You’re burning the midnight oil and suddenly you find that warm cup of coffee on your desk. Up until then, you hadn’t even realised your mother was awake. There is a common saying that says there are three kinds of human beings in this world – man, woman and a mother. A friend, confidant, teacher, nagger and boss, a complete multi-tasker, mothers have the capacity to be everywhere at once. This Mother’s Day, we have compiled a list of seven women, who are not only mothers but also great leaders and entrepreneurs.
Ashini Shah – Founder Zeezeezoo
Ashini is the Founder of Zeezeezoo. Based out of London, Ashini came up with the idea of Zeezeezoo to create something multi-cultural for children who can grow up to be global citizens. A mother and an entrepreneur, Ashini has worked hard to create her work-life balance. When in her mother mode, she doesn’t think of her company, and when she is at Zeezeezoo, no thinking about what’s for dinner.
If anything, motherhood has added value to her business. She said that it has made her value time much more. She says that every minute she’s working on something else is a minute that she chooses not to spend with her daughter. “To have such a large opportunity cost obviously changes your perspective greatly,” adds Ashini.
She says that motherhood has changed her entire sense of self. “Your sense of normalcy is uprooted. Your priorities are realigned. You no longer belong solely to yourself. And you have this most amazing creation that so adorably embeds its way into the softest corners of your heart until you wouldn’t want to imagine life any other way.”
Beginning of Ashini’s day
“Even though it’s been only 18 months, there are so many memorable moments! Her first time crawling; her first steps; her first giggle; her first time saying mama; her first time singing ‘row, row, row your boat…’
“But, I guess, something I will always remember is how she wakes me up in the morning… between 7-7:30 every morning, there is an exchange like this:
Sarina (calling out from her crib): Mama, mama, mama, mama!
Me (barely able to open my groggy eyes): Yeah?
And regardless of how annoying it is, it makes me start my day with a smile.”
Astha Chaturvedi – Founder Urban Adventure Outfitters
Founder of Urban Adventure Outfitters, Astha Chaturvedi believes that motherhood has changed her perspective towards business and entrepreneurship. Motherhood has taught her a lot of tenacity. She believes that entrepreneurship draws several parallels from motherhood. “It’s like a second baby,” she says.
Astha believes being a mother gives you an inner confidence. It instills a higher sense of purpose and responsibility. She now has more patience, more tenacity, more acceptances of situations and a higher realisation of the value of time.
She believes that because of motherhood she’s grown up instantly-that a sense of responsibility, which was never there before, has set it. “The joy of having this little being smile at you makes up for all late nights- for all the hard work that goes into being a mother,” says Astha.
One of the biggest challenges of being a mother and an entrepreneur is the constant multitasking it takes. She says that you need to be more nimble, and juggle your day 24/7, 365 days a year.
The winning moment
“For me one occasion that stands out is when Adeesh won the inter-school climbing championship hosted by Urban Climbers. For a 10-year old who thinks UC is home brand-is dining table discussion- he is also a great climber, as he has been climbing since he was three years old.
“I was in a huge dilemma whether he should even compete, he is after all my son, and I do realise, somewhere, it puts him under performance pressure. Will other parents feel he is getting an undue advantage? I have seen him pull out of a competition last minute.
“I had a very serious discussion with him before the climb, and told him, ‘Adi it will not be possible to cheat; there are great climbers out there. If you compete, we will help you prepare, but you compete on your own merit.’ He was almost nonchalant. And then he pulls the best climb in him that I have ever seen. He was a winner by miles that day – making me proud, happy and reassured all at the same time.”
Gauri Jayaram – Founder Active Holiday
According to Gauri Jayaram, the founder of Active Holidays, motherhood has taught her to be more selfless in the world of business and entrepreneurship. She believes that motherhood has changed everything in her life, from priorities, to lifestyle and the even the people she socialises with. She says, “Once you have a child, they become the epicentre on your life. Everything is determined by their needs and schedules, particularity in the initial years.”
One of the biggest challenges of being a mother and an entrepreneur, according to Gauri, is finding the right work-life balance. She says that having a company is like having another child who needs a lot of attention. “So it hasn’t been easy to find as much time as I would like to have, but I try to make up with small bursts of ‘time off” when I’m just devoted to the kids. There are other issues such as interruptions that I think non-mothers don’t have, but I am not complaining about that!” she adds.
