From an Investment Banker to a Designer to stepping down at children’s level to conduct workshops - Had you ever imagined that you would be working in fields as diverse as these? Please share your experiences on motherhood and how it has changed you as a person?
Motherhood is a journey of a kind. It is not a journey of a few weeks, months or years but a metamorphosis of a lifetime. And we women are blessed to be the bearers of this change.
I had a bitter-sweet pregnancy but surely a blessed one. I say blessed because I worked full-time, practiced yoga, travelled and did pretty much everything. Though I was hospitalized in between but I always managed to get back to work after a few days. I loved my work so much that I took off just 2days before my due date. Never for a moment I thought of giving it up post baby. I had it all planned! But, things got difficult. I did not have full-time support to juggle both work and baby. Finally, I made the call and closed my studio. It was one of the toughest decisions of my life. It taught me that no matter how meticulously you plan, life is full of surprises and sometimes not so good ones. If post-partum was not enough already, I was now very bitter and angry. At the same time, I was also very cautious of not pouring it over my child. This realization made me immensely patient and I never, before in my life, considered patience as my virtue. My mother-in-law would compliment and appreciate me for being so very patient, but little did she know where it was coming from. So this pretty much answers the first question and how it has changed me as a person.
Never in my dreams had I though of so many different careers paths. I always wanted to work in Investment Banking and was fortunate enough to work with KPMG, Singapore and ICICI Securities, Mumbai. These were very enriching experiences of my life and I learned tremendously.
What inspired you to create Curious Caterpillars?
What motivated me to start Curious Caterpillars was solely my son’s curiosity and my desire to give him the best while I was full-time mommy. Somehow I felt his playschool (though a Montessori) was not doing justice to his questions. So following his lead, I started designing little books and activities to sate his curiosity. Fellow moms loved these kits and even before I could fathom, Curious Caterpillars was formed. With love pouring in from everywhere, we soon started STEM workshops. And then an amazing things happened! Not only I was bombarded with questions related to learning but also parenting. I had always been deeply involved and passionate about Child Psychology. In fact, this very understanding of child psychology had helped me get down to children’s level to explain them complex things the easy way. So now Curious Caterpillars was not just a about learning but also Gentle Parenting.
What were the challenges you faced in setting up the business? Who was your biggest support?
The biggest challenge I faced was getting like-minded passionate people who could really get down to children’s level and address complex questions. Curious Caterpillars runs on passion and not money. That, is something hard to find outside.My biggest support and strength through out this remained my husband and my sister. They encouraged me, guided me and did everything they could to keep me going. They are my pillars of strength.
Could you give us a glimpse of your typical working day?
A typical work day starts at 0630. Getting my son ready for school, running to yoga and getting breakfast ready. By 0930, I am at my desk only to leave again to fetch my boy from school at 1210. We reach home by 1340, change, eat lunch, chat about our day and before long its 1500hrs. We leave again for park at 1530 and come back at 1730. Once back, it is family time. Dinner is served at 1930hrs followed my storty time, FaceTime with nanni and finally my lo hits the snooze button around 2030. Post this, is the best part of the my day. I sit back with a cup of hot chocolate and have my hygge moment before returning to work at 10pm and continuing till 11:20pm.
How do you relax while juggling between a gazillions of tasks you have everyday?
It is tough to relax during the day but whenever possible, I try to catch a shut eye before leaving for the park. Also, I meet my friends at the park which is a big plus and sometimes before we head home, we grab pani-puri just to keep the sanity alive.
What has been the happiest moment in your journey so far?
Our happiest and proudest moment was when a girl, who refused to sit through all other classes her mother tried, became our patron. Another one was last year ,when we were featured in HT City.
Would you say that being a mom is advantageous or disadvantageous as far as starting a business is concerned?
Being a mom and an entrepreneur is definitely tough. Whether advantageous or disadvantageous, depends on the kind of the venture and also the support system you have around. For me it definitely proved advantageous since my son is the reason behind this venture.
What is the one piece of advice that you wish to share with women out there?
The one advise I have is never give up and be optimistic. Life is what we make of it and it will offer you ample opportunities to achieve what you desire. Stay Strong, Stay Positive!
Thanks Shreiya for taking out time and encouraging other women who are looking for some inspiration.
Shreiya is the founder of https://www.facebook.com/curiouscaterpillarss/ who encourages little minds by conducting workshops and other activities.