As we gear up to celebrate our First Birthday, we are hosting the BIGGEST CHALLENGE we have ever done and getting together ALL SEVENTEEN MOM BLOGGERS who have been hosts since the first Challenge in May 2017. Most of them have been interviewed here, on our blog, but let me introduce you to three more moms, who are as fab as they get.
If you are new, Life of Real Moms is a fortnight long, prompt based Photo Challenge that happens every month on Instagram with the objective of building a community, and you can read all about how it started and how you can play along, by clicking here. As a part of this challenge, every month two or more Insta-Moms will bring to you a lovely theme-based photo contest with exciting prizes and fun games.
She hosted our Diwali Challenge in October last year – our biggest challenge until then. With so much going on back then, we didn’t get a chance to do a proper interview. But better late than never, right? Say hello to…
Raj is a writer and art director with an insane love for reading and travel. In fact, it’s her secret dream to live in a library in a small, sleepy European village. Her blog, Pink Chai Living, covers fashion & beauty, crafts, food, travel, and culture. As the mom of second-generation Canadian children, she’s always looking for creative ways to keep her kids connected to the culture of India.
Let’s get to know Raj little better.
How did you come up with the name “Pink Chai?” In addition to Chai, what is your blog all about?
Raj says, “Pink Chai wasn’t really meant to mean anything! At the time I named my blog (in 2011) there were not many North American blogs with desi writers so I knew I wanted to have a name that represented the Indian side of me, and I love pink. On a phone call with a friend I said, I wish I could come up with a name that had pink and chai in it, and she said ‘Why don’t you name it Pink Chai?’
These days I blog about the books I’m reading, places I’ve travelled, food I love & recipes, and fashion & beauty tips. One of my favourite things to blog about is DIY and crafts; my archives are full of ideas. Unfortunately, these days my work schedule doesn’t allow for too much crafting.”
Tell us a bit about South Asian Bloggers Network and the goal behind co-founding it.
Raj says, “South Asian Bloggers Network is a group created to offer a platform and voice for desi writers in North America. We wanted to create a space for South Asian bloggers to support each other, share content, and grow together by reaching out to brands and working together.”
You have been self-employed for 14 years now. What, in your opinion, are the pros and cons of being answerable to yourself?
Raj says, “For me the biggest benefit of being self-employed has been the ability to build my schedule around my kids. When they were younger and needed more time from me, I often worked at night. These days even though I’m in the office a lot, I have the liberty to take days off for class field trips and school performances.
Some of my other favourite things about self-employment are I work hard for myself and enjoy the benefits and profits, I’m building a company that creates opportunities for other women and moms, and I get to choose how much workload to take on. On the other hand, I’m on 24/7, my income fluctuates a lot, and it has been almost 5 years since I took a totally off the grid holiday! But I wouldn’t have it any other way, I love self-employment.”
How do you juggle work, your blog, and family, and still be fabulous?
Raj says, “Honestly, the thing about having so many balls in the air is that you are always dropping something. Guaranteed when I’m rocking at work, I’m failing at home and my house is a mess. When I make it home for dinner three nights in a row, I’ve definitely missed a client deadline. Over the years I’ve learned that you have to go easy on yourself and accept that you can’t do all things all the time.
That being said, some of the practical ways I manage my multiple projects are; using a calendar – you can’t remember all your appointments and deadlines if you don’t write them down, writing a daily task list with no more than 5 items on it, and delegating whatever I can. I think working moms have the hardest time delegating housework, you have to make your partner a partner – let him do the groceries (even if he does it wrong), encourage him to take on school visits and fundraisers, and most important, expect him to do his share without feeling guilty about it.”
Your kids are second generation Canadians. What parenting challenges did you face? Was it hard to bring Indian culture and traditions into the Canadian lifestyle?
Raj says, “For me it hasn’t been a huge struggle. I grew up in a traditional Punjabi family even though I was born in Canada, and I just sort of started passing that along to my kids.
There are two things that have been a challenge though, teaching my kids Punjabi, and competing with mainstream holidays. In Canada holidays like Easter, Halloween, and Christmas are such a big event that getting kids interested in Vaisakhi or Diwali can be a challenge. That’s why I’ve created so many crafts and DIYs around desi holidays for the blog.”
What’s the hardest part about being a mom; the biggest challenge according to you? How do you deal with it?
Raj says, “It might sound cliché, but the hardest part is letting your kids go. Now that my kids are older they can go places on their own, spend hours at a friend’s house, or even go to Nani’s house for a week at a time. When they were younger I thought childbirth, late night feedings, and teething were the hardest, but now I’m sure letting them out into the world when I’m not watching over them is the hardest.”
Is there anything you miss from your life before you became a mom?
Raj says, “I had my first child when I was 23 so there isn’t much to miss other than teenage drama and club nights! One thing I do believe now though is that women should really get to know themselves and be settled on their career paths before becoming a mom. Sometimes I wish I had spent a few more years in the workforce before motherhood.”
How do you manage to keep it real when you look at other’s seemingly perfect lives on Instagram?
Raj says, “Since my day job involves curating perfect pictures for social media, I can usually keep it real and recognize a ‘stylized life’, but still I have my difficult days. I struggle the most when the kids are on a break from school and all the moms are posting about their days of leisure and activities with the kids and I’m at the office. Then I just have to step away and count my own blessings and say a little prayer of gratitude for my family.
It can be easy to let social media make you feel less than, especially as a homemaker, mom, and wife – but the truth is, we are all doing the best we can at the moment with what we have.”
If you could be have an entire day to yourself – just to yourself – how would you spend the day?
Raj says, “This is easy – I’d book a hotel room & fill it with books and room service. Maybe a little champagne too!”
If someone were to visit your blog for the first time, what would you like them to read first?
Raj says, “I’d love it if you could start with these:
Thank you for taking the time out to do this. It’s so good to get to know you a little better! We are so happy to have you as a part of the LORM family.
Details of our Bingo Challenge will be up soon on LORM’s Instagram! Stay tuned.
for Life of Real Moms