Category Archives: mom interviews

Interview: VnMomSchool’s Nikita – A Mom buzzing with STEM activities and creative ideas

Ever since I became a mom, I have been fascinated by websites and Instagram pages that have anything to do with parenting, activity ideas and recipes for kids. Few pages in particular always won my heart and one of those is VNMom School run by a very amazing mother – Nikita. She shares more about her motherhood journey, STEM activities, her struggles and insights in this interview. Do check out her ever-growing page @vnmomschool and my page @momandideas

Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi I am Nikita, a mom of a 5-year-old boy Virat. We stay in Pune. I am ME/MTech in Electronics and was working as a software engineer before I became a mom.

I discovered your amazing Instagram page and have been a fan ever since. Tell more
about @vnmomschool
When the pandemic happened in 2020, it was very different to keep my son engaged who
was just three that time. So I started doing STEM activities which I did in my childhood and I used to share those on my WhatsApp stories. My friends found the kids’ activities useful and asked me to put them up as Instagram posts so that they also refer and try at home.

So that’s how VnMomSchool born on my Birthday. I share our fun learning experience which is easy and almost no prep so that all parents can try with kids at home too.

VnMomSchool – STEM Education

Why is STEM so important in early childhood years?
The STEM approach enhances creativity, critical thinking and curiosity that is beneficial
throughout academic years. For example, when he was just three years old, my kid used to ask questions when we had power cuts – How does the fan work?, “Why did it suddenly stop when power went off?
So I made a small playdough circuit with LED lights and small battery to show him how
electricity works and his little eyes sparkled with curiosity and 1000 more questions! I am
sure he will remember this fun experiment throughout his life. He doesn’t need to go through in-depth learning. Such fun learning helps children in problem solving and analytical, logical and critical thinking in future. Also it helps to avoid screen time a lot.

Check out VnMomSchool’s YouTube channel here. If you are more of a Facebook person, this is her page.

Check out MomandIdeas’ YouTube channel here. If you are more of a Facebook person, this is my page.

On tough days, what makes you feel better?
Nature’s walk really make me feel better. Whenever I get time or am having a rough day, I just go out in the garden and observe plants, flowers and birds. It really helps me calm down.

What is your relaxation mantra for moms around?
I get really less time for relaxation but whenever I get I go for a walk, talk to friends, listen to music or watch kdramas.

What would you like to know from other moms (small questions you always
thought maybe someone could answer)?

Oh, I would like to ask two things:
How do you manage their routine if no help is around?
How do you define the current education system? Do you feel it should change?

Tips for other moms based on your experience.
I really feel we are new-gen moms and instead of teaching kids about phonics, maths or
rote learning, let’s focus on values first. Topics like nature, culture, kindness, empathy, no
littering, how to help to save the environment, water, electricity, etc.

Every mom faces some struggles. Would you like to share your mom-struggles and how you overcame them or if you need any suggestions?
We all face struggles as parents. I am no different. And when you have a super energetic toddler at home it’s like a roller coaster ride! I had temper issues and still have, but I am trying to be as calm as possible by counting numbers, using stress balls, etc. whenever kiddo throws tantrums or makes a house mess. Well I know it’s his time to do all the stuff, I understand very well, but sometimes it’s out of my control too. I would really love to know how you overcome them.

Something about you before you became a mom!
I shifted to Pune back in 2008 to join an MNC as a software engineer after I completed my
BE Electronics. After two years of working, I took a break to finish my Masters in Engineering and then again joined a startup but I really wasn’t sure what I really wanted to do until I became a mom. Now my goal is to provide the best learning experience to my kid beyond school and also share it with other parents too.

What are your kid’s favourite books? We will compile a handy list based on
recommendations by moms.
My kiddo loves books based on facts. He prefers encyclopaedias over stories so our
collection is also a bit different.
DK’s Children Encyclopedia
Zayn and Zoey Collection
The Hungry Little Sky Monster – Rohini Nilekani
The Germ Academy – Rea Malhotra
Look Inside Space – Usborne collection Amma Tell Me – Mythology BooksMoral Stories from Panchatantra

3 favourite websites for parents.
https://www.momjunction.com – Parenting Tips and Must-Haves for All Parenting Stages
National Geographic Kids
khanacademy.com we use their app and it’s free (it’s a fun learning app for kids)

5 favourite Instagram pages.
@thedadlab my one of most fav and inspiration to create my page
@ev_yapimi_hikayeler
@mom_funda
@true_parenting_story
@mothercould

Such an inspiring and insightful conversation with Nikita! Don’t you agree? Please comment to share your experiences or ask a question if you like.

Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to momandideas.com as we have many more inspiring interviews of moms, parenting articles, DIY ideas and fun learning activities coming up. Join us on Instagram and Facebook.

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