a work in progress

Having It All and Leaning In = Bullshit, unless it’s with compromise. This is my routine, my tricks and exactly how many hours the nanny looks after Aru for.

A few women have asked me about work and Aru.
I thought I’d outline a bit of the daily / weekly routine and how things seem to be functioning atm.

It’s a creative juggle. I learnt really soon just how delusional I was about having a baby. I somehow thought I’d be back at work the next day and someone? (god knows who and how) would be looking after Aru and you know, I’d see him now and then? Ha. Ha. Not.

I really feel books like Leaning In were great in some aspects and not so great in others. So many women + business magazines rarely gave any glory to part time or work at home mums, many had their kids at daycare before the age of one. I thought I was going to fit into this mould. I was so surprised when Aru came and I realised it wasn’t the mould for me.

It led me to look for mentors closer to home. How did they do it? One had nannies. One had looked after her children herself (she’s now doing phenomenally well and adores her boys just as much). Actually, I think thats about it. I didn’t really speak to many other mums.

So this is the breakdown. The gritty details.

Also – would be helpful for you to know that at this point, Aru is 15 months and isn’t walking yet. That said, we let him crawl around the whole house because all areas (which have doors open) are baby friendly. V is a semi-stay-at-home-dad, we tend to juggle things pretty organically.

Financial Aspects

I run a design studio (Kish+Co) based in Melbourne.
At the moment, we’ve got one full time designer, a part time book keeper, an intern and myself who are the main legs of the business. My main financial expectations are wages and rent.

I had once read an article about Kate Bezar (founder of Dumbo Feather) who was taking her first vacation away from the business. She said, “it’s not a business unless you can walk away from it”. This cemented something really early on in me. Overtime, I’ve learn to be frank with staff and delegate things on as much as possible. It’s taken time (probably deserves a few articles in itself).

I also have to state – I am less ambitious with the business than I once was. For now, my aim is to keep it growing within reason, performing as excellently as possible and keeping my relationships as best as I can.

V had sold his business soon after Aru was born and gets revenue from a handful of different areas like carbon trading and importing bulk fabric from India for large wholesalers.

Mortgage – we’ve got a mortgage and I also assist with paying that, depending on how Kish+Co is going. Running a business means playing lean when it’s lean and saving when it’s not. Mostly. We definitely enjoy, but within capacity. We both pay for more help from the nanny when we have something larger scale going on.

Jobs Breakdown

V and I both cook – lately I’ve been doing more. Whatever is left over just about always goes into the freezer because we always need it sooner or later. We clean up the kitchen together (I wash, he does everything else). If one of us is tired, we leave it for the next day. He makes the bed. I make the chai. Depending on who is less tired, they’re the one that wakes up to Aru’s call in the morning – which really does start the day off. I sort of need my food, so till I have something in my tummy, V manages Aru – brekkie and diapers.

If he has urgent calls or emails, I take over and vice versa. We often discuss meetings for the week on a Sunday night so we each know what the other person has on.

When Aru is sleeping, you’ll always find us at our desks doing mind-focused work. We worry about cooking and dishes later.

Large ticket cleaning items like bathrooms and mopping and vacuuming are done by the cleaner once a week and V tries to sweep every other day.

We have a nanny come at least 3 afternoons a week for 3-4 hours. Minimum. We opt for her to come around 3pm because by this time we’re both a little tired and need to prep dinner.

I pay the bills (online) and worry about Aru’s next size up pyjamas. Generally I also co-ordinate things like planning for his daycare, schools and playgroup thingees. V worries about the roof, car maintenance and large ticket items (he LOVES doing his research so I let him!).

Handy Things 

Living near the markets and supermarket mean that Aru goes for a walk and nap in the pram every other day if we need to get milk and veggies.

Dosa Batter – we make western style dosas with spinach, avo, cheese, chilli and tomatoes. It’s an easy dinner without the bread overload.

Premade Rotis – we pop these into the freezer and heat them with a freshly made curry.

