Minakshi Singh, married for the past 6 years, and a mother to an active toddler boy (Viraj) aged 2 years and 3 months, is successfully running two bars in Delhi-NCR. With fabulous joint family support, Singh could pursue her dream of being a part of F & B business. She owes it to her family and stars. Since she has erratic working hours with no fixed 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM shift, putting her child in daycare was never an option, and especially nights can be challenging. Read on to know how this real mom is managing a work/life balance…
I have unplanned/fluid office hours. There are days when I can work from home, and days when I leave for meetings in the morning which often gets stretched and I am only back by late night. I’m currently running 2 bars- Cocktails and Dreams -Speakeasy (Gurgaon) and Sidecar (GK2). I also work as a consultant on new projects and brands – which is terribly time-consuming! But there is one thing I really really look forward to doing, which is to put my son- Viraj to bed (be there for our story-time). This is ‘our’ absolute favorite and we both look forward to the time spent well together.
How does your day start?
We started sending Viraj to play school at 18 months, as both my husband and I are working, and felt that it would be a good way to get him to start the learning process. In fact, it has really developed his communication skills as well as social skills. He used to be a far more shy baby, and this was a great way to expose him to new people. Besides, he loves his school way too much that we actually have to drag him out while picking up from there. Our day starts mostly at around 7:00 AM starting with getting Viraj ready, to get him to have breakfast. Post that he plays about for a bit, and then leaves by 9:15 AM. That is when we get around to our breakfast and work out!
Viraj gets back at 12 from play-school, and post that he usually has his bath and then lunch followed by a nap. His grandparents are at home which I think we lucked out on, and I also have a full-time nanny. Between all the staff at home, I truly believe that it takes a village to raise a child!
What do you think about our Indian education system?
I think things are getting far more interactive and open. As a parent, I believe the choice is up to you. If you feel that the traditional way of schooling is something you feel comfortable with the choice is yours. These days the great thing is parents have enough options to chose from. If I were to change something, I would say I wish it would get easier and simpler for everyone to get into schools of their choice. I hear all the stress that parents take, and I am not very sure if it is worth it.
Your key to juggling and creating a balance with your work and kids?
Well, there is no fixed formulae. What works for you might not work for the other parents. Key thing is to keep at it and you will set your own routines and rituals. I am also a firm believer in an equal division of work within the family (between mother and father) and I really encourage my husband to make his own little rituals and bond between father and son. They have their own little inside jokes (already!) and mall-time (since I detest malls). Additionally, having grandparents at home is a very big plus for us. Apart from the fact that they are around to help us as much, they also keep an eye, as in today’s days and age, one is always worried about the security of little ones.
What is the most challenging part of being a mother?
For me, it is all about spending as much time with Viraj, and I struggle with it all the time. There are days when I come home supremely tired, and straight away get to playing with him, and then to put him to bed. I only get free post 9:00 PM to get any me time/ or our time with my husband. Over the past few months, I have learned to relax a bit more, and let the nanny or Gautam put him to sleep. My husband is extremely supportive of this. He is constantly encouraging me to take it easy. In fact, he was the one who pushed me to take a girls weekend in Goa, when Viraj was about 20 months. We were out for 3 nights, but believe me, that was one of the best breaks I ever took! What I have realized as a working mom is that motherhood isn’t easy. I will have to juggle between work and family life or trying to achieve my own personal peace. It can be a bit of a battle- each one of these verticals posing with their demands. I will be facing this and many such battles at all times, and there is not much I can do about it. Learn to let go is the best advice I can give to all new moms.
How do you spend time with your kids on weekends?
Viraj loves parks and outdoors ( as do I!) so mostly on Sat and Sunday mornings (post his bath), we take him to the neighborhood park. He loves playing with the squirrels, and also loves cats and kittens. We also try and have a meal out together as a family, or go to a play area (if the weather is not good for outdoors). I am a sucker for traditions and rituals and so I love having our own little moments of park time or playtime. We also have a club nearby, and in the summer, Viraj shall start with the flapping pool again (like last year he was only a year old and he loved a dip/swim with Gautam!!)
One of our most fav things in the world is to go for a night or two to Gautam’s parent’s farm, it is in Manesar, and Viraj loves to garden, dig, and generally play in the mud. That place has always been our “happy” place as a family and is my all-time favorite getaway.
Do you manage to get some personal time for yourself?
I love love love to read. And I mostly sneak in time to read, although most of the time I end up reading post-Viraj’s bedtime. The other thing I love to do is go for walks to Bio-Diversity park or head to the nearest park with my girlfriends.
Any special parenting tips that you have for other moms…
Well, my mom told me, that try and cook for Viraj when he starts eating, because a mom always cooks right from the heart, and while it was a bit of a task making his 3 meals before leaving for work I religiously made all his meals and snacks myself. I would steam all his veggies, and keep giving him new things to eat, and slowly he became a good eater, and he likes most of the veggies and fruits. That was a very big relief for us, as most of the time as parents, our biggest worry in the world is when they don’t eat.
If there was one thing you could change about yourself at this point in life what would that be?
Absolutely nothing! I love my life!