My passion around sharing my fellow mamas’ stories is only growing! Moms seriously amaze me. It’s incredible what they can accomplish in 24 hours, only to do it again the next day.
Today’s guest blogger, Sejal Shah, is someone who continues to amaze me with her creativity and patience, her ability to connect with her children, her children’s grasp of the Gujarati language, etc. Oh and did I mention she recently started her own company and is soon-to-be a mama of FIVE!
With that, I’m going to let Sejal tell you all about her motherhood journey and what life looks like right now…
When I started this journey of blogging and social media, I was a mom who recently quit her corporate career to raise a little boy. At the time, I was passionate about sharing my journey of motherhood; little did I know then that I was actually sharing the very essence of who I am and what is important to me which I was passing down to my child – my Indian-ness. Today, I am a mom to four very Gujarati kids (soon to be 5 – it still sounds so surreal, ahh!) , Insta-blogger @sage_ness and the Founder of Bolo Bolo Baby. The journey of motherhood led me to pursuing my passion.
Instead of telling you the WHAT about my business, I’m going to share the HOW because the number one question I get on a daily basis is, “how do you do it?” How do I raise four kids (five, five, five), launch a small business, find time to pass on Gujarati/Hindi language & culture to my kids, share all that I do on a daily basis on Instagram and manage to make homemade meals! Honestly, I never know how to answer that question, nor is there a simple answer. Instead, I keep sharing with you, my fellow moms! I share anything that helps me be more productive and efficient with my time in order to be better to myself personally and professionally, to my family and to the community. We all are juggling and hustling in different ways and knowing we can all support one another in this virtual world is part of the modern day “village”.
So for those of you still reading, my fellow moms, my village – this is what keeps me going and this is how I pursue my passion while being a mom. I am grateful to be surrounded by other women and entrepreneurs who inspire me to keep at it! (Saving the best for last – so keep reading, or skip my ramblings and go to the bottom).
Also, please note the following does not account for the endless cups of Chaa/Chai that are consumed throughout the day, the countless hours of sleep sacrificed and all the deep breaths!!!
ROUTINE: With the kids especially, I need a routine so I can have predictability in my day. This is the only way I am able to make time for everything else I want to do. More importantly, the kids THRIVE knowing what to expect. Children are creatures of process and order, so when they know what to expect, it makes for smoother days (read: less nagging and tantrums)! Our routine revolves around two main things FOOD & SLEEP. This includes four key time slots: lunch time, nap time, dinner time and bedtimes. The exact time of these will vary every now and then, but the order never really changes! So for example, they know that as soon as lunch is done, they have a little time to play before we go up for naps!
KEEP IT SIMPLE: Some days we eat the same thing for lunch and dinner. Many weeks we pick our laundry from the basket instead of folding it. Most days the kitchen gets cleaned at the end of the day and not after every meal (if you show up during the middle of the day – judge me all you want). And some of our staple foods are made in bulk to simplify our days like the much requested homemade & healthy pancakes .
TRUST THE CHILD:
Our home is a Montessori inspired home. What exactly is this? Dr. Montessori said, “Education is a natural process carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words, but by experiences in the environment.” The first environment for children is their very own home. This is where they experience the beginning of life! We encourage, invite and trust our children to participate in and be a part of our home. They have access to cooking, doing laundry, cleaning or just being. By cultural norms, we often associate these household chores as things we do for our child to create a home environment, which limits them from exploring these every day spaces. Dr. Montessori reminds us to “Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.” When they climb atop a stool to wash their own hands, cut their own fruit or simply eat their own meal, there is intrinsic joy. They are so PROUD of themselves for achieving these milestones on their own. They want to show us they can do it! Children seek independence as much as we do! It has been so apparent with all my kids that when they have equal access to the things we do, they are more inclined to “help” out and there is so much empowerment, confidence and happiness that is developing in the process. The best part is they don’t feel like they are helping – they are just doing what interests and excites them. To them this is play. BUT for me, as a mom, when they are able to do simple tasks like wash their own hands at the age of two, prepare and mix grains to make our popular #Khichdimix at three, eat on their own as babies so I can attend to other mommy duties and join me in sweeping the floor and cleaning up spills, it really is a few things off my plate! To me, trusting my child(ren) is a long-term investment in their own development, and it’s a huge asset to running a large household and getting stuff done (albeit at a MUCH slower pace for now).
GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY: We all do this in different ways but ultimately, however it is and whatever it is, it is always something that makes you feel good and lifts your spirits! This contributes to my overall mental health and happiness! For me, it began with giving back what my parents gave to me – my Indian-ness! I started making cultural activities for my children to learn more about Indian festivals like Diwali, Holi, Ganesh Chaturthi etc. To further promote language and culture I took it upon myself to find ways to promote Gujarati and Hindi in our home through hands on activities and flashcards in Gujarati and Hindi for various Indian festivals. I shared these on my blog with our community for free as a way to provide a resource to our multi-cultural community. They were a hit! Being able to GIVE the gift of language and culture was my way of helping preserve what was given to me. It also inspired me to continue finding ways to preserve our Indian roots & pursue my passion with the launch of my very own company. Recognizing that I am the last generation getting language and culture from the roots (my parents), it is extremely important for me to pass this on to my children. I take responsibility for a lost culture and a lost language. The gift of Indian roots through language and culture is the biggest gift I think I can advocate for and give back to the next generation.
PURSUE YOUR PASSION: This is the KEY to my day! As a mom, it’s easy to get lost in the needs of everyone but yourself. I realized the days I spent a little bit of time doing things that excite me, it took my energy, happiness and over all well being to the next level for myself and those around me. When my oldest was about 3.5 years old I witnessed him fluently reading and attempting to write in Gujarati and Hindi. It was the most rewarding and fulfilling experience. I was touched by the power of hands-on and immersive learning. From the basics of speaking to my children in Gujarati to all the other efforts I put into bringing language and culture into our home, I was already seeing the results at such an early age. This is what motivated me and inspired me to take this passion of passing on Indian language and culture to the next level with the launch of Bolo Bolo Baby! My goal is to continue sparking the curiosity of Hindi and Gujarati language as well as Indian culture in every home by making it more accessible to our multicultural generation and most importantly keep it hands-on with our creative and detailed bilingual (Hindi and English OR Gujarati and English) product designs! Our products are designed keeping in mind that many of our generation did not learn to speak or read/write in Hindi and Gujarati, but I don’t want that to be a limitation! We are working hard to find creative ways to support this learning journey for our generation! I hope this passion of my mine ends up being a gift for generations to come!
So, if you followed my ramblings for this long then I must ask, what is YOUR passion? And more importantly, HOW are you pursuing it? Come share your journey or join mine because really…it takes a (virtual) village! I continue to share my Motherhood journey with an amazing tribe and my passion through the Bolo Bolo Baby Products. I can’t wait to cross paths with you and be a part of your tribe!
Thank you, Sejal, for sharing your journey and experiences. I’m so glad to have you in my virtual tribe and can’t wait to ‘meet’ baby #5!