Neha Ruch | Another Mother Her Way
When I started the Another Mother Her Way series, it was because I was so incredibly impressed by how many powerful, interesting and smart women I met choosing to pause, slow or shift their work to focus on family for this time. I wanted to create this collection of experiences to reshape the image of the woman choosing to lean into parenting and simultaneously inspire all of us figuring it out. After two years of asking other women to add their stories to the Mother Untitled camp, I decided it was time I took my turn with these questions. Btw, going through this exercise made me incredibly grateful to all of you who lend your voice and time to this series!
HOW DID YOU CHANGE AFTER BECOMING A MOTHER?
Oh my goodness, it’s hard to remember life before my babies. I don’t want that to sound self-sacrificial, it’s meant in the best of ways. Even when I grew pregnant with Bodie, I felt a greater sense of calm and content than before. Once he came along, I felt like I’d found my place in the world and was exactly where I needed to be. Bodie and my accompanying step back from my work life prior forced me to shed any layers of pretense and be a more honest and vulnerable version of myself. I think that allowed a deeper connection to my husband and to the women I was meeting in this new phase.
And I started saying no to anything and anyone that wasn’t great for my family or me. And going to bed at 8 pm if I could.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A MOTHER IN 3 WORDS. WHAT KIND OF MOTHER WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE?
Empathetic, involved and structured. Sensitivity might be a blessing and a curse, but in motherhood, it has served me to always try and see Bodie and now Lyla for where they are and what they are experiencing. I take my role in serving those needs and doing what I can to keep up with them physically and emotionally seriously, and I really like being on the ground with them figuring it all out. As for routines, we write a lot about them here, and I do believe my kids (and I) thrive on predictability - especially when it comes to the basics like sleep.
I’d love to be even sillier though I think being a mother has made me much more so. I would have never had an impromptu dance party (I’m a terrible dancer) before, but now I have my demanding DJ in the house. Ironically, I’d like to be better or maybe more consistent at discipline, I tend to err on respectful parenting tools but since Bodie swung the corner closer to 3 I feel like I’m all over the map.
HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF OUTSIDE OF MOTHERHOOD?
I’m still getting my footing on this one after the second baby. Before Lyla came along, I had a well-established routine (sorry I keep repeating my love for routine) of two days of time to myself including co-working on MU with women I love on Mondays and Tuesdays, a standing night out with my girlfriends and a date night with Dan. I love a neck rub, so I would jet to Cleo Spa around the corner more often than I should probably admit on the internet.
Now I’m still trying to figure out where writing fits in between trying to find how to maximize quality time with each kid. Without set days to get me out of the house I’m baking self-care into little moments mostly in the morning - upping my skincare regimen, essential oils in the shower and trying to get a stretch & meditation in the mix. Exercise isn’t my thing, but I want it to be. I’ll report back.
EVERY MOTHER NEEDS HELP TO FIND BALANCE. WHAT DOES YOUR VILLAGE LOOK LIKE?
Gosh, a lot of this feels like it’s all changing all over again. But I think that’s motherhood, it keeps you on your toes, and everything about it is evolving, and you evolve with it. So village - I’ve written a lot about this recently (here), so I’ll keep it short. Pre-second babe I had our amazing part-time nanny on Mondays and Tuesdays and for Thursday date night. It worked perfectly for that time. Now we have the same part-time nanny and a part-time housekeeper/cook/jack of all trades for the opposite hours in the day. Sometimes I feel guilty about the help because I would love to be able to do it solo. And I probably could, but something would have to give, and likely it would be the state of our house and my patience. I have the privilege to hire support to help make me and our home the calmest it can be.
Outside of the paid help, my husband is a star. He works a lot and sometimes travels during the week, but on the weekends he’ll take one or both of the kids for a chunk so I can recharge. Our kids have the best grandparents. My in-laws are local and grab Bodie for standing playdates and the occasional sleepover. My parents fly in from California every six weeks or so and take over when they get here so we can get a real break or even get away for a bit.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON IMPROVING ABOUT YOURSELF AS A WOMAN & A MOTHER?
As a woman, I want to stop overthinking. It takes up too much precious energy (and sleep!). I’ve been trying to practice this tactic, and it helps. As a partner, I am always working on being more vulnerable and leading with feelings, and direct asks instead of passive aggressiveness - it is just so much more productive. As a mother, I always thought I was patient but the 3s are trying, and I want to actively work on maintaining that even-ness with my kids. That said, my last thing is I want to be more lenient on myself as a mother so that for those times I slip I don’t spend the night dwelling on it. Full circle.