Interview: Pamela Hunter, Founder of The Sheltered Co. How Her Daughter’s SPD Diagnosis Inspired Her To Design A Cool + Innovative Weighted Blanket For Kids.
When Pamela Hunter's 4-year-old daughter Ransom was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder, she became passionate about designing a weighted blanket that would help her sleep. With her background in fashion and design, Pamela wanted to make blankets that weren't just therapeutic and functional; they had to be beautiful too. (We became obsessed with her brand and designs the minute she launched Sheltered Co. Instagram).
We love that Pamela created a wonderful solution for families while shattering the stigma that weighted blankets are sterile, clinical and only for those in hardship. Who wouldn't benefit from a warm, good hug after a long day?
5 words that describe your "job": Friend, advocate, chef, maid, therapist.
Your children's names and ages:
Story Beatrix (Story Bee) 2, Ransom Fae (Beeba) 4, Jordan Lindsy (jo or Jojo) 14.
How do your children inspire you?
They each inspire me in different ways. Jo (while traveling all around Los Angeles exploring and finding all of it’s hidden gems) inspires me not to take things so seriously and just enjoy life with the people I love. Ransom (with her body regulation challenges and ability to overcome them) inspires me to be a more patient version of myself and reminds me that we all have hard days, but that’s not an excuse to give up. Story, the baby, and easily my most confident child inspires me to use more of my imagination and also to stand tall and not let toddlers (people) push me around.
"I spend a lot of time trying to educate and advocate for people with what’s referred to as 'invisible illnesses' such as SPD OCD ADHD. Just looking at my daughter or interacting with her for a short period of time, you might not see her struggle with body or mood regulation, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have some really intense battles."
What’s the one thing you wish people knew about Ransom?
My very first thought would be: just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it isn’t there. I spend a lot of time trying to educate and advocate for people with what’s referred to as “invisible illnesses” such as SPD OCD ADHD. Just looking at my daughter or interacting with her for a short period of time, you might not see her struggle with body or mood regulation, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have some really intense battles. She’s learning, building a tolerance, acquiring coping skills, all while living her absolute best life. I once had a therapist grab my hands and look me straight in the eye and say ,”I believe you, you’re not crazy, and I’m so sorry,” those words were so comforting while we were in the thick of it trying to get her all the help she needed while simultaneously trying not to draw too much attention and also give her the freedom to grow.
How do you survive a tough day of parenting?
Whether it’s a hard day that ends in tears or just a normal tiring day, I’m sort of obsessed with (almost) scorching-hot baths with 3 cups of Epsom salt mixed with whatever essential oils I have laying around. Then I watch Netflix on my phone or computer while I’m soaking in the tub.... two birds one stone? I also like to escape to the studio to create new color combinations for my blankets because I do my best work around midnight. Oh, and did I really forget to say WINE because that always helps!
What is an activity your whole family loves to do together?
It’s so hard to get us all together with so many different schedules, but when we do manage to make it happen we have been known to have some pretty amazing dance parties while my children scream different song titles at “Alexa” and my husband overrides them with his 80’s goth music mixed with some Trolls soundtrack.
Ransom's favorite toy?
The obsessions have changed a few times over the years, but for a few years, it was this little baby fox from Ikea. They no longer make this stuffed animal so once we lost all of our backup foxes we got to the point where we would jump in front of a moving vehicle to save that thing.
Ransom's favorite app?
YouTube. She likes to watch toys being opened and reviewed by kids and families.
Clothing item Ransom tries to put on every day and you have to sneak into the laundry?
It used to be footed pajamas. Footed pajamas played a very important role in Ransom’s life for her first 3 years. They acted as a protective layer between her and the world around her. We had to do so much therapy to get her to actually wear real clothes, but she still has such an attachment to footed pajamas and begs for them sometimes.
3 Moms you follow on social media that inspire you and why?
@Macymakesmyday because I love how Heather, the kid's mama, is always celebrating her children and posting very real-life challenges and solutions.
@amandabooth because I love how she shares the beauty of down-syndrome and lets us all see glimpses into her BEAUTIFUL life with her most precious son.
@thismomsgonnasnap because I love how she’s able to highlight practical ways to simplify your everyday life. For example, having a beautiful wardrobe by mixing and matching really great pieces. That way you have more time for your family (in her case, a beautiful special needs boy named Stevie whom I’ve grown to absolutely adore).
What is the last thing you purchased for yourself that made you really happy?
Burnt orange Paloma dress by Christy Dawn. I bought it directly from the owner and was honored to meet her because I love her mission so much. She pays her dressmakers a living wage with insurance and uses all dead stock fabrics to cut down on carbon emissions. I feel amazing every time I put it on.
What advice would you give to a (new) special needs mom?
Find someone in a similar situation that you can relate to in your community or on social media. No one can truly understand unless they have experienced it. I can’t tell you how comforting it is just knowing you’re not alone. A reoccurring concern that I’ve seen among special needs parents is that many family members or close friends didn’t agree with the diagnosis or couldn’t see any issues. Find people in your community that you can bounce things off of, vent to, and just have an understanding with. Be kind to yourself, remember to breathe, celebrate small victories, and take things one step at a time... you’ve got this!!!
What quotes do you live by?
-Little by little, the bird builds its nest.
A French proverb that my old boss used to tell me all the time. He would remind me to take it slow, have patience, and before you know it... “it” will be happening.
-Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
This is so ridiculously true. Every single person at any given moment is battling something and we have to remind ourselves that we are all human, we all hurt, and we all need love. There are not many things greater than compassion.
-Motherhood is about raising and celebrating the child you have, not the child you thought you would have. It’s about understanding that she is exactly the person she is supposed to be and that, if you’re lucky, she just might be the teacher who turns you into the person you are supposed to be. – Joan Ryan
This comes in handy when I’m feeling angry about how many challenges my daughter has and how hard it can be for our family... I’m reminded that she is exactly where she’s supposed to be and we are all becoming better humans because of her.