Star Mom: Anushya Rajagopalan Mamtora
Anushya Rajagopalan Mamtora is a freelance writer, blogger and fulltime mother. In her stint as a journalist she worked with India’s prestigious national English dailies, The Times of India and The Hindu Business Line. She currently resides in New Jersey, specializes in watches and contributes to publications and horological websites. She has recently started a fun blog with no-fuss restaurant reviews catering to vegetarians and parents with little kids. Grub With The Cub is her journey through the vibrant streets of New York City and New Jersey, spotting elegant cafes and crayon-doling kid-friendly restaurants. All this, with her toddler in tow. Anushya loves to read and has suddenly discovered the joys of zentangling, which she hopes to take forward professionally. Travelling and photography are her other passions and she is obsessed with picking up magnets as souvenirs. She believes that of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport.
1. What was the reasoning behind starting Grub With the Cub?
I am a foodie. I am a writer. I am a mom of a restless little girl. When I thought how I can put all of this together and make it fun, a food blog sounded perfect. Since Urvi is my constant companion, I wanted the blog to be informative for parents who eat out with kids. Can I take my kids? That’s the question we all ask and what I seek to answer in all my reviews. I also wanted to cater to vegetarians like me who are always keen on experimenting with different cuisines but don’t always get relevant reviews to pick a good restaurant. The options in New York City and New Jersey are mind-blowing and I just wanted to add a different dimension to the food blog scene.
2. Has Motherhood affected your career decisions?
Yes. In a big way. I am no longer the relentless freelance writer shooting away stories and meeting really tight deadlines. I am a full time mother and a part time writer. Urvi is my current project and I am giving it my all.
3. How do you balance your career/passion with your parenting?
I have always believed in finding time to write. Little pieces, big stories, some for yourself and some for publications… I was very clear that I wanted to keep in touch with writing. Unfortunately my daughter doesn’t like the idea of me sitting on a laptop. So I cannot type a single word when she is up and about. I plan my day such that I can squeeze in whatever little spare time I get to write.
School hours and nap time are quite a boon for work at home moms. I am blessed to have some amazing inspirations in my life who prod me to do better.
4. How has being an expat influenced your parenting?
I have the opportunity to see different styles of parenting. Be it from friends and family who have lived in the USA for many years, Urvi’s teachers and even the pediatrician, I always learn something new. My current style is mix of the true blue desi style, the modern American way of parenting and my own experiments, with my husband pitching in too.
5. Do you think it is harder being an expat mother than an expat dad?
It is a challenge for both. I speak for work from home or stay at home moms here. While we have the task of juggling home, a little bit of work and the child, dads have the task of balancing a rigorous work schedule and still take out time for the child, time to help the wife at home and if he is lucky, a little time for his personal hobbies.
6. Do you think you would have been a different kind of mother if you were back in India, living close to family and friends? Would you have worked full time or looked at a venture like Grub With the Cub then?
I am a tough nut. Or so I would like to believe. I am not easily indulgent with Urvi either. I don’t think my personality would have drastically changed whether in India or USA. But yes, parental decisions in India are influenced a lot by immediate family and it is hard to ignore well-meaning advice. If I were in India, I see myself doing a lot more writing, having the leisure of cooks and domestic help to tend to my home. Family is also a great support when raising children.
7. What are the three things you love about being an expat mother?
I love to travel and it has been the biggest boon of being an expat. And travelling with Urvi is so
much fun. Another aspect I am happy about is the opportunity to teach my daughter a new culture and way of life. Third is the exposure to global food. New York in particular is a melting pot of world food and cultures. My daughter literally has the world on her plate!
8. Do you find raising a third culture child challenging?
I am so thrilled to introduce Urvi to new traditions that are different from our own. There is always something interesting to learn from different cultures and I am glad she is getting an opportunity to learn and celebrate other people’s lives and happiness.
9. Do you celebrate cultural occasions with your daughter? Absolutely. I am lucky to live in a neighbourhood with plenty of Indians who celebrate festivals with full gusto. So while I take Urvi for Janmashtami celebrations to the neighbourhood park with bhajans and all, Vishu and Gujarati New Year are a quiet family affair. We also celebrate Halloween, Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving with friends. Egg Hunts and Trick or Treat are also part of our annual tradition now.
10. What next for Grub With the Cub? Where do you see the blog going once your daughter grows up?
Right now I am taking it as planned, one review a week. I want to build a good database of
restaurants, which will take atleast one full year. I hope one day she can contribute with
photographs and opinions … Straight from the cub!
Thank you, Anushya for taking the time out to chat with us. The Times of Amma wishes you and the grub with the cub, all the very best! For more conversations with inspiring moms like Anushya, follow the Times of Amma on Facebook and Instagram. We'll see you there!