Real Talk: Sanchi Nasta Ray Dishes On Being A Parent In Lockdown

Sanchi Nasta

Sanchi Nasta Ray, an erstwhile blogger whose digital presence is still intact via Instagram showcases her life – the good, bad, and the ugly – with her adorable daughter Alaia and her Life and Business Coach Husband, Sanjeet Ray, through the medium. I spoke to her for this article because I wanted the perspective of a new parent and an honest one at that. Excerpts from our conversation:

How’s the lockdown treating you?

I think I’ve gotten pretty used to the lockdown now and to having a ‘no-routine routine’. When the lockdown was announced we were living at my house for a couple of days and as soon as Modi announced the lockdown, Sanjeet and I took a bold decision of coming home. There were a couple of reasons for that: we wanted our space, this seemed indefinite and most importantly, we would never get this opportunity again. So we took on the challenge! My family still thinks I’m crazy, and we’ve been doing everything ourselves. Anyone who knows me knows that I was never a domesticated person, I couldn’t even boil an egg before marriage, it’s not that I’m proud of it, it’s just the way it was. Its been a month now and apart from handling cooking 3 meals every day, I’ve managed the house, cleaning, sweeping mopping all along with a very demanding little one so I’m pretty pleased and proud of myself for that.

As you absolutely should be. Kudos to you! How old is your baby girl, Alaia?

She’ll be 15 months old on the 30th of the month.

Has the lockdown been challenging as a parent?

Extremely! Before the lockdown, I had part-time house help and we had just kept a part-time nanny for Alaia and both of them were extremely friendly with her so I could take a couple of breaks in between the day. Every evening, Sanjeet and Alaia used to go the park for at least an hour and I had a pretty strict schedule. With the lockdown and being homebound 24/7, we’re trying to figure the new normal and also to keep her entertained. Oh, and I can’t even dream of peeing without leaving the door open and having Alaia watch me (gross, I know!). One good thing that’s come out of it is that we’ve been reading books A LOT, which was something that wasn’t happening before and we’ve also started playing living room football.

Love that you’re looking at the bright side! Have you valued this extra time with family?

Absolutely! It’s a blessing to be spending so much time as a family without worrying that the weekend is getting over and now I have to wait for the next weekend. Also made me realize that I used to wait for weekends to go out, eat good food but there is so much joy in the mundane – experimenting with recipes, putting your baby to sleep, staying up till 1am (which is a lot for me).

Sanchi Nasta

You’ve been open about the bad days on your Instagram. What made you do that?

Its just a part of who I am. Also as a new mom, its so damn difficult. As I mentioned earlier, I never had help for Alaia and we’ve recently hired a part-time nanny. For one year, I did everything myself and there were days I just cried while breastfeeding her. I don’t want to paint a rosy picture cause things are not rosy but are they worth it? Absolutely. I just want to offer people my two cents and if that helps them in any form, then my job is done.

Thank you for always keeping it so real! Are fellow mothers on Instagram supportive?

Oh yes. I think motherhood is a very sacred club where everyone understands what you’re going through and people in general are supportive and more than happy to help you in any form they can.

What has worked and not worked as a parenting strategy in this phase?

I’ve never been a parent who’s had any strategy, Alaia was the first baby I had a close experience with so I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve always taken things on the go with her and just tried to keep myself from going insane. In fact even things I wasn’t enjoying like nursing to sleep, I’ve made my peace with it and find a way to make it bearable.

Any tips for young parents struggling right now?

It’s okay, everyone is struggling. You do you. Don’t worry about the kids, they’ll grow up and do their own thing. But if something keeps you calm for a bit, don’t guilt yourself on it like screen time or making them eat not-so-healthy food. You are doing the best you can and there is no such thing as perfect parenting or perfect children.

Any blogs/youtube channels/insta accounts you’ve found helpful to help with parenting ideas in this phase?

Frankly, I’ve stopped following anyone to the T. I take ideas from here and there and put my spin on things. I’m just so exhausted that at times doing the basics take a chunk of energy.

