Time for you to meet my co-host for the We Are Real Moms (now, Life of Real Moms) February 2018 Challenge.
If you are new, We Are 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.
Since the advent of the Internet and the social media craze, people from various corners of the globe, who had no reason to run in the same circles, have become friends. But that is obvious, no? However, there is another side to this where you meet people that you never knew lived so close to you. You could have run into them at the mall, or the supermarket, or a movie theatre, or the train station because you live that close, but you didn’t. You came to know of them over the internet, struck up a conversation online, exchanged baby names because both your babies are known by their online nicknames only, and then the first call lasted an hour and a half.
And then you got together for playdates, and there was no looking back. Meet Tamanna and the only way you wouldn’t have heard of her is if you haven’t heard of me either. 🤷
If she’s such a good friend, why haven’t you hosted with her yet? you ask. Well, if I hadn’t had the calendar for 2017 WARM Hosts planned when we first started talking, I would have been embarrased to not have asked her to co-host until now. Actually, I should be embarrassed even now.
In the spirit of #keepinitreal, this mom – who is one of my closest friends right now – is only hosting WARM February because the orginal plan had to be tabled due to a technical snag. She convinced me that I couldn’t take a break for two months back to back. So as I joke, I asked her if she’d host it with me and surprisingly, she said yes. This is extremely anti-climatic compared to the proposal-like invitations the other co-hosts have received from me, that too, months in advance.
And even though I am robbing her of the experience of planning a proper WARM challenge, I know she’s doing this only for me. And I will be forever grateful to her for this. And I will happily accept Cookie ka rishta for my Laddoo.
Okay, maybe not thaaaat grateful. Laddoo should be able to exercise her freewill, no? 😜
I’ve only known you as a mom and as a friend.
Tell us a bit about your professional life.
Tamanna says, “After my 12th Boards, I enrolled for C.S (Company Secretaries Course) with a lot of enthusiasm. I cleared my Foundation Course easily and then came the Intermediate level. I passed in all individual subjects but was 4 marks short of the aggregate required to clear the level. That broke my heart and I decided to quit it and continued with my education. Nope, I am not a quitter! I have done my Masters from Stella Maris College, ranked number 5 All India for Commerce, which has 87% admission reservation quota. I have also worked as a Research and Teaching Assistant at IIM Bangalore for 18 months. I was almost on the verge of completing my PhD when I got to know I’m pregnant and it’s on a hiatus right now.”
You have experienced a lot of cultural diversity during the course of your education and even later…
What kind of an impact has that experience had on raising you son, Cookie?
Tamanna says, “I am a Gujarati, born in West Bengal where we lived till I was 8 years old. We then moved to Assam and my parents still live there. I’ve lived in Chennai for three years, one and half years in Bangalore, three years in Pune, and now, Mumbai. Phew, that’s quite a list. Having lived in so many different cultures and cities has shaped me as a person and is helping me bring up my baby differently as well. The major change which I have noticed is the eating habits that I have inculcated for Cookie. A major chunk of Gujarati cuisine consists of sweet items which I have avoided the most. Cookie loves Poha as much as he enjoys his Dosas and Idlis, he enjoys smoothies as much as he loves daliya!”
You’re now working from home and are a full time mommy to Cookie…
How do you manage to juggle everything and retain your sanity too? 🙈
Tamanna says, “I have always been a career-oriented person and I started working when I was 16. I couldn’t probably imagine myself not working. Working for me means sharing my knowledge, meeting new people who after sometime become friends. I worked till the 7th month of my pregnancy after which I moved to Assam for my delivery. I didn’t work (commercial) for 16 months and I’ve recently started work from home and let me tell you, it’s more challenging than going out for work. I’ve taken calls while feeding Cookie, while blowing soap bubbles and what not. It’s kind of challenging but then it’s good to be doing something that makes you feel a little challenged.”
What is the one biggest lesson motherhood has taught you?
Tamanna says, “Living in the moment is the biggest lesson motherhood had taught me. A baby’s childhood is all about small moments which one doesn’t realise till they become a parent. I have learnt to stop doing whatever I’m doing right now to watch this beautiful child of mine do something as trivial as picking up a toy on his own or pooping on his own! I have realised with a child that it is the “moment” which is the most important part of a child’s day. It’s these small moments which bring a smile to my face amongst all the sleeplessness, crankiness, restlessness in the entire day.”
What’s the hardest part about being a mom…
…the biggest challenge according to you? How do you deal with it?
Tamanna says, “The hardest part of being a mother for me has been to explain to others that not all kids are the same. They have different ways of learning, eventually all milestones are achieved but not necessarily in the same timeline! It is difficult to make people see if my child, for example, isn’t talking much, he is still doing other things quite well.
Coping with this has been equally challenging to be honest. I’ve given up trying to explain to anyone about Cookie and his milestones! As long as he is an active and healthy baby, I am a happy mother.”
And the easiest part?
Tamanna says, “Breastfeeding, anytime! While I was pregnant, I read a lot of articles about breastfeeding and I was sure I was going to breastfeed Cookie at least till he is 18 months and see, we are at 17 months already and going strong!
I’ve never had any issues with latching or anything else, probably because I was mentally prepared that it takes a while before the babies learn how to latch properly. In the last 17 months, I have fed Cookie everywhere: at home, airports, bus stands, malls, restaurants, on the beach, trains: you name it and we’ve done it there.”
If you could be have an entire day to yourself…
…just to yourself – how would you spend the day?
Tamanna says, “ *Long pause*
There are so many things that I want to do that probably I would end up doing nothing and just sleeping (don’t all mommies just want to do that). Realistically, I would have a cup of hot tea, have some brunch (wouldn’t want to waste time having two meals), read some books I’ve missed reading (Jeffrey Archer is at the top of my mind right now), and sleep again!!”
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?
Tamanna says, “Although I have been on Instagram for 4 years now, I actually became a part of the Mom community in May 2017, with the first WARM contest. I’m not sure how many people know this but I am also one of the first winners of We are Real Moms.
Instagram has helped me connect with a lot of moms who are probably in the same situation as I am and it helps to know you aren’t the only one struggling with some phase of the baby. The Instagram friendships didn’t really get limited to the app and have moved to WhatsApp and phone calls. You, for example, are one person I talk to everyday, every single day.
Instagram has definitely helped me maintain my sanity and to put in stronger words, has helped me keep PPD at bay. Would I recommend it others: very strongly!”
How do you manage to keep it real…
when you look at other’s seemingly perfect lives on Instagram?
Tamanna says, “I avoid looking at such pictures!!”
If someone visits your blog for the first time…
…what should they read first?
Tamanna says, “I’d love it if you could start with these:
- My Birth Story!!
That was fun! Thank you, Tamanna, for convincing me to not stop this month AND 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 Tamanna on Social Media.
Details of WARM February 2018 will be up soon! Stay tuned.
Mamma Bear | Nikita