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#CoolestMoms: Karla and Soma

Welcome to our countdown to Mother’s Day 2015! In honor of Mother’s Day, we asked readers to nominate the #CoolestMoms they know, the ones who admit to not being perfect—and not trying to be. Then, we reached out to those mothers to find out more about what makes them tick. Today, Karla and Soma share their joys, struggles, and parenting philosophies.

 

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Karla, #CoolestMoms

KARLA BOOKMAN (FOUNDER & EDITOR, THE SWADDLE)

My household is comprised of a precocious toddler and a lovely husband. They’re both whip-smart, incredibly stubborn, and disarmingly sweet; they make my life more fun and interesting every day. We live in Mumbai, where my husband is from.

TS: What part of your experiences as a parent led to the idea for The Swaddle?

As a new parent, I found myself needing information and advice more than ever before, but none of the traditional guides really appealed to me. Most of the content targeting mothers is disproportionately cutesy and effusive; it forces you to view motherhood through a very narrow and – for me  unnatural lens. The more I spoke with other parents, the more I realized most people I know felt the same way. So I thought: There must be a way to provide clear, helpful information about the types of things parents care about, but without reinforcing stereotypes about motherhood that I don’t believe are broadly applicable anymore.

India is a country of 1.2 billion people; everyone is so different, we make such diverse choices about lifestyle and child-rearing, and there has to be a way to embrace the diversity of perspectives in contemporary parenting without sacrificing quality information. The Swaddle is a platform that provides all the information parents really need, without sugar-coating. Our main agenda is keeping things real.

TS: How do you think you’re keeping it real as a mom?

I always do it my way, whether it raises eyebrows or gets me staresand I don’t even try to get it all right, all the time.

TS: What are three struggles you face as a parent that you aren’t ashamed to admit?

No free time! There’s never any time. It’s time-consuming in a way that no one warns you about before you have kids.

TS: What’s the one thing you look forward to doing by yourself when/if you get the chance?

Reading a book. It might happen in a few years.

TS: Do you think there’s a lot of pressure on women to be perfect? How can moms help create a healthy role model?

There’s tons of pressure on women to be perfect, but I also think that many mothers get into a competitive parenting zone with their peers. It’s up to each woman to listen to her own parenting instincts, make choices that are right for her and her family, and drown out the other noise.

TS: What is your craziest mommy trait?

I am positively obsessed with nap routines. We do not deviate, ever.

TS: If your child could put you in time-out, what would it be for?

For looking at my phone while we’re having dinner together.  She repays me by flinging yogurt at the wall.

TS: What or who was the biggest influence on your parenting style and in what way?

My parents, undoubtedly. If I can be half as good a parent as they were, I’ll be thrilled.

TS: Name one parenting item that changed your life when you started using it.

Marc Weissbluth’s book on children’s sleep needs, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby. I credit him entirely with my daughter’s wonderful disposition.  Well, it’s that and her superlative genes, I suppose…

 

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Soma, #CoolestMoms

SOMA KRISHNA PANDE

My husband – a pilot by profession – and I have two [adult] children, Juhi and Dhruv. Juhi was in visual media and has moved to London, after her marriage to Michael, and is a writer now. Dhruv, our son, like his father, is a pilot. I spent the initial 18 years of my married life in various Air Force stations since my husband was a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force. We have always been a nuclear family. So the children have been brought up single-handedly from the time they were brought back from the hospital. After being posted in almost every state in India, we have now settled in Mumbai.

TS: What are three struggles you face as a parent that you aren’t ashamed to admit?

The struggles one faces as a parent are many but I admit that sometimes it got really frustrating to never have enough time for yourself when the children were little. Retrospectively, I know that I wasn’t always right when there were arguments with them in their growing years. It just seemed so right then!

TS: What’s the one thing you look forward to doing by yourself when/if you get the chance?

I would go for a long uninterrupted bath. Oh, yes! Even now when they are all grown up and live far away, the phone always rings when I am in the bath!

TS: Do you think there’s a lot of pressure on women to be perfect? How can moms help create a healthy role model?

There’s definitely pressure on women to be perfect. But what is perfect? Making mistakes, learning from them and laughing about it later makes life easier than trying to be “perfect”.

TS: If your child could put you in time-out, what would it be for?

According to my kids – my corny sense of humour would definitely put me in time-out.

TS: List three annoying habits of your children.

  • Being rabidly argumentative.
  • OCD of cleanliness.
  • Starting late and rushing for appointments.

TS: Name one parenting item that changed your life when you started using it.

Someone once told me that you don’t have to shout or scold your child to let them know that you are angry with them. Your silence is a better teacher. I’ve tried it, and it works!

TS: Fill in the blank: If only someone had told me …

… that the Empty Nest Syndrome is under-hyped.

TS: If there’s one thing you could say to every mom in the world, what would it be?

Oh, all I would tell them is: cherish the time. All of it, the anger, the frustration, the cuddles, the smells, the happiness of holding them in your arms (they grow up too soon), running with them, teaching them to walk, cycle, and drive. Learning about their first crush, the first heart-break, rejoicing in their successes, the gifts from their first salary. Soon the time comes to give them wings and let them fly. When you look back there is a myriad of emotions and feelings to cherish. It may not be easy sometimes, but listen to the ones who have already been there.  Because the time really does fly.

 

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Keep watching for more #CoolestMoms over the weekend, as we celebrate Mother’s Day 2015. Shailaja and Shalini are up next! 

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