What’s the first thing you want to do post this lockdown?

Go to the park and see my mom and Nani.

Sanchi Nasta

Sanchi Nasta Ray is a friend of mine, a wonderful mom, and a lover of books and travel. I thank her deeply for taking out time for this interview because I know her hands are more than full right now. I got drawn to Sanchi’s honest parenting posts on the ‘gram and really wanted her to share her perspective with us here. I hope it helps some of you. Do share the post with someone who might need to hear this from another mom.

Follow Sanchi on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sanchinasta/?hl=en

Follow Smriti on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/realgirlco/

Check out my podcast ‘Real Talk With Smriti Notani’ here:

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Okay, this is awkward.

For someone who never fails to mention her blog and repeatedly calls herself a blogger, I’m actually posting here after 2 years. This is both embarrassing and empowering. Let me get a little into the whats and whys!

In June 2018, I lost my dad. I haven’t been able to bring myself to blog since then.

Truth be told, in 2017 and in early 2018 when he was ailing, it had already become super hard to keep up the blog. As far as timing goes, it couldn’t have been worse. I conceptualized the blog in 2015 and started it in early 2016 so to go slow and be lax about posting here the very next year was actually irrational. But I’ll keep it real as I always do, it had gotten so challenging to be doing hospital visits, spending sleepless nights with stress, and just living in a world so far removed from the online world of glossy images, food, fashion, travel and just overall manufactured happiness. The dichotomy just weighed me down. I couldn’t live the farce anymore and so I just slowed down everything related to ‘Real Girl’ – I figured that if it has to happen, it will but I can’t be this fun/witty digital creator person at this point in my life. I had a few writing gigs and I focused on that and kept my head low. I remember trying so hard to keep creating content but I also felt like I was failing miserably. After a while, I gave up on trying to put good pictures or maintain any consistency on my Instagram also. I honestly didn’t have the mental bandwidth to think straight about my career. I’m not justifying my actions; someone else in my shoes may have still managed to grow their career despite difficult circumstances, but I’m not that person and I own it.

After losing dad I went through a whole different kind of emotional whirlwind because suddenly I had a new companion – grief. I knew I had to pick up the pieces of my career but I needed time. After trying to join the workforce full time (a short stint I didn’t enjoy AT ALL) I decided to take a proper break. This was a challenging time because literally everyone I know was asking me to delve into work thinking it’ll help cope with the loss if I’m busy. But I’d like to use this platform to say this: I think that was awful advice. People say things from their own perspectives, I get that. But for the first time ever I’m going to ask you – do you have any idea what it takes to be a writer/content creator? Do you know how ‘in the know’ you need to be? Do you know that there is nothing mechanical in my line of work and I always have to be ‘on’? I am so glad I have a supportive partner in Karan and he just instinctively knew I needed time off. He supported me while I slowly (with therapy and tremendous support from my friends) got back to living a somewhat normal life. (If you’ve experienced loss, you will know that things never really go back to the old normal.) I just want anyone reading this to take one message home – even though that’s not the point of this post – never give anyone advice on a situation you personally haven’t lived through.

Anyway, slowly but surely, life went on and I started missing being creative. Just around this time, someone super sweet that I happen to know in real life started working at a podcasting company (Hubhopper) and encouraged me to start a podcast. I was super apprehensive because I said I know nothing about podcasting, etc. but she persisted and said she used to really enjoy my blog posts and I could make a podcast about the kind of things I used to blog about. Now there’s an idea! I have always wanted to ‘keep it real’, be unfiltered and unabashed about so many topics and the need has only grown as I’ve grown older! I did get mildly excited by it but just like we all do, I gave myself a million reasons for why it would never work and who would even listen?

