Neha Ruch’s online community, Mother Untitled, came onto my radar through Instagram earlier this year. I discovered the beautiful resource she has built for “ambitious women leaning into family life” and immediately dove into the varied profiles and great wisdom that she has compiled there. What a breath of fresh air to find a space carved out for those of us who are looking to define this season of mothering young children in our own way, at our own pace, and with our own unique goals.
I am so excited to introduce Neha and Mother Untitled to the Baybala community in our Home Grown series. A series where we chat with women who lean into their passions–be it a hobby or business–while also being present for their families.
I know you’ll find Neha to be just as captivating as she is brilliant, and I hope you are as inspired as I am by her ability to consistently check in on her priorities while also building an incredible resource for like-minded mothers and tending to really fun personal projects–like expertly “hobby decorating” her own home.
Katie Gaston: We often talk about the “versatility of modern day motherhood” here at Baybala. What does your version of modern day motherhood look like?
Neha Ruch: Modern motherhood for me means allowing myself to tune into what feels right for myself and my family in any given season and adjust over and over. To me, it's about trusting yourself and that you know what's best for your family in terms of work, help, and parenting style.
KG: Can you share a peak into what your juggle of family life, writer, and community builder looks like on a daily basis?
NR: The rhythm between these various parts of my life has changed repeatedly, but more recently, it's serving me to keep things compartmentalized with two and a half days out of the home working on Mother Untitled and the remainder at home with my kids. Still, it's on my days at home that I tend to find my most clarity and inspiration and get any to-dos done in the early mornings or evenings.
KG: What practices or routines have you cultivated to help you remain present and happy in this season–both with your children and with your work?
NR: Carving out intentional space helps us thrive as a family. My husband and I got into a habit early on of trading off mornings waking with the kids in order for each of us to get 3 or 4 mornings a week to do what we need to take good care of ourselves. On those mornings where my husband takes the kids, I do a quick Calm meditation, a gratitude journaling exercise in my iphone Notes and a quick flow with Melissa Wood Health. On my days with the kids, I try to practice separation from my phone and social media to limit the sense of distraction and urgency.
Our days flow with a sense of predictability around meals and sleep and outside time/activities, which has helped my husband and I have a sense of confidence in parenting and also affords us time in the evenings to be together as we're a big believers in early bedtimes!
KG: What have you found most helpful in moving in and out of moments of mothering and working?
NR: Transition between work and mothering can be challenging if it's all so integrated, but compartmentalizing or time blocking has served me well. I also consciously avoid a sense of urgency with Mother Untitled - I come back to why I started it because I wanted a place that celebrated a focus on the family for a chapter. Knowing that kids are not a distraction from work but my most important work right now is something I keep in mind.
KG: What was the catalyst for starting Mother Untitled? And what did your shift from motherhood into starting Mother Untitled look and feel like?
NR: I started Mother Untitled after my first year in motherhood. I'd made my own choice to pause and eventually downshift into two days a week of consulting and felt a sense of clarity and confidence in that choice. Equally when I was at home, I met incredible women making their own unique choices to make room for family life. All of this combined felt very much in contrast to the disempowering narratives and stigmas I experienced both in the media and my own circles about the choice to stay home or downshift to focus on family. I wanted to create a more empowering narrative and a place for like-minded women in this stage of life.
KG: I am sure you have collected an immense amount of wisdom from deep diving into stories from a wide variety of fascinating women around the many ways to approach work and motherhood. Can you share some of your favorite stories and most insightful thoughts and/or tips that you have gleaned from your interviews? Have you found any underlying themes or sentiments among women in this season of life?
NR: When I launched Mother Untitled in January of 2017, I started the series of interviews right away to collectively elevate the image of the woman choosing to focus on family and show there was no one way to approach this chapter. The takeaway is the shades of grey between stay-at-home and working mothers and that no choice is permanent. Each interview includes a series of shifts women take over and over at various stages with their kids - tweaking their workload or their support.
One of the key themes that comes up is that women choosing to stay home for a period carry a real sense of guilt around hiring help because they believe if they aren't making money, they should do this entirely on their own. Most women cite the realization that this is flawed logic and how carving out a bit of space for themselves has allowed them to be a better version for their families and has served everyone.
KG: If you could share one piece of advice with your new mom or your pre-kids self, what would it be?
NR: My advice would be that everything passes. The feelings of discomfort or the difficult stages all are temporary and natural. But, sadly, all these sweet days pass just as fast!
Things of Note:
These are just some quick fire questions that would love your take on. Just a way to get to know you in a more lighthearted way.
- Go-to uniform for days of work and play?
Frank & Eileen Linen Shirt, Moussy Vintage jeans
- Favorite Travel Destination With Kids? Without Kids?
With kids: Menerbes, France; Without kids: The Amangiri, Utah
- Go-to activity for connecting with your littles? Your partner?
Go to activity with my kids - Baking soda + Vinegar + food coloring experiments; with my partner - standing Thursday date night.
- Favorite Online Destinations and/or Accounts to Follow?
Favorite accounts - Goop, @eyeswoon @couldihavethat
- What do you consider to be a moment of zen?
A glass of Sancerre watching the kids chasing seagulls on the beach
- Where is the best place for our community to find you online?
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