This post was orginally published on The Start Moms Blog, here.
Time for you to meet my co-host for the We Are Real Moms (Now, Life of Real Moms) December 2017 Challenge.
If you are new, We Are Real Moms (now, Life of Real Moms) is a 15-days long, prompt based Photo Challenge that I do every month on Instagram with the objective of building a community, and you can read all about why I started this and how you can play along, by clicking here.
As a part of this challenge, I partner with an Insta-Mom every month – someone I met online and yet share a bond, a real friendship with, someone who is Real about her life and its challenges no matter how pretty she or her Instagram pictures look.
Her Vocab is Fab, a brilliant wordster and a sweet & sorted mommy at heart, Meet Akshaya Nandakumar, a virtual friend I am very thankful to be associated with and now my co-host for WARM December 2017.
One look at her Instagram and her blog, and you are bound to be hooked to reading her fluid writing style and the cute pictures of her angelic daughter, Gulabo. Add lovely tiffin box stories and some honest momlife snippets..
My first interaction with Akshaya was a pure Insta-cliche. Liking, commenting became a norm on each others posts, we started doing more of it, till we were together in a WARM feature. Soon, we were hosting a giveaway together and were heading the creative team. That’s when we actually clicked. We enjoyed that stint very much and it was very clear that she was one of my favourite instagrammers (Also, partly because she had tagged me as a “pataka” for a diwali contest prompt 😊)
Jokes apart, when we found out that we are together as co-hosts for WARM December, we were ecstatic.
I love her simple fluid style of writing, be it on her blog or instagram posts. She is equally graceful in a conversation too.
It is always great to know a mom of substance and I’m thankful to WARM for letting me co-host with Akshaya. Here a bit more about her.
You just launched your new site, AndHowDoYouDo.com. What was the thinking behind the blog?
Akshaya says, “I started blogging in 2006-7, well before social media became a ‘thing’… man, I’m old. I used to share rambly, personal pieces on my daily life and I loved the community I built through my site. Once I had a baby, the blogging abruptly stopped. It wasn’t because I didn’t have time, it was because I couldn’t figure out what to say. I didn’t want to put everything about my daughter online, because I felt like that was her story, not mine. But at the same time, parenting was all I wanted to write about.
I just couldn’t figure out how to write meaningfully about my journey, while respecting her privacy. My blogging style IS personal, it IS no-holds-barred, it IS about sharing everything, even the ugly bits. It took me nearly three years to finally figure it out, but better late than never 🙂 And How Do You Do is more mamma, less baby. It’s about my journey – sometimes sweet, sometimes funny, always real. To make up for lost time, I’m writing in parallel about parenting an infant as well as parenting a preschooler, and I hope to catch up before eM (known as Gulabo on the new site) goes to college!”
For someone who writes so well, have you authored any book yet?
Akshaya says, “Writing a novel has been on my wishlist forever. I even took a year off work a few years back to travel, read, and write. The travel was great, the reading spectacular. But writing, ah, I keep thinking what I’ve written isn’t good enough. I hope that one day I’ll have the confidence to not just write a full length novel, but actually publish it too!”
One visit to your blog and its very clear you are a complete wordster…
…your vocab is FAB and I may just introduce you like that, your education or work experience has a big hand in this. We’d love to know about that.
Akshaya says, “All the relatives on my dad’s side are hardcore readers, so I was gifted more books than the average toddler in the 80’s received! I also credit the Montessori system for believing that children, no matter how young, are capable of communicating, and should be listened to. I could gush on and on about the Montessori/Krishnamurti methods of education and how they benefited me, but that would be an entire essay! Basically, I’ll summarize by saying being read to and being listened to from very early on probably helps build vocabulary more than anything.
Your Tiffin ideas and recipes, make that pictures of Em’s tiffin, are so well put together and absolutely drool worthy…
Are you born chef or its something that you perfected post baby?
Akshaya says, “Thank you! This time the credit goes to my mom’s side of the family, who are all avid foodies and the best cooks ever. To be honest, being in a nuclear setup and often solo-parenting, all the day-to-day cooking (daal, rice, vegetables, etc) gets taken care of by our cook. All I have to do is cook eM’s dabba and breakfast. She usually sits with me when I’m meal-planning and suggests what she wants me to cook, based on what’s in the fridge. She’s very involved and interested in her meals, which makes it a delight to keep introducing new things to her.”
You are a Vegetarian ! No, explanation required…
How would you handle Em favouring few non-veg dishes earlier on?
Akshaya says, “I don’t cook meat or seafood at home… but if some is on offer when we’re out and she’d like to try it, I have no objection. I hope to be the kind of parent who is ok with their child being whoever they want to be – whether that’s vegetarian or non-vegetarian, religious or atheist, studious or not 🙂 My parents gave me that amount of freedom growing up too (even if they didn’t always understand my choices!), and I’m forever grateful for it.”
If you had to spend time with these 3 –
Em, a bestseller novel or hubby dearest – which would you pick first or what order?
Akshaya says, “I always have such a hard time picking favourites, or rank ordering things by preference! But (excuse the public display of affection) I can tell you the top one for sure – my husband is always going to be my first pick on any list. I love him more than our daughter, more than my work, more than anything else. He is the one person whom I can trust blindfolded to be an equal partner – and God knows I’m picky! He really is the best.”
Is there anything you miss about your life pre motherhood?
Akshaya says, “I haven’t slept a full night in nearly three years! At this point, I can’t imagine having another baby, because I just want to go back to bed… all. the. time :D”
If someone visits your blog for the first time, what should they read first?
Akshaya says, “I’d love it if you could start with these:
- Montessori Education: What Does It Even Mean?
- Birth Story Part II : Ready or Not, Here I Come
- Gulabo’s Snackbox: Week 1“
Hope you enjoyed reading and getting to know my co-host better!
Don’t forget to check out and follow Akshaya on Social Media.
Details of WARM December 2017 will be up soon! Stay tuned.