simply asking will land you the biggest opportunities. For example, I connected with a New York Times bestselling author, Amy Morin after I read her first book, “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.” Her second book,” 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do” was totally in my niche, and I simply wrote to her to request an interview for my site. She replied the same day with a YES! Sometimes, all it takes is to just ask.
MM: You also interview people on your blog, so what do you seek in potential interviewees?
DC: I am interested in stories that carry a lot of positivity around them. My interviewees are budding entrepreneurs who are probably in the second or third rung of their ventures. I also look for inspiring writers and books to review- that which can reinforce the message of positive parenting.
MM: Be honest, do you have a favorite blog post?
DC: As a matter of fact, I do! In the early stages, I wrote a post about my Indian upbringing and how my mother was a homemaker but such an important member of our family. My post was to show that homemakers make an incredible impact on their families, and it is nobody’s business to judge them. I was a working mother, but I thought it was important to emphasize that staying at home is also a respectable choice. The article went viral and I landed an opportunity to write for the Huffington Post on the basis on that post. It was a great experience, and even now, I believe that it was my parents’ blessings that landed me so many opportunities.
MM: How do you envision the “Kidskintha” blog evolving over the next ten years and what are you working on now?
DC: I would like to see Kidskintha recognized as an authentic platform sparking the most difficult conversations around parenting. My vision is to grow it as a place where real issues get the spotlight they deserve and find answers as a community. Currently, I am writing my first book on parenting which blends my own experiences coupled with scientific research and child psychology.
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To visit the Kidskintha blog and learn more, see here.