‘I broke down in tears… I'd almost decided to resign'
Supermum Oindrila Dasgupta talks about motherhood, work and everything in between
Story of an awesome working mom!
Meet Bangalore supermom Oindrila Dasgupta, a wife, mother, and entrepreneur, who took her love for online shopping to another level by creating her own online venture. Having managed long work hours, outdoor shoots and a chirpy toddler while she was pregnant with her second child, this awesome working mom shows us how to rock motherhood without breaking a sweat!
While she insists that she couldn’t achieve half of her success without the love and support of her husband, she has one important piece of advice to share with all mothers – take time out for yourself and do what you love. Read on to know more about this fabulous supermom!
So Oindrila, how does it feel playing awesome super mom?
Supermom! That sounded nice. Actually I feel, I am a mom to two super-kids, Saesha (my 1.8 years old daughter) and Oham (my 1 month old son).
Kindly tell us about yourself?
I was brought up in Jamshedpur and Patna. Being the only child of my parents, I was very pampered always. I moved to Bangalore in 2005 and completed BA in Media Studies from Christ University and MBA from IIM-Bangalore.
After my daughter was born I couldn’t travel much so I resorted to online shopping. That’s when I noticed the gap in the market. I wanted to tap this gap and that’s how I launched Eatshoplove.in along with my husband Shayak.
So what’s a typical day like in the life of this awesome working mom?
Since I have to feed and manage both my kids at night, I wake up a little late in the morning, at around 9am. I wake up Saesha and get her ready. After breakfast I sit down for work till afternoon. Oham is being taken care of by my mom or mom-in-law. Luckily, my parents live in the next building and my mom-in-law keeps coming in often.
I follow a strict 12pm-5pm work schedule. If I have meetings, I make sure that I don’t work for more than 7 hours a day. We finish dinner by 9.30/10 and spend some time watching TV or movies together. After the kids sleep, my husband and I sit and plan the next day together or catch up on pending work and some love.
How do you unwind over the weekend?
Weekends are for pampering ourselves. We go out together, have fun, take Saesha to the play areas, go shopping or for dinners. We sit and watch cartoons together too. Sometimes I take time out for myself too. While I get my in-laws and husband to manage the kids, I go out for movies with friends or go for spas.
If you were to create a pie chart of your life, how would your time be divided between work, spouse, kids, friends, and self?
40%: work & spouse (Since my husband and I are co-founders of our venture, we spend time together during working hours too.), 40%: family and kids, 20%: myself, friends.
As a working mom, what are the challenges you face?
The biggest challenge is to manage giving adequate time to both, family and work. Sometimes I have had to trade off a night’s sleep to work on something after a tired day of being with my toddler while being pregnant. The guilt that probably you aren’t doing justice to either your family or work used to eat me up.
The best way to deal with this was to maintain strict timings for both. Like, in my family, it’s a must to sit down and have dinner together. I ensure that once we are home, cell phones and laptops are kept away and we get to interact with the kids. If we have something urgent to finish for the next day, we both stay up after the kids have slept and finish them. It’s tiring but yes, it surely helps us achieve some balance.
Click on Continue Reading to know more about the man in the life of this awesome working mom!
What has been your biggest emotional struggle while bringing up both, your career and kids?
Though I work out of home majorly, I go out for meetings and shoots. Even during my pregnancy I wasn’t able to sit at home and relax since my venture was picking up and I had to devote a lot of time. And the funniest part was that my guilt wasn’t within me, it was fed on to me by everyone around me. That would eat me up from inside. This actually happens with a lot of working moms. The only way out of this is to remember that we are not here to prove a point to anyone after all.
Who has been your sounding board throughout your journey?
My husband Shayak and our moms. Moms come in with a lot of experience and have always helped us throughout the journey. Shayak and I have made mistakes and we are still learning in the process. But he’s always been my support system. He knows how to handle me.
While struggling to create a balance between work life and your family, did things ever get bad enough that you wanted to quit? If yes, how did you manage?
There was this day when we had been to a friend’s house-party. All the women there (none of them had kids at that point of time) were discussing how carefree I am and how I don’t have to bother at all about Saesha since my mom or in-laws are there with us.
Some went as far as to tell me to not go ahead with my (second) pregnancy as I would not be able to do justice to both the kids. I felt so horrible that once we were in the car I broke down in tears. I had almost decided that I will resign and let Shayak handle our venture alone.
He made things look clearer when he said, “I don’t know any other 27 year old woman who has 2 kids and has started something of her own and is managing both so well. I don’t want you to give up. Our kids would be proud of you when they’ll know that mommy never chickened out and chose to fight through it.” Whenever I felt like giving up, Shayak’s words echoed in my mind and this has kept me going till now.
Your idea of me time?
Every day, I take an hour out of my schedule and do whatever I wish to do in that one hour. Sometimes I read, or listen to my favourite number on loop and sometimes I dance alone too. basically, that one hour is to do something liberating and rejuvenate myself to be ready for the next 24 hours.
‘Being a mom…’: Being a mom is surreal for me.
Advice to working moms who are struggling to achieve work-life balance?
I see a lot of moms complaining that they don’t get a minute for themselves. There will be times when your kids would be sleeping. Use that time to do something just for yourself. Always take at least an hour out in a day for yourself. Do whatever you love to do in that hour, take a long bath, read a book, write something; but just dedicate that hour to yourself.
That way, you’ll rejuvenate yourself and will get that energy back to focus on both work and family. For instance, I write down my memories of Saesha’s birth, my first (unplanned) pregnancy for my blog onbeingamommy.com. I want to make a book out of it and gift it to Saesha when she turns 16.
Kudos to our supercouple Oindrila and Shayak as well! May you eat, shop, and love the finest things all your life!
If you know an awesome working mom we should feature, get in touch!