On this Mother’s Day, SME Futures brings to you the stories of four inspiring mompreneurs who are leading the way by acing the everyday challenges of balancing motherhood and entrepreneurship in today’s dynamic world.
Motherhood is an extraordinary journey that demands immense dedication, resilience, and selflessness. However, in today’s dynamic and uber competitive world, many women have embarked on another equally remarkable journey called entrepreneurship. And we would like to celebrate Mother’s Day 2023 by honouring the Indian women who have embraced the dual roles of motherhood and entrepreneurship, whom we also affectionately call “mompreneurs.”
These extraordinary women are not only nurturing their families but are also making significant contributions to the economy, inspiring countless others to do the same. Today, SME Futures delves into the world of four such strong Indian mompreneurs, to explore how they successfully balance the responsibilities of nurturing their families while building successful businesses.
Despite the challenges they face, they have emerged as inspiring leaders in both their homes and the business arena.
Empowering motherhood through entrepreneurship
Indian mothers are great at multitasking but when it comes to entrepreneurship, they must become super women.
Mompreneurs have recognised their potential to pursue their passions, contribute to the economy, and create a better future for their families at the same time. They are true masters of multitasking, seamlessly transitioning between meetings and school pickups, product launches and meal preparations, and client calls and bedtime stories. We asked four of them about how motherhood inspired them to go into business and here is what they told us.
Dr Neena Rao, who is the founder of Margika, an NGO for kids who have Aspergers’ Syndrome and other similar conditions, says, “My biggest inspiration has been my son who was diagnosed with Aspergers’ rather late i.e., during his adolescence.”
Her son’s condition inspired her to make a foundation to help others.
The progress her son made with the right care and treatment after moving to the USA inspired her to help others with the same condition to receive the support and care that they needed to thrive.
Another mompreneur, Dr Rupali Ambegaonkar, left her promising medical career for good to pursue her true calling in life.
She became one of the few certified tea sommeliers in India.
She commenced her tea journey back in 2011 with the brand name, Tea Culture of the World. “My daughter’s encouragement and inspiration were the driving forces behind my decision to dive into the world of tea,” says the Director and CEO of TCW Tea Pvt. Ltd.
Finding the delicate balance between parenting and entrepreneurship requires Indian mompreneurs to continually juggle many commitments, and painstakingly manage their time to ensure that their families receive the attention that they deserve while they themselves keep up with their work obligations.
“From the moment I embraced both the joys of motherhood and the challenges of entrepreneurship, I came across a remarkable synergy between the two roles,” says Priyanka Aeron, who has been nurturing EcoSoul Home Pvt. Ltd. as the Managing Director of its India Operations since 2021.
Sonica Aron is another courageous mompreneur who started her HR consulting company just three months after the birth of her younger daughter.
Striking a balance
Balancing motherhood’s duties with the obstacles of entrepreneurship is no easy task.
Talking about juggling both parenting and work, Aron tells us, “When my son was 12, he interned with me for a month and learned about 21 disabilities under the RPWD Act 2016. It made him more aware, sensitive, and inclusive. My daughter used to study in my office during the pandemic. Hearing me speak about inclusion and equity, she connected the dots with anti-bullying at school.”
According to her, children are not just a mother’s responsibility. They are also their father’s and grandparent’s (family’s) responsibility. “I did not feel guilty about my children being taken care of by others if I was at work,” she adds.
When it comes to taking care of kids, a father always has an equally important role to play especially when the mother is working, according to the mompreneurs.
Dr Neena Rao vouches for it.
While not every father in an Indian household does a lot in this space, for Dr Rao her spouse became her rock-solid support. She tells us, “My husband has been my biggest supporter and has always encouraged me to pursue my passion for helping children with special needs.”
It’s clear, the secret to being a successful mompreneur is a good work-life balance and prioritising both roles equally. And family has a very important role to play in that.
Adding her views on the subject, Priyanka Aeron from EcoSoul Home expresses that she prioritises her time to balance both. “I follow an organised schedule where I devote myself a 100 per cent towards my work during office hours. There are times when I must choose work over my kids but then there are ways to compensate for it later by spending quality time with them,” she says.