Soaking lentils overnight – ok these are turning out to be cooking related tips, but it means less decision making on the day. I find dahl is the easiest thing to cook. One pot, one main ingredient and just a smattering of spices which I always have on me anyways…

Fighting the recipe – sometimes a recipe will call for squash. If I’ve got pumpkin at home, I’ll just use that instead. Same goes for sweet potatoes.

Taking phone calls when Aru is playing outdoors. He doesn’t need much attention when we’re outside, so I often find I can take a 30 minute call uninterrupted when he’s out. Either that, or when I’m driving.

Going with it. I don’t fight the things I cannot accomplish. I’m proud of the things I can and I try a little more for the ones I can’t. It will all work out.

When Aru wants more of Maa time, I do things like chill with him on the porch, hang the clothes or take him to the supermarket. That way I feel like I’m getting something done as well as spending time with him.


Other Things

Things We Could Work On
Planning weekly meals a bit better. We’re a bit casual in our approach and sometimes it means we need to be creative! Your tips please?!

Things That We Compromise On (Happily)
We don’t go out for dinner as often as we would have before.

We are usually home by 6pm – making an effort to look after each other. V knows I go a bit batty after 3pm and it’s just rare for me not to be around if he’s there.

Our social life is pretty stunted, but to be honest, I think that happened way back when we each started our own businesses. We just see people less often – but still try and keep a strong sense of engagement, especially over the weekend.

Keeping it together. On any given day, there will be things strewn on the floor, clothes still in the machine from the other day and marks on the stove because it hasn’t been wiped down yet. I know now, that as insane as this undone-ness drives me, letting it be undone keeps me sane. Let’s me accept that life is not perfect and it wasn’t meant to be either.

Got questions? Don’t be shy. We’ll only progress as females if we’re honest enough with each other. Instead of trying to impress each other with our “I can do it all” painful perspectives. Ask me – ask me about the fights, about feeling inadequate, about takeaway guilt. Ask me, I promise I’ll be honest.



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If I asked you for 15 minutes of your day, could you give it?


  1. Apeksha

    Hey karishma!! Great article..always love how genuine and honest they are and always looking forward to read the next one:):)
    Just one question though..how do we break streotypes about a man/woman’s work and if its alright to feel ok if you do not fit into a particular mould..

    • karishma

      Hi Apeksha! Thanks so much for your question, made me think about things ?

      So a long time ago, VIVEK and I used to have fights about housework. I was of the 50/50 kind, we both work so we both do housework. I drew up a roster. But the fights kept happening.
      Often if we find we’re fighting about the same thing over and over again, we’ll see the counsellor. So Kayleene, our counsellor, looked at VIVEK and said to him, “what we’re things like when you were growing up?”. Vivek basically had a childhood where he would drop his clothes to the ground and someone would pick up after him (lots of help staff in india). Which also leads me to recognise how we raise our sons is an indication of what they expect to do in their own homes later in their lives.

      She said to me – it’s not realistic to expect something of him (housework) when he’s not used to it. But then, she said – if you have cleaning support, why not have that kind of a set up here? And that brought us to a halfway solution. I accepted that we should spend money on a cleaner and he accepted that he could help for what we can’t afford. A tryst ?

      I’ve come to enjoy and appreciate the luxury of a cleaner – even though it was really hard for me to initially. And he’s become a whole heap more cleaning capable!!

      In terms of not fitting into the norm – Apeksha, this is something I’ve known for a long time. Vivek is the sort of guy who might need to take a business call at dinner. Or work on holiday. He will tease my sisters instead of pampering them. We talk about poo and digestion daily. He will have one glass of red wine and I’ll have to carry him home! There is no norm ? only what works for us. We know how we work best as a unit and accept that it is weird to someone looking from the outside.

      What works for you both – is what your norm should be ???

      Xx hope this helps ?

  2. Nirvana

    Always looking forward to the next read….and you are right, the norm is whatever works ?

Let me know your thoughts on this one.

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