I’m back to introduce you to another Real Mom – my co-host for the We Are Real Moms (now, Life of Real Moms) August 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.
With this mom, the first conversation we had (besides chatting on Instagram DMs or Whatsapp) was a video call! Yup, we’d never met each other before or even spoken over the phone and we did a video call. Why? Because I couldn’t make head or tail about the cloth diapers that were sent to me and she needed to see what I had before she could tell me what it was. So I called her on video and showed it to her.
Meet Nayantara, Mommy to BabyT, has an honourary PhD. in Cloth Diapering, and (as I am slowly discovering) is very, very funny. From that first conversation itself I got these warm, helpful vibes and till date, she answers any and all of my questions in detail and with patience.
And what started as a Q&A about Cloth Diapers led to other questions, conversations, and this developed into a natural friendship, much like Nayantara’s Parenting style. She’s a natural mama, meaning that raising BabyT involves natural practices like Breastfeeding, Babywearing, using Cloth Diapers, Baby Led Weaning, Attachment & Gentle Parenting, etc., and that’s pretty much what I follow too. So this made us realise that we have a lot of things in common.
August is special (you’ll find out why in a day or two) and there was no one better I could think of to partner with for this theme, other than Nayantara! So without further ado, let us get to know her better, interview style 😃
Tell us a little bit about you, your blog and why you started blogging.
Nayantara says, “At the juncture of life that I am in right now, I am a mother. I defeated many odds to have babyT in my arms today and so I celebrate motherhood. I know how precious it is and how it could have been a different story today had I not become a mother. Having said that, it is not the only thing about me… But it is a large part of my being right now. Funnily I started my blog because I wanted to talk to people about my battle with infertility and how I conceived. But I haven’t found the guts to revisit that dark place in my life again and so that is the only topic I have not talked about on my blog till date. But it will happen soon. I want women out there to know that it is tough and that I understand. My blog is also about my first hand experiences about caring for and raising babyT in as natural a way as possible. To this end I am still breastfeeding him, we cloth diaper and believe in gentle parenting.”
You are a hands-on mom, you have a freelance HR practice, you work part-time for Superbottoms, and you blog.
How do you manage to do all this and still find a little bit of time for yourself?
Nayantara says, “Sigh! This is something I still struggle with sometimes. But the bottom-line is that it all gets done, so somewhere I am doing it right perhaps. I mostly work from my phone so that enables me to work from anywhere – kitchen, while breastfeeding, from the loo (sorry, TMI). I also have most apps and plug-ins downloaded on my phone so that helps again. My day actually begins at around 9:30 PM after babyT has slept for the night. I blog, write my HR reports or plan for Superbottoms work for the next day at this time. I am usually awake till 3 am, working. But then I wake up late and that means I have had my quota of sleep for the day. 11 am and I am back at work. Throughout the day my personal blog and interacting on the Superbottoms pages gives me happiness and relaxes me. Sundays are total “me” days. My husband eagerly spends the day with babyT – taking care of all his needs so I am free to spend time on any pending work or just relax. I also am not afraid to ask for help. So my mom or my MIL come in and spend a few days at our place to care for babyT when I have a lot of work deadlines.”
You’re passionate about all things natural when it comes to parenting – breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering…
…how did you come about making these choices? What drove you to be a natural mama?
Nayantara says, “To be honest it all kinda happened in synchronised motion. I was first introduced to breastfeeding when I joined India’s biggest support group for Breastfeeding. I was awestruck that breastfeeding was so magical, yet not easy. It prepared me for the oncoming months post baby’s arrival. Via the breastfeeding group I also found out about cloth diapering and baby wearing. To say that I have a PhD of sorts in cloth diapering will be a mild statement. I have never felt so passionately about anything else in a long time. Then one day I looked back and saw that the way we were parenting was something very different to how we were raised. Rather than something ultra-modern it was actually a ‘back to basics’ and ‘faith in Nature’ approach. That is when I read more and discovered about natural parenting and that I was indeed a natural mama.”
What are your top 3 reasons for Cloth Diapering?
Let’s convince some more mamas to switch, okay?
Nayantara says, “I love that cloth has been so deeply researched to make it water proof, super absorbent to last all night (that’s 12 hours of holding pee) without harming baby’s skin. My personality loves efficiency and when it is deeply researched and works in a fool-proof manner it excites me. But I ramble… If you don’t cloth diaper right now I can tell you the following to encourage you to give it a go:
- You and your baby will sleep much better. No middle of the night diaper changes.
- You will never need to buy a tube of diaper rash cream ever. I don’t even know what brands exist out there.
- You will have tons of cute photos in your phone gallery of your baby wearing ultra cute cloth diapers.
Both, you and your husband, speak different languages.
How has BabyT’s response been to two different languages spoken at home? Are there more languages that he is exposed to?
