An Architect Quilter
I am so excited to share the first Blissful Moms interview!
Today’s interview is with Shruti Dandekar. An architect by profession, Shruti tried quilting on a sabbatical and was so fascinated that she gave up the full-time job. Her lovely 500 square feet studio is any quilters dream! She is also a Bernina Ambassador! As a self-taught quilter Shruti has come a long way.
I loved the way she describes her adorable son. Yes, as adults we do take life seriously. Her worst days as a mother are so familiar. As mothers, we go through the panic, fear and the guilt every time something happens to our child. A big THANK YOU to Shruti, for sharing her experiences and insights!
1. Tell us about yourself, your passions, work and interests.
I am an architect by education and, now, a quilter by profession. I live in Sangli, a small town in Maharashtra, with my husband Rohit who is a businessman, my little one Aadi, an energetic eight year old and my wonderful in laws, who are my biggest cheer leaders.
I have the unique opportunity of actually turning my passion into my work. That is the fact that keeps me happy. I am excited to go into my studio and work with all the wonderful fabric I have. I also teach quilting.
Apart from quilting, I like to read. Fiction is my favourite genre, and Harry Potter is my favourite go-to when I only have a few minutes to read. I invest a pre-decided time and money every month on books about self-development. I love to read every night as I unwind.
2. What is the best thing about being a mother?
I cannot tell you how much I enjoy being a mother. Aadi is such a wonderful child. He is totally non-fussy and fiercely independent. He has some absolutely brilliant ideas about everyday things, and I get to learn a lot from him all the time.
He has his own ways of understanding things. He once told me that the human heart was, in fact, a motor pump that needed no electricity. The human brain is a CPU, the eyes camera, mouth speakers and ears microphones! Paints quite a picture, doesn’t it? I love to see the world with his eyes. I love that I get to share his innocence. He reminds me that as adults, we complicate our lives with stuff that actually does not even matter in the long run.
3. Tell us about the most difficult day you faced and overcame as a mother?
I have had many of those. Aadi has had asthma since his birth. Not a surprise considering that Rohit and both our mothers are asthmatic. However, the first time he had an attack, I felt so totally helpless. I still remember the day, rather the night. I was at my parents place, and my grandma had just passed away. Everyone was stressed. It was late in the night when Aadi started wheezing. I was no idea what to do. I am really thankful to have a husband like Rohit, who took control and knew exactly what would make Aadi comfortable.
But later, our family doctor advised us to let him have his daily dose of exercise so that his immunity increases, and that has really helped. For the past four years, he has been going regularly to an athletic club every evening. I have seen his asthma change its severity and frequency ever since he started doing that.
My equally worse day was when Aadi, who loves to work alongside me in my Studio, cut his fingers with a rotary cutter. I was so angry it took me a long time to convince myself that I wasn’t a bad mother. Accidents do happen, and you cannot blame yourself. You cannot protect your kids all the time. So instead of keeping him away from the cutter altogether, I taught him how to use it properly. And today he makes cute and beautiful quilts along with me!
4. What advice would you give a mama who feels discouraged by the responsibilities?
I am one of you too. Rohit loves the house to be clean, and he loves to eat. I didn’t know how to keep the house clean with a kid and could not cook tasty food even to save my life. That resulted in a lot of drama on the home front. Finally, I started cleaning up regularly, just twenty minutes at a time, twice a day – before Rohit woke up, and before he came back from the shop.
I also bartered with his mom about making the veggies and dal for me (we do live together but have separate kitchens), and I made chapattis for her! She is a brilliant cook, but got tired of making chapattis. And since she loves them hot, she does not like the maid to make them for her and keep. So it was a win-win for both.
My advice would be to accept that you have a problem and find a solution to it. Believe me, if someone like me can do it, anyone can! Be creative.
5. Has motherhood changed you? How?
Yes, motherhood has certainly changed me. It has tested and increased my patience and has definitely taught me to say no. Sometimes ten times in a day! It has changed by ideas of the perfect evening from a candle light dinner to a night watching what I want on the TV with no interruptions!
But on a serious note, it has made me a much more responsible person. I am more compassionate too.
6. What are you working on at present that you’re most excited about?
I just finished a workshop with a German quilter Jutta Hellbach, and I’m totally mesmerized by her work. She was so open and free when sharing her technique.I cannot wait to go back to my studio and start working on it.
7. What self-care practices do you follow?
Self-care? I rarely have time for a quick shower before I head out of the house. But yes, I am very particular about cleansing and moisturizing my face at least thrice a day. I also never go to bed with any makeup on, even if it is just lip gloss and eye liner!
8. What is/was your biggest challenge in balancing the time, space and energy to connect with yourself after becoming a mother? Any tips to share with us?
My biggest challenge was learning to organize. It took me ten years to realize that I did not have to do everything myself and also that I need not multi-task. I started writing to-do lists and check lists, not just for me but for my maids too. I am normally out of the house by 10.30 in the morning and return at 5.30 in the evening.
I have also managed to leave my work at my studio when I come home now. Especially when you have a creative career, it is very difficult to set boundaries. It took time to get used to, but I can now do it. I also got rid of the Internet on my phone. I do not use the Internet in my studio. I get a lot more done with minimum distractions. If it is that urgent, I’m sure people know I am just a call away.
9. What three things would you want/wanted your kids to learn?
Independence, self-esteem and the desire to learn something new!
10. Do you have a space in your house where you connect with yourself?
Of course! My studio is my corner. It started as a table in my Living-Dining Room corner, and then took up the smallest room in the house, gradually shifted around the house until it took up the largest room in the house. Now it is in a cottage in my back yard. It is wonderful space of about 500 square feet. I got it redone last year, and it has been a haven ever since.
To know more about Shruti check these resources-
Are you a Bliss Mom, or do you know one? Want to be interviewed?
Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org I will send you the interview questions and info that I need.