“I am a believer of ‘children of the same gender bond better.’ My second baby was due when my daughter was two years old, and I was so desperate for a second daughter that when she finally arrived, I felt that I had hit a million dollar jackpot! That moment apart, I have incredible fun with my girls, and every day is a gift that I soak in and enjoy with them.
Khyati Rupani Founder Balance Nutrition
For Khyati, motherhood was a unique experience; it gave her sense of responsibility. She believes that once you become a mother, you automatically become very good at what you do. After becoming a mother, she says that she has been able to understand her clients who are young mothers in a better perspective. She says it has helped her innovate as well. The online diets, restaurant menu options, no expiry date on all programmes, breaks when the baby is sick and smart eating plans are all unique features that balance nutrition a result of being a mom myself,” adds Khyati.
In fact, her foray into motherhood has also opened up the opportunity of a new business.Soon she’l also launch into child nutrition. Since Khyati always wanted to be a full-time mom, she strives to balance her e-commerce business along with the needs and demands of her daughter. She says, “I end up spending more than seven hours at work, since we are in the expansion phase, but Trissha and her day, activity, studies and food are very well-managed.”
An entrepreneur in the making
“By far, one of the most memorable moments has been when I saw her on my chair using my laptop and acting as Khyati Rupani and taking an imaginary meeting with the ‘girls’ (my dietitians).”
Mansi Zaveri – Founder Kidsstoppress.com
For the founder of Kidsstoppress.com, a website where various facets of parenting can be shared, motherhood has made her more sensitive and empathetic. She says that it has taught her that it’s okay to fail and be fearless. “It’s given me the strength to bounce back without wasting too much time over what’s gone by. I have learnt all of these qualities from my kids, and these are really important for all entrepreneurs,” she says.
To Mansi, motherhood helped her fulfil her dream of being an entrepreneur. She says, “Motherhood actually brought me to the best stage in my life. I could not have asked for anything better.”
Like most mother entrepreneurs, Mansi says that the most challenging part of being a mum entrepreneur is the work-life balance.
“It’s challenging to the extent that you need to work your schedules around that of your kids. Sometimes you must be in the middle of the most important thing, but when your kids call or decide to have a tantrum, nothing else is more important. Even though fathers today work collaboratively with moms, in a lot of cases, the primary responsibility of the house rests with the woman. She is always juggling many roles. I also believe that moms make moms feel guilty, and the biggest challenge is to overcome that mommy guilt of ‘Am I spending enough time with my kids.’ Being a mum entrepreneur is one of the most challenging roles. It’s amazing to see how so many of us do it with so much ease.”
Pallavi Dudeja Foley – Founder and Jewellery Designer Pallavi Foley Boutique Jewels
Having won several national and international design awards and accolades, including several prestigious awards like the Swarovski Elle Decor Design Awards, the International Titanium Design Competition and many others, Pallavi is one of the top accessory and jewellery designers in India.
Pallavi believes that being a mom entrepreneur is one of the most amazing feelings of her life. She says that it has made her better person, and has helped discover many facets of her personality. “It has made me more caring, considerate and this sense of unconditional love simply changes you,” she adds. Pallavi believes that while there are challenges to managing a baby at home and managing a business, these according to her can be easily combated and changed.
Vanita Shastri, Dean of Undergraduate Programs Ashoka University
An educator and an entrepreneur, Vanita believes that motherhood is special for any woman. She says that it changed her life in many ways. “Suddenly, I was responsible for another human being whom I loved and cared for so much that other things could be put on hold. It was a major factor that influenced navigating my career in a new way.”
Vanita believes that the daily challenge a mom entrepreneur faces is similar to that of a working mom. It is all about finding quality time to spend with their children, and being able to do small things for them.
Vanita believes that motherhood has changed the way she views society and community. She says that till one becomes a mother, we tend to be self-centred. Having raised her children in the US, Vanita says that she felt the need to find families, friends and playmates with whom her children would be comfortable. Motherhood made her think more on how to build a better environment that was safe and sustainable.
She says: “One wants to leave the world in a better place than you found it. This can’t be done just for one’s own children alone; hence, the need to build a society that supports and sustains the human race became very important for me.”
Reminiscing a teaching
For me, the most memorable moments are those when one of my children acts on a value or belief that is important to us as parents- something that we have stood for all our life. It reinforces that the children have been listening and have imbibed what we have taught them.