Nayantara says, “BabyT is an early talker. From a fairly rich vocab before he even turned one to today where he picks new words and understands their meaning in the first instance, we have been very surprised because all our research has been quite the contrary. BabyT understands both the languages spoken at home – Konkani and Marathi. Thankfully they are a bit similar. But he also understands English – by way of all the books he reads and the rhymes he listens to on TV. He doesn’t speak much English but he understands ALL the chatter that daddy and I get up to. I have not introduced him to Hindi or Kannada which is also spoken at my maternal home. No one at home speaks Hindi, really. And I understand Kannada better than I can speak, so that’s also not on our list currently.”
What do you love the most about Instagram?
How has it changed your life?
Nayantara says, “Oh I absolutely love Instagram. As it was with most new apps/ mediums, I struggled with it initially. I actually began my instagram account as a food blogger many years ago. But that died a natural death once my Dr gave me an ultimatum to lose weight and stop eating. Lol. My account only came alive about a year ago with MommyingbabyT. I am a visual person and I love how Instagram is a visual feast. It has really opened up my horizons, giving us glimpses of people’s lives across the world. I love drooling over gorgeous food pics, stunning product photos, and nature photos. The more I see of the world the more I realise how similar we are. And it is even more so true of motherhood. I see the same challenges, the same joys and the same cute babies all over the world. It makes me feel like I am a part of a sisterhood of moms.”
Is there anything you miss from your life before you became a mom?
Nayantara says, “I miss the late evening dinners with my husband every weekend. I miss holding hands with him when I walk across the mall. But we now have a tiny hand connecting the two of us and walking between us. This joy is unparalleled for us.
What I really miss is Movie theatres . I haven’t watched a movie in the theatres since babyT arrived. We don’t want to indulge him in screen time for 3 hours at a stretch and the noise too. So we are holding off on that for a while.”
What’s the hardest part about being a mom…
…the biggest challenge according to you? How do you deal with it?
Nayantara says, “From my time as a mother and from what I have seen of other new mothers around me I think we moms really tend to neglect ourselves post baby. I am not just talking of looks, makeup, weight etc. but the person that we were before a baby came along. I see a lot of hopes, dreams and aspirations buried up. I also see simpler things like the desire to splurge on oneself, self pampering, nourishing our minds, time out with the girls, time alone with our partners, all relegated to the background. Somewhere it is a natural maternal instinct which makes us new moms put baby’s needs on priority, but it doesn’t have to come at a cost. I did this for the longest time, but once I realised it, I made sure I caught up. My blog is one of the biggest motivators and mood up-lifters for me. I love writing and having this medium really helped me emerge more happy and cheery.”
And the easiest part?
Nayantara says, “Just trust your instincts. Have trust and faith in yourself as a mother. It is there inside of you to be the best mother there ever was. You may choose to bring up your child any way you want, but just believe that you are doing it in the best possible way.”
If there was one thing you could change about your motherhood journey…
…or one thing you wish you could have done differently, what would it be?
Nayantara says, “I wish I had taken more pics of my pregnany bump. I wish I had taken videos of babyT moving inside me. But my pregnancy was so unbelievable and after a difficult phase that I was scared to rejoice. People around me also scared me a bit asking me to be subdued about the whole pregnancy. I wish I had not paid any heed to them and celebrated my bump. I did enjoy my pregnancy, don’t get me wrong there, but I just didn’t document or chronicle my pregnancy memories.”
How has connecting with other people on social media…
…been for you (moms in particular)? Would you recommend it to others? Why? Or why not?
Nayantara says, “It has been the best thing ever. The kind of love, support, and understanding another mother gives you is like nothing else. I have only seen love for my baby and my blog on social media. I have done the same for other moms. I am happy to find inspiration and learn new ways of parenting from other moms. I am equally happy that people enjoy reading my posts. There is something to be learned from every person you meet – and meeting other moms on social media has only been enriching. I highly recommend all moms-to-be to connect with and speak to new moms on social media to know what being a mom really is all about.”
How do you manage to keep it real…
…when you look at other’s seemingly perfect lives on Instagram?
Nayantara says, “One lesson I have learnt and which I truly believe in is that everyone fights their own battles. Behind every photo or post is a very real story of a mother who has probably not slept well in months. A mother who wonders if she is doing her best, a mother who wonders if she has it in her. It is very easy to criticise but it is more difficult to find something to appreciate. So I choose to look for the good rather than look at flaws. Most often empathy is what people look for – so when I comment on other people’s posts I try to show them how their struggles/ joys are real. Also when I post I go for a raw rendition of what I want to say or about the incident/ event I am trying to convey. I write as I would speak it perhaps. This makes it relatable to the reader. Most of all I am honest in the text and in the photos I share. ”
If someone visits your blog for the first time…
…what should they read first?
Nayantara says, “I’d love it if you could start with these:
- 10 Things No One Told You About Being A Mother
- Toddler Breastfeeding – why I still breastfeed my son
- P is for Pregnancy Cravings
That was fun! Thank you, Nayantara for agreeing to be a part of this. It’s so good to get to know you a little better.
Don’t forget to check out and follow Mommying babyT on Social Media.
Details of WARM August 2017 will be up soon! Stay tuned.
Mamma Bear | Nikita