Today I’m talking to Anne Armstrong, a mother, middle school teacher and a published children’s author from Nashville, Tennessee. Inspired by a statistic that revealed to her how little quality time parents spend with their children, Anne created and launched a project called My Gnome On The Roam, designed to help create stronger, happier kids, and more present and connected adults.
Season 2 – EP 23
Making Quality Family Time Creates Happier Kids and More Connected Parents
Anne had always known she wanted to be of service to others, do something creative and be a mom. She accomplished the first two when she became a middle school teacher of gifted children. The mommy piece was a bit more complicated.
She met her husband as she was approaching 40 and although both of them were, as she says, “on board of the Baby train,” her body wasn’t. So they decided to adopt. The day they were matched with a family, their baby was born.
“It was magic. Talk about life turning on a dime… I’m forever in gratitude to the birth mother who gave us the opportunity…”
Anne had waited and yearned for this moment for a long time, so when it came, she soaked up every moment of it. And still, she noticed, the time was slipping away. Because it always does.
“I just very quickly felt like I blinked and he was walking. And I blinked again and his curls were going away, and he was becoming a little man and so… I was rushing home at the end of the day and trying to squeeze dinner and laundry and time together…”
Her sister had five children at the time and Anne wondered, “How does anybody ever have quality time and maintain their sanity at the same time?”
WAKING UP TO THE STATISTIC AND DECIDING TO HELP PARENTS TO CHANGE IT
“I was just poking around and I found a statistic that said that the average family spends only less than 40 minutes per week of connected time.”
Anne decided to combine her passions for teaching, creativity, and motherhood in an effort to change the situation, and channeled her energy into creating My Gnome on the Roam project. It’s a children’s book, activity kit, video library and an app that offers feasible ways for parents and their kids to connect and engage.
“It’s yet another thing that I can’t fit into my schedule,” I thought. But before I could verbalize how I felt, Anne explained how this project is different:
“We wanted to inspire families to just take little pockets of time that might otherwise be wasted. Fifteen minutes is enough to blow that statistic that we just talked about out of the water.”
My Gnome on the Roam is designed to provide parents with the tools and inspiration to build creativity, a sense of adventure, and to forge deeper connections. On top of which, as Anne points out, kids will have long-term benefits from this connected time with improvements in their behavior, grades, self-esteem, health and well-being.