Gayathri is a full-time internal auditor and a mother of two.
She has been based in Texas for nine years. As with many of the inspiring Moms I meet, I met Gayathri too on Instagram. She posts about her adorable children and about the loveliest handicrafts that she uses for home décor.
What made me want to feature her on The Times of Amma was a series of posts that she did on creating a Madhubani painting on one of the walls of her home.
Mind you, this is a mother of two with a full-time job and no mother’s help. This is the sort of motivation and inspiration that in my books, make you a Star Mom.
Apart from your family, what would you define as your passion?
I am very passionate about Indian handicrafts and consequently buying them and admiring them at home!
I love home decor and if I am not at work or running behinds my kids I am usually hanging something on the wall or re-arranging decor around the house. I owe it to my father- he loves Indian arts and crafts and has taken me to every exhibition in Madras and Delhi and I have seen the crafts from most of our states and started collecting pieces right from when I was 13.
Has Motherhood affected your career decisions?
I would not say "affected" - it sounds negative. I took a two year break after my first child because I wanted to spend more time with him. And after my second child was 18 months I got back to full time work. My husband is very supportive of my decisions so that plays a big role in how we manage work and kids. I will say I just got lucky.
How do you balance your career/passion with your parenting?
At times I feel over whelmed. Actually that is my state on most days. And opening my laptop after the kids go to bed became a routine. Then there are good days and I feel I figured it all out and the cycle repeats. What helps me is planning ahead- I plan every activity of the kid and have a plan B for most of them. We do not have the luxury to have a mother's helper here, so I figured if I want some peace I should compromise on something- I wake up early just to give me that extra 15 minutes - 30minutes to myself.
Do you think it is harder being an expat mother than an expat dad?
No, we are in it together ; if you see at a granular level maybe I do more than my spouse but those are chore related. When it comes to parenting, we pretty much get the same time with the children since both of us are out from 9-5.
What are the three things you love about being an expat mother?
Independence - We do 90% of our work by ourselves. I am talking about day to day chores- there are no maids, drivers, cooks, nanny or grocery delivery services. This has taught us to be very independent and not crib about how it would be back home. I love the fact that the kids are picking up small chores around the house at a young age and do not assume that somebody will do it for them. They see us clean restrooms, cook and fold laundry and pitch in. I think if I live in India the luxury of having domestic help is very tempting. I would employ them and crib if they took leave and start taking such things for granted.
Which brings me to the second thing, I used to take a lot of things granted in india. Realized the importance here, so even if a small help is offered it feels so special and I want to glorify it. We rarely thank people in India- the watchman, the sweeper, the gardener but here you realize how precious time is, you appreciate everybody's work more. This was a big learning for me.
Do you celebrate cultural occasions with your kids? Yes/No and how/why not?
Yes, we celebrate most of the Hindu festivals and the ones that are part of our family. I try to involve the kids but they are too young to understand. They help me with the decorations and enjoy the festivities but that's about it. I really look forward to Navaratri/Golu each year.
Most expat mothers have to multitask beyond most everyday multitaskers. What is the one time that you remember doing the most tasks at once?
The most i have multi tasked ever is pumping milk for the baby, while I am on a work call, attending to my husband who was sick that week and running the kitchen with a baby who was down with Rota virus on my hips. It was crazy as hell.
Any tips for new expat mothers?
I can only speak for people who come to the US - explore, explore, explore. (i sound like Dora!!) - what i meant was this country has amazing opportunities to develop your passion. And it applies for kids too. Try to provide them an environment where they can embrace every culture and people.
What is one piece of advice that you wish you had received as an expat mother?
To have an open mind and accept anything that comes your way. It will work out for the best eventually.
Thank you, Gayathri for taking the time out to talk to the Times Of Amma. We wish you and your family much joy and happiness.
For more conversations with expat mothers like Gayathri, follow the Times of Amma on Facebook and Instagram.