Somehow, on a lark, I did send them a demo – just recorded on the phone and they loved it and that’s how ‘Real Talk With Smriti Notani’ was born! To be completely honest with you, it’s been a year to the podcast and a life-changing one at that. Not only did I get featured for my podcast in The Sunday Midday, I was also featured in ‘Feminism in India’ under 6 Podcasts Hosted By Indian Women That We All Should Be Listening To and ‘All About Eve’ under 8 Podcasts For Indian Women To Go Into 2020 Wiser, Stronger And Sharper. My podcast is in all Ola cabs around the country. It is an app on Amazon Firestick and is available on all Alexa Devices. It is on every listening platform from Spotify to Itunes. So many more people have been reached by my podcast than my blog ever managed. Some things are just beyond our human realm of understanding and I think this is one of those magical things.

After losing dad, I really didn’t feel like blogging because it reminded me of a time when I would be sitting with my blog open, while the phone would often ring with mom telling me something awful like “come fast, we are rushing him to the hospital again”. I didn’t even feel like looking at my blog because some weird correlation had been formed with blogging and the worst possible negative events a person can live through. But today, I’ll tell you I’m in a different place. I am doing some super interesting content projects, my work as ‘Real Girl’ is being recognized, I’m having fun on Instagram with my IGTV Real Reviews and I am not willing to let go of the word ‘Blogger’. So hopefully, with this post…I start a whole new chapter of my blogging life. I know that blogs are old school (don’t worry I don’t live under a rock) and trust me they are difficult to maintain (you have to pay a fee just to retain the domain name and web hosting) but maybe in the most vain way possible – I simply can’t let go of the words ‘You should totally check out my blog – it’s www.realgirl.co’ so here I am; back again. ?

Do leave a comment, it would mean the world to me!

Lots of love,

Smriti

Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/realgirlco/

Follow my podcast: https://hubhopper.com/podcast/real-talk-with-smriti-notani/7913

Photos Courtesy: Otherwordly Productions

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#RealGirlsRock: In Conversation With National Swimming Champion Aditi Dhumatkar

This is a special, special post. Not only does Aditi happen to be someone I casually know IRL (she’s my close friend Om’s younger sister) but she’s also just casually a trailblazer – an accomplished athlete completely focused on bringing glory to the nation. I’ve seen her chill at home with no airs displaying a rather wacky sense of humour that she and her siblings are known for and I’ve also seen her athletic pursuits make national headlines (Big Deal Alert!) I’ve marvelled at her discipline and thought it quite apt to cover this international level swimmer, national gold medalist and national record holder on my blog under this wonderful section called #RealGirlsRock where I feature the brave and bold women who inspire me. She’s currently training for the trials of the Asian Games coming up in June, but she let me pick her beautiful mind for a little bit. Needless to say, the interview went swimmingly. Read on 🙂

Aditi Dhumatkar

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February Favourites: Haven’t Done This In A While!

I haven’t done one of these for a while and I feel like I’ve forgotten how to do it. You know what I’m saying? Sooo, umm, I just write about things I like? Is that interesting? Doesn’t it just seem like ‘Oh, she wants us to know she has xyz’. Err, rethinking this whole thing. But since I’ve already clicked a few things I’ve been loving recently, let me go ahead with this post. In case you feel like ‘no one really cares bro’, then be kind, and let me know. 🙂

Now in typical extra person fashion, here’s presentingggg…*insert drum roll here* – My February 2018 Favourites!

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It’s Been Two Years?!

happy blog birthday

All Photos Courtesy: Little Black Box Photography

 

It’s been two years exactly since I started ‘Real Girl’. For some reason this seems absurd and untrue. Firstly, because at some level I’ve ALWAYS been Real Girl; and secondly, because I dreamt of having a blog like this for a long, long time – way before it actually came into existence. I thought and overthought (overthunk?!) what I would like to put up on my two year anniversary for quite a while. Then, like a true millennial, I convinced myself that no one cares and berated myself till I felt weary and pushed the task to the last minute. Now as I sit here with my biggest motivator – last minute panic, I realize that I want to honour these two years by telling you exactly what I learnt in these two years. Not all the lessons have been pretty, but then what’s the point if I don’t keep it real? So here goes nothing, err…not nothing… but…I mean…(Oh hi anxiety, when did you get here?)  [Read more…]

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