In our Real Moms- Real Stories column, Meet Mumbai-based Charu Sareen Gujjal, mama of twins. She is a blogger, writer, and author! Read on to know more about managing time despite donning multiple roles
Charu Sareen Gujjal, a former teacher and language trainer turned into a writer, author, and a passionate blogger. She is a mom to three-year-old twins – Aarav and Aarohi (A&A). She is a work-from-home mom and runs an active blog – The Mom Sagas, which records her wonderful parenting experiences and every day ‘sagas’ of raising twins. Born and brought up in Delhi, she is married to an MBA professional and currently resides in Mumbai.
How do you plan your day? How does your day span out?
My day begins at 7:00 AM. My mornings are usually busy with preparing breakfast, packing tiffins and getting kids ready for school. My husband leaves for office at around 8:00 AM and kids’ school starts at 9.30 AM. After he leaves, I wake kids up (which usually takes around half an hour with loads of morning hugs and cuddles), get them to bathe/dressed, serve breakfast, and get ready myself to drop them to school.
After coming back home, I finish my own breakfast and do a quick video chat with my parents. I am mostly done by 10:00 AM and invest the next two hours finishing my blog work/assignments.
We usually have a fixed routine and my day spans out as per the routine. Once kids are back home, they play for some time. I serve them lunch and put them to nap by 2:00 PM. I have a cook who helps me with lunch while kids are in school, so it eases out my day and I invest that time in my work. Kids nap for a good two hours and wake up by 4. Once they are up, they eat fruits/snacks and I take them to activity classes where they learn art/craft and dance. While they are in the class, I go for my evening walk. Around 6:00 PM I pick them up from the class and take them to the park. They enjoy another one hour at the swings. After coming back home, I spend some time in the kitchen to prepare dinner. My husband returns around 8: 00 PM and we all have our dinner by 8.30 PM.
Post dinner, we spend some family time together. We play with kids, read books, share stories, etc. We usually put them to bed by 10:00 PM. Once they sleep, I enjoy some me-time for the next hour. I mostly read a book or watch Netflix or simply scroll through social media. I also try to prepare a checklist of things-to-do for the next day (both at work front and home). My day ends around 11:00 PM and starts again at 7 in the morning.
I am a freelance content writer and blogger. I usually work from home. My work timings are around 4 hours a day that too split into two shifts, that is, two hours in the morning (when kids are in school, 10-12 Noon) and another 2 hours in the afternoon ( when they nap 2-4:00 PM). Sometimes, if there is an urgent deadline or a pending assignment that needs immediate attention, I also spend one or two hours in the night when kids are asleep (10-12:00 midnight), but that’s rare and occasional.
What do you think about our Indian education system? If you were to introduce something or change something about it, what would that be?
Being a teacher myself, I can say our Indian education system has evolved a lot to suit the needs of current times. Right from curriculum to teaching practices, everything is now based on practical knowledge which is focused to make kids independent learners.
However, the major drawback is the commercialization. Education in private schools has turned supremely expensive (especially for the international boards). If I could bring one major change, it would be to make quality education affordable for all.
What would you say is your key to juggling and creating a balance with your work and kids?
There are two things that I believe are sort of helping me juggle and balance my work and kids. One is – following a fixed routine. Even though it seems like a clock-work, but a fixed routine helps me plan and organize my day better.
The second thing is – ‘No-multi-tasking (i.e working while kids are around). I realize multi-tasking doesn’t work every time. It divides my concentration and affects my productivity, which in turn leads to unnecessary frustration. So I prefer dividing my time and not mix the hours spend on work and hours spent with kids.
What is the most challenging part of being a mother? Have you managed to overcome it? If so, how?
The most challenging part of motherhood is to be a stress-free and a guilt-free mom. As much as I try to be a fair, just and happy mother of twins, there are days when I give up and feel totally incapable of handling the two of them together. I feel guilty for not being able to give my best. I am not sure if I will ever be fully able to overcome this, but I do try to let such a phase pass and take each day as a new one.
How do you spend time with your kids on weekends? Share your best family moments
Weekends are usually all about spending time with my family. We wake up late, cook a special meal and try to spend some fun time together. Usually, there is no routine on the weekends and we try to relax and unwind. Our Sunday evenings are mostly spent watching fun cartoon movies together while munching on some popcorns and chips. Occasionally, we also venture out to a mall or say a kids-friendly place.
Do you manage to get some personal time for yourself? What do you like to do in this leisure time?
I do manage to get some time for myself (which is most nights, when kids are fast-asleep). I usually spend that time watching Netflix or surfing on the internet.
What tips would you like to give to new moms/moms with teenagers at home/ moms with pre-schoolers at home?
The only tip I can give to other moms with preschoolers at home is – make the most of the time you spend with kids. They grow up fast and this phase never comes back. Set your priorities, take things slow and simply enjoy the time you spend with them.
Yes, there were a lot of tips given by fellow twin moms in the first year that worked well for me. When A&A was three months old, a very wise friend once suggested to try putting twins on a similar schedule, i.e, make them eat, bathe, sleep, etc, together instead of doing it one-by-one. My life became much easier and organized once I started that.
However, a few tips related to breastfeeding and weaning didn’t really work for me and I had a tough time dealing with the same.
If there was anyone thing you could change about you at this point in life, what would that be?
I am a very laid back person when it comes to physical fitness or exercise. I have been meaning to join a gym since long but keep procrastinating for some of the other reason. I wish to change this about myself and be self-motivated in this regard.
There is no concept such as ‘being a perfect mom’. Each mom learns through her own journey, experience, and mistakes. Motherhood is a journey, really. It’s about exploring and recognizing your strengths (more than weaknesses). An evolving version- that’s what motherhood is!
About Powerful stories from Real Moms. Real Stories: This section on The Champa Tree caters to stories of real moms. This is a platform for all mothers to share their stories and in turn inspire each other to take a step ahead in life. Parenting being the center of discussion in this section, everyday struggles can be dealt with by reading each other’s experiences with their little ones. If you would like your story to be read, and heard, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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