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Juggling Motherhood & Career: Celebrating Mom-preneurs

on May 08, 2022

How does a business woman take care of her career while still prioritising her family? These mom entrepreneurs are spilling the beans. Not only are these amazing women slaying at their businesses, they’re serving mom goals to us as well.

Being a parent is not an easy job, being a mother much less so. Societal expectations on mothers in particular bring many added layers of pressure. As if navigating their own internal guilt was not enough! 

We sat down for a chat with some remarkable women in business who share their insights on motherhood, career, and challenges along the way. Other than being the rock in their children’s lives, these mom-preneurs are also strong role models for them. 


Daniela Devitt & Maia Neumann (YUMBOX)

Yumbox was founded by Daniela and Maia in 2012. Before its inception, they were mothers who were dedicated to developing healthy eating habits for their children. The vision behind Yumbox was to set the way for a perfect on-the-go meal that was tasty, balanced, and nutritious. With accolades coming its way for their patented design concept, the bento-style lunchbox is an end to fussy-eating-woes of many parents.


Q&A with Daniela & Maia

What inspired you to start your own business?

There were two main reasons, both related to our kids. One was the product idea itself which we felt was a great business opportunity, but also a product we wanted for our own children. Yumbox leakproof bento lunchboxes for kids was inspired by our experience as mothers wanting an easy packed-lunch solution and one that would reinforce healthy eating habits at a young age. 

The second motivator was our desire to take our former corporate experience and create a business of ours that would allow us flexibility, especially during the early childhood years of motherhood. Having your own business is a big commitment but doing it on your own terms does give you that extra flexibility a lot of moms just don’t get during the years when it matters most.


What are some skills you’ve developed as a mother that have been useful to you as a business owner?

A great skill motherhood lends to running a business is learning to block out the noise so one can focus. Being a business owner, you need to sometimes push aside the “noise” to focus on the real issue at hand to find clarity and make good decisions.

What would you like to say to aspiring entrepreneurs who are mothers?

You don’t have to know it all. You will learn. Just keep at it. If you don’t know how to get started. Ask a good question, seek a good answer, ask another question, repeat. 


Steph Prior (Montii Co & Lunchpunch)

Montii Co’s journey began in 2017; the idea was seeded in Steph Prior’s mind when she wasn’t able to find superior-quality lunchtime essentials for her two sons. The Aussie brand now sells everyday items such as water bottles, lunch bags, smoothie cups, and more. Sustainability and durability are at the heart of Montii Co’s operations. 


Q&A with Steph

What inspired you to start your own business?

My husband and I both worked in IT and spent hours commuting to work in our nearest capital city, Brisbane. After we had our second baby, we felt exhausted from the long commute and didn’t want to keep putting our kids through the long day-care days. There were no part-time roles available in the IT industry and working full time can be difficult with all the unpredictable joys of parenting, so it pushed me to start a business all on my own! 

I wanted something small, and flexible enough that I could run it during my kids’ nap times at home while they were still young. The opportunity to purchase Lunch Punch came up so I took a chance, and here we are!


What are some skills you’ve developed as a mother that have been useful to you as a business owner?

I’m a very thorough, organised person and I’m good at problem solving! I’m quite skilled at prioritising, so I’m able to get lots of work done in short, sharp windows of time. This helps me navigate around the interruptions of being a Mum!

As a business owner, I pride myself on being compassionate and empathetic to my staff, who all have the same parenting/work/life juggles that I did when I became a parent!


What do you tell yourself to keep going on your most challenging days?

That everything is just a phase – whether that’s parenting or in business, and whether it’s a fabulous phase or a really hard one, it will pass!


Abha Mehta (Podsquad)


Podsquad was born out of a need to create fun learning activities for young children. Founder and mom of two – Abha Mehta – aims to induce curiosity in little ones, be inquisitive, and equip them to learn something in the process of fun play. The brand curates products – such as science kits, activity boards, and felt mats – for children up to the age of 10.


Q&A with Abha

What are some skills you’ve developed as a mother that have been useful to you as a business owner?

The biggest skill I learned as a mother was multitasking! Managing a 100different things at a time – be it work, children, household tasks, family, and friends. One has to do the same at work – juggle many balls in the air at a time ensuring that none of them fall. 

Being a mother has also transformed me into the world’s biggest planner. I think all mothers are. We plan our children and our lives down to the last hour to ensure efficiency and to make use of every minute of the day. 

Again, as a business owner this is a treasured skill. The ability to plan, schedule, and fit in all the various tasks that have to be done in a stipulated period, and to optimise both time and effort is something that being a mother has taught me.

Lastly, being a mother has really taught me patience. We need to have so much patience raising our children: teaching them basic tasks, new skills, and understanding how they feel. 

Being a business owner, sometimes things take time to fructify. While effort can be made very early on, sometimes the fruits can only be felt later. As entrepreneurs in today’s day and age, we are always in a rush to see instant results. Patience is a virtue that can help achieve the long-term goals of a business.

“Being a mother has also transformed me into the world’s biggest planner.” – Abha Mehta, Podsquad

What inspired you to start your own business?

