I’ve been a typical advertising copywriter for as long as I can remember. Since 1993. And have led the typical “creative” ad life since. Work hard. Work harder. And party at work! I had a flair for films and soon found myself involved in every tvc/corporate AV project the agency took up, so was perpetually at some shoot or editing at some studio in some city. I lived in Pune and Mumbai simultaneously.
I finally got married when I was nearly 29. Crazy advertising & social life continued. And then we moved abroad – to the south pacific. My husband was the CD of an MNC ad agency. I made myself comfy at a video production house that made tvcs. We travelled a lot. Life rocked!
When we came back to India I decided I didn’t want to get back to the ad agency life. I wanted a change of profession. So at 35 I jumped into full time MOTHERHOOD. Yep, I became a Mompreneur!!
No matter how prepared you are to become a parent – nothing really prepares you for the challenges that come along the way. The lifestyle changes. The responsibility. The vulnerability. The new identity. The loss of your old identity. And at times, the loss of self-worth.
The baby becomes your world. Is she fed, clean, bathed and well dressed? Meanwhile you look like a hag! But then, now you’re a mommy. You don’t need to look pretty!
You record her milestones. You make endless trips to the doctor. To the toy store. The baby clothes shop. You look for child friendly restaurants and spaces. When we moved to Goa, a friend said, “Oh you’ll make lots of friends in the park.” “Park? I make friends in the PUB!!”, I mused. Believe it or not, I MADE ALL MY FRIENDS IN THE PARK!!!! And didn’t visit a pub in the longest time ever. Everything revolved around my little cherub!
When my daughter was about two and a half, and I was a full time mom (well I freelanced from home a bit), I read an article somewhere that said, “Mothers who work part time, make better mothers than full time mothers.” I realised that was so true. Staying away from your child for a part of the day makes you a better person, and therefore a better mom! But it was just the three of us at home and I didn’t have any live-in domestic help. So I just went with the flow and kinda enjoyed every stage of being “Aarini-Mamma” (that’s what the lil monkeys in nursery would call out to me while they waved from the classroom window, after I’d drop her to class!)
All this while I lost myself. The new mommy life completely took over and I felt I lost my mojo. I gave up hope of ever getting back to my professional life. After all, Goa was the perfect place for advertising professionals to retire, write books and enjoy the good life.
And then I read about FlexiMoms (now Sheroes). I loved the name. I loved the concept even more. I read about all the other moms out there who said, “Don’t feel guilty about working.” I signed up. And kept reading about the way lots of women worked from home. About how they had the best of both worlds. The idea appealed to me.
About the same time, I also remember reading about an initiative called the Daily Dump (Bangalore) in one of the business mags. I loved the idea of people solving problems through innovative ideas & ventures. I started falling in love with the idea of starting up!
I took charge of my life. I started working out. Getting back in to shape – mentally and physically. I threw out all my XL clothes. Being a communications professional, I realised social media was the next big thing and started understanding it.
A new chapter…
How TheRodinhoods happened to me (in the next few months), is a completely different story. But at one Rodinhooder informal meetup in delhi, Gurpreet posted a pic with Sairee Chahal the founder of FlexiMoms. I was amazed. What a small world….! All this while, I had constantly followed how FlexiMoms had revolutionized the way women got back to work.
And then, at our Open House at IIT Delhi, Sairee popped by. There she was – this petite pretty lady who had no idea how much she inspired me and thousands of other women. But instead of telling her – I think I ended up saying some gibberish. I wanted to hug her to bits and thank her for creating a wonderful platform that tells moms it’s okay to get back to work and not feel guilty about leaving their kids for a while. It’s okay to be a FlexiMom.
But I was high on the awesomeness of Open House, exhausted and tongue-tied :).
I may not have found a job through FlexiMoms. But I found much more. The stories of all the women who found jobs through FlexiMoms helped me find myself. It inspired me to regain my confidence, my financial independence and my self-worth. And to me, that’s more than anyone can ever do for a woman.
I salute every mom who has given up her career for bringing up her kids. Being a mompreneur is one of the toughest jobs. But being a FlexiMom totally rocks.
For the past 3+ years I’ve been running TheRodinhoods from home. In Goa. I know exactly what’s going on in my child’s life. And she knows exactly what’s happening on TheRodinhoods 🙂
If I can do it, so can YOU.
Happy Women’s Day.
Not just today. But every single day.
Dedicated to all you women out there who make the world a better place.
Ladies: pls share how you got back to work or how you started up!
I finally met Sairee on April 30! Funny part – she lives really close to my in-law’s house in Delhi!