These past years living through a global pandemic, adding new babies to an already chaotic toddler season, and juggling our roles as mothers with limited outside support, was definitely challenging. This coupled with the overflow of self-critical thoughts and societal messages like, “I should be able to do this,” set us off on our own healing journeys. On an outdoor porch one wintry day in Wisconsin, six feet apart, we talked about the inner work we had been doing in therapy. We noticed our interactions with our kids had the potential to mirror some of the same beneficial therapeutic skills. Realizing the powerful shift in practicing self-compassion, we wished we could make more of this information accessible, yet also easily digestible through hands-on activities for parents.
Our goal is to not only support parental mental health, but at the same time support children’s mental health; as research shows that anxious kids have anxious parents. As we continued to chat, we reflected on seeing themes pop up as metaphors in the children’s picture books we were reading with our kids (perfectionism, thought work, self compassion, anxious feelings); and saw opportunities for mindfulness and grounding exercises during their play. This is how “Calm Kits” came to life.
We know our tools work through decades of combined experience with clients and students (Abbie an Elementary Special Education Teacher and Emily an Art Therapist/Counselor), however it has brought new meaning for us as we see the benefits from a parenting perspective in the past few years, and especially this last year, as the world grapples with the next wave of the pandemic: mental health. We believe that sharing our real life experiences with our community will normalize present, not perfect, moments that come with simply being human.
We both currently live just outside Madison, WI with our families. Abbie and her husband raising two daughters; and Emily and her husband raising two sons. We love to swim, enjoy the outdoors, and spend time together with our families.
Present Not Perfect truly is a passion project come true for us. Thank you for supporting our small business and our dreams. We're so grateful for you.