I always knew early on that I wanted to start my own business. I did my undergraduate degree at Babson College in the US and majored in entrepreneurship keeping this goal in mind. I think my parents inspired me the most. Both of them switched from professional careers in advertising and journalism respectively at a young age. It was a big risk at the time. 

Seeing their passion in building a business, leading large teams of people, building relationships, and being able to experience business at a 360-degree level – operations, marketing, finance, admin, etc – inspired me to always want that for myself as well.


 

Anjali Harjani (Malabar Baby) 


Having lived in the US till her teens, it was a shock for Hong Kong-based mom Anjali Harjani to not find good quality nursery essentials in the Asian market. This frustration soon birthed a sustainable artisan brand. Malabar Baby is home to collections ranging from bedding and swaddles to sleep wear and towels. 


Q&A with Anjali

What inspired you to start your own business?

I founded Malabar Baby five years ago. Before that, I worked in Finance for 10 years in New York and London. My husband and I now live in Hong Kong with our son Aryan, who is the real inspiration behind Malabar Baby. Those who know me know that I appreciate a cosy nook, colourful cushions, and good comfy bedding. 

While I was pregnant, I was excited to shop for a crib, bedding, and nursery essentials. I looked high and low to find things that were genuinely safe, eco-friendly, made with high-quality breathable materials, and not boring! It was honestly a tall order. Nothing I could find at the time was affordable and accessible or felt very good after a wash. 

I toyed with the idea of starting Malabar Baby for months. I was THAT mom who did tons of research, factory visits, and had endless conversations with my family who are actually in manufacturing, before deciding to quit my corporate life and begin the journey with my second baby, Malabar Baby. 

It’s been nothing short of fun and inspiring to be a part of our clients’ everyday memories and to sell Malabar Baby in hundreds of stores around the world!

How do you think workplaces can become more accommodating of working mothers? 

Personally, I think that working mothers have a skillset that you just can’t accurately depict on paper; it’s a superpower. Most of the time, working moms are women who know how to juggle a million things at a particular time and always deliver. 

So many players at Malabar Baby work remotely and that level of flexibility allows our team to be agile and in control of our personal and professional lives. As long as the job is done well, who cares what time of the day it gets done and what country you are sitting in!


What do you tell yourself to keep going on your most challenging days? 

I tell myself that it’s absolutely OK to feel the way I feel and I remind myself that I’ve been through tougher days. That moment of acceptance and LOTS of ice lattes (HA!) get me through almost everything with a clear mind!

What would you like to say to aspiring entrepreneurs who are mothers?  

You can 100% do it.  Just be clear on what your goals are. 

Lean on that tribe of men and women who want to help you succeed. You can’t be shy and really need to count on people for support and mentorship.

What’s your proudest achievement as a mother or as an entrepreneur?  

I’d honestly say this question is quite related.  My son and I have a very special bond and oftentimes we chat about business! He is intrigued by what I do and he fully understands that hard work is the way to success. 

I love that my son looks at me as Mama, but also as a business woman. I hope the lessons he learns daily shape him into a kind, open-minded young man.

“Most of the time, working moms are women who know how to juggle a million things at a particular time and always deliver.” – Anjali Harjani, Malabar Baby


Nidhi Chopra (Pop Goes the Art)

If there is a phrase that Pop Goes the Art founder Nidhi Chopra would like to flush down the toilet, it would be: “pink for girls, blue for boys.” That’s why her entrepreneurial mission is to break gender stereotypes and to give children an unbiased upbringing. The children’s lifestyle brand sells products, such as craft boxes, flash cards, games, wall frames and more, which can be enjoyed by both boys and girls. 


Q&A with Nidhi

What are some skills you’ve developed as a mother that have been useful to you as a business owner?

Lateral perspectives. As a mother I’ve learned that there’s ALWAYS another side, another view, and another reason. And as a business owner, it’s important to take those into consideration. 

Being a mother and seeing the world through the eyes of my children allowed me to develop an additional lens through which I view a lot of my business decisions!

What do you tell yourself to keep going on your most challenging days?

Exactly what I tell my kids: there are lows, so we can experience the highs. It’s eventually going to balance out. We need to be patient for the highs to come when the lows seem never ending!


 

Mitika Damodar (Zest Creative Company)

This enterprising mommy’s brand Zest Creative Company creates bright, happy personalised stationery and gifting items that would delight any child!


Q&A with Mitika

What inspired you to start your own business?

My love for design, while maintaining a good work-life balance with young children at home, motivated me to start my own business.

What are some skills you’ve developed as a mother that have been useful to you as a business owner?

Motherhood has taught me to multitask and given me infinite amounts of patience in all aspects of life!


 

What do you tell yourself to keep going on your most challenging days?

On my most challenging days, I remind myself that I am also a role model to two little beings. Being an inspiring teacher to them is what keeps me going.


To All the Mothers in the World

Motherhood has always been an uphill struggle for women everywhere – with identity issues, never-ending chores, and many more untold battles of everyday life. For working mothers, it's Everest. But these mommies have shown the world that one can realise one’s entrepreneurial dreams without missing out on the joys of early childhood. While we wanted to offer this space to these hard-working mom-preneurs, we also extend our gratitude to all mothers who give so much of themselves to their children everyday.

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