Dr Ambegaonkar, on her part makes sure that her daughter gets enough mommy time. “I make sure to dedicate quality time to my daughter and family, ensuring that they feel valued and loved. On the other hand, I am also committed to my business and its growth,” she reveals.
She also thinks that embracing both roles has its challenges, but the satisfaction that she derives from nurturing her family and following her passion makes it all worthwhile.
Leading through the challenges
Besides requiring one to ace the balancing act, being a mompreneur comes with its own unique set of challenges. However, with sheer determination, these women entrepreneurs have overcome these obstacles, turning them into steppingstones to success.
Firstly, managing time effectively is crucial, says Dr Ambegaonkar. She highlights some challenges that she had to face, which include managing her time effectively, setting boundaries, and maintaining her focus on both her family and her business. “To strike a balance, I’ve learned to prioritise tasks, delegate when possible, and accept that it’s okay to seek help,” she asserts.
“Open communication with my family and a strong support system have been vital in helping me to overcome these challenges, allowing me to thrive in both roles with a positive outlook,” she adds.
Secondly, mompreneurs also have to deal with the internal struggle of feeling torn between giving their undivided attention to their families and their businesses. As the mother of a boy diagnosed with Aspergers’, Dr Rao shares her experience with us, saying, “One of the biggest challenges I faced was finding a balance between my desire to be with my son in the US and initiating activities for our NGO in India.”
Expressing the same concern, Aeron from EcoSoul, says, “There are days when your kids need you the most, which clashes with your professional goals. I have always been a working woman and the only way to survive is just by following a stringent and disciplined routine throughout the week for my entire family. This really helps me in striking a balance between both commitments.”
Lastly, prioritisation is a challenge as there will always be competing priorities. Highlighting this challenge in her own life, Aron from Marching Sheep recalls, “I have missed my daughter’s soccer matches because I have been travelling for sessions. I missed my son’s 15th birthday as I was invited to speak at a conference.”
These are some hard choices that one has to make as a business owner.
She further adds, “Having said that, I have never compromised on my children’s health and education. This sensitization came as my children grew. Leaving a wailing child at the curb used to be difficult but the determination to make a difference in people’s lives kept me going.”
Mompreneurship has always been challenging but it brings its own benefits in one’s life.
Momprneurship makes for a boss mom
Being a mompreneur makes moms their own bosses as well, giving them the kind of flexibility which allows them to succeed on their own terms. Our mompreneurs share some of the benefits that they personally feel come with being a mompreneur.
“One of the best perks of being a mompreneur is the sheer satisfaction of building something from scratch, just like giving birth to a child. It gives me the flexibility of not being questioned by anyone and prioritising my presence wherever required,” says Aeron from EcoSoul Home.
Talking about flexibility, Dr Ambegaonkar articulates, “Having the freedom to set my own schedule and be available for my family whenever they need me, lets me merge my passion and my goals with the joy of caring for those closest to me. By setting priorities and making mindful decisions, I’ve been able to achieve a better work-life balance.”
Being your own boss, having the flexibility to choose your hours, your way of working and the culture that you want to build in your organisation gives you an edge.
“My team is very diverse, and they all are in different life stages. The deliverables and timelines committed are non-negotiable. Also, the empathy, listening skills, patience, coaching, and counselling that one exercises with one’s growing children comes in quite handy with team members too, who are just like family as well,” she tells us.
Inspiring and advising the next generation
The impact of our Indian mompreneurs extends beyond their own lives. By breaking stereotypes and pursuing their dreams, they are inspiring the younger generation to believe in their own potential. These mompreneurs are not only influencing society positively but are also paving the way for the others who want to follow in their footsteps.
Sonica Aron, Managing Partner and Founder of Marching Sheep asserts that one should always be true to oneself. “Listen to your heart. If being an entrepreneur makes you happy, go for it. The first few months or years might seem challenging, but there is light at the end of the tunnel,” she says.
Dr Neena Rao, Founder of Margika says, “When your intentions are pure and strong and you are driven and passionate, the universe will help you to find the solutions to your problems! So never give up.”