Motherhood confers upon a woman the responsibility of raising a child. This whole process changes the way in which she is perceived in the society or at her home or her workplace. A working mother, especially one who has the good fortune to be able to balance her home and work, enjoys the stimulation that a job or career provides. She develops the ability to raise a useful member of society and at the same time gains financial independence. Along with motherhood, work adds to the completeness of being a woman. Kiran Manral is one such woman that many other mothers look up to. She is known for her work as an Ex- Journalist, Author, Blogger, and as Media Consultant. The author of the books The Reluctant Detective (2011), Once Upon A Crush (2014) and All Aboard (2015), The Face at the Window (2016), Saving Maya (2017) and True Love Stories (2017) she is also an advisor to the Board of Literature Studio, Delhi, Ideas Editor at Shethepeople.tv and Author Mentor at Sheroes.in.
In an exclusive conversation with Lifethrumyeyes, Kiran Manral talks about her journey as a mother and how she perfectly balances her professional and personal life making sure her teen gets all the attention he deserves. Read on to know more about Kiran Manral and her life as a mother and how her journey as a blogger turned her into a successful writer that she is today.
First things first, tell us a little bit about your family, kids and where you live?
I live in Mumbai, in a gated community, with six tall towers of people stacked end to end, of which I know barely a handful and doubt more than a handful know me. I live with my family, my husband, my son, and my mother in law.
What does your morning routine look like? What time do you get up? What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
On school days I wake up at 5.30 am. I have to get two tiffin boxes (for short break and lunch) packed and ready and then wake up the son and ensure he leaves for school on time. He’s pretty independent and does all his stuff on his own, so there’s not much I have to do. The first thing I do in the morning is curse the alarm because inevitably I’ve been up too late in the night reading or watching something on Netflix. But after all the making of the chai and packing of tiffin boxes, I get straight to the computer and begin responding to emails and lining up work for the day.
How has your parenting journey been so far? How is it like raising a teen?
Oh, it has been a fabulous journey and at every stage, one thinks this must be the worst stage and it will get better in the next, and ease up on you but that’s the myth they feed you so you soldier on in this parenting gig. Raising a teen is a karmic bite on the butt for all the trouble I gave my mom when I was a teen, with compounded interest added.
Thinking back to just before you became a mom, how did you feel about becoming a mother?
I had NO IDEA. Seriously, we are so completely clueless about the real rigours of parenting especially through the first year, that if we were shown the true picture we might never reproduce.
What style of parenting do you follow: Are you a Tiger Mom who’s very involved in doing what needs to be done to ensure your child achieves success – like a ‘Bournvita’ Mom – or are you content to let your child grow at his/her own pace and figure things out as they come along – a more laidback and easy going mom?
Honestly, I think I am an elephant mum. But all my mommy journey is in my book Karmic Kids, and I’m glad I penned it down. It began as a means of documenting my son’s growing years as a blog, which of course, then went to become one of the top parenting blogs in India. I stopped the blog when he turned ten and then converted it into a book. My parenting philosophy has always been rather instinctive and laid back. Honestly, I have no clue whether that is good or bad, I just worry that perhaps I haven’t done as much as I could. But I guess that’s what all parenting is, hitting the ground running.
What is the most important lesson you want to teach your child?
How do you make room for personal time for yourself? When you do get down time, what do you do to relax, refresh and/or get inspired?
I read. Voraciously. I watch good shows on Netflix or Hotstar. I chat with friends. I rarely go out or socialise and can’t remember the last time I went for a party, anyway people don’t invite me anymore because I invariably don’t attend so I do get enough time to unwind.
Does being a mum help you be more professional at what you do? Has your career changed in any way?
Well, I owe my writing and books to being a mum. I wrote about my parenting journey which got me the readers on my blog, and the confidence to write a book and to have faith in my voice. And things took off from the blogs.
Balance—we can’t do this interview and not talk about it! Mostly because I’m desperate to know your secret mantra. How do you make it work? Basically, how do you balance personal and work life?
I don’t. I’m like that proverbial duck, gliding on the surface, paddling like madness beneath. Luckily I have great help at home and support from my mother in law and mom, and my spouse is very chilled about things and doesn’t really throw tantrums that I’d rather spend my life in front of the computer screen, so it helps me get more done. When I switch off from work though I switch off.
My weekends are sacred. I refuse most meetings and have even given up lucrative work proposals because there were dratted endless meetings involved. I would rather do most things remotely, and the internet is a blessing. When at home I love to spend time with my son. I think it is important to shut oneself off from work once one reaches home, and to draw up very clear demarcations of what one is prepared to do or not. I don’t take work related calls post 6 pm. All this helps to carve out time that gets eaten up from family time.
Can you recollect any funny kid-work balancing stories?
Oh, plenty. The most embarrassing probably was when I’d just got back to work and the offspring was barely three months old. A meeting went on for longer than I’d anticipated and bingo, at the appointed hour I had two wet patches in the front of my kurta and had to excuse myself. Post that I always kept a thick stole handy.
What are the things that help you stay organized throughout the day and get time for everyone and everything? Is there a special time planner, or workspace design or technique that you use? Tell us your time management secrets!
No time management secrets, except make lists of your to do every day, reply to emails and messages immediately and work well in advance of deadlines.
Any recommendations for budding bloggers/writers who dream of being a professional writer, but just can’t get started?
Well, write every single day and read every single day. Give yourself word targets to both read and write. Be wary of what you read because what you put into your brain will affect what you put out.
Favorites of Kiran Manral
a)Your Favourite Food- Butter chicken and naan
b)Your Favourite Author- P G Wodehouse
c)Your Parenting Mantra-call me only if there’s blood.
d)Your Favourite Quote-Tigers don’t bother about the opinion of sheep
e)Your Beauty Secret- Don’t bother yourself too much about beauty. Eat well. Sleep well and be happy.
Motherhood, it is believed to be in the heart of the beholder.It is the most beautiful phase of a woman’s life which starts from conceiving a baby to having that piece of your heart walking outside in the world. For few, it can be raising a child, nurturing them and about individual experiences. And to some, it could be all about what defines them. Kiran Manral is women of substance and strongly emphasizes on the fact that motherhood gave her more confidence to embark on the journey of becoming an author and winning so many accolades.
Read: Mum Blogger Interview Series Here