Category Archives: being a mom

Following your passion after a long break post childbirth is possible: Deepa Anand – Mom Interview

I spoke to Deepa Anand, an artist mom who shares about her journey as a mom and an artist. Check out her Instagram page @deepa_artwork to see her amazing nature-inspired paintings.

Tell us something about yourself

I am an abstract artist and a mom to a 10-year-old boy. I create abstract paintings, mostly using acrylic paints. Recently, I have started making natural colours that can be used for painting. I also organise workshops like mud play for kids as well as grown-ups. It brings us so much closer to nature and it is kind of meditative. You can say that I am all about the love for nature.

How did you manage career and motherhood?

Honestly, I struggled a lot and ended up taking a long break that was not my initial plan. It took me years to strike a balance but I had to prioritise. Every mom’s circumstances, health, struggles and support system are different and I believe no one should compare moms. For me, it was not quite possible to manage full-time work while raising my kid in his early years.

Tell us about your journey to motherhood and beyond!

I studied art, came to Mumbai for post graduation in Fine Arts and then started working as a web designer for some time. However, deep inside I knew paintings were my true calling.

I left my job when I was eight months pregnant because my workplace did not offer maternity leave. At that point, I was certain that I will start working again once my baby turned one. But, I ended up being at home for three years. I just wanted to be with my child in his early years but also missed working at the same time.

It was a tough phase and I eventually started working part time. I picked a job that was close to my house. I would drop my kid to playgroup, rush to work, rush back to pick him in time and go home. I was perpetually running all the time, it was insanely exhausting with all the household work as well. I used to earn well when I worked full time but the compromised pay of this job was highly unsatisfying. I kept feeling I deserve better, much better.

Eventually, when my kid was seven years old, I stopped working part time as well. I guess it just wasn’t meant for me. I wanted to focus on him rather than doing a job that neither paid me well, nor seemed interesting anymore. The painter in me kept nudging me to paint instead. My husband also encouraged me and supported me in pursuing my passion.

So did you start painting and exhibitions immediately?

I did start practicing my painting skills initially. I also started networking among artists and taking advice from them. I also visited several art galleries. It didn’t take much time then to stock up on my art supplies. The good thing was that I had the liberty to paint as per my convenience and from my home or studio. This way, I could be with my child and give him sufficient time while also focusing on my passion while he was in school.

So we can say that you gradually ‘brushed’ away your mom-guilt!

Yes, of course! It took me a lot of time to strike a work-life balance and follow my true calling, but I am here now. I think life teaches you a lot with the challenges it throws at you.

What tips would you like to give to moms who took a break from their career but are just not able to restart even after a few years?

See, I restarted my career after a gap of some three to four years. Before that I worked part time as well. I had never thought that I would take a break like that. It somehow led me to what I should have always done – painting! I would like to say that don’t lose hope if things are not going as per your initial plan. Keep the spark alive. If and when you think it is possible for you based on your personal circumstances, give it a try again! Don’t worry thinking if you could ever work again, that is if you wish to resume working. It might take a few months or years, but stay positive.

Remember to:

  1. Never give up
  2. Follow your dreams
  3. Start networking
  4. Start writing your goals (be it work or personal)

If you had a full-fledged career before having a child and don’t wish to start working again, that is okay too. You are a good mom raising a wonderful person, that is what matters the most!

Such an inspiring story, right? Personally, I haven’t been able to give more time to income based work since the birth of my child and was worried if and when I will be able to get back on track. Her story does make me feel better, hopeful and motivated! How about you?

You can check out her paintings on her Instagram page @deepa_artwork and for enquiries about paintings, commission work or workshops, email her on deepaanand.artist@gmail.com

When a mom falls sick

All moms can relate to this, right? The younger your child, the tougher it is if you fall ill. Especially, if you aren’t the wealthy types with nannies and house-helps to handle everything while you get the required rest to recover. Lucky you, if you stay in a joint family where everyone supports and helps each other out or better still, if you have a partner who knows all the basic life skills, including cooking, cleaning and CARING!

The current Covid scenario hasn’t made it any easier with the fear of the virus every single time we moms are down with fever, cold, cough or any symptom remotely pointing towards it. We need to isolate ourselves from our kids until we are certain that we are in the clear.

How many of you have dealt with these questions/worries in your head when sick:

  1. What if my child contracts fever or cold (any other contagious illness) from me?
  2. Who will cook for my kid now?
  3. What and how do I cook for myself and the family now?
  4. It can’t be Covid, can it be?
  5. Oh damn, more screen time now!
  6. What about school/activities/playtime at home with me?
  7. How do I manage all the chores?
  8. The baby naps only with me but I can’t touch him/her yet!
  9. I MISS HUGGING AND KISSING MY BABY!

The list is endless (add yours in the comments and I’ll update it).

What really irritates me is when someone asks me, “Oh you are sick now, so who will cook? The grownups can order from a restaurant but what about the kid’s food?” This question often supersedes the questions that can actually make a mother feel better – “How are you feeling now?” Or “How can I help you?”

C’mon, it’s 2022 and moms are humans too, you know, the species that when sick can heal with love, care, rest and medicines. Strangely (or maybe not so strangely), in many Indian households when the husband/kid or any other family member is sick, a wife/daughter-in-law is supposed to cook all healthy meals, soups, cut fruits and what not (which she does willingly, even when not asked for). She cares for them, worries about them and checks on them regularly. Unfortunately, when she is sick, she’s often all by herself and people only want her to get well soon because who will do the chores??? She still does as much as she could, because she just cant sit idle, she’s tuned that way.

So I have a few things to tell each and every person reading this so that the next generation has a better life:

  1. Cooking, laundry and cleaning are life skills. These are not tasks for women alone. If you have a son or a daughter, teach them the same. You should learn every task you need to be done if you stay all by yourself at any point in your life. Dependency isn’t good. Oh how frustrating it was to see men posting videos of cleaning house or cooking when coronavirus and lockdowns just started!
  2. For parents of small kids – Please let both boys and girls indulge in pretend play. Kitchen set, dolls and dollhouses, the washing machine toys, cradle toys are for both gender. Every single time you buy these toys for only girls while opting for cars and tool sets for only boys, you are making a contribution towards gender stereotyping.
  3. Please teach compassion towards all to kids right from a very young age.
  4. Practice gender equality at home. If a kid sees mom doing certain tasks and dad doing certain different tasks, the kid feels that’s the way it is meant to be.

And more importantly, if you have a sick mom/woman in your family, please care for her, check on her once in a while, tell her that she can relax and not worry about the chores, take care of her. If your friend/colleague is sick, please message and check on them because maybe they are feeling lonely in a house full of people where probably no one cares.

If you are a mom who is unwell, please ask for help, even if you need to ask several times. Please listen to your body and say NO when you must rest. Also, your child is observing you and you don’t want the child to grow up thinking that when a woman is sick, she still needs to do everything.

Stay well. Take care.

Hugs and love,
momandideas.com