The Mother Company’s mission of “Helping Parent’s Raise Good People,” resonates deeply with us at Momstamp. As their president, Samantha Kurtzman-Counter, oversees, writes, produces and directs their award-winning line of videos and books for young children and supervises the editorial of TheMotherCo.com, curating and contributing to the wealth of expert parenting advice. Along with her business partner, Abbie Schiller, Sam has been featured as a parent expert on ABC, CBS, MSNBC, Fox Business, People.com and more.
Sam talks with Momstamp about her parenting insights, the work they do to help us all parent a little better and how her 9-year-old son is her biggest inspiration (and biggest critic!) behind The Mother Company content.
PARENTING QUICK TIPS
Whenever Jack is heading down a road of unpleasant behavior (which generally means “I need attention!”) we institute “Special Time” — 15 minutes a day where you drop absolutely everything else – turn off your electronics, don’t even answer the door if someone knocks! Make a very big deal of putting 100% focus on your child during that time and let him/her guide the play completely. It really fills the “love bank” and in my experience has been such a great way to get us back on track.
I am a big believer in reinforcing good behavior rather than focusing on bad behavior. It works so much better for us. We have a glass jar on the kitchen counter that has those little puffy crafting balls in it – and whenever we remember, we add one to the jar when Jack does something considerate or kind or cooperative. When it’s full, he gets to pick some sort of (reasonable, under $20) reward. It’s another great way to turn the tide of sketchy behavior.
COOKING WITH PICKY EATERS
Jack has become the most incredible eater because from a very young age, I let him come up with his own recipes! Sometimes they were truly disgusting, but he learned along the way that there are so many incredible ingredients that make for different flavors and reactions when cooked – he’s become a great eater and quite the chef as a result.
There is nothing more gratifying than watching your kid go out into the garden, grab a piece of kale and wolf it down. When your kid plants a seed and nurtures it to grow and then watches it bear fruit, they get so excited! It also teaches a love and responsibility for the Earth and our ecosystem. Of course, veggies from your own garden are more delicious than anywhere else. If you don’t have a garden, pots are great, too!
BABY AMBIEN (just kidding) / NIGHT TIME PRAYER
I have been saying the exact same “prayer” (it’s really something I made up) to Jack before bed every single night of his life (9 years) and I swear it puts him almost immediately to sleep every night. It’s like a completely subconscious, hypnotic reaction to those words. I wonder if I’ll need to record them when he goes to college.
MOMSTAMP Q & A
I am a people-watcher. I have always been someone who prefers to watch and listen over being center stage – I am endlessly fascinated by people and their means of expression. I am inspired by trying to understand them and get why they tick. The same goes for kids — we adults spend so much time dictating the lives of kids instead of observing them – there is nothing more inspirational than the thought processes and points of view that only kids can hold. I try to capture any insight I’ve gleaned about humanity into the characters I write or follow in documentaries.
BECOMING A PARENT
When I had my son I realized there was nothing more important than trying to raise him into a good human being. We started The Mother Company for exactly that reason – to be a resource for parents to help with the big, important challenges of parenting – the social and emotional growth essential to lay the foundation to become a Good Person. We created TheMotherCo.com, where we offer helpful expert articles for parents, as well as our award-winning line of videos, books and other products for young children – all based around the life skills that help kids become kind, compassionate, communicative citizens of the world.
OK, cheeseball alert: if I am totally honest I have to say that I never really understood the depth of love I was capable of. I get completely lost in that freckled face and can’t imagine there is any deeper sort of love.
ABBIE SCHILLER & THE MOTHER COMPANY
My son was 2 1/2 when Abbie approached me to talk about the idea for The Mother Company and to get my production advice on how to make a high-quality, gentle, engaging show for young kids that would entertain them while helping to teach them prosocial skills and emotional literacy. At 2 1/2, tantrum-time was just beginning at our house… So I told her to sign me up! I dropped all my other projects (I was producing/directing documentaries, primarily) and climbed onboard to build this company that would integrate my goals, both as a mom and a career-girl. We all know that media is a powerful tool – why couldn’t it be used for good? To help raise a new generation of good people? And I knew Abbie and I had the same stylish, organic, “Whole Foods” idea of what our brand of kids’ media could be like. It was very exciting to me — and it still continues to be!
HER SON’S INFLUENCE
Abbie and I often joke that the whole reason we started this business was to help ourselves with our own parenting struggles. And it’s true — all along the way, we’ve brought our own parenting questions to the table and gotten the world’s best experts to answer them. What could be better than that?!
All of our work feel so personal to me because so much of the content has come from my own experience as a person, a child and a parent. But “Ruby’s Studio: The Safety Show” holds a special place for me in that it was our answer to all the awful atrocities we hear about being committed against children, and we worked very hard to find a way to talk about personal safety with young children in a way that would empower them instead of scaring them. We often hear that “The Safety Show” has given parents and kids the tools and language necessary to have these essential conversations that can potentially save children from irreparable harm. I feel really proud of that episode.
Abbie Schiller, CEO and Founder of The Mother Company, with her two children and Samantha Kurtzman-Counter, President, with her son.