Neha Leela Ruch | Another Mother Her Way
This series is intended to be a quick and honest conversation with mothers about how they construct their motherhood chapter. The first post in this series is about my choices. The goal is to keep the questions consistent and the answers unique to every mother.
Q How did you change after becoming a mother?
A I found a lot of peace from the beginning with pregnancy. I committed to yoga and journaling and all sorts of self-care that I had never previously made time for. I suppose I finally saw purpose in slowing down. I wanted to savour the experience and I still feel that way after a year with Bodie. Its actually my biggest nerves about having another child - that I'll have less time to take it all in.
Q What choices did you make to accommodate motherhood? Would you make them again?
A I had finished an MBA at Stanford a year prior to getting pregnant and had had a pretty successful career in marketing and advertising. Concern about my career trajectory didn't trump a pretty fierce gut instinct I felt to focus this time in my life on family and so I left my job and started consulting knowing I could dial it up or down when I wanted. However, my husband, my parents, my in laws and even some friends all had questions and still do about if I'd be satisfied re-routing life to be home. I do find myself defending the choice often and that is probably the largest challenge but I would make the choice over and over again.
Q Describe yourself as a mother in 3 words. What kind of mother would you like to be?
A I'm playful, structured and attentive. That said, I could probably do with a dose more of cool factor - one of my dear friends will bring her son up to the Soho House pool for afternoons with friends. Her son is totally flexible, mine is equally social and sweet but much more particular. I know I'm still the mother who would worry about nap times and too much sun.
Q How do you take care of yourself outside of motherhood?
A I spend Mondays and Tuesdays working on site with clients or on project work at the Soho House. The change of scenery does wonders in making me feel connected and the professional, albeit part time, energy helps me feel like I still have a hand in the game. My husband comes home to be with Bodie one night a week so I can see my girlfriends. I wish I could say I work out religiously but while I was very particular about that during pregnancy, that's a habit that didn't stick - its on the new year list. In the meantime, Mother Untitled is a huge creative release for me that gives me a way to create again, on my own terms.
Q Every mother needs help to find balance. What does your village look like?
A I had a baby nurse for the first 6 weeks of motherhood and she was a fairy godmother. Beyond gifting me a couple extra hours of sleep, she gave me a security blanket of confidence during those scary first nights. After she left us, I really wanted to cocoon with Bodie and was resistant to getting outside help. When I decided to go back to consulting two days a week, I hired a part time nanny for Bodie for those days. She now also watches him one evening a week so I can run personal errands and Dan and I can have a standing date night. I still haven't gotten comfortable leaving him with just anyone but I know in the coming year I will have to open up his care circle a bit.
Q What are you working on improving about yourself as a woman & a Mother?
A This list could easily get exhaustive but I'll keep it to three. On a practical note, I think that in Bodie's first year I really loved giving him a sense of security and home but I know he and I will benefit as I help him grow more independent. Likely because he's gotten used to one on one attention, we aren't yet a point today where I could do 5 minutes of work and he could play by himself. I think this may adjust naturally but I will be more conscious of allowing him the room to entertain himself. On an emotional level, I could always stand to thicken up my skin a bit. Mother Untitled will be a huge exercise in this as it certainly opens up my perspectives and choices to feedback and judgement. Finally, and most importantly, I want to work on making my husband a priority again. He's been a champion partner watching me grow and change into a mother but giving us as much thought as I give to parenting Bodie will help us grow more balanced as a family.